Freshman Journalism Major Collaborates with Peers, Creates News Outlet

Freshman journalism student Tristan Isham is the founder and creator of The Annotation, a premier publication for independent writers that focuses on culture, politics and editorial features.

The concept behind The Annotation began before Isham stepped foot on Kent State’s campus. Isham believes journalism and media communication is standardized and overburdened by its own regulations.

“I was unhappy with how modern media is portrayed, how companies are run and how brands are established,” Isham said.

Isham knew he could find like-minded people to support what he believed in when he came to college. Regan Schell, Lead Editor and Writer, joined The Annotation from its start in September of last year. Schell, a sophomore journalism major, prefers to write long-form editorial features, and The Annotation is a platform where she can practice this writing.

“I am always looking for ways to share the things I write,” Schell said.

David Williams, Director of Publication and Writer, is the third member of the core team that runs The Annotation. Williams, a freshman journalism major, joined The Annotation in late October.

“Our site allows people to write whatever they want,” Isham said. “Our goal is to be something different, be something that is worth reading, and change the world through storytelling.”

The Annotation’s first major story written by Williams and Isham, Walk Out Protest on Kent State Campus Fills Risman Plaza, received 1.1 thousand views, 531 reads and 2 recommendations according to Medium’s analytics.

“News should not be obstructed, and news should not be limited,” Isham said. “News should be something that is given freely, like water, to people.”

On December 13 last year, The Annotation started offering a subscription membership program. Any news article on The Annotation is available for anyone to read, but only subscribers can access content related to arts and culture.

“We made it a point to not put any news stories behind the paywall, which is where a lot of bigger companies make the mistake,” Regan said.

When asked about her goals for the publication site, Schell said she wants to help create an environment where everyone can access correct information, understand it and think critically about the content they consume.

Other contributors to The Annotation include freshman public relations major Olivia Eastly, sophomore journalism major David Burgett, sophomore communication studies major Rachel McBride and junior visual communication design major Alice Leach.

Aside from The Annotation, Isham currently serves as KentWired’s Innovation Lead. Isham’s experience ranges from acting as Streamable’s community manager to working on a website in the tech review market.

“We’re trying to reinvent media one article at a time, shifting the perception of standard advancements and revenue streams in order to discover and promote new methods of publishing,” Isham said. “All in order to help, and arguably save, the industry that we love.”

POSTED: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:35am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:37am