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Curb magazine examines the unexpected side of Wisconsin

January 6, 2012 By Greg Bump

Sheboygan as a surfing mecca. Green brewing in Amherst. A cross-country skiing event that draws thousands from all over the world to the arctic climes of northern Wisconsin.

These and other stories in the latest Curb magazine tell readers about Wisconsin’s many offbeat pleasures.

Photo: Curb magazine


Now in its 10th edition, Curb is a lifestyle magazine produced by 20 students in a University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication course taught by faculty associate Katy Culver.

“We want to show readers a side of Wisconsin they’ve maybe never seen before,” says Jamie Stark, editor of the magazine. “We’re telling stories about Wisconsin people and places that are unexpected.”

Ten thousand issues of the 64-page, full-color magazine are printed, with 8,200 mailed to a list of alumni. About 900 copies will be distributed throughout Madison through a partnership with Rack Express.

The students raised $10,000 to get the magazine to press through donations and selling ads, T-shirts and magazine subscriptions. There was even a bake sale at homecoming to raise funds. As it did in 2010, Royle Printing of Sun Prairie pitched in with a printing sponsorship to defray costs.

The students, all senior majors in the school, are hand-picked for the class through an application process. Culver says despite the tight 11-week deadline for pushing out a professional-quality magazine, she never doubted the students would get the job done.

Photo: Magazine class

Katy Culver, left, works with students in her magazine class.

Photo: Jeff Miller

“They’ve been ahead of the curve at every moment,” Culver says. “They’ve just met or exceeded every expectation.”

Students are split into four teams: editorial, design, online and business, though everyone in the class has a hand in each aspect of the publication. Each student is tasked with writing a 2,000-word article for the print edition or Web publication.

Sixteen of the stories made it into the print edition and are paired with multimedia in the team’s iPad app, which debuts in the App Store at the end of December. The full set of stories, videos and slideshows can be read here.

The Web site also features videos and slideshows produced by the students.

As the class put the final touches on the mobile and Web products, the scene inside the classroom resembled the excitement of a professional newsroom as a publication is about to hit the streets. While the magazine was a tough project that required many outside class hours to bring to life, the students said they wouldn’t trade the hands-on experience they gained from the class.

“For all of us this isn’t just a class, it’s so much more,” says Linda Brozyna, marketing director for Curb. “The dedication you see in this class is so much more than any other journalism classes.”

“It’s not a payback in credits. It’s a payback in experience,” Culver says.