Pandemic Can't Stop UMSL LitMag
“The LitMag 2020 Edition is Not Merely the Medium of Expression, It Yields Our Obligation to Legacy”
Camris Owens, Editor in Chief
The University of Missouri St. Louis debuted the 32nd issue of its literary arts magazine today. LitMag 2020 released in digital format only on the university’s website and will also be showcased on all social media platforms with an expectation that the book format will be released in fall of 2020. This is the first time in LitMag history that the magazine has been published in digital format only, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Student staff worked remotely starting midway through the semester until May to create an amazing layout displaying the artistic talents of UMSL’S student body.
I was part of the business operations team. Our team was responsible for raising funds by selling advertisements for the magazine. For me the most challenging part in the production of LitMag 2020 was the submissions load. There were tons and tons of submissions that we had to vote on, and we had deadlines. That was in addition to our team duties and other classes. It was definitely a lot. When the Coronavirus Pandemic shut UMSL down, that altered everything, including our ability to raise funds. We strategized and immediately went to work remotely with little delay.
The most rewarding experience was seeing it all come together. We were able to pull it off despite so many obstacles. If a person did not know that a pandemic happened in 2020, you would not be able to tell that the magazine was done remotely. LitMag 2020 will forever be a special edition because it was put together during such a trying time. There is some amazing talent on display within the book and an amazing staff that made it happen.
When I asked fellow staff what have been their most challenging and their most rewarding experiences preparing LitMag 2020 during an extraordinary time, these were their replies:
“The most challenging experience in preparing LitMag 2020 was trying to contact the authors, while meeting the deadlines. With the pandemic, I had no idea which of our authors were sick, lost someone, or scared about the future of their employment. Working from long distance, you cannot see or hear the other person. That was difficult. Essentially, I wanted to be as considerate as possible, while meeting the looming deadlines. Making sure those qualities didn’t clash was very difficult.
The most rewarding experience was seeing the determination of LitMag staff and writers to publish the magazine. Seeing the determination of everyone to bring out a quality product was heart-warming, in a time where the future is so uncertain, and time seems static. I think our work is important to prove that despite the odds, you cannot take away spirit.”
Abigail Tienes; Submissions and Copy Editing
“I would have to say the most challenging aspect of preparing LitMag 2020 was having to communicate with the entire team without seeing them twice a week like we had been at the beginning of the semester. The zoom meetings were helpful, but I still missed the face to face interactions.
One of the most rewarding experiences was the feeling I got at the end of a zoom meeting. There is a difference between seeing emails and discussion boards with detail on what everyone was doing and hearing everyone discuss the progress we have made collectively. At the end of our zoom meetings I always felt a sense of accomplishment and a little less stressed about the work than I felt beforehand.”
Taylor Meyer; Submissions Manager & Business Operations
“The editors were committed to publishing the stories and poems that have enamored us over these many months of production, and I am grateful the transition to digital publishing still allows us to share this amazing book they have created.”
Professor Kate Watt