Levin, Linda [faculty advisor, Department of Journalism]
teen magazine, online, women's studies, journalism
As a journalism major with an interest in women’s studies, I took time to educate myself about the tactics that the magazine media use to sell themselves. I focused on magazines, because I am a print-oriented journalism student with the goal of working for a newspaper or a magazine after graduation. During my research, I found that there are few publications in this country offering sound advice to problems that teenage girls face on a daily basis. Most magazines for teenage girls focus on celebrity style, gossip and make-up tips. There is nothing wrong with this form of entertainment, especially since it is what most teenagers relate to, but I was disappointed that many publications fail to incorporate stories and tips about real-life issues that are difficult for teenagers to educate themselves about. I feel that teenage girls are being cheated out of valuable information that will help them make decisions that are beneficial to their lifestyles and their health. As someone going into the field of journalism, I know that it is difficult to put a light, fun spin on certain topics to make them appeal to teenagers, but I also know that it can be done. Sparkle is the beginning, the seed, of a dream that I hope to someday bring to completion. It is the culmination of everything that I have been working toward thus far as a journalism major. Sparkle is a magazine for teenage girls. It is my own creation, and one that I have been mentally working on since my own high school days. Sparkle is a magazine for teenage girls. The goal of Sparkle is to give young women answers to real-life questions that their parents and friends might not be able to answer or might not want to answer. Every article included in the magazine discusses an issue that affects the lives of young women all over the country at this very moment. My intention is to remind teenage girls that they have a voice and that who we are is not based on how we look. Sometimes the messages that we are sent through the television and in magazines can be confusing for teens. I know when I was a teenager, I was confused about who I was as a person. I definitely felt like I wasn’t pretty enough. It wasn’t until later in life that I asked myself the question: good enough for whom? I realized then that the “who” that I was so desperately trying to live up to did not exist. When I finally accepted myself for all that I had to offer as an individual, the rest of the world followed suit and the people who didn’t, didn’t matter. No one ever sat me down when I was a teenager and explained this basic truth to me, and I did not find it in the teen magazines that I was constantly paging through. Sparkle is my own special creation. I conducted all of the research and wrote the articles myself. I coordinated my own photo shoot for the pictures in Sparkle and used real teenage girls who agreed to model for me because they admire and respect my goal. I designed the entire layout, including the cover page and the body of the issue using the program QuarkXPress, which I am learning how to use in a journalism class. The issue of Sparkle that I created for this project is designed as the April 2008 issue of a magazine published and distributed throughout the country on a monthly basis. I left space in the spread to indicate where advertisements would be ideally placed. The list of story possibilities for this type of publication is endless, so I also included a list of potential articles for a May issue.