Feel It. Follow It. The Beat Lures Christina Butan ’17
She stumbled upon the The Beat online during her college search—it was one of the main reasons she decided to attend Purchase.
Four years later, the journalism major is now the publication’s editor-in-chief.
From Astoria, Queens, Butan attended her neighborhood’s all-girls Young Women’s Leadership School. Journalism became her focus in ninth grade and remains her ardent passion. She came to Purchase with the singular notion of becoming a music journalist—and Purchase was the only school she found with its own publication devoted to music and the arts.
Butan joined The Beat as a writer in her freshman year. “Everyone was so intimidating,” she recalls, but they were also an inspiration. “I admired the staff greatly. They were so cool to me, and I wanted to be like them. Fast forward, I’m now one of them.”
The Opening Beat
The Beat began as a printed publication in the fall of 2012, its first issue developed from the profile pieces written by students in Professor Andrew Salomon’s The Beat of Music Journalism class. The idea emerged as he edited their papers. Salomon remains the publisher, and in the first issue he wrote, “I was continually buffeted by compelling tales of people yearning for unique and universal things, overcoming obstacles, battling the odds. Suddenly I wasn’t grading a stack of papers anymore. I was reading the rough draft of the first issue of a magazine.”
The Beat continues today as a printed magazine, published semi-annually. The eighth issue is “on stands now.” Its online presence has grown considerably since Butan found the fledgling site, which now features more day-to-day coverage of campus events and activities.
As Butan’s role progressed at The Beat, so did her journalistic focus, evolving beyond music to include culture and lifestyle stories. Internships at People Magazine and the Today Show helped expand her interests to culture and lifestyles.
And for her senior project, she’s shifted gears entirely, as she interviews business owners and others in Astoria about its roughly ten-year shift from a predominantly ethnic Greek, Italian, and middle Eastern neighborhood into a haven for hipster culture—into a mini-Brooklyn. Her project will be a long-form journalism piece replete with photos.
Once she graduates, Butan is completely open to any opportunity that presents itself. While she appreciates the brevity and impact of short web posts, she prefers long-form journalism, where she really gets to flex her journalist muscle. “Writing 300-500 word web posts is really hard for me. I remember an English teacher telling us we had to kill our babies—our best ideas,” she recalls.
While The Beat is an all-consuming, stressful endeavor for Butan, it’s truly a labor of love. “Honestly journalism is my life. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”