Student Publications Use New Techniques to Attract Subscribers

This article is the first in a two-week feature on Student Publications on campus.

Whether promoting multiculturalism or raising awareness about hot-button political issues, student publications on campus are rallying this year to increase subscriptions and publicity.

Of the five student magazines officially listed by Student Activities—the Record, the Courant, Backtracks, Frontline and In-the-Mix—three will start the year with zero publications.

As a new school year kicks off, many publications plan on launching different techniques to gather subscribers. Frontline will work with other politically oriented clubs on campus, Backtracks will offer a cash prize for submissions and the Courant plans to release its first issue at the Addison Gallery of American Art.

Frontline, Andover’s political magazine, was unable to gather subscriptions before the start of school since it was not included on the student publication subscription form mailed to students’ homes over the summer.

According to Chuan Xu ’12, Co-Editor-and-Chief of Frontline, Frontline, like The Courant, will be selling for $5, below its printing cost of $7 per copy.

Xu said, “We’re trying to bring [the magazine] back on track and Frontline has around $3000 to $4000 in its account [that has] accumulated over the years, so we can afford it.”

Hoping to rebound from a one-issue year, the board of Frontline plans to publish the magazine three times this year and print 150 to 200 copies of each publication. Xu hopes to have a new issue printed and ready to sell by Parents’ Weekend.

Xu and Jack Sykes ’12, Co-Editor-and-Chief of Frontline, also hopes to expand Frontline’s presence on campus by connecting with other clubs, such as Andover Political Union, the PA Democrats Club, Andover’s Republican Society and Andover’s Independents’ Club.

Backtracks, Andover’s general interest magazine, also began with year with subscriptions, though not as many as last year.

“The main goal [for Backtracks] this year is first to make people aware that we exist,” wrote Peter Nelson ’12, Editor-in-Chief of Bactracks, in an email to The Phillipian. “Backtracks traditionally has been a fairly successful publication, although last year was a tough year.”

To increase publicity on campus and attract new contributors, Nelson plans to organize cash prizes for the best submissions in writing and art.

Nelson hopes to publish at least three or four issues, recovering from a year of no publication.

“That’ll require some good teamwork and also lots of hard individual effort, but I think we have the right people for the job this year,” wrote Nelson.

The Courant, Andover’s 138 year old art and literary magazine, has had zero subscribers since last year.

According to Matt Mattia ’12, co-Editor-in-Chief of The Courant, the magazine’s subscription base decreased two years ago, after it failed to deliver as many issues as promised.

Despite having no subscribers last year, The Courant published an issue the past spring and distributed it to students for free. The Courant is planning this year to sell issues at a price less than the cost of printing.

Mattia explained, “This year, we might not break even, but The Courant is still working to get where it wants to be… and we still have a base we can pull from [in the meantime.] Our goal this year is to be stewards of that progress.”

Mattia and Apsara Iyer ’12, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Courant, are also hoping to have an event celebrating the launch of the magazine at the Addison Gallery of American Art.

The Courant also hopes to attract more subscribers by expanding its content to include foreign language submissions.

In-The-Mix, Andover’s multicultural magazine, also has no subscribers as of yet.

Andrew Cho ’12,Editor in Chief of In-The-Mix, revived the magazine last spring after it had been cancelled for a year due to a lack of readership.

Cho decided to restart the magazine to provide students with an outlet to discuss topics of multiculturalism, diversity and ethnicity as they apply to both Andover and the rest of the world.

“I feel multiculturalism is becoming a sensitive topic, and I think that students here believe that these kinds of topics can only be discussed in CAMD,” said Cho.

In-The-Mix is currently planning to release its first issue in the winter.

Unlike The Courant, In-The-Mix and Frontline, The Record, Andover’s student life magazine, already has subscribers and managed to publish two issues last year.

“This year we’re hoping to kick it up a notch,” said Raeva Kumar ’13, Editor-in-Chief of The Record. “We have a lot of parent subscribers, but what we really want to do is target the students.”

Kumar also hopes to increase campus awareness about The Record through posters and well-publicized writers meetings.