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Connecting the Dots

Illustration by Mike Padilla
By Daniel Scarpinato
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
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Life with Campus Magazine

The Wildcat's not the only publication on campus these days.

There's a new magazine penetrating the UA. It's called Campus Magazine, and it's getting everyone's feathers all ruffled up.

You can think of it as a kind of Seventeen or Cosmo for the UA. Obviously targeted toward women, the magazine features beauty tips, electronic reviews and some relatively helpful and interesting features.

But it's made waves for running photos of students drinking (heaven forbid) and glamour shots of UA girls in fancy clothes and pretty makeup (pornography in some countries of the world).

"It's glorifying the most stereotypical views of college students. All the ads are for salons and bars and clubs," one student told the Wildcat last week.

In reality, the magazine is pretty tame. The pictures are hardly erotic or scathing compared with most material on the supermarket shelves these days.

Daniel Scarpinato

A bit of the content is even rather enjoyable and sometimes useful, if you can sift through the poorly cropped, cheesy shots of students at local bars.

Take for instance Rec Center trainer Ryan Noreen's workout tips in the January issue of Campus Magazine. That issue also highlighted the differences in the most popular cell phones on the market this year. Useful, don't you think?

An issue last semester profiled a UA student who had just released his own album.

And of course, the magazine's extensive focus on fashion is mildly entertaining, but hardly anything college students would take really seriously.

Let's not sugarcoat things - Campus Magazine isn't anything great. But since when has anyone viewed mainstream fashion and trend magazines as a valuable part of society?

It's amazing how uptight our generation and this university's current leadership is about the image of college students as partiers or fashion-conscious individuals.

Yes, it's a stereotype, and not necessarily true for everyone. But what on earth is wrong with 22-year-olds letting loose and having some fun outside of class? And if they get a kick out of seeing themselves in a cheap, silly magazine, then what's the harm?

In fact, it could be that the majority of Campus Magazine's readership is just the people in the magazine checking themselves out and showing off to their friends.

The managing editor of the magazine, John Hansen, told Wildcat reporter Thuba Nguyen last week that the goal of the magazine is to divert students from serious classroom topics and make it fun for students to look at.

What's wrong with that?

Campus Magazine doesn't spell Armageddon.

It's a mildly entertaining, somewhat silly publication. It's doubtful that the 20-somethings reading and looking at the magazine would change their already formulated opinions about sex, alcohol and men and women simply because of 32 pages of ads and copy.

The big question for its critics is this: Why is our generation so quick to censor everything in sight? Liberals and conservatives alike want to censor anything that doesn't serve their needs or advance their cause.

Why not embrace real liberalism and let the editors of Campus Magazine make the decisions about their content? Remember that little thing called the First Amendment?

If readers don't like it, they can bypass the stands and drive its founders into bankruptcy. That's called a free-market society.

In any event, Campus Magazine doesn't spell doom, and if its editors play their cards right, its featury style and potential to serve as an alternative read to the Wildcat and the Tucson Weekly could likely make all campus publications more aggressive in covering student interests.

Daniel Scarpinato is a former Daily Wildcat editor in chief and current editor of The Desert Yearbook. He is a journalism and political science senior and can be reached at

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