Tuesday, August 21, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC), publishers of Oklahoma HUMANITIES magazine, is expanding beyond the printed page. Its website now includes a page titled EXTRA!, an outgrowth of the publication aimed at expanding public conversation.
Magazine editor Carla Walker says the page was dubbed EXTRA! for its well-known newspaper connotation.
"For centuries newspapers were the only source for breaking news," Walker said. "Editions were often printed several times a day to bring readers expanded coverage of stories as they developed. With headlines that shouted, 'Extra! Extra!,' everyone knew these late editions held additional news of special interest."
Walker explained that the new webpage has that same kind of special-interest, value-added content to give readers more information than could possibly be included in the magazine's print edition. Individual articles are augmented on the webpage to include discussion questions and resources that link readers to additional articles, books, videos, and websites related to articles.
OHC Executive Director Ann Thompson says that the Council was prompted to add the EXTRA! feature as a way to expand outreach.
"We're hearing that community reading groups and secondary school teachers are using the magazine as a source for discussion," said Thompson. "Adding this new content will give people more to talk about and will offer teachers ready access to high-quality educational resources.
"Schools don't have the cash to provide new materials and teachers don't always have time to research sources beyond the textbook that will interest students in the subjects they're studying. By asking our scholar authors to provide these resources and prompts for discussion, we can serve a greater number of people in new and exciting ways – and we can offer it to everyone for free. It's a wise, and we hope ingenious, way to stretch public and private funding to do the most good for the common good."
Walker says the magazine is a natural source for conversation because of its featured-topic focus. "Where once our articles were an eclectic mix of subjects," Walker noted, "each issue now looks at one or two specific public issues or topics about which the humanities can lend insight. Several different authors address a subject such as politics, religion, food, or the anniversary of 9/11. The current magazine issue focuses on race and reconciliation. With several voices writing on one topic, each magazine gives a variety of viewpoints upon which readers can draw their own conclusions.
"Our content is certainly thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial, but it's based in scholarship and all the humanities have to teach us. Who wouldn't want access to that?"
To view an online version of the magazine and EXTRA! content, or to get a free one-year subscription to the magazine, visit the OHC website: http://www.okhumanities.org/publications.
About the Oklahoma Humanities Council
The Oklahoma Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide meaningful public engagement with the humanities—disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, art criticism, and philosophy. As the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities, OHC provides teacher institutes, Smithsonian exhibits, reading groups, and other cultural opportunities for Oklahomans of all ages. OHC engages people in their own communities, stimulating discussion and helping them explore the wider world of human experience.