PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A magazine published by Bay Area high school students has a unique feature on all its pages in the edition dedicated to the issue of gun violence.
The latest edition of Verde, the magazine of Palo Alto High School, features a simulated bullet hole that cuts clean through the entire issue. The work is gaining national attention after an image of it was posted on Reddit and catapulted to the top of the feed. It’s a discussion the editors wanted.
“We very purposefully did not design around the hole,” said student editor Saurin Holdheim. “We let it cut through text and cut through images.”
Saurin says students wanted to dramatize their cover story on how school shootings have affected Palo Alto High.
“If a shooter comes on campus, there is no regard for what the bullet is going to hit,” said Holdheim. “It goes through everything.”
The students’ advisor, Paul Kandell, wasn’t even sure the idea was possible. “Our printer says he’s never seen anything like it,” said Kandell.
But the printer drilled through magazine bundles ten issues at a time for an extra $100.
“It seemed like a small price to pay for what would probably be a big impact,” said Kandell.
After a story on the magazine exploded on Reddit, tweets about it have come from around the world.
“You experience it like you would a work of art,” said Kandell. “Everybody has their own reaction, and as they page through the magazine, it hits you again and again.”
Just before the issue went to print, students experienced an actual school shooter lockdown on campus. The threat was a hoax but it gave them something else to write about.
“In our entire story we were asking, ‘Is [Palo Alto High School] ready for a lockdown, for a mass shooting?’” said student photographer Maraleis Sinton. “And thinking that, ‘Is this going to happen right now?’ was emotionally straining. I’m going to admit that I cried and my classmates cried.”
Student editor Stephanie Lee, who calls herself conservative, argued for balance in the issue. She wrote a piece profiling students who support the Second Amendment or grew up with guns.
“We wanted to be fair and be neutral and we wanted to give them a platform to speak up on that I don’t think they had previously just because of some stigma that might have been surrounding them,” said Lee.
Students had contacted advertisers to let them know of the plans for the edition and say the advertisers were on board with it. One unfortunate consequence for one adverstiser on the back cover: the hole went directly through the company’s phone number.
The online version of the magazine is available at verdemagazine.com.