Awards
Research Magazines: Ohio University - Silver Medal

Category 18A: Research Magazines
Ohio University, Perspectives Magazine

Contact: Andrea Gibson, director, research communications, 114 Research and Technology Center, Athens, OH 45701, Phone: (740) 597-2166, e-mail: gibsona@ohio.edu

Objectives: Perspectives seeks to serve its readers by providing information about the research, scholarly, and creative activities of Ohio University faculty, staff, and students, and about the contributions of university research in general. This is accomplished through the publication of accurate and balanced journalistic content that informs, stimulates intellectual discussion, and promotes scholarly inquiry.

Staffing: The staff of Perspectives includes one full-time editor who contributes some of the articles and oversees all the editing for the magazine. Perspectives comprises about 30 percent to 50 percent of the editor’s full-time duties. Other contributing writers during 2006 included several undergraduate interns; a graduate student assistant; writers who work in other communications offices around campus; and freelance writers. Design and illustrations are done by freelancers. A university-employed photographer handles between 25 percent to 30 percent of the photos; the rest are done by freelancers. We also use a freelance proofreader.

Audience: The magazine is published for a diverse audience that includes such groups as faculty, staff, alumni, boards of visitors from individual colleges on campus, peer institutes, elected officials, high school guidance counselors, science teachers, public libraries, reporters, prospective students and faculty, and businesses and agencies that support Ohio University research.

Statistics: The magazine is published twice a year. The 2006 issues were 48-page, self-enclosed publications. Circulation is 10,000.

Budget: Total annual budget in calendar year 2006 was approximately $68,000, which included printing and freelance writing, photography, and design. The average cost per issue is $34,000, at a unit cost of $3.40.

Response/results: Perspectives magazine has conducted reader focus groups in 2001 and 2006 to gauge how well the publication meets its goals. Each evaluation brings good news: Readers view Perspectives magazine as an intellectually stimulating, visually engaging publication, and typically have had only minor suggestions on how we can better guide them through our content. The Autumn/Winter 2006 issue reflects a redesign of the magazine based in part on reader comments.

There are several other ways that Perspectives has achieved its goals of promoting Ohio University research, scholarship and creative activity and engaging audiences in the topics we cover each issue:

  • Senior administrators at Ohio University report that Perspectives has name recognition with key university stakeholders. Legislators, alumni, donors, and members of the board of trustees have mentioned the publication by name and review the magazine to keep abreast of news from the university.
  • Readers have thanked us for coverage of topical issues such as alternative fuels (“Green Fuels,” Autumn/Winter 2006) and have told us they share the magazine with others interested in or impacted by these matters.
  • Various units within Ohio University also have used the magazine as a recruiting tool for prospective faculty or in new faculty orientation materials. Faculty members have successfully recruited new undergraduate and graduate student researchers to their labs with copies of Perspectives articles about their work.
  • Faculty and staff have reported using the magazine articles in grant proposals to obtain new funding for their work; have sent the articles to current funding agencies; and included them in tenure and promotion packets.
  • The articles in Perspectives also have attracted the attention of news media and other external organizations not affiliated with Ohio University. This has led to further coverage of the university’s research projects in publications that range from the Columbus Dispatch to the New York Times.
  • A professor has used Perspectives magazine in her introductory chemistry course at Ohio University to explain possible applications of chemistry skills and future career paths.
  • After nine years, Perspectives has clear name recognition on the Ohio University campus. More and more faculty request coverage of their work or indicate that they read the publication to learn about the work of their colleagues in other disciplines. One faculty member recently remarked that being featured in the magazine showed that he had “arrived” as a researcher at Ohio University.
  • Perspectives has served as a model for other publications on the Ohio University campus and at other institutions.