The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN students create magazine for new generation of readers

A new magazine called The American hit newsstands for the first time this January at CSUN and various junior colleges in the Los Angeles County.

David MacNeal, a 21-year-old magazine journalism major at CSUN, is the brain behind the pages for this magazine which targets readers between the ages of 15 and 35.

“We were sitting around last July when someone said it would be a cool idea to start up a magazine and I was like, ‘all right,'” MacNeal said.

“We are all pretty much creative, artsy people and at first it was just an idea, but David did a lot of the leg work, figuring out what we would need to do to get a magazine started and it just happened,” said Bonnie Vidal, a 20-year-old English major at CSUN and the design editor for The American.

The magazine’s mission statement, provided by MacNeal, reads, “The American is an art and literature magazine that encompasses all aspects of American life. From the rebel to the future politicians and aspiring genius that make up our country, we have created a magazine geared to our generation with material contributed by it.”

“Our generation is becoming tuned out,” MacNeal said. He hopes to open a door for the creative minds of today.

The American is a monthly news source containing a compilation of reviews, editorials and along with investigative stories – other forms of journalism. Also, short fiction, excerpts, poetry, artwork and photography are welcome for submission and possible publication.

“Nothing is too radical,” MacNeal said.

Ideally, the future of issues will hold more pages, raising the bar from the current 12-page issue to possibly three times that. The magazine will also contain a calendar section that will list dates to different art exhibits, concerts, and other events in and around the San Fernando Valley.

The American, which is 20 percent advertisement and 80 percent material, is a non-profit magazine. The advertisers pay to have there ads placed.

Originally the magazine went by a different name.

“We were hesitant at first when David came up with the idea of calling it The American because we felt it would sound too political but then he explained that America was supposed to be a melting pot of people and ideas and that is what the magazine would represent,” Vidal said.

Rachel De La Torre, the art director, and Amanda Dybas, the content editor work along with MacNeal and Vidal. They are, as they refer to themselves, the magazine’s Minutemen.

“It’s been fun. We’ve been learning along the way,” Vidal said.

David Blumenkrantz, photojournalism professor at CSUN, encouraged MacNeal throughout the process.

“I had a similar idea when I was an undergraduate student back in the 80s. So basically I just gave him a lot of encouragement and some general advice about the importance of finding advertisers and so on, but he seemed to have things under control,” Blumenkrantz said.

“David’s an exceptionally bright and easygoing guy. It’s always a pleasure to meet someone that shows some originality and initiative. He’s very open to ideas, and doesn’t let his ego get in the way, so he accepts constructive criticism gladly and takes it seriously,” Blumenkrantz said.

According to MacNeal, The Burning Man Festival was in part the beginning push of this magazine idea.

“After the Burning Man Festival I came back home a changed man,” he said.

MacNeal admits that his true passion is fiction writing.

“I would probably have to take jobs I do not like while I write my fiction,” he said.

He said his first inspiration, which led him down this line of work, was Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

“I did not even look at books until I was 17,” he said.

Vidal had a little experience in page design from her years on her high school yearbook staff, which is also where she knows MacNeal.

Writers wishing to submit their own creative or journalistic work are encouraged to e-mail MacNeal at

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