Independent School Magazines: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Bronze Medal

Category 19A: Independent School Magazines
Northfield Mount Hermon School, NMH Magazine

Contact: Deborah Holman, director of communications, 206 Main St., Northfield, MA 01360, Phone: (413) 498-3376, e-mail:

Objectives of the periodical: NMH Magazine goes out to alumni, current parents, friends, and the NMH community. We strive for a magazine that deeply engages our readers with the school, highlights alumni accomplishments, and builds institutional pride.

The magazine underwent a redesign in fall 2004 and has been steadily strengthening its look and identity—a fitting parallel with the school itself, which has undergone a huge transformation in the past two and a half years (downsizing from two campuses to one and reducing the student body from 1,050 to 630). The magazine’s challenge has been to inform readers of these seismic changes while reassuring them that the soul of the school remains the same—at the same time delivering a lively mix of features and departmental offerings.

With the redesign, NMH Magazine went from two colors to four; with careful cost-cutting elsewhere and with the wonders of digital printing, the cost difference was negligible. We went from an in-house designer (lost to budget cuts) to outsourcing the magazine’s design. We’ve developed a comfortably collaborative relationship with the local firm that designs the magazine, with lots of give and take on both sides. We recently upped the photography budget because we want to maintain and improve the quality of our photographs, especially feature portraits.

Staffing: NMH Magazine is produced by three in-house staff: the editor (who spends about 65 percent of her time on the magazine), a design and production manager, and a class notes editor. They are assisted by a writer and a copy editor. All design is produced by a consultant.

Frequency: Three times a year: fall (published mid-October), winter (mid-February), and spring (mid-June).

Average pages per issue: ~80

Circulation: 32,000

Total annual budget for the periodical: $168,000

Average cost per issue: $56,000 per issue; unit cost of about $1.75

Response and/or results (How did you meet your goals?): NMH has received consistently positive feedback since its redesign, despite the fact that many of our alumni remain disgruntled that the school closed one of its campuses. Perhaps the greatest indicator of success is the volume and passion of letters to the editor. Where the letters used to be sparse and rather bland, a number of magazine pieces have sparked lively debate. That seems a real indicator that NMH Magazine is accomplishing its mission of engaging readers.