Black student-run magazine hits Web


Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 9:25 p.m.

BlackListed Magazine, a free online publication and the University of Florida's only black student-run magazine, officially launches at midnight Sunday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Created by the black journalism organization of the same name, the new publication will cover thought-provoking and controversial issues often overlooked by other media outlets, said the magazine's editors.

"We cover things other publications don't talk about or maybe what they don't notice," said senior journalism major Aufeya Glover, editor-in-chief of the magazine. "We notice these things because we're coming from a different and fresher point of view. It's news from the blacklisted perspective."

The idea for the magazine was conceived in 2002 but writers and editors came and went, leaving the fledgling publication half-completed.

Then in 2005 The Independent Florida Alligator published a controversial satirical cartoon depicting Condoleezza Rice using a racial epithet. Students reacted by boycotting the paper and protesting. The event motivated some journalism students to renew efforts to create the magazine.

"From then to now has been a long process," said Brian Robertson, a telecommunications senior and president of the campus journalism organization also called BlackListed. "I remember we became an official UF organization the day before my birthday on June 29, 2006, and I remember thinking that was probably one of the best, if not the best gift I've ever had."

Although the magazine's creation was spurred by an action from The Alligator, Robertson said, he does not see BlackListed Magazine as competing with The Alligator.

"We cover a lot of black events and minority events that perhaps wouldn't get noticed not out of neglect but simply because (The Alligator) serve the majority," he said. "That majority isn't always reflective of everyone else."

The magazine's staff, which numbers 18, pledges to bring something new and stirring to student journalism at the university.

"We'll see a story idea and even though it may be a topic people already know about or have heard about, we'll present it in a unique way, a way they've never seen before," Robertson said.

Not only are staff meetings a time to discuss ideas for upcoming editions of the magazine, they also function therapeutically for members of the staff. Among the topics of discussion is the presence of racism on the UF campus, Glover said.

"It's as if people are living in a fairy tale world where they don't see the reality of what's going on - that racism hasn't ended," she said.

"It's not just about 'black consciousness' but about bringing consciousness to the masses. I hope this magazine can do that," said Robertson.

The magazine's content has already stirred some controversy. The Institute of Black Culture, which serves as the hub for African-American organizations on campus, has received letters criticizing the magazine's direction.

"Some letters say that by focusing on black news we are purposely segregating ourselves in a destructive manner," Glover said. "We aren't racist at all. It's the opposite, because we want reporters and members from every minority so that the magazine can be well-rounded."

The staff has hopes that the magazine will bring overlooked stories to the forefront of each student's mind, Robertson said.

"But the real success is building a publication that will still be here for many years, serving the students," he said. "I hope that's something we've done."

To view the magazine when it debuts, visit http://www.blacklistedmagazine.org.

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