In the 1980s Dartmouth’s student journal, the Dartmouth university Review, began a revolution among College Conservatives. In the midst of an embattled country, the first Conservative magazine made enormous headway. The Dartmouth college review’s ground-breaking staff gave hope to a generation of young Conservative thinkers.
Since then, Conservative publications have sprung up all over the United States thanks to the generous donations of such Conservative demagogues as William F. Buckley and foundations like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Collegiate Network. While Dartmouth college’s magazine motivated a generation of Conservative magazines, not all are created equal. Since the hey-days of the Review, no campus magazine has seen such student involvement or commitment as that of Brown University’s Conservative newspaper. The Brown Spectator, founded in 2002, has become an iconic example of how Campus Conservative Magazines should be constructed.
The magazine was began after a nationwide controversy sparked by a newspaper article by Conservative columnist David Horowitz. The Spectator’s articles focused initially on a campus where embattled conservatives were not welcome. They were long, intellectual, and provocative. At the time of its founding, the Spectator was an outlet for college students who had been chastised during the tumultuous Horowitz controversy.
The Brown Spectator has changed drastically since those days. Its articles are shorter, and focus more on opinion editorials and campus news. The new format, contrived by Andrew Kurtzman and Joshua Unseth, is largely credited for turning the magazine around. Editors have since ramped up publishing of each and every issue, and more and more copies are being read with each subsequent printing.
After helping revamp the Spectator, Unseth turned his attention to a new project. During the next year, he worked to raise funds for a new magazine. His dream was to put together Brown University’s first Christian magazine. After the funds were raised, Unseth constructed a staff and began work on what came to be known as Closing Remarks. His staff of Ivy League student writers and RISD undergraduate artist may have been the perfect amalgamation of intelligence and creativity. In the end, Closing Remarks might be one of the most interesting, beautiful magazines ever put together by students. “I purchased ten different magazines that I liked from the Brown University book store and brought them to a staff meeting,” Unseth said. “We crawled through each periodical and pulled out elements that we liked. In the end, Closing Remarks is an amalgamation of elements from Harper’s, the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Good Magazine, about five other publications, and the imaginations of the founding staff.” Because of this foresight, the well-designed elements shine through. It’s as professional looking as can be expected, and the art is stunning.
The articles range from the controversial articles by college students who support gay marriage and who will argue that Biblical principles back up their point, to depressing articles about dealing with death, to humorous articles about virginity, all the way to articles discussing proof of God’s existence using scientific and mathematical principles. Needless to say, Closing Remarks was not created as a periodical that would shy away from controversy.
As was the case in the early part of Reagan’s administration with Conservative magazines, Christian magazines are making an appearance on college campuses all over the America. In just the last few years more than 10 magazines have appeared on college campuses in the US. Unseth says that Harvard’s Ichthus is to be credited for the incredible surge in university Christian magazines. But even if Closing Remarks wasn’t the first student-run Christian publication in the country, it in no way diminishes the work Unseth can be credited for. His work with the Spectator and Closing Remarks has greatly enriched the lives of college students on Brown University’s campus. Provacative and intelligent, Joshua Unseth and college students like him are the future of what some are calling a dying industry.
The Foundation for Intellectual Diversity provides financial support to the Brown Spectator, Brown University’s Conservative Magazine and Closing Remarks.
June 16 2010 12:23 am | Uncategorized