External Audience Newsletters


Nine Entries

Category General Observations

All entries were nicely done and we were impressed with the robust writing and excellence in design. We noted a trend toward incorporating infographics to facilitate scanning and/or grasping complex information quickly and easily. It was clear people were paying attention to the cost of producing print which rightly led to a healthy pre-occupation with meeting stated objectives. Overall, the entries were solid and did their respective institutions proud.

Comments on Winning Entries

Silver Award

University of Chicago (Illinois) - Tableau

University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) - WITSReview

  • The winning entries did an exceptional job of meeting their stated objectives. For example, we were impressed with Tableau's report that 79% of their readers said reading the publication strengthened their connection to the university. Tableau also held to the goal of staying small, cool, and strategic. The editor expertly balanced coverage among many units-despite the unenviable job of keeping content tight and pages few. The overall approach was people-oriented and appealing.
  • WITS Review caught our eye for other reasons. We loved that it deftly covered an entire university. The writing was clever and broad so that it could appeal to everyone. We were impressed with the use of stock imagery which while it helped maintain costs, did not sacrifice beauty. We thought the publication was well-paced and peppered with a variety of design elements and content types to hold interest.
  • Both of the winning entries created a great balance between pop culture and academia by taking a serious look at current trends and issues. We especially appreciated how the design and selection of images showcased the humanities, even when content was more science-oriented.
  • Bottom line, though perhaps not groundbreaking in innovation, we found both publications were too gorgeous and substantial to cast aside unnoticed or unexplored. They would likely end up proudly displayed on someone's coffee table or credenza. For print publications, that's definitely a win!


15 entries

The entrants seemed to understand and appreciate the opportunity in e-newsletters, and we were pleased to see a trend toward less and less content with writing that was more and more conversational. As communication real estate tends to shrink in digital, there is a danger that writing can become formulaic and design, cookie-cutter. We felt the two winners most successfully overcame this.

Gold Award

University of Wisconsin, Madison - The Flamingle: Heard around the Hill

University of Alberta (Canada) - Thought Box

  • The two winners modeled how to truly make the most of digital. These publications boldly and fearlessly plunged into territory not always embraced in higher education communications. Quirkiness and fun were on full display. A personality was so evident it was nearly palpable. And it was a "person" who seemed to really know and love their audience, which is likely to go a long way in getting alumni to accept unsolicited digital communications from their universities.
  • Both publications had names and approaches unique and special to their recipients. Using elements that only these "insiders" would know and appreciate was smartly utilized, but not overdone. We were impressed, but not surprised, that the University of Wisconsin was able to recover alumni they had lost with a previous publication.
  • We liked that the pace was quick, the design clean, and the writing sharp and clever in the e-newsletters. We appreciated that links went to sources internal and external to the institutions as well as internal and external to the particular units, another bold move. Overall, the content curation was exceptional both in the e-newsletters and once readers clicked.
  • As fellow communications and marketing professionals, we were downright jealous! We all wished we could lay claim to such work. And it inspired us to reach higher in our own digital communications.