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Student-run newspaper Koine aims to spark discussion at UCLA

From left to right, Kyle Jaeger, a fourth-year English student, Cathy Asaphau, a fourth-year sociology student, Miles Solomon, a fourth-year philosophy student, and Zaniar Moradian, a fourth-year chemistry student, are a few students involved with the student-run newspaper, Koine.(Dang-Co Vu/Daily Bruin)

By Stephen Stewart

June 23, 2014 12:14 a.m.

While the Greek word “koine” means “common” and refers to a standard language spoken over a large area, the term translates to the creation of a community for a new UCLA newspaper.

Koine, a student-run newspaper that formed during spring quarter, aims to spark a new intellectual discussion at UCLA, said Miles Solomon, a rising fourth-year philosophy student and the editor in chief of Koine. The paper currently has a staff of 30 people, half of whom are international students.

“(Koine) implies a certain community or commonness,” Solomon said. “In a lot of our articles the themes seem common, but the interpretations are what make it unique and original.”

Koine features several categories of content, including politics, science and technology, culture and local and world news. The paper runs articles on subjects ranging from the Undergraduate Students Association Council spring election to inequality in Brazil.

The target audience for the paper is students who are not engaged with the current student media on campus, said Kyle Jaeger, a fourth-year English student and the culture editor for Koine. While the content of the paper will cover relevant issues from local to international news, the stories will aim primarily to have substantive intellectual value, he said.

“It’ll likely appeal to students who are intellectually curious about international issues,” Jaeger said.

Solomon first wanted to found his own newspaper after writing opinion columns for his high school paper. He said what he wrote often clashed with the opinions of other students on staff, so he decided that he would start his own paper someday.

“I realized that the way conventional journalism works and the way I see journalism (are) very different,” Solomon said.

At a Model United Nations conference in college, Solomon met Zaniar Moradian, a fourth-year chemistry student and the managing editor for Koine. The two started talking with each other and realized they had a similar dream, so they decided to found a paper together, Solomon said.

In May, Koine published its first physical paper and distributed it throughout UCLA. Solomon said he thinks the reaction to Koine was mixed, but that generally students were excited to have a new paper on campus.

Koine has not printed another physical paper since May and publishes articles primarily on its website instead. The costs of Koine’s website and the printing distribution for the physical paper have all been paid out of pocket by Koine’s founders, Solomon said. He declined to disclose how much the paper’s members have paid so far.

While the paper is currently funded by staff, members are reaching out to UCLA alumni and companies for advertising revenue so Koine can grow. The paper also plans on reaching out to UCLA for support, Solomon said.

Baird Langenbrunner, a graduate student in the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, said he thinks Koine can provide a broader scope of news for the UCLA community.

“UCLA is such an international community – (students) could use more representation of that material (on campus),” Langenbrunner said.

Jaeger, who discovered Koine on its first day of publication, said he joined the paper because he liked its strong editorial voice and interest in a range of non-localized issues.

“I read (Koine’s) manifesto on the first page and took to it, and now I’m here,” said Jaeger, who previously interned at The Hollywood Reporter.

Over summer, the paper is planning to expand the number of writers it has by reaching out to more students.

If Koine obtains stable funding and enough writers, the paper will hopefully publish weekly by fall.

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