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We store the important things in capsules to last far beyond our own lives. Stories are no different. Whether through oral or written tradition, stories endure generations and epochs, regimes and upheavals. The literature which persists through the sands of time persists for good reason; we draw from it, again and again, to reveal something about ourselves. And we too, create these lasting stories. We write to capture moments and ideas and fleeting thoughts, yearning to immortalize an essence of ourselves, our loved ones and the things that matter to us.

In creating Capsule, we wanted to provide both a platform to showcase USC writers’ work and foster a supportive community for their literary ambitions. As journalism students ourselves, we stepped foot on campus with our own idealized concepts of quality journalism and storytelling, and embarked on writing those stories. The years since have been a learning process for us; our goals were buoyed and amplified by the abundance of resources and brilliant faculty at this private institution, but also softened by the rigidity of curriculum and discouraged by the rapaciousness of industry demands. What was once a simple, naïve mission to explore and create the stories which mattered to us has since been saddled with considerations for wage, revenue, optimization and readability, among other myopic concerns. We created Capsule to carve out space for writers to devote total mind space –– or as much as possible in the life of a student –– toward their writing, without the extras. We're grateful that USC Annenberg Media has supported Capsule’s vision, and for providing the support and freedom that has allowed our writers, and their stories, to flourish.

In this inaugural issue of Capsule, you will find eight personal essays, longform reported pieces and perspective editorials, all crafted by the writers in a complete process that involved pitching, writing and multiple rounds of edits. These stories are about, but not limited to, revolution, identity, assimilation, family, politics, colonialism and loss. In an early meeting with our writers, we asked them to think and write critically; they responded by spending months experimenting with style, sharpening their voice and perfecting their work. We hope you find their stories as compelling as we did.

From the Editors In Chief,

Amina Niasse & Eddie Sun