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Alumni Magazines: Content Contention

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  1. Introduction
  2. Mandates for alumni magazines
  3. The incident that raised awareness about the specific issues between editorial and institutional ideas
  4. The strict controls applied by institutions
  5. Conclusion

Alumni magazines have long been a source of debate among both their producers and receivers. What information should they include, and what is their real purpose? For the institutions that produce them, they are usually considered a way to interest potential donors, and raise awareness of events in the university community. However, due to the need most schools have for money, institution administrators tend to focus the magazine on the financial aspects, with articles on donors, new buildings, and financial committees. Editors must fight against this trend and maintain reader interest by including more general interest articles about research, the arts, and the lives of alumni.

[...] If they don't, alumni-magazine editors are out of work.?[5] Douglas Hartford, Vice- President of Public Affairs at Metropolitan State University, agrees, stating that the alumni magazine editors need to recognize that they are not independent, but are part of a team that must strive to support the University while creating an artistic and readable work.[6] As a result of the strict controls applied by institutions about the content allowable in their alumni publications, a number of colleges have begun independent magazines. [...]

[...] Many editors believe that an alumni magazine should, like a regular magazine, be first and foremost interesting?and this means including both affirmative and critical stories. Middlebury Magazine editor Rachel Morton, who has worked for alumni publications for more than twenty years, thinks development officials worry too much, and that with an increase in readership brought on by printing more interesting stories, donations could increase. Indeed, according to a survey conducted in 1995, stories about fundraising and donations are of the least interest to readers, while general interest articles and those about research and other university news are the most anticipated.[8] Though this data is older, it still holds true for audiences now. [...]

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