PHS Lit Mag undergoing digital shift

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I received the go ahead for the styled photo shoot and I have a site visit at the high school today with my photographer and Nicole Knight,” Courtney Bell messaged me in mid-September.

Bell, a Pelham High School and Samford alum who now works professionally as a wedding planner owns her own Birmingham-based wedding planning business, La Belle Vie Weddings.

Bell emailed me in July to share her idea for a photo shoot at the high school. Providing the contact information for administrators to secure official permission, I was thrilled that Bell was including her school and excited for the possible college and career links that our Communication and Media Arts Academy students would experience through her work.

Bell visited my class to share skills necessary to keep her business operating successfully—and those skills are all about communication. Bell’s photo shoot finally happened this week at PHS and Bell spent some time with students.

“We create styled photo shoots and offer them to national publications,” Bell told students. “We’ve had two styled photo shoots picked up nationally. We hope this PHS shoot will be next. When we’re able to get a photo shoot published, my wedding planning business benefits from the exposure and the other small business owners I work with—florists, photographers, bakeries, printers—everyone wins.”

Bell stressed discovering a unique approach to grab customers’ attention. Literary Magazine staffers frequently create advertising—beginning with grabbing the attention of PHS students and persuading them to submit writing, photos, and artwork.

This year lit mag is making a digital shift. Staffers are seeking almost 100 percent digital submissions.

They’ve struggled with whether we really need submission boxes. Their final decision is that submission boxes are great visual cues to remind students to submit, submission forms will be placed in boxes even though most works will be submitted through Google Drive.

PHS Lit Mag is looking for the perfect balance of using our digital tools while maintaining our personal connection. The search is on for the fresh approach that will energize and ignite PHS publication creativity.