Independent School Magazines: The Loomis Chaffee School - Silver Award

2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program
Category 19a. Independent School Magazines
The Loomis Chaffee School
Loomis Chaffee: The Magazine
Silver Award

Louise Moran
Director of Communications
Communications Department
4 Batchelder Road
Windsor, Connecticut 06095
(860) 687-6278


Louise D. Moran Editor
Becky Purdy Managing Editor
Patricia J. Cousins Designer
James S. Rugen Newsnote Editor
Mary C. Forrester Writer
John Groo Photographer
Thomas Honan Sports Photographer

A. Objectives as Related to the School’s Mission

As the school’s primary vehicle of communication, “Loomis Chaffee” is a quarterly magazine that exists for the alumni, parents, friends and benefactors of the school:

  • by providing timely news about school events, issues and people on today’s campus honestly and attractively;
  • by sharing news of graduates and faculty members to foster pride in the school, further lifelong relationships and perpetuate a strong Loomis Chaffee community;
  • by using who and what the community of Loomis Chaffee is today to explore topics of current relevance.

The size, format, design and content of “Loomis Chaffee” present a unique, inviting, comfortable publication through the use of excellent photography; timely, accurate and well-written news and feature stories; clear organization; and creative but classic design.

The magazine uses the set of carefully selected school fonts (Sackers Gothic, Bembo and Franklin Gothic), an untraditional size, perfect binding and uncoated paper to stand out in the sea of periodicals that all our constituents receive. The signature single, relevant portrait on the cover symbolizes the focus on the individual that is so critical to the school’s mission. The periodical is printed on a predictable, quarterly schedule (three magazines and one annual report) with the highest quality production that we can afford to foster pride in the institution. Although professional, the writing style is friendly and familiar for our Loomis Chaffee family. We decided to introduce individuals by using their full names, and then we use the familiar name in subsequent references rather than referring to them by the surname. Although we are proud to describe a constituent’s background and position thoroughly, using professional titles as part of a person’s name is not part of our style, even in the newsnotes and obituaries.

I have included the three 2007 magazines (winter, summer and spring) to illustrate the distinctive feel of the periodical and the consistency and effectiveness of its format.

In the Winter 2007 “Loomis Chaffee” magazine, two regular columns (“From the Head of School” and “Perspectives”); several news stories in “Around the Quads”; and the lead feature article, “A River Runs Through It,” about the friendship of two adventurous alumni all deal with the main theme of the academic year “Oil and Water: Our Ecological Future.” With each issue we try to select stories that illustrate the values of the school through the lives and actions of our students, our faculty, our curriculum and our graduates. In the Spring 2007 issue, the general focus is on academic excellence, in particular that of the science curriculum. The lead article about the school’s advanced biology programs describes how many LC students are ready to engage in research as soon as they graduate, listing examples of both current students and alumni. Reports on the $16 million renovation of the school’s science center ties in current campus progress and dedication to such excellence, and stories about faculty earning Ph.d.’s and being guest speakers at peer schools illustrate the academic vitality of the school community. A new column begun that issue is “The Write Stuff,” which promises to keep the reader up-to-date on the impressive variety and volume of books written by alumni authors, and which will be posted on the school website as well. However, although we are always looking for opportunities to tout our academic excellence, true to the school’s mission, equally important is the inclusion of “boys and girls drawn from diverse cultural and social backgrounds,” and an article about the school’s financial aid library illustrates our commitment to being an opportunity school.

Of course, the contents of the plentiful newsnotes and obituaries in every issue provide unsolicited, real-life stories about individuals who are living the principles set down in the school mission. They are actively engaged in “service in the nation and in our emerging global civilization” with “a commitment to the best self and the common good.” We have also taken “the best self” aspect a step further and include alumni profiles of such alumni in every issue in boxes labeled “The Common Good.”

B. Staffing and Available Resources

2 full time and 3 part time:

  • Editor, full time
  • Managing Editor, full time
  • Designer, part time
  • Newsnotes and Obituaries Editor, part time
  • Sports Information Director (a member of the Athletics Department who keeps us apprised of the successes of the current season and who makes sure that the right games are being photographed), part time

Additional help each issue comes from two nominally paid school writers (athletics and archives columns, $150 per column).

Because the magazine is the responsibility of the Communications Office, we wisely share photography sessions that have been planned for other school publication needs, thereby cutting down on photo expenses dramatically, and we adapt daily news stories that our office colleagues have written for the school website to supply material for the school news coverage in “The Quads.”

We hold a monthly meeting of all our faculty colleagues who cover news about the school. And we also work closely with the Archives, which is linked organizationally to the Communications Office.

C. Audience

The magazine is sent to all alumni, current parents (and past parents who are connected to the school), former faculty, friends and benefactors of the school. It is also distributed internally to all faculty and staff members.

D. Frequency:

Three magazines (Winter in January, Spring in April, Summer in August) and one annual report in October

E. Circulation:

Since the Winter 2007 issue when the circulation was 13,700, the circulation has grown to 14,200 this winter.

F. Average Pages per Issue:

46 pages

G: Total Annual Budget:

$130,000 printing, plus $8,000 photography = $138,000 TOTAL

H: Average Cost per Issue and Unit Cost:

$34,000 per issue and $2.48 per magazine

I. Response and Results

Our efforts have resulted in a magazine that represents the school well; its quality and content illustrate the character and excellence of the school. The magazine is in the mailbox when people expect it. With its distinctive size and single portraits on the cover, the magazine is easily recognizable by our readers as soon as it reaches their hands. The news about the school is relevant, well written, timely and friendly.

The response has been very positive. Newsnotes have increased because people want to use the vehicle of the magazine to connect to the school and to each other. Development people on the road report that the people they visit mention information about the school that they read in the magazine.

Although some in our constituency were slow to embrace the new format, they have come to love it and look for it. We have been told repeatedly in person, letter and email that the magazine is read from cover to cover; one person just last week told me that she had read it cover to cover and then went back to read it all over again.