Award-winning Curb Magazine launches newest issue, “Pulse”

Two female students stand on either side of a foam board showing the cover of Curb magazine's "Pulse" issue at the Curb launch party on December 13, 2022 at the Memorial Union.
Managing Editor Gino Musso (left) and Editor-in-Chief Brooke Messaye celebrate the launch of Curb “Pulse” at a party held on December 13, 2022 at the Memorial Union on the UW–Madison campus.


The 21st edition of the magazine searches for the “Pulse” of Wisconsin

The 21st edition of Curb Magazine, titled “Pulse,” is now available online and in print, with this year’s edition focused on what drives and propels the heart of Wisconsin forward.

“We came into the semester thinking about how life was picking up after COVID-19 and about everything that’s been going on politically, and we wanted to talk about being alive, but we felt like that was too broad of a topic, so we narrowed it down to talking about ‘what is the pulse of Wisconsin,’” said Editor-in-Chief Brooke Messaye. “That’s how we came upon looking at how companies and people are surviving, how they’re thriving and how they’re striving to do better.”

To complete the issue, Messaye led a team of 23 School of Journalism and Mass Communication students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison enrolled in Journalism 417: Magazine Publishing. The course, led each fall by SJMC Teaching Faculty Stacy Forster, sees the production of the magazine from start to finish in three months, to award-winning results. Curb won a Silver Crown award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 2020 and is currently a finalist for Gold or Silver for its 2021 edition. The publication also earned the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence “best affiliated website” award in 2020 and won national best student magazine in 2012 and 2014.

Group of six Curb students stand around a round table smiling for the camera at the Dec. 13 launch party at Memorial Union.

Managing Editor Gina Musso said the class was the first fully unmasked production of Curb since the start of the pandemic. 

“It took us a couple of weeks to come up with our editorial philosophy, and we wanted to make sure that the majority of our stories didn’t talk about COVID-19. Not that we wanted to ignore it, but we wanted to move forward from that and cover what keeps Wisconsin going and keeps Wisconsin’s pulse alive,” Musso said.

Throughout the semester, the business team, led by Ann Kerr, worked to fundraise for the magazine, holding bagel and coffee bake sales, coordinating J-school merchandise sales and leading a headshot fundraiser. Art Director Zoe Bendoff oversaw the publication’s design, and Online Editor Nicole Herzog oversaw Curb’s online site, which features additional story and multimedia content. In addition to their team-specific responsibilities, each student produced an individual feature story and multimedia content for the magazine.

For Messaye and Musso, the process meant “super late nights,” but also lasting memories. Members of the class spent the Sunday before Thanksgiving break in the J-School from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following morning proofing the magazine.

“I think that it is very rewarding for the product that gets produced at the end and the relationships that you get to create with your classmates. I’m super close with Gina and all the people on the design team and all the people just in the class in general, and you create much deeper relationships than in regular class,” Messaye said.

The following week on Nov. 30  – Musso’s birthday –  students were able to see the magazine get printed off the press. Curb again worked with Sun Prairie’s Royle Printing, which donated part of the cost of printing the magazine.

“It was cool because we got to see it printed. And then it came off the line and they asked us if there were any color adjustments that we wanted to make on any specific pages. If a photo looked washed out, we were able to adjust a little bit,” Musso said.

With 64 pages of content, story topics range from Christy Klein’s feature on one woman’s trek on the Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail to Bendoff’s piece on how two sisters transcended congenital heart defects to have children with support from the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program.

“Regardless of their position, every student has put in countless hours, not just to their individual content, but to producing the team content. Every person has put in so much effort and you can absolutely see it when you look at the magazine and when you look at the online version,” Messaye said.

Curb “Pulse” is available now in print and online. The magazine is published in part due to alumni donations and support from the SJMC Board of Visitors. Complimentary copies of the magazine will be distributed to 10,000 alumni.