Independent School Magazines: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Gold Award

2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program
Category 19a. Independent School Magazines
Northfield Mount Hermon School
NMH Magazine
Gold Award

Mary Seymour
Managing Editor/Writer
One Lamplighter Way
Mount Hermon, MA 01354-9638
(413) 498-3247


Mary Seymour Managing Editor/Writer
Lisa Worden Design & Production Manager
Kate Snyder Writer

a) 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. Walking the tightrope between complying with administrative perspectives and telling compelling, even controversial, stories is always challenging; we’d like to move more toward the latter.

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 three years (downsizing from two campuses to one and reducing the study body from 1,050 to 615). 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.

b) Staffing

NMH Magazine involves three in-house communications staff: the editor (who spends about 60% of her time on the magazine), a design & production manager (5% spent serving as liaison with outside design firm), and a writer (5% spent writing for the magazine). An advancement staff members serves as class notes editor, and a freelance copy editor reviews class notes. A local design firm does all designing and layout.

c) Audience

Alumni, parents, friends of the school, faculty, students

d) Frequency of periodical

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

e) Average pages per issue


f) Circulation


g) Total annual budget for the periodical


h) Average cost per issue

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

i) Response and/or results (How did you meet your goals?)

NMH has received consistently positive feedback since its redesign, despite the fact that a number of alumni remain disgruntled that the school closed one of its campuses. Readers tell us over and over again that they read the magazine from cover to cover (all right, inevitably they start with class notes). Our surveys show that the majority of readers are very satisfied with the magazine.