Entries by

Feature well chaos? Try this.

I love talking to editors about their story development processes for their magazines. I’m particularly interested in the ways they work on their feature wells. After all, a print magazine is a school’s flagship communications tool for alumni. It’s often one of the most time-consuming and expensive communications tools, too. In a magazine, the feature […]

Do you follow the Rodham Rule for higher ed writing?

Last summer, I gobbled up Rodham, the alternate-universe story of Hillary Clinton written by one of my literary favorites, Curtis Sittenfeld. A line that stood out to me was when the fictional version of Hillary sends her brother a sports-related text: “This season does seem promising, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up.” […]

The essential question to ask before making big magazine changes

First, let’s state the obvious: most schools made dramatic changes during the early weeks of the pandemic that weren’t based on in-depth analysis. This isn’t a criticism! The changes were an immediate response to an unprecedented crisis. Communications teams slashed costs, cut the number of issues in their magazine or trimmed pages. Some went entirely […]

4 predictions for alumni magazines in 2021

I made my first set of annual predictions last year. Were they good? Were they terrible? I mean, the assumptions didn’t include a pandemic, that’s for sure. Will 2021 bring the same kind of chaos? There’s still plenty of uncertainty, but based on what I’m hearing from clients and newsletter subscribers, here are some of […]

‘Every page should make an attempt to draw attention.’

I was delighted to talk to this year’s Sibley-winning editor: Joe Wakelee-Lynch. Joe is editor of LMU Magazine from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The magazine is gorgeous and ambitious and singular. (You can read the report from judges here.) Joe has been with the university since 2006, and the story topics and approaches reflect […]

Why I love source approvals (and a template to do them flawlessly)

Recently, I was talking with a client about a major feature project that used a lot of institutional VIPs as sources, and I brought up my source approval process.“Wait,” she said. “You do an approval process for every source? On every story?”   via GIPHY   Yep. Want to skip straight to the exact source-approval template I use, complete […]

Interview Fundamentals: 3 Perfect Questions

Years ago, when I first started interviewing folks for alumni magazines, I could not have been more terrible at asking questions. Once, while interviewing a recent grad whose short stories had been widely praised, I asked the following “question.” “I read that your work has been compared to Italo Calvino’s. That must be pretty cool.” […]