Periodical Staff Writing for External Audiences: Washington State University - Gold Medal

Programs and Fundraising
Category 26: Periodical Staff Writing for External Audiences
Washington State University, Washington State Magazine

Contact: Hannelore Sudermann, assistant editor, University Relations, Box 641227, Pullman, WA 99164-1227, Phone: (509) 335-1247, e-mail:

“Eating Well to Save the Sound” Tim Steury
“An Equation for Beauty,” Hannelore Sudermann
“Bridging Two Cultures,” Hannelore Sudermann
“Rare Bird,” Cherie Winner
“The Science Shop,” Cherie Winner


Washington State Magazine’s mission statement:

WSM covers news and issues of interest to Washington State University faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and the people of Washington from Seattle to St. John. It fosters a sense of connection to the University and of shared community among alumni, students, faculty, and friends.

Sixty-five percent of Washington State University alumni still live in Washington. Even for a land-grant university, that number is exceptionally high. And judging from our reader surveys, readers who moved elsewhere after graduation remain interested in the state as well as the university. Washington State University alumni are involved in every aspect of Washington State, from agriculture and industry to public education, tourism, and government. It thus seemed an obvious move when we launched Washington State Magazine six years ago to position it as a state as well as a university magazine. As WSU is the state’s university, so must we be the state’s magazine. Our intentions and positioning seem to have fulfilled the wishes of our readers, as “research” and “statewide issues” vie for top place as topics that our readers say they most enjoy and want more of.

Despite the importance of the state and its concerns, however, WSU is also far larger than the state. Like any research university, WSU is a microcosm of the world. Not only do we report on research and scholarship developments and findings, but we seek to give perspective on the world whenever possible by examining it for our readers through the trusted authoritative lens of their alma mater.

But if our purpose is to instruct, it is also to please. We realize that we compete for our reader’s valuable time with consumer magazines and other media. If our primary mission is to instruct, we must also please in order to command their attention. But there is plenty of room in which to do so, as we discover and tell enchanting and inspiring stories drawn not only from the affairs of the university itself, but from the thousands of our alumni who provide the broadest definition of Washington State University.

By doing all of the above, by connecting the university to our readers’ lives and well-being, we increase their interest in, loyalty to, and support of the university, including those readers that the university does not otherwise reach.

Audience: Our audience is primarily our alumni, faculty, and staff. We also mail to a large group of “influencers” across the state. One issue a year is also mailed to 10,000 parents of current students.

Circulation: 140,000-150,000

Frequency: 4/year

Staffing: WSM staff includes the editor, the art director, associate editor (who is production and circulation manager and manages the Web site), assistant editor/senior writer. Our science writer also reports to the News Bureau.

Total annual budget: $344,000