An Open Letter To College Student Political Nerds - Join Me!

If you’ve landed on this page, it’s because you’re a college student with a passion for politics and an ability to write or an ability to report. (Perhaps both?) It’s because you care about the rat race and have a desire for your voice to be heard amidst an incredulous crowd of commentators this political season. The endeavor that I’m inviting you to may very well be a platform where that can happen.

These is an abysmal lack of professional writing on behalf of millennials in regard to this election. Outside of social networks or the occasional school paper article, that voice is stifled, or at the very least, obscured by less articulate voices. The publication I want to create is designed for those who love the game and want to be actively involved in writing about this political season.

You can surf this website to discover a bit more about me, but to be succinct, my name is Brett Stewart. I’m a journalism major at Columbia College Chicago and I’ve worked for a few publications the last several years in varying capacities. (The Independent Spotlight, The Guardian Liberty Voice, Classic Rock History Magazine, and several others.) For two years I was the Editor-in-Chief of the Denver-based print publication, Strike Magazine.

Strike Magazine covered the arts and politics throughout Colorado. At that time, the publication was run by and for high school students. It evolved out of a disillusionment with established outlets - school papers and magazines. One may argue this new publication is a spiritual successor to Strike. It’ll be a place for college writers to be heard in a professional forum that may otherwise not be available. (You can read previous Strike publications below, if you care.)

Strike Publication Archive

Strike Magazine - Arapahoe High School Shooting Feature Coverage

I don’t necessarily want you to be objective. In fact, I hope you support a candidate. The site for this publication will be divided by candidate and idea, creating a forum for supporters of every candidate, conservative and liberal. You must, however, remain respectful and fair - this only works if writers have respect for the other side of the aisle. I strongly believe that’s why this publication would be worth reading - readers get millennial viewpoints from each side of each issue that aren't bludgeoning one another to death.

That means I’m upfront about my politics as well. I’m a progressive liberal, and ideologically, I align with Bernie Sanders. Pragmatically, I’ll fall into the Clinton camp if necessary. You do *not* have to agree with me. In fact, if you don’t, I want to hear you articulate it! If you support Trump, articulate that. Cruz? Do the same. Rubio? Absolutely. Carly Fiorina? Why?! (I kid… But seriously, why?)

As I just alluded to, humor shouldn’t be lost in this process. I love politics. I love the fact that a 74 year-old, cranky Jewish independent from Vermont is running the most progressive Democratic campaign in history, energizing demographics three generations his junior. I love that a reality television star is doing the same across the aisle. I love that Carson puts his foot in his mouth; I love that Clinton’s emails are a hotbed of idiocy, and I love that Chris Christie has brought New Jersey’s best (and worst) stereotypes to the table.

I love politics. I love the absurdity of it. As you may have noticed, our electoral process is so finely tuned for hypocrisy and stupidity. That’s part of the fun, at least, for me. When writing for this publication, I want everyone to have that light-hearted mentality. It’s wonderful to support your candidate, and I want you to. Also acknowledge that this is a circus and we’re just commentating the ringmaster’s shenanigans as best we can.

What exactly am I asking of you? I’d love for you to be part of a fun, enjoyable process of reporting and writing that emphasizes the need to have a college-aged, millennial voice throughout 2016. As long as your writing is respectful, articulate, and not just pure rhetoric, you’re within the ballpark I’m shooting for. If you have an interest in reporting, going to events, and being involved - even better.

It isn’t worth writing hard news at our level. Whatever we cover, CNN will cover better. Whatever we get access to, Politico was there three days earlier. We can, however, lend compelling and insightful voices to our generation. Why do you think Bernie can beat Hillary? Why is Rubio a promising alternative to Cruz? Your parents are Republicans; you’re a liberal. How is that dynamic? What issues are candidates bringing up that make sense to you? What issues don’t make any sense at all? That’s a point of view CNN and Politico can never cover from our angle.

I apologize for the length of this, but I hope you now have a better idea of what I’m trying to do. I’d love to launch a website for the publication toward the New Hampshire primaries. Obviously, this is a *for the love of the game* publication. It’s fun / experience and portfolio building. We need not sell ads; it isn't a money-making venture. We need not have stressful deadlines. (That said, if you commit to a piece, write it! Many pieces are timely.) This is a collective effort to create a good publication outside the constraints of social media and school publications - a publication you can be proud to put on your resume and say you were a part of.

I know this will circulate a bit around several departments at a variety of schools. You do not have to be in Chicago to be a part of this - I'm reaching out to students across the country. Please get in touch with me if this endeavor resonates with you, whether I sent you this link or someone else. Send me over your thoughts to brett (at) brettdavidstewart.com - sooner rather than later! (I typed the e-mail out to avoid spam bots.) Let’s make this happen! Let’s create something awesome and worthwhile.

PS- I'm also reaching out to photographers, artists, and graphic design students who want to try their hand at this kind of content!

Best Regards,

Brett Stewart

https://twitter.com/RiversRubin