College and University General Interest Magazines: Carleton College - Gold Medal

Category 17: College and University General Interest Magazines
Carleton College, Carleton College Voice

Contact: Teresa Scalzo, director of publications/editor, One North College St., Northfield, MN 55057, Phone: (507) 646-5423, e-mail:

Objectives: Mission statement: The Carleton College Voice supports Carleton’s liberal arts mission, connects alumni to the college and its resources, and demonstrates Carleton’s enduring value to alumni by being a credible reflection of its vitality and intellectual life.

The goals and objectives are:

  1. To build pride and loyalty by impressing readers with the quality of Carleton, including its programs, faculty, staff, students, and alumni;
  2. To address timely and important issues—both on campus and off—from the perspective of those closest to the topic;
  3. To persuade readers to become active supporters of Carleton’s educational mission by showcasing stellar examples of volunteer involvement in a variety of areas;
  4. To thank donors for their support and show them how the college allocates its resources;
  5. To present consistently writing, editing, photography, illustration, and design of the highest quality.

Staff: Two full-time staff (editor and managing editor), one part-time associate editor, one freelance designer, freelance copy editor

Frequency: Five times—winter, spring, summer, summer supplement, and fall

Average Pages per Issue: 60 (summer supplement is 24 pages), plus cover

Circulation: Approximately 29,000

Total Annual Budget: $263,000 (excluding salaries and postage)

Average Cost Per Issue and Unit Cost: $57,000 average cost; $1.96 per unit
(cost for the summer supplement is $35,000; $1.20 per unit)

Response and/or Results:

Goal: To build pride and loyalty by impressing readers with the quality of Carleton, including its programs, faculty, staff, students, and alumni

  • The Voice staff strives to accomplish this goal with every story, photograph, layout, and illustration we assign, write, and edit. We highlight the accomplishments of alumni not only in traditional profiles, but also by choosing timely topics about which alumni can speak drawing on their personal or professional expertise. We also feature alumni from a wide cross section of life. Recent subjects include a nationally acclaimed director who works with puppets of all sizes, a geneticist, and a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer.
  • Each issue of the magazine contains at least one story that addresses something related directly to Carleton. For example, in the past year, we have run stories on how Carleton is helping students finance their increasingly expensive education, the challenges the college faces as its students become more tech-savvy and the demands it places on teaching, how Carleton students are contributing to environmental causes on and off campus, how more women at Carleton major in science and go on to earn doctorates than at any other nearby liberal arts college or university, and finally, why Carleton believes it is important to offer and support a strong varsity athletics program.
  • Our two-page profiles feature a striking photograph and about 700 words. Reader response has been very positive since the profiles debuted five years ago. People love the photography and the quick read. We typically publish two or three of these profiles in each issue. Subjects include students, faculty members, and alumni. This has been an especially effective way to showcase the activities of students and faculty members.
  • Members of Carleton’s Multicultural Alumni Network called to thank the editor for including people of color throughout the magazine as profile subjects and sources on a variety of topics—not just those dealing with multicultural issues.
  • Comments received recently from alumni include:
    • “I’ve watched with satisfaction as you’ve made the Voice into a magazine representative of the quality of Carleton College.” Alumna, class of ’75
    • “At some point a few years ago when the Voice started to add color, I wrote to complain that the college shouldn’t spend all that money on an alumni publication. I regret that sentiment now and I say, ‘more power and more money to you!’ My wife and I read every word and feel very connected to the Carleton of today. Thank you.” Alumnus, class of ’47
    • “The recent Voice was fabulous. My only complaint is that it took me an entire workout (45 minutes!) to get through it.” Alumna, class of ’81
    • “The Voice is a helluva nice piece. Thanks for the great work.” Alumnus, class of ’93
    • Your last edition of Voice was outstanding. The Voice is truly on the verge of being likened to an exurban New Yorker. Alumnus, class of ’58

Goal: To address timely and important issues from the perspective of those closest to the topic

  • Spring 2006 featured “The ABCs of HIV” about an alumna who went to Africa to teach English, but quickly realized it was more important to start an HIV/AIDS education program. The issue also featured “Dream Jobs,” in which we asked a group of students to name their “dream job.” We then found alumni who have those jobs and allowed the students to ask them questions about it.
  • In the summer 2006 issue, we asked Carleton alumni who work in the field of climate change about the consequences and challenges of global warming.
  • In the fall, we featured “plugged_in@edu,” which looked at how today’s tech-savvy students are coming to college with high expectations and unique learning preferences.
  • The winter 2007 issue looked at online networking sites like Facebook and how they are changing the way students socialize—even before they arrive on campus as first-years. “Caught in the Crossfire” was the first-person account of a student who had to be evacuated from Beirut last summer during an escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Goal: To persuade readers to become active supporters of Carleton’s educational mission by showcasing stellar examples of volunteer involvement in a variety of areas

  • “Voicing Support,” a regular feature in the Voice, profiles the many people who support the college, including alumni volunteers, club chairs, donors, parents, faculty and staff members, and students. We do not profile donors exclusively, but rather we show the wide variety of ways people can choose to get involved with the college. We have made a conscious decision not to reward only financial contributors to the college, but to recognize the people who share with us their time, energy, talent, and wisdom as well.
  • The regular alumni affairs department page includes recaps of alumni club events across the country, bios of alumni volunteers and award winners, news about upcoming events, and ways alumni can get involved with the college or with clubs in their area.

Goal: To thank donors for their support and to show them how the college allocates its resources

  • The Voice purposely is not a fundraising tool for the college, but we often showcase something on campus that is the result of donor support. Recent examples include stories about new buildings, scholarships, and visits to campus (paid for by alumni-endowed lectureships) by such noteworthy people as writers P.J. O’Rourke, Garrison Keillor, and John Updike; playwright and director Nagle Jackson; political pundit George Will; NPR’s Terry Gross, sculptor Patrick Dougherty, and dancers from the New York City Ballet.

Goal: To present consistently writing, editing, photography, illustration, and design of the highest quality

  • Although the awards we have won recently from CASE, Folio, and the Minnesota Magazine & Publications Association have been incredibly gratifying, we continue to draw our greatest pleasure from the response of our readers. Recent examples include:
    • “Thank you for a high-quality and interesting magazine. Your mix of stories, graphic style, and quality of writing all are excellent. Can I please keep getting the Voice after [my son] graduates?” Current parent
    • “The Voice is a publication I look forward to receiving and read thoroughly!” Alumna, class of ’65
    • “The Carleton College Voice is the only publication I read from cover to cover in my busy schedule. You never disappoint” Alumna, class of ’49
    • “Your recent issue is wonderful—such varied and interesting stories. There is so much I want to read.” Alumna, class of ’59
    • “The Voice is captivating. Can a college alumni magazine be newsworthy, interesting, and a joy to read? Yes!” Alumnus, class of ’58.”
    • “What an incredible job you folks do with the Voice. Can I get 50 copies? We will definitely be using them for recruiting purposes.” Carleton faculty member
    • “The Voice has evolved into a wonderful magazine. I read it even though it is my husband who is your alumnus.”
    • “As a faithful reader of the Voice since the days of [previous editors], I can only say that you have elevated their standard of excellence to a new level.” Alumnus, class of ’59

Also gratifying to us are the comments we receive from our colleagues at other institutions. They include:

  • “I am sitting here trying to work and find myself going back to your magazine again and again because the articles are so interesting and seductive. All those little touches in headlines, captions, and interesting approaches to topics that are often so dull when done by lesser hands.” Communications director, University of Minnesota
  • “My boss—New England College President Ellen Hurwitz—handed me [a recent] Voice and said, ‘This is how intellectually uplifting I want our alumni magazine to be.’ ” Editor, New England College
  • “Could you add me to your mailing list? I promise not to be too obvious in the ideas I steal from you.” Editor, Oregon Quarterly
  • “The Voice is an elegant magazine.” Dean, William and Mary School of Law
  • “Our president recently forwarded to me a copy of your magazine with a note implying that Allegheny magazine should try to emulate you. You should feel flattered. He has very discriminating taste.” Editor, Allegheny College
  • “I thought you should know that I started to read the winter Voice this morning and before I knew it, I had lost two hours. I found my eyes glued to every page, which is usually the case with the Voice, but the variety and quality of each piece seemed particularly engaging this time. You really know how to put together a magazine that can interest people who have never even stepped foot on campus.” Editor, Denison University