Story by Bailee Wicks
PULSE was not always an online and printed 64-page magazine… it had to start somewhere.
Flash back 10 years ago- Central only had a newspaper, but the communication students wanted more... they wanted a magazine. However very few universities nationwide had a student-run magazine so CWU did not have much to base their new concept off of.
Starting in the fall of 2008, an online informative magazine was published weekly on a website and PULSE had become an official class offered to all communication students.
Website to Issuu
A huge switch came in 2011 when the staff decided to leave the informative style and switch to something more upbeat.
“My goal was to combine journalism, and journalistic skill with art, elements of design, and make it easily accessible to anyone [on the internet],” says Britta Shuster, PULSE’s EIC from Jan. 2011-Dec. 2011. Along with Erika Solis, “I was at the forefront of the decision to make the magazine an online only piece, uploaded through Issuu.”
So that winter quarter, PULSE produced its first flip-through magazine. However, this did not mean that it came easy or without challenges. “We didn’t have a graphic designer, so I taught myself how to use InDesign and put together the first three magazines I was editor,” adds Shuster.
PULSE EIC, Advertising Coordinator and Assistant Editor alumna Devin Larson adds, “I remember going to businesses and no one knew what PULSE was, let alone what it was even about. So talking about our readership with little stats to back us up was difficult.”
Even through the challenges, past staff continued to write, design and edit two magazines a quarter, slowly increasing the page length to the now standard 64 pages.
New Staff, New ideas
With each quarter and students graduating, PULSE’s staff was and still is constantly changing. “PULSE changes with every issue and each new staff that comes in,” says Senior Lecturer of the Communication Department and Faculty Adviser of PULSE Magazine Jennifer Green. “PULSE has been evolving constantly since the very beginning, and each staff has built and expanded on what was done before and what can be learned and incorporated from the professional publishing sector.”
A large shift happened in fall of 2013 when EIC Chloe Ramberg included more than just herself in the final production process. “I knew I would need a solid team of editors behind me. It was my goal to implement assistant editors and graphic designers for each section of the magazine. We would regularly meet to discuss what each issue would need, and they were an essential element to the final production of the magazine,” says Ramberg.
The, the magazine went from being online only to also having 1,000 copies printed and placed on newsstands around the CWU campus and throughout Ellensburg twice a quarter in 2015.
“Inspired by feedback at a conference, EIC Lindsey Wisniewski leads the charge to get the first edition of PULSE into print (Men Fake Orgasms Too edition)”, adds Green.
The overall success of the first printed issue helped permanently receive funding to be a print publication starting in the fall of 2015.
From Print to the Present
Once PULSE started consistently printing their issues, the staff focused on covering longer investigative stories and featuring diversity issues. “My focus was on changing people’s perception of the magazine,” says Nicole Trejo-Valli, EIC in 2016-2017. “Countless times people categorized PULSE as a women-only magazine, which was something I wanted to break first. When I became EIC, I turned my thoughts and visions into reality-- I made sure there were stories relatable to everyone, timely and worldly, and ones that made people think differently.”
Many of these focused pieces mentioned were not just a focus for Trejo-Valli, but also for the 2016 EIC Bailey Williams. Some of the hard hitting pieces covered were “Pressure to Perform: Disordered Eating, Exercise and Body Image in Female College Athletes,” “Women in Film,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Sexual Assault on Campus,” “Muslim at Central,” “Veterans and the Brotherhood of War,” and “LatinX.”
The push for these articles then lead to regional and national awards for the photography, designs and writing in PULSE and now is recognized annually at Associated Press Conferences and have helped other colleges start a magazine.
Not only is the content and staff of the magazine changing, but the entire structure of the class has too. In the past, editors would hold lecture twice a week to focus on the basics of interviewing, writing in AP style and reporting.
Starting fall of 2018, the leadership staff has changed to an online newsroom to mimic the professional journalistic world. PULSE is on the forefront of the collegiate magazines in making this switch and are hoping to be a model for other publications.
Who knows what is next for the future of PULSE, but the current staff continues to make the positive strides to a more cohesive, visual and hard hitting magazine.
PULSE is more than just a magazine, it is an embodiment of the creativity and hard work put forth by its students. Here are what the past PULSE students had to say about being on staff:
Chloe Ramberg, EIC fall of 2013: I had the pleasure of working alongside so many talented students with skills that I can only dream of possessing one day.
Max Bayern, EIC 2014: My team of editors and I (Lindsey and Pete) and our one designer (Carly) sat in Black Hall, second story until 3 a.m. pulling content together, copy editing, and finding the right images and links. We walked over to Dominoes for pizza and after the eight-hour ordeal, we finally had a magazine. I remember Jen always saying “Don’t worry, we will always make it to publication.”
Bailey Williams, EIC 2016: It's hard to pick my favorite memory from PULSE because they were all so special to me. But if I had to choose it would be our first presentation at SOURCE. We were all nervous and didn't know what to expect, but we stood up there and commanded a room for an hour. We demonstrated why PULSE was a strong platform on CWU's campus and should be seen as such. It's one of my favorites because we all came together and our love for PULSE was on full display.
Nicole Trejo-Valli, EIC 2016-2017: PULSE was a blessing; I gained confidence, life-long friends, and memories I'll cherish endlessly. I'll forever miss my PULSE staff, but I know they'll always be there no matter what happens.
Simone Corbett, Features Editor in 2017: Those late nights in our Black Hall newsroom spending hours editing and re-writing and racking our brains with ideas to make each issue the absolute best it could be, made seeing the final product so worth it. When I look back at my time with Pulse, I remember how passionate we all were about this magazine and that's what made it so much fun.
Vanessa Cruz, graphic designer and Creative Director from Fall 2015- June 2018: Sometimes the late nights were exhausting, but it was always fun being surrounded by great people who were all passionate about the same things.