When most people hear the word Jeopardy, they think of the trivia game show hosted by Alex Trebeck. However, on Western Washington University’s campus, there is a different meaning behind the word. First published in 1965, the student-run literary magazine published works of fiction and nonfiction from authors around the country. That was until 2003, when Jeopardy changed its policy to only accept work from Western students.
Today, the magazine helps new authors publish their work, many for the first time, and gives students the opportunity to be editors. It allows graduates to come out of school with a published work of writing to present to employers.
This year’s issue is the 56th. The advisor Kami Westhoff says the magazine’s editors “have always been incredibly innovative, driven, and professional, they handle each obstacle with compassion, patience, and integrity.”
The issue’s staff consists of editor-in-chief Linnea Boice, fiction editor Alyssa Anderson-Larson, nonfiction editor Skylar Tibbetts, and poetry editor Tegan Beard. Here is a Q&A with the student editors for Jeopardy’s 56th issue.
Why did you get involved with Jeopardy?
“I applied to be poetry editor to make more of an impact on the magazine. I believe that poetry can do things that no other form can do, that it is beautiful and strange and defiant of limits. I’m grateful for the opportunity to cast light on that strange beauty.” –Tegan Beard
“As a freshman, I remember wanting to contribute to the magazine because it seemed like the perfect first step toward a writing/editing career, but my inexperience in the publishing field felt like an insurmountable hurdle. To be frank, I was intimidated. Out of all the thousands of students at Western, what made me special? I’d basically resigned myself to shyness and complacency when my good friend told me Jeopardy had hired her to be the poetry editor. Like me, she was a freshman, but she had managed to secure a position I’d only dreamed of. I applied for the fiction editor position, got hired, and the rest has yet to be written.” –Alyssa Anderson-Larson
How is working on the magazine?
“Oh, it’s so much fun! But that’s because the work itself is so rewarding, and I get to do it with a great group of people. I look forward to later this year, when I can spend my time pouring through submissions and preparing for fun events, like a student writers workshop and Jeopardy Jeopardy, a literary trivia event.” –Linnea Boice
“So far, being on Jeopardy is really fun! Reading and talking about fiction is a dream job for me, so even when I’m getting work done it doesn’t feel like a chore. Everyone in the office gets along really well, and we joke around with each other, but we also know when it’s time to buckle down and get some work done.” –Alyssa Anderson-Larson
“I think working for Jeopardy is the best combination of fun and seriousness, because our work literally consists of reading people’s stories — something I love to do! I genuinely can’t believe I get paid to do this!” –Skylar Tibbetts
What is your favorite thing about working on Jeopardy?
“Even though I don’t make all the decisions, I still read all the submissions, so I get to see what people are thinking and writing about. I can see what is important to people, what moments are worth capturing, what stories are worth telling.”-Linnea Boice
“My favorite thing about Jeopardy is having a structured reason to read lots of different works, talk about them, and help polish them into terrific little gems. It’s the coolest job I could’ve asked for.” –Tegan Beard
“This is my dream job and I honestly love everything about it. If I had to pick one thing, I’d say I most enjoy being able to read the fiction submissions. I always love to see what my peers are writing, and now I get paid to have an opinion about them! What could be better?”- Alyssa Anderson-Larson
“I enjoy the variation of submissions that we receive, and being able to get a glimpse into what is sometimes the most vulnerable side of a person. The fact that the person submitting is willing to share with me feels very important.”- Skylar Tibbetts
How will being an editor at Jeopardy help you in the future?
“I’m contemplating a future in editing and publishing, and this is a great taste of what that job would look like.” –Tegan Beard
“I will say that getting one of my poems published in the last edition of Jeopardy was changing for me, as it gave me more confidence to continue writing and putting my work into the world. For us writing, there is a constant imposter syndrome, especially in academia. I think publishing allows for a little less of that and a little more self-assurance.” –Skylar Tibbetts
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