Print Internal Audience Tabloids and Newsletters: Johns Hopkins Medicine - Silver Medal

Category 22A: Print Internal Audience Tabloids and Newsletters
Johns Hopkins Medicine, DOME

Contact: Anne Bennett Swingle, editor, Marketing and Communications, 901 South Bond St., Suite 550, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: (410) 614-5044, e-mail:

Objectives: Through the news, features, and photographs that appear in Dome, we are trying to reflect the richness of Johns Hopkins Medicine. In short, we’re trying to make this place shine.

This vast enterprise consists of the JHU School of Medicine, three hospitals, a string of primary care clinics stretching across Maryland, a managed care organization and a home care group. Our charge is to make all the employees feel more like part of a whole.

Another objective is to provide a mix of material that resonates with an enormously diverse audience. Employees may be our “target audience,” but because Dome is on the stands throughout Hopkins Medicine’s seven major entities, it's read not just by faculty and staff, but also by visitors, patients, and, for that matter, anyone who logs onto our Web site.

Planning: We’re reporting on new and emerging institutional initiatives, including stories from all our various entities.

But we’re not just aiming for an informative read; we want one that’s pleasurable and entertaining, too. Thus, in each issue, we try to come up with an unexpected mix of stories.

Short, fun, easy-to-read pieces, like one in the July issue on an employee who struggles with his name “John Hopkins” are juxtaposed with longer, in-depth stories. These might be pieces involving research, like profiles on the new director of the Department of Neuroscience (May) or a Lasker award winner (October). Or they might show how busy medical students and residents grapple with parenthood (March).

Carefully planned photos convey the energy of the institution. Our “Year in Pictures” feature, which has run in December for the past two years, seems to best capture the spirit.

Facts of Note:

  • Schedule: Dome is published every month except for January and August. There are eight, eight-page issues and two four-page issues. The four-pagers come out in June and July. Throughout 2006, and for three years before that, Dome has consistently come out on or near the first of the month.
  • Staffing: An editor devotes 100 percent to Dome, conceiving and planning each issue, writing and editing copy. An assistant editor works on the paper for about 70 percent of her time. For the first six months of the year, we had two staff writers, each spending less than 25 percent of his or her time on Dome. In September, one left, so we finished up the year with only one staff writer.

    An unpaid intern devoted three days a week to Dome during the first half of the year. We use freelance writers when possible. The designer is in-house. The photographer is freelance and on contract. The paper is distributed throughout Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore by our courier who is on staff. Our printer delivers to our other sites.

Total annual budget: $80,000

Circulation: 17,200

Unit cost: $.46

Response/Results: Because Dome highlights institutional initiatives, it attracts attention including, in 2006, from state and federal legislators, local business leaders, donors, and friends. The latter group is especially key, given Hopkins Medicine’s $2 billion capital campaign.

We devoted a considerable amount of space to our ongoing redevelopment project in 2006. Our June issue, for instance, contained a special stand-alone insert on the new clinical buildings now under construction. Development officers used the section to tell the story of the new buildings to potential donors. Several departments used it to help recruit faculty, residents and staff. The departments of Nursing and Emergency Medicine each ordered 1,000 reprints.

Our September cover story, “The Remarkable Journey of Doctor Q.,” ignited a small fire-storm of publicity. The article, about Alfredo Quinones, who at age 19 entered this country illegally from Mexico and went on to become a Hopkins neurosurgeon, generated local and national media attention.