ON AND ABOUT DEATH: A MESSAGE FROM FLATLINE STAFF



Patrick Berner
Editor-in-Chief

Mandy Majorowicz
Web Director

Austin Wiebe
Managing Editor

Hebba Aburia
Managing Editor

Blake Dahmen
Art Director

Matthew Deery
Senior Editor

Brent Renneke
Senior Editor

Andrew Penkalski
Senior Editor

Mercy Lo
Senior Editor

Carly Schramm
Staff Writer

Mukhtar Ibrahim
Associate Editor

Muna Hassan
Associate Editor, Circulation Director

Priscilla Lundquist
Associate Editor

Chelsey Knutson
Assistant Art Director

Lauren Huff
Assistant Art Director

Liz Maher
Assistant Art Director

Yiqiao Wang
Assistant Art Director

Bre McGee
Staff Photographer

Stephanie Rosengren
Staff Photographer

Sarah Song Vang
Web Art Director

Iman Mohammed
Web Associate Editor

Alec Schimke
Web Writer

Eric Dolski
Web Writer

Reece Lamppa
Web Writer

Abhishek Kumar
Web Programmer
Patrick Berner



As Editor-in-Chief, I am doing my best to gather my opinions and others' opinions collectively, turn those opinions into ideas, and then implement those ideas to all divisions of Flatline Magazine in order to provide the best product in the smoothest way. I am a journalism major with a minor in Latin at the University of Minnesota, but I intend to do something creative and entrepreneurial when my time here is finished. In addition to leading Flatline Magazine to all manners of success, I am the managing production editor at The Minnesota Daily, which is just as convoluted as the title suggests.

I am somewhat of an introvert, but get to know me after a while and you'll find that to be deceiving. I like responsibility and leadership. I work well under pressure, all sorts of pressure. Whether it's the pressure of responsibility, or difficulty, or time, that is when I give my best effort and produce my best work.

Likes: TV shows that get canceled after one season, poker, food, Food Network in HD, trying to recreate Food Network exhibits in my own kitchen, Chinese buffets, meat, the Green Bay Packers, and good things in general.
Dislikes: Politics, media's coverage of politics, disease & famine, contrarians, etc.
Mandy Majorowicz



I am a photojournalism major with minors in art and German, and I'm also the league photographer for the Minnesota RollerGirls. Short, spunky, alternative, funny. Or something. As web editor at Flatline Magazine, I helped come up with story ideas and multimedia addition, ordered people around, and tried to keep things lighthearted and fun. Being a culture-loving nerd that I am, I also wrote a blog about different cultural and historical viewpoints of death and the afterlife, called Per Contra. I hope to travel with camera and mind at hand, and learn about the world and the things that inhabit it.

Likes: Culture, history, knowledge, being in charge, happiness, life
Dislikes: Narrow-mindedness, unwillingness, jumping to conclusions

It seems like many projects I take part in have to do with death, which may be why Flatline has worked out so well for me? My outlook- live life, be happy, learn a lot. Especially about things you don't like or don't feel comfortable with.
Austin Wiebe



I am a professional journalism major with minors in Spanish and design. I am the managing editor at Flatline and also work as an editorial assistant at CSC Publishing, where I edit a biweekly e-newsletter and write editorial content for several of the company's magazines. I love to travel and have studied abroad in Mexico and Argentina. I do not love snow and cold temperatures, which only increases my desire to flee from Minnesota winters. However, my inner foodie cherishes the wide variety of cultural tastes that are available here in Minneapolis. As someone who loves breaking the mold, I found the subject matter of Flatline to be refreshing and unexpected, while bringing its own unique challenges (class mantra: stay upbeat!).
Hebba Aburia



I am a Journalism major in the professional track with an emphasis in Political Science and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. As one of the managing editors I pretty much do just that, help manage the on goings of the magazine. This includes sending out emails to the amazing staff of Flatline, checking in on the progress of stories so we stay on track, sending out updates and other fun-filled tasks. When I first heard about death as a topic, I automatically pictured a black magazine with skeletons and headstones on it. I thought it was going to be the most depressing magazine ever, however once we got started on story ideas I realized I had never thought death could be so interestingly fun. My piece for the magazine was about making amends before you die. I chose this topic because my mom had made amends with one of her best friends the week before her friend passed away. Instead of living with regret for the rest of her life, my mother can remember the good times they had instead of the fight they had.

If I could have any superpower it would be to read minds and not like Edward, but more of I could turn it on and off as I liked! Two favorite hobbies are reading and writing. When I say shopping spree I'm talking Half Price Books. I hate sand with a passion, which is ironic because I'm from Egypt. But no I've never ridden a camel and I've only been to the pyramids once. I do speak Arabic though, and some Spanish because I think it's such an exotic language with the rolling r's! Whenever we have an icebreaker in class I usually start by telling people that all of my organs are flipped! Yeah that's the response I usually get. So pretty much all my organs are on the opposite side of where they're supposed to be. I'm a mirror image of a normal person.
Blake Dahmen



A senior at the University of Minnesota, Blake is approaching graduation in May. He will graduate with a Journalism B.A. and a Management Minor. He specialized in visual communication, but has no aspiration for a career in journalism. Instead, he is going to sell knives at $15 per appointment.

Death is an interesting thing. He was introduced to it at a young age and has been periodically reintroduced to it throughout his life. To say he is desensitized would be wrong because he mourns and celebrates the death of trends. One thing he wants to see go is sprinklers. What's the deal with them? You take water out of the ground just to put it back in? And that's why he's not trying to become a comedian.
Matthew Deery



● I am a Professional Journalism Major and currently work for TheMovieMash.com as the Head Writer and Senior Editor for the site. I do a lot of editing.
● I love movies. Whether that be watching them, critiquing them, or even making them, it is my passion. I also love to watch and play sports.
● Likes: The Internet, movies, sports, and arguing.
● Dislikes: People who say "like" like it is their job. Like, it's so annoying. Learn to speak proper English.
● Death is just a necessary step to the next life.
Brent Renneke



I am a journalism major with an extensive education in biology. However, my transcript only gives me credit for the journalism part, the other part was, for the most part, a giant waste of money. In the past, I have interned at a number of different newspaper-type places in Minneapolis. This year, I have devoted the majority of my time to Flatline magazine.

Otherwise, I am a pretty huge fan on sports, mainly the SuperBowl champion Green Bay Packers and the soon-to-be World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. I also like staying tuned into current events, reading and other things an aspiring journalist should enjoy.
Andrew Penkalski



After four years at the University, I'm now wading through my final semester in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I also have a minor in art history, which will assist me in finding a rewarding career as a Starbucks barista once I graduate this May. When not contributing my editorial expertise to Flatline, I work as the assistant editor for the Minnesota Daily's arts and entertainment section. I also contribute to the Minneapolis Star Tribune through the school of journalism's practicum course. Flatline's subject matter takes a bit of a different route than my proposed publication, Super Happy Fun Time Mag. However, our staff has tackled a gamut of subject matter that I would have never anticipated from a group of twentysomethings. It's been an enjoyable and revelatory experience thus far.

Likes: Rock 'n' Roll, Porches and getting lost in pointless arguments.
Dislikes: Mornings, Christian Bale and intellectual apathy.

There is a particular trend in contemporary conversation to use these saying that mean nothing whatsoever. A few of those phrases that are the bane of my existence include the often used conversational responses, "yeah no" or "no yeah." It's a phrase in youth lexicon that weirdly reiterates that common adolescent indifference. I also am particularly perturbed by the classroom discussion introduction of "I was just going to say that..." You weren't going to say it. You are saying it, so just say it.
Mercy Lo



I am a journalism major with a focus in feature writing, and I'm also the Editorial Intern of the Twin Cities METRO magazine. Any fun facts? I am from HONG KONG (ok maybe a little too excited)! I like the ways the U.S. media operate: open and diversified. That is why I came three years ago, to study journalism. Being one of the Senior Editors of Flatline Magazine, I oversee the Alive department, and work closely with our writers, developing and editing the magazine content.

Likes: Arts, culture, rumors, bad jokes
Dislikes: Ignorance, arrogance, rudeness

I am from a culture that sweeps death under the rug. We don't think about it, we don't joke about it, and we hardly talk about it. Flatline is the complete opposite. Therefore, I am intrigued by the concept of Flatline. In here, nothing is too inappropriate to talk about.
Carly Schramm



I'm planning to graduate this spring with a journalism major and Spanish studies minor. During my undergrad years I've worked at the Minnesota Daily and interned at two regional magazines. I'm a born and raised Minnesotan, with a bit of an accent, or so I'm told. I'm also a magazine enthusiast, and I love to read anything I can get my hands on, from Nylon to the New Yorker.

At first I thought a magazine centered on death would be a complete downer, but there are so many different facets of life and death presented in this publication-- from the uplifting to the grim to the humorous-- that what we have created is something truly intriguing and inspirational. I wrote "No strangers to danger" and "In the ruins" for Flatline, both which focus on people who willingly put their lives at risk. Personally, I tend to avoid dangerous situations, so it was fun to jump into the fearless mindset of the sources I interviewed to explore why they do what they do.

Likes: flannel, skinny jeans, glitter, magazines, Chipotle
Dislikes: cold, snow, metro transit
Mukhtar Ibrahim

I am a senior journalism major at the University of Minnesota. Before I started journalism two years ago, I was into science, but I made a U-turn and switched to journalism after I transferred from Inver Hills Community College. I worked at the Minnesota Daily last summer and now I am a reporter and a producer intern for Minnesota Public Radio. As an associate editor for Flatline, I am responsible for fact checking stories and making sure the magazine is free of factual errors. I will help with story editing and maintaining a constant style throughout the magazine. Since the theme of the magazine is death, I wrote one piece that was looking at death from the Christian and Muslim perspectives. It's enlightening to compare how the two main religions in the world view death.

Likes: Religion, world politics, Twitter, summer, soccer, especially the World Cup.
Dislikes: Winter, intolerance, phone interviews, Internet Explorer.

I am excited and looking forward to read and fact check different stories that are looking at death from different angles. I always looked at death from the spiritual side and I am amazed how the Flatline staff came up with very interesting stories that are not about dead people.
Muna Hassan



Hey! I'm Muna, and I am a double major in journalism and English with a minor in communication studies. I am also a freelance writer for the Sun Current. I'm one of the associate editors at Flatline as well as the circulation manager. Pretty much, I write and edit stories and make sure everyone (like you) know what Flatline magazine is and why it is so awesome. I like to do fun and crazy things (like skydiving) and try to live life to the fullest. In the future, I would love to travel and learn as many languages and cultures as I possibly can.
Priscilla Lundquist



I am a journalism major with a minor in political science. Magazine writing was the original dream when I started at the U of M, but I am increasingly doubting that career choice. I am interning/volunteering at New Life Family Services helping out with communications and other random things, and loving it. I am an associate editor at Flatline, which means I get to make sure all the stories are 100 percent accurate and write a story on how thinking about death makes your life better.

Likes: Singing, playing piano or guitar, playing broomball, watching hockey, being wacky, laughing, and top of the list, GOD
Dislikes: Waiting for the bus, coffee, writing rough drafts, the Packers
Chelsey Knutson



What I'm majoring in and/or other jobs I have: Journalism. I have an internship at Tiger Oaks Publications where I do various things for both Minnesota Bride and METRO magazines.

I love eating; it's my favorite thing to do. Ironically, I hate cooking though so if I ever became rich enough I would have my own chef. Running is a way for me to forget that I'm in the real world and just be free from everything. I chose writing as a career path because it was the only class in high school that I looked forward to, but in all honesty I don't think I'm that good at it. Being able to travel anywhere in the world is a dream of mine.

Likes/dislikes: Movies are a huge one. I don't have a favorite, but I tend to lean towards thrillers. Heath ice cream and pasta are two things I could never get sick of. I love cats and I have one named Andy. I love reading magazines and hope to write for one in the future, preferably a lifestyle publication. Sitting at a bar with friends, having a good beer is one of my favorite activities. I don't hate many things, but I cannot stand liars or blatantly rude people.

I was extremely excited for this topic because death is something that many people, including myself, shy away from even though it's the one thing is life that is absolute. My topic was to write about artists who work with ephemeral material. It was a challenge because I had no knowledge prior to this assignment about this topic. It was interesting to see an aspect of art that I know I wouldn't of ever seen had it not been for this class.
Lauren Huff

Major: Journalism
Minor: Political Science

Currently, my passion is making bubble tea at the ever-popular Tea Garden. I also intern at the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. After busy days, I come home and sit down to watch my favorite mind-numbing reality TV shows. Reality TV shows reinforce my preexisting beliefs that most people suck, and for some reason, I enjoy that. I am a die-hard pessimist and I like anything that is controversial and/or dark. When the subject of death for our magazine was introduced, I was intrigued. In spite of my love for "dark things," I appreciate that our entire magazine isn't depressing. Finding different ways to approach death made our class get creative. It made us look beyond the surface connotations to death. It made our magazine better.
Liz Maher



I am a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in journalism and minoring in Spanish studies. I also work at the Minnesota Daily as a copy desk editor where I edit content and lay out pages for the paper. As an assistant art director for Flatline, I collaborated with the rest of the art team to develop a cohesive and captivating design throughout the magazine that we hope captures both the serious and lighthearted aspects of the stories told in Flatline. My other main responsibility for this magazine was writing the feature article on organ donation. This was a great experience and I learned so much from each of the fascinating people who shared their stories with me.

Likes: Noodles, humor, Mythbusters, good music, weirdness
Dislikes: Spiders, sharks, other creepy and/or potentially dangerous animals

At first I wasn't sure that a magazine about death would be interesting or enticing in the least, and frankly I found the idea to be a bit crazy. But that all changed when I began to hear the stories people had to tell and started to see how death really is everywhere and an essential part of the definition of life.
Yiqiao Wang



I am a fourth-year journalism student with a major in visual communication and a minor in management. I am a cheerful, sincere, and hardworking person who loves travel and fashion. As the assistant art director at Flatline Magazine, my job is to assist our art director in the graphic design, layout, and production of the magazine. I think the subject is bold and innovative, and a little bit wacky. Besides the art assignments, I'm also responsible for the cover story, which talks about a profile feature of a mortuary science student at the U. Although I personally am not familiar with death, I really like the concept of shedding a light on this otherwise grim and bleak topic. I'm looking forward to seeing its success.

Likes: Travel, fashion, novelty, NBA, piano, nature, life
Dislikes: narrow-mindedness, unwillingness, jumping to conclusion
Bre McGee



I am a senior photojournalism major with an art minor. Since my junior year, I have interned with The Minnesota Daily, City Pages, Delta Sky Magazine, and Minnesota Premier Publications. I prefer journalistic photography over artistic photography because I love the documentary aspect of journalism and having an excuse to make friends with the people my assignments bring me to. I worked on a photo essay that brings to light the way many people are dealing with the loss of loved ones-- through memorial tattoos.
Stephanie Rosengren



I am a senior at the University of Minnesota with double majors in journalism and Spanish. During the past two years, I have worked at Greenspring Media Group as a Web Video Intern and Children's Home Society and Family Services as an International Adoption Intern. As one of the staff photographers of Flatline, I have enjoyed the challenge of visually capturing "death" from a fresh perspective.

Likes: Traveling, playing tennis, mejorando my Spanish, updating my Netflix movie queue and watching endless amounts of adorable cat videos on Youtube
Dislikes: Being absentminded and running out of Diet Coke

For the last five years or so, I have adopted a certain quote by Elie Wiesel as my personal mantra. It goes, "The opposite of life is not death; it's indifference." On a personal level, this quote inspires me to live with purpose and avoid settling for anything less than my dreams. Therefore, after graduation, I plan to follow my dream of living in Spain and teaching English. I made this decision based on a number of factors. It wasn't just about improving my Spanish, although I do hope to be fluent by the time I come back to the United States (if I ever come back!). It wasn't just about taking a year off to clear my head and weigh different career paths, although I also hope that I won't return to the United States quite as clueless as I felt when I left it. No, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity because I felt a strong desire to live my life without indifference or regret. As Wiesel said, death is a natural companion to life. Everything alive must someday die. What matters is how you live your life within the time you are given.
Sarah Song Vang



I really like how journalism gets me prepared for anything. I'm a journalism major with minors in New Media Studies, Asian American Studies, and Korean, but I work as the webmaster of a charter school and am self-employed as 30 percent of a design and photography team named ele.fut (and I will shamelessly ask you to find us on Facebook). I have a life insurance policy. Are you covered?

Likes: Music I don't understand, films that can psychoanalyze me, printing black and white film, elegant unicorns made completely out of the letter 'U' that are farting rainbows
Dislikes: Ignorant people, the color pink, failure

I am excited to be part of this magazine. I hope Flatline will help point out the abundance of death in this world, and maybe you will see how much of a murderer we all are. (Among the things I've killed are spiders, bugs, worms, bacteria, good moods, and Kodak moments. What about you?)
Iman Mohammed



I am a professional journalism major with a minor in Asian Languages and Literature, and currently a freelance intern with Delta Sky Magazine. I have had an obsession with EVERYTHING K-pop and J-pop (Korean and Japanese pop music) for the past six years and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon. My job as the assistant web editor of Flatline Magazine involved fact checking all the copy for the website as well as basic copy editing.

Likes: Anything that has to do with Korea and Japan, music, traveling, etc.
Dislikes: people who don't signal when driving.

After experiencing the death of a loved one, this project came at the right time. It has allowed me to reflect on life and focus on what's important, and that's not taking everything so seriously.
Alec Schimke



I'm a 22-year-old senior at the University of Minnesota, studying professional journalism. As a Blogger for Flatline Magazine, I'm following the death of trends in business, technology and communication. Ever since I was little, I've had a passion for storytelling and going on adventures. This past fall, I packed my bags and moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma for four months to study sports journalism at Oklahoma State University. I left with a little southern accent and the confidence that I could do anything in life. I hope to one day feel as a free as I did during those four months.

Likes: Sports, traveling, social media, being out late, being independent
Dislikes: Peanuts and dairy (allergies), change, mornings

Death is actually a pretty foreign word to me. I've never lost a close family member or friend. Maybe that's why I'm writing about the death of trends...?
Eric Dolski



I'm a journalism/English double major who works over in yonder Rarig Center as a story producer for Radio K. When I'm not surfing the curve in my classes, I enjoy playing videogames and writing novels for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Being a blogger for Flatline, I get to write things both serious and humorous, but mostly humorous because seriousness in 2011 is synonymous with pandering and Oscar-bait. Do I look like a viable politician? Of course not. I wear glasses. Do I look like Tom Hooper? Just the nose, but the nose doesn't make the man. Any man with a huge nose can tell you that.

Likes: family values, peace and quiet, the 21st century results of 20th century political imperium, skirts
Dislikes: America, women wearing pants/the pants women wear, smarm

In my own head, I still call Flatline "Death: the Magazine". I have an easy time conceptualizing death but a difficult time visualizing it; this has led to much of my blog content being not about dead people or dead... animals, or something, but instead about dead ideas and dead concepts. I'm perfectly content with death as an idea, but I feel that it gets overplayed as a thematic issue when it's something we all simply have to live with.
Reece Lamppa



I am a professional journalism major at the University of Minnesota. I work as a sports writer for Patch.com, AOL's hyper-local news source, and I'm a singer/songwriter that plays the music scene in Minneapolis. I keep a blog here at Flatline Magazine called Things That Can Kill You, where I dive into the many things that can pose a threat to your well being.

Likes: Music, sports, deep conversations, pillow pets, pajama jeans
Dislikes: men in skinny jeans, disrespectful people, small dogs in oversized tote bags
Abhishek Kumar

Likes/Dislikes: I like just about anything with some notable exceptions: I don't like Republicans and I don't like idiots. Wait, that's redundant.

Death isn't something people like to talk about and what we're trying to do is to engage readers to have a serious discussion about death because it has very real consequences for everyone involved. That death is inevitable is all the more reason to establish a contextual framework in which to have a meaningful discussion because just because it will happen someday in the distant future is no reason not to have a meaningful discussion about it. Writing about suicide and reasons not to commit was probably the most difficult piece I've ever written.

Favorite dead person I'd like to meet: Adolf Hitler, just so I could shoot him, sell off his organs/body parts and make a huge profit as a venture capitalist.



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