In Feb. 2021, seniors Dylan Westland, Pasha Jandaghi and Charlie Fregozo set out to change and improve the online publication game by creating a magazine filled with diverse topics and student bylines.
The trio created Mutual Funds Magazine as a way to “[focus]on the leaders within our generation”, according to the magazine’s website. The publication is made up of student writers who tackle topics related to politics, economics and technology. Their first post was on Mar. 8, 2021.
Fregozo said, “We saw other students make a magazine and we thought we could do it better in a user-friendly way where you could actually represent people and topics that actually mattered.”
Jandaghi said, “I wanted to incorporate topics that had meaning, where people could write about whatever they want.”
Where other publications used templates and ready-made sites, Mutual Funds was built entirely from code, using HTML, CSS and Java. That did come with its own set of challenges, whether it was syntax errors or problems with formatting.
Fregozo said, “We had a bunch of things either not work or not look the way we wanted them to be. Through mostly trial and error, we were able to debug our problems to have the website we have today.”
The magazine has a variety of articles about economic trends, such as cryptocurrency, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and Bitcoin. With so many emerging fields being written about, Jandaghi emphasized that accuracy is key.
He remarked, “The challenge that poses with writing about it is accuracy as well as opinions. Some people’s opinions about crypto or NFTs can be controversial, which is fine. It’s an opinion-based magazine as well as factual.”
At the same time, Mutual Funds also covers numerous political issues, which can be challenging for young writers in a polarized environment.
Fregozo stated, “We either decide for them [the writers]to be neutral or upfront about their political ties, because we don’t want to have underlying political ties when you’re writing as a neutral author. Either be polarizing or stay neutral.”
As for why it is important for students to be writing about these issues, Westland stressed the need for the new generation to be involved.
“I think it’s important for us to be really passionate about things we’re interested in, and writing about it makes you study it and commit to it in a way,” he said.
Fregozo added, “It also gives them a platform for them to share their ideas, where otherwise they would’ve just kept them to themselves.”
Outside of the writers’ passions, the seniors said that Mutual Funds Magazine jumpstarted new passions for them as well.
“I found a new love for coding,” Jandaghi mentioned. “It just shows how much you can do with different programs. As for writing, I’ve gotten much more into business and behavioral economics—that’s a new field that I pursued because of this magazine.”
Westland took away various managerial skills that he believes will be useful in the future.
He said, “It was nice to learn the skills of communicating with people and keeping track of all these tasks…and having to manage my time. It was kind of stressful, but I’m learning a lot.”
Fregozo stated, “A lot of the topics like journalism, coding, geopolitics I kind of was already into, but this helped accentuate it and explore it more.”
Fregozo, Westland and Jandaghi all envision bright futures for their publication, with goals of gaining more readers, creating an art gallery for California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) students, crafting a print edition and even recruiting out-of-state and international writers.
Mutual Funds Magazine publishes at the end of each month and can be found at mutualfundsmagazine.org.