Northwest Boulevard turns exclusively digital


Erik Rotness

The 2018 edition of Northwest Boulevard will be the last print issue for the publication. The staff members at the journal decided to move forward with an online-only edition to increase membership. Cover art by Thomas Smith.

By Jeremy Burnham, Eastern Washington University

An EWU student publication is saying goodbye to its main product: its print edition. And no, the publication is not The Easterner.

Northwest Boulevard has been an outlet for the artistic voices of EWU students since 1994. The student-led journal briefly stopped publishing in the late 1990s before returning in 2001, and it has published annually since. Starting with the 2019 edition, the journal will publish solely online.

“We want to reach a wider audience and become a more serious publication,” Northwest Boulevard President and Managing Editor Sofia DeSimone said. “Right now, we only have Eastern students reading the magazine. It’s a very small circle of people that actually has access to it. We want more people to have access to our magazine so that it’s a bigger achievement for students to get published.”

The publication purchased the domain, and the site recently went live. DeSimone, a senior,  said she hopes that going online will make Northwest Boulevard more visible on campus.

The undergrad journal publishes art, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. All publication decisions are made by a student editorial board, which is led by DeSimone.

Published students are able to put the work in their portfolios. The publication also organizes readings where students read their published work to an audience.

There are some specific things to print that are not going to be relevant anymore. We have to move forward with the new century.”

— Jordan Dunn, Design Editor

The journal has helped launch the careers of some writers. For example, Thom Caraway was published in the journal and went on to publish his own collection of poems, “A Visitor’s Guide to North Dakota.” He is now a poetry professor at Whitworth University.

The decision to move to online publishing was made by the students, but it also has the full support of Dr. Jonathan Johnson, Northwest Boulevard’s faculty adviser and EWU poetry professor. Johnson says the benefits include allowing the editors to focus more on the publication.

“It takes some fundraising burden away from them because, naturally, print costs,” Johnson said. “So they were spending a lot of time fundraising. This takes some of that out.”

Jordan Dunn, the journal’s design editor, and a senior, says publishing online will help students develop skills useful in today’s publishing industry.

“Learning how to use InDesign and Adobe Illustrator will be very marketable skills in (the publishing) field,” Dunn said. “There are some specific things to print that are not going to be relevant anymore. We have to move forward with the new century.”

Johnson agrees.

“Twenty years ago, it was useful for students to know how to (produce a print publication),” Johnson said. “Increasingly today, though, the jobs in publishing are going to need students to know how to do online content design and management.”

The move will be a big change for Johnson, who was instrumental in the revival of the publication in 2001.

“I came here in 1999 as a young, new professor,” Johnson said. “I was eager to do things to help the creative writing community. I was told at the time that Northwest Boulevard had been neglected and let go, and that if I wanted to be useful to the community, bringing it back would be a good way to go.”

So, the publication was relaunched. Like the first version, it remained completely under the control of undergrad students. Now, almost two decades later, the content and editorial format has mostly stayed the same. Going online is not going to change this.

Art, fiction, nonfiction and poetry will still be published, and a team of undergrad-student editors will still be calling the shots. Besides DeSimone and Dunn, there are genre editors on the staff. They choose the submissions they want to publish and send them to DeSimone for final approval.

Further information on Northwest Boulevard can be found on the publication’s new website. Dunn says the site is still being developed and new sections will be added in the coming weeks. The site currently has submission information for students wanting to submit their work. Visit for more.•

This story was originally published on The Easterner on February 6, 2019.