How to Start a College Magazine, Part Four: Survival and Growth

This is the last article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine, written by the former Chairman of the Yale Record, America’s oldest humor magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. 


In the first three parts of this series, I gave advice about starting a publication, recruiting writers and other staff, and putting together your first few issues.

This is the cleanup post, where I talk about everything else. It will make more sense if you read the other posts first. Topics covered include:

  • Publicizing your work
  • Funding the publication
  • Selling advertisements
  • Staying out of trouble
  • Preserving your history


Find Readers, Get Famous

You’ve published an issue! Congratulations.

Now what?

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Area Writer Applies To The Onion, Fails

I recently applied for a writing position at The OnionI went in expecting to be rejected, knowing that the website has some of the funniest living writers on staff. And I was, in fact, rejected!

I noticed while I was applying that I couldn’t easily find any other applications online. So I’m posting mine here, with minor edits for typos. If you’d like to work at The Onion, you’ll have to do better than this. (Also, you’ll have to spend more than four hours on your submission. When it comes to finding your dream job, don’t procrastinate.)

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How to Start a College Magazine, Part Three: Building the Publication

This is the third article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine, written by the Chairman of the Yale Record, America’s oldest humor magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. 

Click here to read the first article, or click here to send me a question.


Hello again, and welcome to the third part of the Guide.

This article tells you how to go from:

“Okay, we have people interested, now what?”


“Omigod look at our first issue hot off the presses/internet, it’s BEAUTIFUL! We are so cool and thoughtful!”

I’ve written this in three parts: The “how to write an issue” checklist, a sample timeline for a monthly magazine, and an extremely long and non-mandatory special feature: “One year in the publishing life of the Yale Record“.

In the final section, I explain what we do during the year, and when. Whether you’re starting a magazine in the summertime or the middle of the school year, you should be able to pick up a similar rhythm.

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How to Start a College Magazine, Part Two: Recruitment and Staffing

Welcome to the second article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. Click here to read the first article, or click here to send me a question.


Hello again! This time, I’m going to talk about finding people to work with you on your new publication.

If you think you already have enough people to get going, you can skip this article and read the next one. But I’d recommend recruiting even if you have friends working with you. Staffing can be unpredictable: people graduate, people leave school, and people move on. Having extra writers and editors rarely hurts, as long as you can keep your standards high.


How to Recruit Writers

And, of course, all the people who aren’t writers. Every publication’s needs will be different. However, I’ll explain the setup of the Yale Record, since we have a large staff, work in many different styles, and publish a lot of art.

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How to Start a College Magazine, Part One: Ground Rules and Structure

This is the first article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine, written by the Chairman of the Yale Record, America’s oldest humor magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. 


As the chairman of the Yale Record, and the person whose email is connected to this web page, I get requests from students around the world to advise them on college magazine projects.

I looked around the internet to find resources on this, but most of them were written at least a decade ago, or applied only to newspapers, rather than the humor magazines/fashion blogs/scholarly journals people were asking me about. So I decided to write a series of posts explaining most of what I know about college publications.

This is part one of the guide, which deals with “ground rules”: things you should do, or think about, before you start writing and recruiting.

For part two, which deals with building a staff, click here. For part three, which deals with creating content, click here. For part four, which discusses growing your publication after you start producing material, click here.

I hope you find these posts helpful. If you have any questions they don’t answer, please post them in the comment section or contact me directly. I’m always happy to offer individual advice.

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Recent Work: Fall/Winter 2013


Unschooled: CT’s Most Radical Homeschoolers (in the cool surfer sense of “radical”)

Review: Janelle Monae, Electric Lady (the album was good, this review isn’t)

Interview: Chris Stedman, author of Faithiest (part of the launch of the Yale Humanist Community; I’m on the board of directors)

Making Believe: Religious Conversion at Yale University (includes this companion post)

“Witt’s religious awakening was outside my realm of understanding. I wondered if it was really a coincidence that her new relationship with Jesus began at a retreat where she’d begun new relationships with a few dozen Christian friends. Why would God wait to find her on a dock in the woods when she’d been going to church her entire life?”


Yale University Commencement Address, May 2014 (Yale jokes)

“As I look upon this crowd—with your narrow shoulders, your pimply foreheads, your dumb, bovine gazes—I almost pity you. You must have been overwhelmed when Yale opened its gates to you, for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps you were Australian, or a mediocre synchronized swimmer. Perhaps your mother was an especially talented applications-essayist.”

Levels of Hell Left Out of Dante’s Inferno

Indiana Jones and Printing at Bass Library (Yale jokes)

A Playlist for Your Worst Moments (Yale jokes, pop music, fourth essay down)

“Heaven has a plan for you, and the plan is that you will grow old and die, like everyone else.”


Long Day’s Journey Into Cambridge (Yale jokes) (alternate universes)

Profile of a Coffee-Shop Owner Who Bans the Internet


Gourmet Heaven, Wage Theft, and the Convenience of Indecision (warning: angst)

The Floodgates Open: Yale Record List Edition

A selection of my list pieces (in full!) for the Yale Record, which totally founded the New Yorker with no outside help and only a little outside money that fell from the sky, as sometimes happens in New York City.

Topics include voter suppression, Vladimir Putin, and how not to get into the Yale Literary Magazine.


Other Voter Restriction Laws

Idaho: Must show proof of sexual identity.
Kentucky: Must be born in a state that starts with the same letter as the one you’re in.
California: One of these polling volunteers always lies. The other speaks only truth. Voters must determine who is who. They may ask one question.

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The Floodgates Open: Yale Record Longer Piece Edition

A selection of my work for the Yale Record, the world’s oldest college humor magazine or maybe just the nation’s but if anyone is reading this and wants to correct me for sure I’ll think about them late at night before I drift off to sleep and I will smile a little smile. For what it’s worth.

Topics include AN INTERVIEW WITH FAMOUS MAN JEPH JACQUES, Pokemon, Harvard vs. Yale, and Mythbusters. For more fine work from all the writers of this publication, much of which now gets edited by myself, click HERE!

Memorable Moments in the History of the Harvard-Yale Game

1890: Mysterious time rift opens and transports both starting teams to the field of Super Bowl XXV, 100 years in the future, immediately after kickoff. Since helmets and 250-pound linebackers didn’t exist in the 19th century, seven Ivy Leaguers die in the ensuing collisions. Result: Yale’s bench beats Harvard’s bench 21-14.”

Pikachu’s Inner Monologue

“It has been—six days. And on the seventh day, I shall not rest, for the next chapter of my miserable life will be at hand. The hand of Ash will again discharge me, flinging me into mortal combat.”

An Interview With Jeph Jacques, Creator of Questionable Content

“This is definitely the first rock I’ve ever etched… This may be the most unusual thing I’ve signed now. I’m trying to think of anything weirder… well, I signed that baby once.”

You didn’t sign it with a knife, I hope.

“…No. (Christi: “There’s no carving in baby-signing.”) But I would have! I hate babies.”

Mythbusters Picks on Less Obvious Targets

Round Earth Theory: Starting with the secretive scribbles of Pythagoras, this myth was picked up by the infamous Ptolemy, who continued to spread it despite Biblical scholars’ sensible efforts to refute him. Have you seen the “curvature” of the Earth lately? Has anyone you know fallen off the bottom of the world and into space? Could our home planet really be…spherical??”