Celebrating Ten Years of YO

By Nami Nagaoka

The YO Magazine was established ten years ago by Cristina Cala, who was a copy editor of The Jambar at the time. Every year as the staff have changed, its design, layout and writing style have been altered by various generations at Youngstown State University.

It was even difficult to gather all the issues of the YO, physically or digitally. Because many of previous editions’ staff members have graduated from YSU, methods to gather the old issues were limited.

Most of the previous staff majored in journalism while attending YSU. Whether they pursued the field after graduation or not, previous staffers expressed that working for the YO is something that makes them proud.

Mary Beth Earnheardt, director of the Anderson Program in Journalism and an associate professor of journalism, was the adviser of the YO until 2016. She explains that in 2008, a small group of students, led by Cala and Richard Boccia, brought her an idea of starting a magazine at YSU.

“I was really proud of them … they were already working hard on other projects,” Earnheardt says.

The Associated Collegiate Press awarded the YO first place in the Magazine Feature, Special Audience category at the National College Media Convention in spring 2008.

While each issue has its own theme,  she says the quality of the YO has remained the same over the years.

“Students surprises themselves with the good work they do for YO,” she says.

Earnheardt says although The Jambar has given many students the opportunity to develop their voices, the YO allows them to test their talents in a different type of journalism.

In fall 2017, the YO established its first online-only edition, which won an award for Outstanding General Interest magazine in the 2017 Society of Collegiate Journalists National Contest.

Current YO editors Jordan Unger (who served as editor for the Fall 2017 edition) and Marah J. Morrison were recognized for individual magazine writing.

“I am so proud of all the students who went above and beyond to create the online edition,” Shelley Blundell, an assistant professor in journalism and communication and the YO’s faculty adviser, says.

Blundell hopes to find students willing to write for the YO every semester. If you are interested in getting involved in the Fall 2018 edition, please contact Blundell at sblundell@ysu.edu or Fall 2018 editor Morrison at mjmorrison@student.ysu.edu.

Emmalee Torisk (2008-2013)

Torisk still recalls how the whole staff put such immense dedication into the YO, no matter the cost. She says that usually meant losing sleep or working on the weekend.

“Putting together the YO was always an exhilarating race to the finish, yet somehow it always managed to get done and was a product we were proud of,” she says.

“I won’t soon forget the odd mix of stress, nostalgia and excitement that filled my last week at The Jambar.”

Torisk is currently the associate staff editor for the Oncology Nursing Society in Pittsburgh.

Lamar Salter (2009-2011)

Salter remembers the fun in branching out and covering feature stories, as well as his late hours with coworkers for the YO.

“It was tough work and there were a lot of late nights, but it was definitely worth it and nothing could beat the sense of accomplishment I felt whenever I would pick up a printed copy,” he says.

Salter says he was and is still proud of the stories that he sees in the magazine.

“I hope to be able to celebrate another 10, 20, 30 years,” he says.

Salter is currently a senior producer at Business Insider in New York City.

Marissa Mclntyre (2012)

McIntyre appreciated the opportunity to work on stories that she was deeply passionate about. While at work on her favorite YO story, “Youngstown History as a Titanic,” she met a man whose great-grandmother was on the Titanic. The story had a large impact on her, especially since McIntyre already had an interest in the subject. She is now writing a book on the Titanic, which is one of her goals to complete by the age of 30.

Although she is working outside of the field of journalism, McIntyre says she is really proud of being a previous reporter for the YO.

“I’m always going to have this and this is something that I can always be proud of,” she says, holding a 2012 edition of the publication.

McIntyre is currently working as a manager of human resources at Target in Niles.

Amanda Tonoli (2013-2015)

Because working for YO Magazine is not a paid position, Tonoli feels like there was a lot of love and passion behind writers’ work.

“When I was done [with one of the issues], I was like, ‘Oh, it’s my baby,’” she says, smiling.

Tonoli says she was attached to the YO Magazine while on staff and has kept up with the publication’s work after graduation. She especially enjoys seeing how different the magazine is each issue.

“The way that designers do it is like a new magazine [every time], which is amazing,” Tonoli says.

Tonoli currently works for Youngstown newspaper The Vindicator as an education reporter.

Cassandra Twoey (2014)

When Twoey was working for the magazine, people were always under pressure to publish The YO on time.

“It became an after-thought for [The Jambar’s staff] to work on YO Magazine… We put it off for so long,” she says.

“It wasn’t definitely as good as it could have been. YSU now has a magazine class, where students are involved in creating the YO… It definitely seems like it’s a better system [now].”

She appreciates having a tough schedule by being involved in The Jambar and YO Magazine. She says she acquired time management skills working in student media, which comes in hand in the journalism field.

Twoey currently works as a news producer for Youngstown television station 21 WFMJ.

Rachael Kerr Bunge (2014)

Kerr Bunge says her time participating in the YO encouraged her to interview not only individuals on campus, but also in the Youngstown community.

“It was a nice way to be introduced to that side of journalism,” she says.

Kerr Bunge currently works as a news producer for the early morning show at 21 WFMJ.

Billy Ludt (2015-2016)

“I didn’t realize that it has been so many years,” Ludt says.

“YO should be the magazine that you put something [in] that you are extremely proud of, that you can take a lot of time to record and write,” he says.

Ludt was involved with the YO Magazine and The Jambar while attending YSU. Due to his experience, Ludt emphasizes the need for time management and greater communication with all members on a media staff.

Ludt is now a freelance reporter for the Cleveland News Company.

Samantha Phillips (2016-2017)

Phillips says she would like to see where the new staff is taking the YO and that it is a great opportunity for students to practice feature writing.

“It’s a nice break from doing regular news reporting. It’s cool to see what new staffers do with it because you get a taste of what matters to them, and everyone has their own writing style,” she says.

Phillips is currently the Campbell, Liberty, Hubbard and Girard beat reporter for The Vindicator.

Gabby Fellows (2013-2017)

Fellows says the YO is unique because it gives journalists-in-training the opportunity to explore a form of writing not extensively taught at YSU.

“It gives students the chance to explore the campus and surrounding community while learning new skills,” she says.

“While it’s definitely stressful at times, it truly feels magnificent when it comes together.”

She says there is satisfaction in seeing your work featured in a foreign medium, and she expects this to be the case for all involved in the magazine as the YO moves into its second decade.

“I hope the magazine continues to grow and inspire the journalists in our program for years to come.”

Fellows is a digital content writer for Factor Finders, LLC in Cleveland.