Throughout the past 50 years, Kutztown University’s yearbook, The Keystonia, thrived. However, in recent years it has become financially unviable. In 2013, it was transformed into a magazine.
In 2008, the yearbook published its last edition. The slow death of The Keystonia was due to the increased cost of printing, decline of funding and the rise of social media.
In order to revamp the publication, Melissa Nurczynski, a KU English professor, and Elizabeth Mazenko, who graduated from KU in 2013, had to start something new but on a smaller scale.
“Without Liz, we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” said Professor Melissa Nurczynski.
Because of less funding, an idea for magazine form became popular. Mazenko explained that KU has a newspaper, The Keystone, and two creative literary magazines for artistic works, Shoofly and Essence, but nothing for long narrative nonfiction journalism.
“We have a class, but nowhere to publish the articles we produce,” Mazenko said.
Her idea meshed with Nurczynski’s to reinvent the old yearbook into a magazine.
In the spring semester of 2013, Mazenko and a team of five editors — Kate Quinlan, Emma Godfrey, Imani Ferguson, Heather Price and Erica Smith — helped get the word out, obtain submissions and edit the magazine. However, Mazenko solely put together the layout, took photos for most of the articles, submitted the proper paperwork for on-campus Student Involvement, Kutztown University Student Services, and Student Government Board and contacted a new publisher, KB Offset.
Since the yearbook was dead for almost five years, Mazenko did not have a mentor to turn to for the production process. She was unsure what to delegate down to her editors. Since the magazine was in its first run, the process was “very experimental” and a huge “learn-as-you-go” experience.
During mid-summer of 2013, the first issue of The Keystonia was published. Within its 27 pages, it contained 17 articles with multiple photographs for each, and five sections: Student Life, Health and Science, Culture and Community, Sports and Arts and Entertainment. In the spring of 2014, Mazenko and her five editors stepped down and five new editors took charge: Reid Cashour, Elizabeth Crews, Lindsay Lyon, Devin Shingle and Dillon Stickle.
The Keystonia yearbook dates back to at least 1953. The yearbook consisted of the senior class, sports, clubs and other off and on campus organizations. The majority of the staff were students, but Kutztown University Athletics hired a corporate company for sports photography and content. The content in the yearbook consisted of half student-produced and half professionally-produced work from the publisher. Now the Keystonia is entirely student-run and consists of only student-produced content that focuses on the student culture of Kutztown University. The publication is compiled of long narrative and short magazine style articles with photographs.
The Keystonia will be publishing its second edition in April that will be available in May 2014 on campus in Lytle Hall.