- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - After a 120 year run, the Oregon State University yearbook is done.

But a group of dedicated students - mostly volunteers or working for class credit - is creating a new free magazine to fill the void left by the publication’s end.

Jodie Davaz, the editor-in-chief of the Beavers Digest, said the yearbook had been struggling for years because few students were willing to pay its $50 to $60 cost.

According to Davaz, the tipping point came at the end of the last school year. After two rounds of seeking applicants, university staff couldn’t find anyone to serve as the yearbook’s editor or business manager. So, they opened up the position for people interested in recreating the yearbook as something new.

That’s where Davaz came in. A senior studying digital communication arts, Davaz was the manager of OSU’s student radio station, KBVR at the time. She said she was looking for an opportunity to broaden her journalistic skills, so she pitched the idea of a once-a-term magazine that focused on OSU’s clubs.

She said her idea was to have the photos and club focus of the yearbook combined with the storytelling of the student newspaper, The Barometer, with the emphasis on in-depth feature stories.

“I thought we could do this in a way nobody had before,” she said.

Davaz and her team, which includes paid staffers Halie Sutton and Maranda McArthur and about 25 volunteers, celebrated the launch of their first issue Thursday.

Organizing the team and creating the magazine all came from scratch, Davaz said. She asked friends-of-friends and reached out through OSU email lists. Anyone interested in participating was welcomed.

Whitney Lauren Han and Sutton, both sophomores in digital communication arts, were among those who worked on the first issue of the Beavers Digest. Its cover is of the crowd at a Beavers football game.

“It’s definitely cool to be part of the first issue,” Sutton said. The cover exemplifies a key difference between the yearbook and Beavers Digest: The yearbook devoted more pages to sports than anything else. But the new publication focuses more on the average student’s experience, which in this case was watching the game from the stands.

“We’re making very deliberate choices,” Davaz said. Because Beavers sports are well covered by other media, the Beavers Digest can offer a more distinct focus on clubs.

Han, who wrote several stories that appear in the inaugural Beavers Digest, said she likes hearing people’s stories.

“It’s been a great learning experience so far,” she said.

The magazine might inspire students to get more involved in the featured organizations, Han said, which in turn could give them a better college experience.

Beavers Digest is funded exclusively through student fees, is free to readers and carries no advertising. Davaz, who aspires to be a feature writer in print or radio, said the next steps for the publication are to better develop its web presence, and to continue to improve.

“I want this issue we just put out to be our worst issue ever. It’s only going to go up from here.”

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Online:

www.facebook.com/BeaversDigest , or @beaversdigest on Twitter.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

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