Happening Now! Everywhere: A new teen mag for the myspace era?
As teen magazines begin to fold, I think it’s interesting that here is a new one starting up. At the YALSA Teens & Technology Preconference in January 2006, Anthony Bernier talked about young adult literature that is created for teens, by teens, and Happening Now! Everywhere is a perfect example. Happening Now! began as a school newspaper showcasing student art and news, and shifted to an international focus this summer.
The Somerville (MA) based compilation of teen produced and edited content ranges from essays to film and book reviews and include short fiction, photos and line drawings, interviews and the requisite poetry, crammed into 24 pages. The content is slightly remniscient of Merlyn’s Pen, but the schizophrenic design is myspace style -layout changes, random images, varied fonts, all-caps “shouting,” and natural language (though surprisingly few typos). A handful of half-sheet inserts on heavy paper add color and texture.
The quality ranges from mediocre to fantastic, and there is a fairly even balance of fiction and news. The contest is diverse; right next to horror stories and poems about ice-skating, you’ll find lines by William Blake, an ending to Frank Stockton’s classic short story, “The Lady or the Tiger,” and excitement over a film remake of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Sadly, the website has little additional content, just a quiz and a link to the Museum of Virtual Art. The online layout, though inconsistent, is easier on the eyes than the print version. Switching to a local print distribution and allowing commenting and rating on every online article would be a great way to hook print readers in. Teens need forums to express themselves creatively, and Happening Now! Everywhere provides opportunity in a traditional format.
A second issue is forthcoming, and librarians can get a free sample from the website at http://happeningnoweverywhere.com