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Media students team up to launch campus lifestyle magazine
IMPULSE Magazine, a student-produced lifestyle and society magazine, launched in April on the University of Illinois campus. The publication features student achievements, sports, politics, a food review, and even the latest fashion trends of the season. The inaugural issue features a cover story on UI Illinois defensive tackle Cory Liuget.
Katerina Bizios, a junior in journalism, is a main impulse behind IMPULSE Magazine. Building a team to launch a magazine was a challenge easily met by this College of Media student. She sought help from other Media students, Louise Zhang '12 ADV, Melissa Michalak '12 JOURN, Allison Bulow '11 ADV, among many others to put it all together.
Bizios came up with the idea for the magazine during her summer internship at Michigan Avenue Magazine in Chicago. Following a summer of booking photo shoots, working with editors and writers, and learning the fundamentals of producing a magazine, Bizios’ and Zak, another intern, took decided to take their news skills and launch upscale magazines on own college campuses.
“Zak and I first started a similar magazine called DMIX at Duke University, and then after a quick success, we expanded to the University of Illinois,” said Bizios. “We also started a media company called SW Media to combine the magazines to work under one company.”
Along with the skills they learned at Michigan Avenue Magazine, the IMPULSE team also incorporated skills and fundamentals they learned from their College of Media courses.
For instance, Bizios learned the value of storytelling, which helped her focus when writing the cover story on UI football player Cory Liuget.
Journalism junior Melissa Michalak also found her niche in magazine writing.
“Even though I am in broadcast journalism, I got a job as a features editor at Illini Media,” said Michalak. “Along with that, I took a magazine writing class which made me fall in love with this type of writing.”
Michalak and Bizios serve as editors for IMPULSE and work with other students in different specialties to round out the issue. Louise Zhang ’12 ADV, who already has experience through her work in American Advertising Federation (AAF), was in charge of selling advertising space. She relates her job with IMPULSE to working at an agency, and says she has learned a lot from her advertising courses.
“The College of Media has taught me the fundamentals of advertising and how to appreciate this business when applying it to real world situations; also, how advertising shapes peoples thoughts of certain brands and products,” she said.
Bizios worked hard to put together a group of students who share her desire to see the magazine grow, and knows that to make that happen, they need funding. With Zhang’s work to negotiate with local business, the team has been successful in funding this first issue through advertising sales.
“We took Green Street and downtown Champaign by storm and contacted businesses we thought would fit with the upscale style of the magazine,” said Zhang. “We really couldn’t show the owners anything but focused on building trust, and then worked out the advertisements with the creative team.”
To make IMPULSE a reality, Bizios found her team through networking and talking with other students in the industry to see if their goals matched up. Allison Bulow ’11 ADV was introduced to the team through a peer in one of her advertising courses. She currently does photography for the College of Media’s Advancement team.
“I found out about IMPULSE through someone working for the magazine, and he knew I was interested in photography,” said Bulow. “He referred me to Katerina, so I sent her my portfolio, and everything just went from there.”
Bulow brought up the current issue and some of her obstacles when it came to finalizing her work. She mentioned how photography for a magazine was completely different than newspaper and helped her adapt Photoshop skills.
“Even though the most obvious answer wasn’t always available, some of your most creative work comes from having to think outside the box,” said Bulow. “I think in every aspect of the process we hit barriers. But, we reminded ourselves that we are students, and we learned along the way what to do to succeed with this first issue.”
With the launch now behind them, the IMPULSE team is currently hard at work on the second issue, focusing more on advice for incoming freshman. There is a lot of work to be done at U of I, and the expectations are high for the upcoming years.
“I really want to help the magazine launch at other universities,” said Bizios. “This is something I started because I love to do it, and I can’t wait to see it succeed.”