Wona Oct-Dec '10 Review ⚓17 Mar 2011
Download the issue on the WONA archive website.
Note about Archival: This post used to live on the (now-dead) piratecoders.co.cc website. I’ve moved it here for archival’s sake.
The latest issue of WONA turned up 3 months late at my doorstep. Other than the fact that it was missing an apology letter for this lateness, it was a good step in the forward direction by WONA in general. Once you take aside the pleasantries, and the sarcasm, I felt that WONA was, on a general scale, surpassing what it had been doing till now, and moving towards a better (and hopefully a quicker) issue. However, this one was definately not the one to be labelled perfect. So here comes the review :
Cover : Let’s start with the cover. Not much to write about it, other than the fact that it took me quite some time to figure out what was Maradone doing on it. Nice work in putting up the WONA logo (which I’m genuinely fond of). Nice choice of color scheme, and over-all good work.
Editorial : The magazine starts at a good note with the editorial promising us what’s inside in a nutshell. This was the best write-up of issue for me, and did its job well. I was enticed into reading further, and got a gist of what was about to come.
Almost Famous : Almost Famous has quite a history of its own, and is one column that every person who lays his hands on WONA definately reads. This time around, you held out Jan Flaming for me. As for the interview itself, it was clearly written, had some nice questions, some imaginary answers, and overall does quite well for the reader. On a second take, this was probably the reason it ends up on the first page this time.
Murphy’s Strip : Alas if Murphy had been here, he might have taken a shot or two at you. How about : “Any comic that can go wrong will go wrong.” Or maybe “If Vela could draw stupid sketches, he would.” Still, nice concept, bad execution. Could have been better, definately, especially with regards to sketching. Still 42 times better than the other strip.
NewsNotes : were 4 pages of news, which arrived 3 months too late. Nobody remembers any of these incidences happening, let alone being part of them. PAN-IIT was way bigger than your coverage, and deserved a bit more. Rest all the newsnotes were in a bit, exactly what they were supposed to be : News, without any sarcasm or humour. However I’m heavily against the use of one and half pages to glorify pages. I know how costly it is to push each page into the magazine, but please don’t fill it with something that no one bothers to read. Medal winners, please don’t mind but the two tables were a waste of space, if not something else. Or else the nine people from WONA’s news section could not find enough news. Anyone could have gotten these lists from the Sports Council a day after the event ceremonies. Give me something better.
Face-Off : was usual stuff. Nice choice of topic, nicely edited, with some actual points being thrown around, this turned out fine.
Big Story (Devil Wears Prada) : In spite of my initial skeptism about the story (I knew about it before the issue came out), I really liked it. This article goes ahead and proves that what you write on is unimportant (or at least less so) as long as you write it well. In a world of geeks, bringing out a cover story on fashion is really a bold move, and I must applaud you for having the guts to do so. The article was well written, and a joy to read. However I’d come to hear, from several sources, that people quoted in the article did not in fact give one to WONA. Please take care not to make up stuff next time. You’re a news mag, stick to the status quo, please.
Verbatim : WONA gets its hands on the most respected professor on on our campus, and does quite a good job of it as well. Nice questions, interesting answers make up a good read. In fact, the only negative point of the article was its placement.
WonaLeaks : This was the article that forced me to write this review. If it was an attempt at humour, it failed badly. As an attempt to mix news and wonaspeek, it fails even badly. Mixing kangaroos, indian cricket team, koala bears and a state prosecutor is definately not the recipe for sucess. It might work in movies (Spaceman + Potato Head + Zombie Dolls + Cowboy + Alien with 3 eyes = Oscar), but definately not on paper. Nobody remembers the event the article talks about. Its relation to wikileaks is not enough to demand a WonaLeaks icon. I shall forever remember this as the worst of writing, and imagination that ever came out of wona.
Tech-ila Shots : The in house tech article arrives a few months late. (Google just released Cr-48). I would have personally liked to see something else here (iPhone vs Android, iPhone 5, Ubuntu vs Windows etc). But as it was, the article was well thought of, and did exactly what it planned to. It could have done with a bit of pruning though, and the author might have liked to tell us a bit more about the OS itself (it only mentions the fact that its web based, comes as pre-installed, will not run intensive applications).
Random Ed : I’m not sure if it really is an editorial, but I’ll stick with the title. Nicely written in short. However the purpose and intent of such an article is lost in the true random nature of the article itself. The article fails to reach a resolution, and delievers nothing at all. Indeed most of the thoughts mentioned in the article, must have sprung to every person’s brain at some time or another. Then what’s the need of this article? Is it philosophy that Wona’s trying to dive into? Or perhaps its just a conspiracy to get all students in the campus to think more randomly, leading to a decrease in entropy of the thoughts of the profs, and as a consequence, simpler question papers. (For the skeptics, something similar has already happened, and our thought patterns are involed in the entropy of a system.)
Ethics : was actually the cover story (which one comes to know only after re-reading the cover). The author is unclear of the intent of the article, and it steers in various directions. I’m still unsure as to where it ends, and whether Arasu’s mumblings (Another Brick in the Wall) are part of it. One might raise question as to the relevance of the last section itself, but this article had its moments as well. In short, nice concept, nice writing, but could have done with a bit of restructuring.
Canine Strip : Another page wasted. The time spent by the sketcher could so easily have been devoted on bettering the other one. Needless to say, wona seems to be lacking in people who actually write, and the it results in a page filled with a stupid comic about dogs taking over the campus. Seriously, get some creativity. Even zombies would have done better.
WORC : Good decision in continuing this column. I was afraid it might get scrapped along with Agony Aunt(which was a very good decision). I can just hope that you actually asked some persons to create those pie charts. Dr. Sinhval seems to have taken his time in answering the questions, and his reply is full of facts, explanations, and ideas. Nice work by the ed team here, definitely.
Other than the articles there are a few more areas of interest I would like to point out.
Design: Seriously, have you people ever heard of vector graphics. Your designers really need a course on making scalable graphics. The need for Darth Vader to illustrate an article is fine, as long as you have a big enough image to fit. Trying to scale a 400×300 jpg into a page will not do. Even the cafe de norma ad was pixellated. The girl wearing Prada proves that it was possible to pring clearer graphics . However on the very next page, there’s an overdose of black. Similarly pixellated were most of the other pics on the mag. The 3 monkeys illustrating the second last page could have been something better. The essence of the German flag was lost in black & white(Almost Famous) . And just so you know that everyone noticed , dark colored pics in the background make text unreadable (Chrome OS).
Ads : I don’t know the reasons behind it, but from a reader’s point of view, an issue with only 3 ads is really awesome. Especially once you compare it with Kshitiz’s latest issue. I know it must have been really hard to cover the costs, and manage the finances and all that. But folks over here are smiling for your hard work. You finally published it (albeit 3 months late), and that’s what matters.
Placement : could have been better. Some articles should have gotton more coverage than given. Perhaps you should think of making Tech-ila bigger. I would’nt have minded the least if Verbatim had gotten a bit larger. The ethics article was divided into portions, I couldn’t understand, and might have done with fewer sections.
Cover : A little side note as to why the article change from the cover to the article itself. Isn’t the cover supposed to hold titles as well. On second thoughts, I might be wrong to suggest your current layout, but can you just put up page numbers! They would surely help.
And finally a note from my side : Wona is an excellent magazine. Despite it having a status quo of its own on its supposed unreadability without an excellent understanding of wona’s inner sanctum, I believe that the magazine is an essential part of life at iitr. It is one of the few sections in our campus, whose work is actually a part of our daily life. Thanks to the entire team for working so hard on this issue.
This review is my way of letting you know that there are people who care about what you write. There are people who wait for the issue, and who are determined to do so till they pass out. Consider it a friendly nudge and a little feedback from my side. Its up to you decide what your mag is after all. With hopes that the next issue is even better than this one
Update: Friends over at wona inform me that the delay in the mag was due to an issue on the administration’s side rather than wona’s side. If that was the case, the blame’s partially on your staff advisors (spelled incorrectly in the mag’s first page) : Dr. M.J. Nigam, and Dr. B.R.Gurjar. I’m still not sympathatic to the excuse given entirely, and believe that it might have come out a bit more sooner with some more effort on wona’s side.
Published on March 17, 2011 in