Your journalism teacher has got it all wrong. The only tools you need to get on your way to becoming your own mini-media mogul are paper, scissors, glue and a photocopier.
That's the philosophy Carrie McLaren lives by.
"I like cutting and pasting," said 31-year-old McLaren, creator, editor and designer of Stay Free! magazine. McLaren founded Stay Free!, which addresses issues of commercialism and American consumer culture, in Chapel Hill.
The magazine, with a circulation of about 6,500, is probably the most respected publication you've never heard of, winning praise from "NBC Nightly News," National Public Radio, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report and Business Week.
McLaren, a 1991 UNC grad, brings years of zine-making experience with her to her internationally circulated publication. Flipping through the pages of Stay Free! is like sitting through a media literacy class - a really cool media literacy class. Insightful articles, minimalist fonts and underground rock ads vie for page space.
This summer's issue focuses on "outdoor ad creep," the big-city phenomenon in which huge advertisements are plastered on buildings, trucks or any other available surface.
"One or two ads isn't bad, but it's the incessant day-after-day bombardment," McLaren said. "You don't realize `Gee, I can't see the sunlight on the street because billboards literally are everywhere.'"
The issue included a poster mapping these mega-ads in Manhattan. The map and magazine's intentionally sparse layout and cool graphics are professional, but retain the rebellious air of a high school punk-rock zine fresh from Kinko's.