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UI Students Begin Publishing Verum Magazine

A new publication created by University of Iowa students aims to fill a niche they think has been empty too long: A magazine written by college students, for college students.

Verum Magazine—which means “truth” in Latin—debuted its first monthly publication in print and online Jan. 19. Developed by journalism students Rob Johnson, Brad Jackson, and Sarah Bulmer, the magazine is a compilation of pieces written by freelancers on subjects that interest them, including politics, sports, fashion, and music. More than 30 writers contributed to the first magazine, Johnson said, a mix of both students and non-students.

Johnson said Verum’s purpose is simple: To cover all the general interests college students have that they can’t get anywhere else.

“We want readers to see that this is their publication, that a girl (opens up the magazine and) see a style she wants to wear and politics she’s interested in, to focus on what college students actually care about,” said Johnson, a 20-year-old junior journalism and entrepreneurial studies major. “We want this to be the student’s magazine, just like The Daily Iowan is the student’s newspaper.”

Jackson, a 20-year-old junior majoring in journalism, said Johnson first brought up the idea to create Verum Magazine last April. Along with Sarah Bulmer, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in journalism, the three realized they weren’t getting the writing experience they wanted just by working at The Daily Iowan—and if they felt that way, they thought others did, too.

“A lot of students want experience with a magazine, especially nowadays,” Jackson said. “(With magazines), students have time to really put together stories and make it as good as they can, rather than a daily newspaper where you’re pushing the limit all the time to get everything in.”

“This is a new, concrete way that students can be creative with an endless array of topics that they can write about,” Bulmer said. “That’s the benefit of being able to choose what you want to include or want to focus on ... not necessarily what we want them to write about.

“We want our writers to write about what they want, because if it’s not what they want to write about, it’s not going to be the piece you want it to be.”

Johnson said the print version of the magazine is available at downtown Iowa City businesses and boutiques but not on campus because the magazine is not affiliated with UI. He plans to update the online version of the magazine daily, and in the future, possibly syndicate the magazine to other college campuses.

Johnson said he doesn’t see Verum Magazine as competition against daily newspapers such as The Daily Iowan, but rather as competition against Cosmopolitan and Esquire—“that’s the standard we need to set,” he said. It’s what he said he believes will keep them filling the niche for years to come.

“When we think of stories, we try to think of what sets us apart, puts us on a pedestal,” Johnson said.

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