by Melody Gilbert, Associate Professor and Documentary Filmmaker, Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts

After a semester spent writing stories about gaming, Northwestern State University students in Professor Melody Gilbert’s COMM4230 class are ready to share AFK: Away from the Keyboard magazine with NSU Demons and the Natchitoches community.

In December, students in the class handed out the paper copy of the magazine, and now the digital version is available to the public to view from anywhere in the world at  (or see QR code below).

The magazine reveals stories written by NSU students who share a slice of gaming life, including an article about a student who tries competitive gaming for the first time, an in-depth look about women who are breaking the gaming glass ceiling, love and esports, an inside look at the esports lounge on the NSU campus and a personal story about a family that games together.

The magazine was produced by the students in one semester. Co-managing Editor Anna Duplantis wasn’t so sure it would work with such a small class. 

“When we first began, I was worried about the size of our class,” she said. “But ultimately we worked as a team and found solutions. This was a learning experience on how to manage a group. Through our ups and downs, we prevailed,”

Col-managing Editor Katy Rigol said that at some points, it seemed like the magazine would never get finished.

“Every time we got close, it seemed like there was still more work to be done,” she said. “The feeling of success and relief after finally completing it is amazing.” 

Gilbert is proud to have seen the class progress through all stages of magazine production in just one short semester.

“These talented aspiring journalists produced this magazine from concept to completion, including writing the stories and designing the magazine,” Gilbert said. “It’s quite an accomplishment to do all of that in such a short time.”

The students were also coached by writer. guest editor and NSU graduate (1977) Denise Lewis Patrick.

“This is a very bright group of students, and it was an amazing experience to advise the class on their stories and to witness the progress they have made,” Patrick said. “I was lucky to be able to visit the class in person from New Jersey to work with them directly, and that helped me realize how much the Journalism (COMM) department has grown.”

COMM4230 is a course offered in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts. Students in the class include Zachary Carroll, Anna Duplantis, Katy Rigol, and Waylon Washington. For more info contact Professor Melody Gilbert at




PICTURED: The AFK Team includes Katy Rigol, Waylon Washington and Anna Duplantis Banner Ad
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