Dreams come true for young publisher

By Marie Burke

Reprinted with permission from
Saskatchewan Sage - April 1999 - pg. 6

Christopher Tyrone Ross
Left to Right -- Jim Antoine, Melaw Antoine,
Christopher Tyrone Ross, and Jon Beaver.

"Keep it real and bout it, bout it" -- is a phrase most people over the age of 30 might not understand, but in the magazine called Generation X it's a message that reaches the young people.

Chris Ross, the chief editor and publisher, intends to reach them and that's what is making Generation X the fastest growing publication of its kind in Saskatchewan.

The young Aboriginal man from Red Earth First Nation published the fourth edition of Generation X in March. The magazine is for and about Aboriginal young people with a positive message.

"It's a voice for Aboriginal youth and it's always going to be for them. I think everybody reads our magazine, a lot of youth who are 15 to 18 years old, somone who has an interest in new things," said Ross.

Generation X -- The number one source of sports, news and entertainment for Saskatchewan youth, reads the magazine banner. Story headlines like The Dating Doctor -- top 10 pickup lines, The Life of a Teen Parent, and a special report on Career Development -- The Importance of Education, give the reader some laughs and insight.

As Ross explains the fundamental principles behind Generation X, he doesn't sould like an old hardened reporter when he talks about the different perspective young people have on life.

"We want to stay away from the politics. I mean, I can relate to adults and sit and talk about that, but we want to tell positive stories about the good side of Aboriginal youth," said Ross.

One of the articles in the first issue of Generation X raised the defenses of teachers in the high school Ross was attending last year. The 16 things to do on an exam when you know you are going to fail was the article that didn't seem funny to school officials.

"The teachers wanted to stop the paper, but yet the school was showing us gruesome videos about abortion in the Life Transitions 20 class. They said 'We think you're old enough to handle this,'" said Ross. "But some of us aren't grown up or old enough and some kids have had to deal with enough. We need to laugh and just joke around sometimes," he said.

After that incident Ross said he became more aware of the impact the articles he published in the magazine had. But it didn't stop him from continuing to push the limits, from time to time.

Ross plans on putting out three big issues in the summer of 1999 with a big back-to-school issue planned for September. Generation X is making its way around.

Ross is getting more calls from young people who want to contribute as writers to the magazine and that helps him, but it also gives youth an opportunity, he said.

"I don't want to be rich, I want to give something strong to the youth," he said.

On the subject of ethics, Ross believes in getting a story to the readers if it has some meaning for them. When asked if he would publish stories on issues like suicide, he considered his answer for a moment and decided if the information in the story could help young people, he would do it.

The publisher gives full credit to his editorial board for making the magazine what it is. Robert Standing, who designs and contributes to the publishing of the magazine, told Sage they will never give up and will keep it going. Jon Beaver, who is the photographer, is also dedicated to contributing to Generation X.

And what exactly does "Keep it real and bout it, bout it" actually mean? We're afraid you're going to have to read Generation X to find out for yourself.

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