Hilary Saunders: Editor-in-Chief, 2009-2010
Managing Editor, No Depression
I’ve wanted to be a music journalist since I was a teenager, and I just started a new job as the managing editor of a quarterly print journal on roots music. No Depression began in 1995 as a bi-monthly music magazine and went out of print in 2008 when the economy crashed. It was absorbed and revived by the Freshgrass Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization, in 2015, and I’m just the second editor of this revamped iteration of the publication. During my first production cycle at the helm of No Depression, I worked closely with the publisher, the printer, the mail house, and various record labels in town, all of whom asked me some version of, “Wait, you’ve done this before, right?” Luckily, I had, thanks to my time as EIC at Distraction.
But more than gaining pragmatic and professional experience, working at Distraction helped me forge lasting relationships. I am still so grateful to my professors and mentors like Professors Stano and Garrison for encouraging me to write about things I cared about, forcing me to expand my skill set into design and photography, and for helping me navigate the traditional system of academia that would prepare me for a very non-traditional job and life. Plus, I’m still friends with some of the folks whose names appeared alongside mine on Distraction mastheads! These days, I hope that I can pay it forward to current and future Hurricanes looking to work in the nexus of media and the arts.
As a funny (or maybe not-actually-so-funny) story, I still occasionally have panic dreams that I missed deadlines during Distraction production and I won’t be able to graduate until the final issue is completed, printed, and released.
Ivana Cruz: Editor-in-Chief, 2013-2014
Senior Designer, Vogue
My fondest memories of Distraction took place in the old office. Before it was in a silver shiny building with floor-to-ceiling windows, it was in what could be confused for a storage closet of the Learning Center; old and damp with no natural light. But it was also our own secret hideaway, a place where we were our truest selves. Where we let ourselves be vulnerable, be sick with passion for writing, photography or in my case, designing. We spent countless all-nighters in that room putting together an issue that at the moment was the most important thing in our lives. And it really was; I learned more about myself, about magazines and designing, than anywhere else. We even tried celebrating Ashley Brozic’s birthday in there once, fun until we spilled an entire bottle of champagne and dropped the cake on the carpet. Fundamentally, magazines are about people and their lives, and Distraction brought to my life some of the most incredible and talented people who I endlessly admire. Jonathan Borge, Ashley Brozic, Nicole Vila and Raquel Zaldivar; these fellow magazine addicts are still close friends. The energy we created together in that small room is something I still carry with me. It’s partly why I continue to work and believe in glossies.
Happy anniversary Distraction. I am forever thankful to you, to Randy Stano who was a mentor and father to us, and that small olive-green room with the carpet stains.
Jonathan Borge: Editor-in-Chief, 2011-2013
Associate Digital Editor, InStyle
Distraction was essentially my life when I was a student. I’m so grateful to the university for keeping the magazine alive all of these years—and for listening to my sometimes very off-the-wall ideas when I was editor-in-chief. I’m pretty sure I made Stano’s job harder than it should have been. My experience editing the magazine opened so many doors, from internships at Ocean Drive and Condé Nast Traveler to writing gigs at local newspapers. It was such a formative time for my career, not to mention the fact that we genuinely had so much fun putting together the magazine.
There were late nights, plus blood, sweat, and tears (literally), but it was worth it. Ashley Brozic and Ivana Cruz , both former Distraction staffers, are still two of my closest friends. Happy anniversary, Distraction!
Asmae Fahmy: Editor-in-Chief, 2016-2017
Distraction was the place where I made my best friends and some of my best college memories. No other atmosphere has made me grow so much as both a journalist and a person. The creativity, the laughter, late nights, the inside jokes – the whole experience will always be my favorite. Especially as I’ve worked in other venues post-grad, I’ve realized just how rare it is to find that kind of work environment. My team and I always challenged ourselves to push the envelope and come up with the boldest possible thing, and that’s something that’s translated to everything I’ve done since. So thankful for all of it.