Welcome to The Change-Up

The Change-Up is a new student-run publication dedicated to producing high-quality feature content on Columbia athletics and culture. (Chase Manze)

The Change-Up is a new student-run publication dedicated to producing high-quality feature content on Columbia athletics and culture. (Chase Manze)

The name implies something sharp: a quick left turn or a jagged, jutting movement into a new terrain. In baseball, from which the name derives, the change-up pitch refers to several individual acts happening all at once. In sequence, the pitcher frames his body and arches his release, projecting a sense of where the ball might arrive. The batter tenses, raising the bat over his shoulder in preparation. His eyes are keen. The ball begins to jet forward in an earnest arc headed towards the belly of the batter’s box.

Only, it does not arrive. As the bat swings up and out into open air—the batter himself bewildered—the ball often falls into either the dirt or the glove of the catcher. In a duel predicated on prediction, it is the ball which subverts expectations. In essence then, the change-up elicits the image of unexpected surprise, a moment of second-guessing.

We chose the name in large part because the domain was available. The three of us sat in the back bedroom of a Columbia University School of General Studies-provided apartment and brainstormed ad nauseam, saying the same words and phrases over and over again until they all bled together.

The Goal-line

The Full-Court Press

The Run-and-Gun

The Top of the Key

The Up-and-Under

By the end, the suggestions were less well-thought-out names than they were just different examples of sports terminology prefaced by “The.” It was as exhaustion loomed and it neared one or two in the morning that the suggestion came sputtering out of someone’s mouth. Exactly who, no one recalls.

The Change-Up

At the time it fit all our criteria. It (1) related to sports, (2) emulated the nature of our favorite websites (The Ringer, The Athletic), and (3) just sounded good when said aloud.

What we did not realize then but have over the past weeks is that the name adequately captures our motivation for starting this website in the first place: We are looking to change things up, to revel in the unexpected, and to keep those watching us guessing.

The goal of the site remains straightforward: to provide a platform for Columbia’s talented writers, editors, designers and illustrators to showcase their abilities and create meticulously crafted and engaging content. As can be gleaned from the header, our main “genres” are five-fold.

First, as always, there is Sports. This website is staffed largely by writers and editors with a vested interest in the Columbia athletics community. As such, we will commit a healthy percentage of our overall output to feature content dedicated to shining a light on the stories present amongst Columbia’s players, coaches, and teams. In this first “issue,” that takes the form of Maddie Covino’s feature on the Fencing team, or Leo Goldman’s introduction to his method of predicting the Ivy League season for men’s basketball.

Next comes the umbrella term of Culture. Functionally, this section will operate as the home for all magazine-style content. Discussions on music, film, and television happen here. Long-form narrative features exploring situations, communities, or people in the Columbia community will be shared here. In short, some of our most articulate and creative voices will funnel their efforts towards storytelling and analysis. Notable examples on the website right now are Tyler Campbell’s journey to better understand musician bay. b. Bop and Liam Skelly’s analysis of HOMESHAKE’s newest album, Helium.

Third is the Essays section. Here, one can expect to find a boon of personal narratives capturing the particularities and eccentricities of The Change-Up’s staff and contributing writers. The content here is meant to be a bit more literary in tone, breaking away from the often structurally rigid expectations of pure journalism. Examples of this include Dunia Haboosh’s celebration of women in athletics, and Sophia de Peña’s rumination on the collapse of small business in New York under the weight of the Grubhub economy.

In Photo, you’ll find strictly photo content showcasing the work of Columbia’s arts community. For this week, we have staff photographer Elisabetta Lucia Diorio, harkening back to the American cowboy and taking us deep into the dark curiosity of the west.

Lastly comes Podcasts. We will be launching five podcasts over the next several weeks. They vary in topic and tone. Score Lions Score featuring Zach Miller and myself will focus on discussing the most pressing goings-on in the Columbia athletics community. Our discussion will be featured alongside occasional interviews with players, coaches, and personnel. The first podcast ready to launch is an established winner. DormStories, hosted by Viggo Blomquist and Aunoy Poddar, looks to take one of Columbia’s best characteristics—the conversations it prompts—and bring them to a wider audience.

As of now, we are an incredibly small operation of roughly eighteen editors, writers, designers, illustrators, coders, and photographers. Over these next few weeks we will make countless mistakes in the pursuit of creating good content. All I can hope for now is that you take a look at what we have on display at launch, sense some potential, and consider it a worthwhile addition to your bookmarks bar.

We have fourteen great pieces online and ready to read today. I hope you’ll join us for the next fourteen, and fourteen more after that.

All the best,

Ethan DeLehman

Editor-in-Chief, The Change-Up