UCLA's 32-year-old Jewish newsmagazine Ha'am has been struggling with growing pains over the past year. Last spring saw the release of their first print edition in five years, and the staff planned to make it a quarterly publication. That's still the goal, but their follow-up issue just recently hit the stands in time for, again, spring.
"To put it together was kind of a whole new process for all of us," said Debra Greene, Ha'am's outgoing editor. "The paper and the staff was pretty much from scratch. We had a good staff in terms of writers and the business manager who did our advertising, but we did have some trouble with design."
In order to finish designing the newsmagazine, Greene and incoming editor Shiva Ganjian taught themselves how to use the publishing software application QuarkXPress.
"There weren't many people on staff who knew Quark," Ganjian said.
Founded by UCLA students in 1972, Ha'am remained in print until about five years ago, when it went exclusively online. With the help of an anonymous $3,018 donation last year, the editorial staff decided to reestablish Ha'am as a print publication. They've raised funds since then through advertising, which they plan to increase.
Ha'am currently prints 5,000 copies of their publication, with 3,000 distributed around campus alongside the mainstream student newspaper The Daily Bruin. The remaining 2,000 are dropped at Jewish institutions around Los Angeles.
Ganjian said she will continue to keep the paper online for those who won't have access to the print version.
After more than a year of restructuring and transitioning, Ganjian anticipates the production of three improved Ha'am issues for the fall, winter and spring quarters. She cites stronger emphasis on design and structure as the means to that end. She also plans to recruit new students every quarter to ensure that the staff remains committed and enthusiastic.
Greene, who will serve as vice president of the Jewish Student Union next year, is also optimistic. Of the Spring 2004 issue, she said, "We have many more articles, a lot more content, and it's a lot more professional.... We have a strong staff that's going to stay with us for next year, so we have continuity."
To visit Ha'am online, go to www.haam.net .