New platform, The Odyssey, hits campus

Story by Jessica BostickStaff writer

The Odyssey is a new online publication to Murray State that “crowdsources ideas from millennial thought leaders in their local communities,” according to their website.

Seventy-nine percent of writers for The Odyssey are 18 to 24 years old.

The Odyssey allows writers to share events happening in their local communities and opinions on various issues.

The Odyssey was founded at Indiana University by two students who desired a platform on which people their age could share their thoughts and ideas. Starting out as a printed publication, The Odyssey eventually shifted to online to allow further reach.

Murray State senior Kelsey Grapperhaus from Troy, Illinois began writing for The Odyssey in June.

“The Odyssey is different because I can choose what I want to write about each week,’’ she said. ‘‘No one is here to tell me which story or topic to cover; it’s all up to me. I think that’s what’s so great about The Odyssey because the website is filled with the thoughts and interests of actual college students – written by college students, for college students.”

The informality of The Odyssey is a hit with many students but others see a negative side to this casual take on journalism.

“I’ve read some good and bad articles from The Odyssey. I feel like it’s more of an outlet for college students to vent about what bugs them about Greek life or college in general instead of real articles,” said Rayleigh Melton,  senior from Cadiz, Kentucky. “They’re not well researched at all and are mostly opinion pieces, some of which are negative and offensive.”

Magazines such as Forbes, Indianapolis Business Journal and many others have also discussed The Odyssey and its unique approach at journalism.

“At the center of this democratization of brands and the new mechanics of marketing and advertising are young people- digital natives, but more than that, individuals who have little regard for established rules of engagement,” according to a Forbes Magazine article.

The Odyssey is growing quickly in popularity among college students as an exciting place to express opinions for pleasure, rather than as a job. The Odyssey is expecting to add 200 communities to its already existing 250 by the end of 2015.

“We submit a new article every Sunday at 5 p.m. and whoever gets the most shares on their article out of all of the writers on staff gets $20 in their PayPal account,” Grapperhaus said. “I like this a lot because it’s not considered a job, but a hobby. It also keeps the staff competitive and encourages us to write about something even better the next week.”

According to Forbes, “They are fearlessly rewriting the marketing playbook, finding whitespace and developing unprecedented tools, processes, strategies and companies.’’