MADISON – In early September, a group of 20 University of Wisconsin-Madison students decided Wisconsin women have moxie, and in just 11 weeks, they produced a print and digital magazine to prove it.
The magazine, titled Curb, is an annual project of undergraduate and graduate students in a UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication course taught by faculty associate Katy Culver.
This year’s magazine, which calls itself “the magazine with moxie,” is targeted at women between the ages of 22 and 45. It features stories about how drunk driving affects women, rock ‘n’ roll camp for female musicians and how surrogacy unfolds in Wisconsin.
“I’m proud of so many elements of my students’ work, but most particularly their dedication to raising the level of discourse in women’s magazines,” Culver says. “They knew from the beginning that they didn’t want it to be all fashion or all parenting. They have a stunning array of content, from the dirty truth of public restrooms to the loss of women in Wisconsin politics.”
The class began by asking themselves who Wisconsin women are and what stories they want to hear.
“We really thought there was a way to push the typical women’s magazine in a new direction, one that portrays real women in a real way,” says editor Cailley Hammel. “On each and every page, you’ll see stories that highlight the edge, boldness and intellect that is the real Wisconsin woman.”
Although the staff and editorial philosophy change with every edition – last fall, the magazine was geared toward Wisconsin men – the quality of each issue remains consistent.
Throughout the fall semester, the staff of Curb has devoted hours to developing a product that meets professional standards and coordinating all aspects of a magazine, including advertising and a full website. The students even produced an app to display the magazine on new mobile platforms, with support from the UW-Madison Libraries and the journalism school.
“I feel like we’ve won the academic lottery by earning spots in this class,” says online editor Leia Ferrari. “The processes involved in this class – creating an ambitious business model, a first-class print publication and a website to showcase the material – are prepping us for the ‘real world’ like nothing else at this university.”
The students behind the magazine say this year’s magazine is bigger and better than ever before, raising more than $12,000 to expand it from 48 pages to 64 and double its circulation.
The print version is expected to reach about 10,000 women statewide, while thousands more will read it online. Royle Printing in Sun Prairie helped the students achieve their goals through a partial printing sponsorship. About 1,000 copies will be available on racks throughout Madison, thanks to a sponsorship by Rack Express.
“Two months ago the Curb staff did not know one another, let alone the topic of the magazine,” says marketing director Sammy Ganz. “Since then, we’ve come together to produce an unbelievable product that has greatly surpassed the goals we originally set.”
For more information, visit curbonline.com or send an e-mail to [email protected].
Reporters are welcome to interview and observe Curb students in action or by appointment. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in Vilas Hall.