October 9, 2008
Hot Off the Presses!
The day we’ve been working for all year is finally almost here—110° Magazine will be distributed in the Arizona Daily Star on Wednesday, May 28.
This morning, VOICES staff members went to the Arizona Daily Star’s headquarters to see thousands of copies of the magazine print in preparation to be inserted into tomorrow’s newspaper.
Swap ‘Till You Drop!
We work hard here at Voices, but we like to be stylish, too! So on Thursday, March 6, the staff members of 110 Degrees Magazine held their first ever clothes swap. Clothes were piled high in the basement lounge of our downtown office, and after rounds of trying on clothes and echoes of “That is SO you!” nearly everyone went home with their arms full.
Plus, the clothes swap benefited the community, as well—all clothing left after the swap was donated to second-hand clothing store Re-Threads, one of the locally-owned businesses that share our neighborhood on E. Pennington Street.
Meeting Deadlines, New Additions
With just over a month left before deadline, things are hectic here at Voices. Nearly every weekday afternoon, our office and shared space with City High School is filled with youth staff members hunched over laptops, typing furiously and discussing story angles. Meanwhile, other staff members are grabbing cameras and tape recorders, on their way to photo shoots and interviews across Tucson.
“I’m pretty dead-on with what my story is and how I’m going to get it written, but now I have to actually get everything compiled,” said youth staff member Cecelia Geller. “It’s a little overwhelming!”
In addition to the rush of finishing stories, some youth are also working on additional projects. Martha Cordova was published in the Young Voices section of the Arizona Daily Star on March 3, and an article by Fernando Siqueiros will be published in the Primavera Foundation’s next newsletter.
The youth are also continuing work on their radio modules, which are short opinion pieces that they record for community radio station KXCI, 91.3 FM. The radio modules are the result of Voices’ new partnership with KXCI, RadioActivism, and they will begin playing in late May. Look for more information about this project on our website soon.
110 Degrees would also like to welcome its newest youth staff members: Cecelia Geller, John Kramer, Rosemary Coronado, and Kristian Bulmer. We are also thrilled to have previous 110 Degrees contributors Edward Brown and Willow Wells now on staff as well. What a great staff!
Busy! Busy! Busy!
Busy! Busy! Busy! The deadline for the first draft is quickly approaching here at Voices, and everyone is working away! The first draft is really the time where people begin to see a good outline of their stories. 1,000 words sound like an awful lot, but with everyone’s’ ideas overflowing for their stories usually the writing needs to be cut down some.
Last Thursday we went on a field trip to see the photo gallery “Making a Photograph – Iconic Images and Their Origins” at the Center for Creative Photography. We got to see famous works by Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Frederick Sommer, Garry Winogrand, and many others. It was a great experience to be able to see how certain photos gain such popularity through new techniques, tackling daring issues, and showing new ways to look at things (it sounds a lot like what Voices does). We were also able to see the history of the first commercial photo galleries: Limelight, the Witkin Gallery, and LIGHT.
It is truly amazing how much photography has grown in recent years. A short time ago photography was not even viewed as a true art form, and now look at where it is. I think the youth creating 110˚ really strive to show how far the art of photography has come through their work.
Right now we are trying to name our KXCI radio modules; if you have any awesome names please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for reading and please tune in next week for even more exciting Voices action!
VIDEO: What Is a Query Letter?
From Melinda Phipps
A faint beat of music can be heard escaping from headphones as a continuous clatter of typing fills the room. Barely a word is spoken as the youth gaze intently into the depths of their Mac books. Oh, the wonder of query letter writing.
This week at Voices the youth have been writing query letters, which are propositions to the editors of a paper in order to sell your story idea. They consist of a hook, information on why they want to write their topic, where it would go in the paper, what type of story it is, and a description of their photographs. This is their first lunge into the world of journalism; at this step they are testing out topics and collecting supporting information. Accompanied by many gracious volunteers and information from brainstorming, the youth are finalizing their story ideas and proposing them to the Voices adult staff.
A few of them have also started to interview experts within their topics. For example Joe Cox, a youth apprentice, interviewed Matt Griffiths from the Audubon Society about his topic of bird watching. One reason for having interviews early is to help the youth develop their story ideas and it is also to helps them later on. After they transcribe the interviews– type up what their interviewee said–they can use the quotes in their articles.
Query letters and interviews are two HUGE necessities here at Voices and for any other journalist. And so far people are working away and getting them done.
Tune in next week for another exciting debrief on a week at Voices!
Thanks for reading,
Melinda Phipps (Assistant Writing Editor/ Youth Leader)
Izzy Soto- 2nd Blog entry
We have recently reached what is known as the “fat draft” deadline here at 110 Degrees. For us, fat drafts mean writing at least 2000 words if we’re are doing a personal essay and 1000 if we’re doing a photo essay. These fat drafts must also include 7-10 photos. Shortly afterward we turn our fat drafts in, we begin formal writing and photography critiques.
I feel that one of the high points of 110 is when the youth start critiquing each other’s work. For some of us, the critiques are especially interesting because we are working on personal essays—and the critiques allow us to reveal some of our most intimate experiences. Many of us are also shocked when we realize the extent of our fellow staff members’ talent and insight. But somehow, the critiques bring us together even more; we are in awe of each other and what we can do.
I recently had a conversation with one of the youth staff members, and she told me she loved the idea of the fat draft because she got to express herself as thoroughly as possible. Some writers find that as a result of the fat draft, they get a whole new story. But some youth also hate the fat drafts, and believe it’s unnecessary to write as much as possible when the writing is just going to be edited to fit the limited space that the magazine offers. Even with these differences of opinion, everyone seems to become so attached to the writing, because it becomes a piece of him or her. For the vets of 110, including myself, this attachment is no surprise.
Whether or not they hate the drafts, this is the time when the youth truly start to get a feel for their writing, and learning how to “paint a scene” by using as much detail as possible. I sense the sparks of enlightenment during this time, as the staff starts delving into territory they never thought they would go before. The youth are beginning to tease their limits and talent for writing.
I have asked a few of the youth if I could peek into their fat draft so I may get a perspective of what the fat drafts look like this year. Below are some examples of some of the youth’s work.
“So pure and cold; the snow outside and the paper clippings on the ground contrasted so nicely with the warmth of everyone’s smiles and the warm waxy candles being passed around from person to person.”– Arayah Larson
“It was an exhilarating experience to see people belonging to different colors, races, and nationalities. Kings, head of states and ordinary men from very poor countries all dressed in simple white sheets, praying to God without any sense of either pride or arrogance. It was a practical display of the concept of equality in Islam.” Roxy Alansary
“Crinkled, blue eyes gaze up and down the street searching for approaching vehicles. In confidence the man holds the stop sign high as he steps to the middle of the crosswalk often signaling it was safe to go. As you pass the man you can see his face clearly, though his strands of hair below his cap were withered his beard shows no sign of weariness.”-Reyes Suarez
“My eyelids began to droop and my stomach turned. I attempted to stand, but I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, fixed onto my bed like a mouse in a snake’s jaw. The suffocating blanket of my own guilt covered me, tucked me in, and left me to the monsters of my mind.”– Melinda Phipps
These are examples of some of the beautiful descriptions that are included in fat drafts. They help me, as well as fellow coworkers understand how the youth view their experiences. And then, we are able to see through the eyes of the writer.
Common Interests, Common Goals
2-7-07- Isabella Soto
I’m sitting down with a cup of coffee in my hand, staring at a laptop propped up on my knees. The reluctance to continue working scratches at my attention span.. I stretch my limbs and I walk towards the main work area of the Voices building. I start to hear the chattering sounds of teenagers: a happy, complaining, good-natured cacophony.
I approach the heart of 110 Degrees, and kids are everywhere, squeezed on the couch with their laptops on their knees, others crowded around the tables we use for work area. One youth staff member is talking to a volunteer mentor in the far corner in a low voice. Another youth is situated at one of the desktops, transcribing equipment fully decked out, furiously typing out an interview they’ve done and completely shut off from the chatter behind them. I notice there are some youth missing today, and I know they’re on interviews that they arrange themselves, with minimal help from the editors. This is my job. This is my life and my salvation from the mundane system of high school.
This is my second year working at Voices, and despite certain technological upgrades and the distinctly younger apprentices this year, not much has changed. The new hires come from backgrounds that are the very definition of diversity: some are from Tucson, others from across the globe. It still amazes me that such a diverse group of teenagers can sit in one room, get crumbs on the floor, and work and laugh together like they’ve got years behind them. But Voices has just that effect on whoever walks through the door.
Overall, the process of becoming a youth journalist proves to be an endurance test for the mind and a search of the soul. I shouldn’t speak too soon about endurance in high stress times, as we are just barely into February and have only had our first out of many deadlines. The staff doesn’t know what being on edge is until they have survived March-May at 110 Degrees. This year our stories range from topics such as feminism to abstinence to Child Protective Services—and that’s not even covering half of the subjects the 110 Degrees staff is tackling this year. There are even youth researching topics I’ve never heard of before, like as Druidism.
And in all of these perspectives there’s a harmony in what we all have to say. And that harmony comes from common interests, common goals.