A group of students are looking to provide you with a good read.
Benton Turner, a freshman in the College, has developed a website platform called Escalating Registers where students across the country can share their personal essays and tell their stories.
“Everyone has a story to tell, it doesn’t matter if you’re the guy who has everything laid out for him, or you’ve been through thick and thin. We think this platform can be a way to develop a large community of students that want to share what they can’t really share in any other outlet,” Turner said.
What first started out as a platform for fiction and news began to transform into a place for personal stories, Turner said. “We think that is an under-covered aspect of digital publishing that does not exist, so we’re trying to fill that gap,” he said.
Turner got the idea for a collaborative site after taking a summer writing course at Columbia University. After the course, he teamed with Jonathan Sun, a friend from the program and now a sophomore at Kenyon College, to kickstart the project. They have been working with a friend at Princeton University to design the website.
The website, which is currently in a testing mode, launched earlier this year and so far has published between 50 to 60 stories. A few of the stories have attracted up to 8,000 views, Henry Hawbaker, a freshman in the College and co-founder of the site at Penn, said. The team is currently applying for a grant from Penn to receive funding for the project.
The idea behind the site is to allow for students to write about their own experiences for everyone else to read.
“People love contributing, It’s such a satisfying feeling for kids to get something read that’s online, looks official…,” Hawbaker said.
Stories on the site range from writing about being “MERT-ed”, to drinking too much at a college party, to interviews and personal essays about experiences working on the senate floor.
“Through the publication, people can find similar-minded people and stories that can relate to everyone,” Hawbaker said. “Kid who likes to party, girl who likes video games, guy who flies planes, just everything.”
The submission length ranges from 500 to 1,000 words. Turner noted that their place in the competitive market is to reach people who want to express their opinions in longer forms than Twitter but shorter than posts on blogging platforms.
“We’ve lost that middle-to-long gap [in writing]. We’re trying to bring back long-form content,” Sun said.
So far, the site has had contributions from students at 12 different schools, and they are trying to recruit writers from 10 to 12 more schools around the country.
Once the full site launches in late spring of 2014, anyone with a “.edu” email address will be able to submit content. If they are accepted as contributors, they can then recommend others’ articles and edit them. The articles that “get the most recommendations” will be published on the homepage and given a bigger spotlight.
“We want to be the place where actual expression — intelligent expression — can be shared by college students everywhere,” Hawbaker said.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.