Student magazine, 20 Watts, resumes printing after 2 years

After a nearly two-year print hiatus, 20 Watts Magazine, Syracuse University’s student-run music publication, relaunched its print edition on Monday.

The idea of relaunching came about last spring when Harriet Brown, an associate professor of magazine journalism, contacted her advisee Annie Licata about possibly getting the magazine back into circulation.

But 20 Watts had no funding and was unable to print the magazine. So, a small staff of about seven people and a handful of writers created an online version of the music magazine, said Licata, editor-in-chief of the magazine. Some of the staff members were from the old 20 Watts while others were new, she said.

The staff began writing articles for the magazine in the spring, but had to put everything in a digital issue until it obtained funding, she said.

In addition to the print relaunch, the group will also launch a new website along with a tablet-compatible version and an iPhone app, Licata said.

To celebrate the relaunch, 20 Watts will host a concert at Funk ‘n Waffles on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Two rappers, Jay Foss and Indo, are scheduled to perform. The entrance fee is $3 at the door and the money will go toward Superstorm Sandy relief efforts, Licata said.

Since getting started last spring, the staff has grown to about 60 members, Licata said. Although it started out as a small group without defined roles, it has since become more organized, said staff member Tom Charles in an email.

“Titles didn’t mean much. There wasn’t much of a formal ‘process,’” Charles said. “This year has been a lot more streamlined. We have a formal masthead and we all kind of fulfill the duties you would expect someone in our respective positions to fulfill.”

20 Watts aims to bring together the music community through guest performers, student music groups, academic musical programs and just music in general, Licata said.

“We’ve got the Bandier Program and the VPA Live Performance program, and a lot of other music-related studies on campus,” Licata said. “And Syracuse has a cool music scene. There’s no lack of content, especially with all of the great artists and bands that roll through here.”

Melissa Chessher, chair of the magazine journalism department in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, said in an email that she is glad to see the magazine return and feels that any college campus, but SU in particular, needs a music magazine.

“To be honest, I was bummed when it faded into the sunset,” Chessher said. “But I was ecstatic when a few dedicated students wanted to devote the time and energy and sacrifice sleep and socializing to bring it back.”

Licata said she was thrilled to see what was once just an idea turn into a reality.

“It helps me break down the walls of a classroom by taking what I learn and applying it to 20 Watts,” she said. “College is what you make of it, and a lot of my experience comes from what I’ve done for 20 Watts.”


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