North Park junior Stephen Nielsen saw a need for a campus publication that allowed students to freely express their opinion on politics, religion, and culture. So, he and a friend, Ricardo Huerta, started Vista Magazine.
“North Park is a very politically charged campus, and we wanted to create an outlet for students to express themselves,” said Nielsen, who, with Huerta, wanted to veer slightly from Spectrum, the existing, newsier student magazine.
“We didn’t see enough students participating in written dialogue,” Nielsen said.
A sampling of the magazine’s most recent issue seems to help address that: An article about gun reform shares space with a movie review of smash box office hit Black Panther by Ghanian student Frank Roberts; there is also a page devoted to students sharing their #METOO experiences.
The quarterly, which premiered this past winter and was followed by a recent spring edition, is currently in search of talented writers and designers for next year.
“Our goal is to show that North Parkers are thinkers from all walks of life,” said Nielsen, who encourages students to reach out to him if they’d like to join his staff or submit their original writing.
Nielsen and Huerta started the magazine from scratch, seeking approval and financing from the Student Government Association, then asking Dr. Reinhold Dooley if he would be their faculty advisor. The English professor and one-time North Park Press faculty advisor said yes immediately, and has mostly allowed the staff to be autonomous.
“If we need advice on an issue or about publishing something controversial, Dr. Dooley has been there to help guide us through the decision,” Nielsen said.
He and Huerta hope the magazine lives on after their graduation and even created a five-year business plan with the future in mind. Right now, the magazine needs to staff up for next year.
“The most important thing to know is that we exist to serve North Parkers,” Nielsen said. If you’re interested in being a part of his mission, visit vistamag.org.