When it comes to writing, students generally fall into two camps: those who enjoy the process, and those who despise it.
As Editor-in-Chief of The Wanderer, Zosia Czarnecka definitely belongs to the former.
“I love writing, that’s the medium I choose to capture my thoughts and memories,” Czarnecka said with a smile. “Joining The Wanderer allowed me to take my writing to the next level.”
What is The Wanderer, you might ask? It is a volunteer-run online publication focused on the voices of young adults. Started by a group of University of Alberta students, the magazine produces content every month in several sections: politics, lifestyle, education, and insight.
“What makes The Wanderer different from the mainstream sources of media is that we try to feature voices that are not captured by anyone else,” Czarnecka said.
“We try to feature voices that are not captured by anyone else.”
People who navigate to The Wanderer’s website won’t necessarily find the latest news on each section, instead, they’ll be treated to curated pieces on stories nobody else is covering.
“Sometimes, people focus too much on the headline news, the retweets, the one-sentence blurbs,” Czarnecka explained. “When we stop to listen to the opinions and thoughts, it can add a lot to the city.”
Czarnecka started at The Wanderer about three years ago after applying to be the education editor.
“At the time, I was a science student and I missed writing work,” Czarnecka said. “I’m someone who needs a deadline to keep me going, so this was a great way to get me writing again.”
After working on the education section for a year, Czarnecka applied to be a managing editor. Subsequently, the editor-in-chief at the time stepped down and she took over the position.
“It was a terrifying experience because there was no transition period,” Czarnecka admitted. “I thought I wasn’t qualified to do it but I was very lucky in that I had a supportive team to carry the magazine.”
As a medical school student, Czarnecka appreciates the perspectives that students from different backgrounds can bring to The Wanderer.
“Our writers and editors come from all walks of life,” Czarnecka said with a smile. “As a result, that makes our content more interesting because we are experts in our own areas.”
This past year, Czarnecka and her team have embarked on several new challenges to raise the profile of The Wanderer, including working on a print publication.
“We are doing a print publication to celebrate the five-year anniversary of The Wanderer,” Czarnecka said. “We want the publication to be a celebration of the city, a book that people will be proud to share with their family and friends.”
The print publication will feature 15 Edmontonians in the Spotlight, hidden Edmonton restaurant reviews, newly-commissioned articles, and past stories from the archives.
“One of the stories we are working on sheds light on the sculptures on Capital Boulevard commissioned for the Canada 150 celebration,” Czarnecka said. “There are no plaques on each sculpture so most people who walk by them every day have no idea why they are there.”
Sitting back in her chair, Czarnecka goes on to explain how the print publication will be funded.
“We have an ATBBoostR crowdfunding campaign going on right now where most of the money will go towards printing the magazine,” Czarnecka said, “The remainder will go towards holding events such as writers’ workshops, conferences, and speaker events as we want to make it more accessible for writers to explore their craft in the city.”
“We want to make it more accessible for writers to explore their craft in the city.”
Students can get involved with The Wanderer’s efforts by pitching a story idea or volunteering to be a writer through their website.
“The only limit on what we will accept for pitches is that you have to convince me it’ll be interesting for Edmontonians to learn more about your idea,” Czarnecka said with a laugh.
Reflecting on her time at The Wanderer, Czarnecka is proud of the hard work that her team has been able to accomplish. There is one moment she will never forget, however.
“We were filming a promo to encourage writers to join the publication and I had to walk down 109th Street in the median with six lanes of traffic around me while carrying a little wagon with an old-school typewriter,” Czarnecka said.
“The majority of the city must’ve thought I was out of my mind.”