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Freshman founds website

Tori Roeck | Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Notre Dame freshman recently founded a news and opinion website that publishes content daily from universities across the country.

NextGen Journal, the site that is geared toward college students, launched last week.

Freshman Connor Toohill manages the site and currently serves as editor-in-chief. Toohill said he was inspired to start the news site for college students in 2009 when the national budget debate sparked interest in many of his classmates at his high school.

“There were a lot of things being talked about that had a lot of impact on the next generation,” Toohill said, “but our voices were never really in the conversation.”

Toohill said he wanted to create a forum for the opinions of the younger generation.

NextGen Journal currently staffs over 50 college students from universities around the country, Toohill said. Students from universities such as Stanford, Georgetown, and Harvard, in addition to Notre Dame students, contribute pieces that submitted to a core group of editors.

Freshman Brendan Moran is one of a core group of editors for the journal.

“We went through about 75 college newspapers, picked out their best writers, and asked them to join our staff,” Moran said.

According to Moran, this diversity gives NextGen Journal an edge over a single-campus publication.

“We have that national focus,” Moran said, “not just only focusing on Notre Dame students and Notre Dame writers but branching out and trying to hear what’s going on and how people in other parts of the country interpret and perceive this content that is very pertinent to college students.”

NextGen Journal publishes articles covering topics from international and domestic politics to music, sports and celebrities.

“There’s a void out there in the national media lately for analysis and insightful content for college students,” Toohill said. “There is nothing for our generation other than the specific campus by campus content of college papers. So we’re trying to do something national with it.”

Creating and developing the site was a long process for Toohill. He spent months laying the groundwork for the launch by contacting possible staff and finalizing the objectives and format of NextGen Journal.

Toohill said much of the success of the recent launch to technical director and freshman Chas Jhin, who designed the website’s layout.

Now that NextGen Journal has officially launched, Toohill and Moran said they are concentrating on publicizing and growing their venture.

“We definitely want to expand as much as we can and focus on expanding it nationally and getting as many people aware of it as possible nationwide,” Moran said.

Toohill said he shares this aspiration.

“We want to become the foremost site for news and opinion by students for students,” he said.

Toohill said students interested in contributing to NextGen Journal can visit the nextgenjournal.com and click on the “Join NextGen” page.

“More than anything, [NextGen Journal] is interesting to the reader,” Toohill said. “There’s a lot of really great, interesting, cool, practical content.”