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Outlook: Why I Let Sources Read Stories Prior to Publication
CURRENTS Article I’ve known great reporters and editors over the years who never let their sources read a story before it’s posted or published. They’re afraid that they’ll be branded a flack. Or that their source will turn their masterpiece into a puff piece. Fresh, realistic-sounding quotes may come back sounding like software documentation.Give professors the draft of a story, some editors believe, and they’ll revise it to sound like an article for an academic journal. On many campus writing projects, source reviews are mandatory. The client paying to print and mail that viewbook or president’s report demands sign-off privileges—and should get them. But with magazines, the protocol is less clear. When I write or edit a piece for a college or university magazine, I usually invite source review. Here’s why:

Editor's Note: Are Your Currents Piling Up?
CURRENTS Article “I think that Currents is a great magazine. I just don’t have time to read it anymore.” You too? That’s not good. Comments like these are part of the reason Currents is now bimonthly. In fact, in our recent readership survey, 60 percent of you said you wanted to receive Currents six times a year instead of nine. Starting with this issue, you’ll have more time between print magazines to consume all the high-quality content on advancement trends, challenges, and innovative ideas you’ve come to expect.

Grand Gold Rush
CURRENTS Article Inspired design, storytelling, ingenuity, humor, and brevity were hallmarks of this year's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners, the highest prize bestowed by the program. Whether attracting international applicants with an ambitious contest, sharing advice through campus fun facts and pride points, demonstrating that campus quirks will garner attention and gifts, or redesigning a magazine in a way that makes class notes inviting and (gasp!) readable, institutions relied on research, knowledge, and creative skill to push boundaries and deliver inspired work—much of it produced in-house.

CURRENTS Article Advice on editorial policies for sources reviewing stories; a website that generates inflated university titles; and acknowledgement of the struggles many students face in juggling studies and outside responsibilities.

Copy And Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Ideas we love from institutions everywhere. This issue: Swarthmore College's viewbook; University of Richmond Magazine's winning cover; students helping students through a philanthropy campaign at the University of California, Davis.

2015 Circle of Excellence Grand Gold Winners
CURRENTS Article Emotion and connection were major themes among 2015's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners. Whether communicating about a deadly virus, cultivating entrepreneurs, engaging alumni with advanced degrees, or sharing the inspiring story of a college student whose life was cut short by illness, institutions dug deeply into their creative toolboxes-though not necessarily into their budgets. They also had fun courting prospective students and welcoming new admits to the family.

10 Sacred Cows of Alumni Magazines (And Why You Should Rid Your Pages of Them)
CURRENTS Article A longtime editor reveals his list of wrongfully revered and oft-repeated publication practices, departments, features, and philosophies.

Class Notes Meet Mad Libs
CURRENTS Article The University of Richmond Magazine's website is under construction, so its staff created a fun placeholder until the new site is launched.

The Power of Print
CURRENTS Article Institutional magazines are expensive to produce and many colleges and universities are exploring producing an online-only product. This article explores how Virginia Tech faced this issue.

The Editor’s Dilemma: How Should You Cover Campaigns?
CURRENTS Article The development office wants stories in the alumni magazine about institutional campaigns and other fundraising efforts, but editors have a mandate to engage readers (and maintain their journalistic credibility). Several colleges and universities have effectively integrated these two interests in the magazine, and CURRENTS reveals the secrets to their success.

Face Time
CURRENTS Article Carnegie Mellon Today, the alumni magazine of Pennsylvania's Carnegie Mellon University, draws in readers with covers that feature a close-up portrait.

Big Question
CURRENTS Article If you could cut anything from your institution's magazine—without having to deal with campus politics—what would it be?

Golden Gallery
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS highlights selected winners of CASE’s annual Circle of Excellence awards. This year’s format is more visual and answers questions such as “What problem did these products or activities solve?” Award winners include Mississippi State University Foundation’s annual report; Valencia College’s alumni magazine, Vitae; and Columbia University’s Columbia Day.

Bringing Alma Mater to Your Mailbox
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazines, once considered merely news bulletins for graduates, have evolved into important vehicles for institutional advancement. Since 1943, CASE's Robert Sibley Award has recognized the field's best publications.

Pocket-Size Portfolio
CURRENTS Article Griffith University's experimentation with business cards containing integrated USB flash drives has promoted portability of documents and presentations and increased the usage of electronic communications, saving printing and production costs in the process. While not in wide use across the Australian university, administrators and personnel who travel frequently and for extended periods of time have migrated to them. Some departments have adopted them for other uses as well, including the film school and the advancement office, which gave special 40th anniversary versions to alumni who returned to campus celebrations.

Honesty Is the Best Policy
CURRENTS Article In this article, Tina Hay, editor of The Penn Stater, discusses the editorial decisions the magazine made in covering the child molestation scandal that erupted at Penn State in November 2011.

Going for Gold
CURRENTS Article The story profiles eight of the 2012 CASE Circle of Excellence Award grand gold and gold award winners.

Office Space: How Heaven Has Changed
CURRENTS Article Jeffrey Lott, longtime editor of the Swarthmore College Bulletin, offers some parting advice, remembrances, and a few things he'll be glad to be rid of in this essay that looks back at his experiences over the past 20-plus years.

Crème de la Crème
CURRENTS Article In 2011, 268 bronze, silver, gold, and grand gold Circle of Excellence awards went to 171 colleges, universities, independent schools, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. Eight of those grand gold and gold award winners are profiled here.

Tiempo en pantalla
CURRENTS Article Con el lanzamiento y popularidad the iPad y otras tablets así como el Kindle, una gran cantidad de revistas de exalumnos de Universidades han dado un giro experimentando con nuevos formatos electrónicos.

Screen Time
CURRENTS Article With the release and growing popularity of the iPad and other tablets as well as the Kindle and other e-readers among alumni, a handful of college and university alumni magazines have taken the leap into experimenting with these new electronic formats.

The Power of Two
CURRENTS Article BI Norwegian School of Management publishes two alumni magazine, one in Norwegian and the other in English. The English-language magazine has helped keep international alumni engaged.

Advance Work: Viva la Vida
CURRENTS Article Mexico's Universidad Anáhuac produces a monthly magazine aimed at prospective students. The magazine features photos of secondary students at their own schools as well as at university events and helps the teenagers feel connected to the university before they have even applied.

Main Squeeze
CURRENTS Article The CASE Member Magazine Readership Survey reveals interesting findings on actions readers take after reading the alumni magazine as well as on credibility and engagement.

Paper Trails
CURRENTS Article In this changing digital age, do printed magazines still have a place? Readers say yes, and editors who think otherwise may find themselves saving costs, but losing alumni.

Odds and Ends: Internet Innovator
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS interviews Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop, an "online magazine rack," and previous Apple Fellow at Apple Computer Inc., about the future of print magazines.

Advancement Achievers
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2002 Circle of Excellence winners

Advance Work: All for One
CURRENTS Article The Foundation for California Community Colleges and the Network of California Community College Foundations have teamed up to produce a statewide community college alumni magazine and companion Web site.

Career Path: In the Know
CURRENTS Article The author discusses what he's learned about alumni magazines in his 18-plus years as editor. The article offers five steps to achieving success.

Covering Controversy
CURRENTS Article Find out what other editors have to say about how to cover controversy in their alumni publications.

Making Magazine Magic
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazines need to tell compelling stories to engage the reader ... but how? The author gives 10 tips on how to find creative content that will leave your readers wanting more.

Sweet Smell of Success
CURRENTS Article The 2007 CASE Circle of Excellence grand gold and gold medal winners profiled in this article have taken their advancement publications, events, and programs to a higher level. These featured winners, however, are a small sample of the 319 winners from 195 institutions.

Cream of the Crop
CURRENTS Article This article profiles a few of CASE's 2005 Circle of Excellence award winners in the fields of fund-rasing, special events, campaigns, marketing, alumni programs, stewardship, and advancement services operations.

Come Together
CURRENTS Article Communications professionals increasingly discuss what stays in print and what goes on the Web--often with budget-cutting in mind. In this article, the authors point out that Web and print are two very different mediums and content for one can't just be retrofitted or repurposed for the other. They outline strategies for making the two mediums work together more effectively.

AdvanceWork: Periodicals' Progress
CURRENTS Article In the publishing world, student and alumni magazines are a hot commodity, according to an Oxbridge Communications study. The number of titles in the segment grew 43 percent over a 10-year period.

Get Real
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazines face stiff competition for readers' attention, primarily because many readers don't take them seriously. A seasoned alumni magazine editor offers 10 ways to help make them into publications that readers respect and want to read.

Mining for Gold
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 CASE Circle of Excellence 2003 winners. Member institution nominees were judged on the creativity of their alumni relations, communications, and development initiatives, including alumni publications, reunions, constituency giving, stewardship, and alumni relations programs. Profiled winners include Brigham Young University/University of Utah; Columbia College Chicago; Georgia Tech Alumni Association; Goucher College; Imperial College London; the Institute for Shipboard Education; Lehigh University Alumni Association; Monroe Community College Foundation; Pennsylvania State University; the University of Chicago; the University of Iowa Alumni Association; and the University of Miami.

Signs of the Timing
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazine editors say good editorial planning is essential to good content. They use brainstorming retreats and frequent planning meetings to stay on track even as they realize they’ll have to cope with changes brought on by shifts in budget, advertising, campus priorities, and editorial snafus. This article is of interest to alumni magazine editors.

Closing Remarks: Courting Disaster?
CURRENTS Article A recent New Jersey court ruling regarding Rutgers Magazine jeopardizes the authority of institutions over the content of campus magazines. This column outlines the legal arguments for reversing this decision, maintaining that editorial decisions concerning a magazine’s content are not subject to the First Amendment, and that campus magazines may reject ads that conflict with reasonable policy.

Closing Remarks: A Matter of Trust
CURRENTS Article In the familiar battle between alumni magazine editors and campus administrators, Jones says, the civilian casualties are the magazines' readers, and their trust and faith in their institutions suffers the damage. A chief advancement officer with a development background, Jones crosses the traditional battle lines to take the side of the editors, maintaining that attempts at information management betray administrators' commitment to the purpose of higher education.

AdvanceWork: Your Themes Are Showing
CURRENTS Article Two alumni magazines tackle the challenge of developing single-topic issues

Measuring Up
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazine editors are increasingly accumulating data to demonstrate their periodicals’ influence in alumni cultivation and to justify their costs. Editors have used statistical evidence to show, for example, that alumni use the magazine as their primary information source and that a magazine can foster feelings of pride and connection with the institution. Data may take the form of formal reader survey results or informal anecdotes.

Write-Minded: Show Us Your Stuff
CURRENTS Article Readers are a source of knowledge and memories that can enliven an alumni periodical. To encourage readers to offer material for publication, present their voices in many ways, such as through class notes, letters, or opinion surveys. This article offers topic ideas for reader participation features and provides tips for maximizing response.

Write-Minded: I Spy a Story
CURRENTS Article Magazine staff can find story ideas through sources like faculty grant proposals and sabbatical applications, news clips, and student publications, as well as by asking development staff, student telephone callers, and others to pass on the tales or trends they come across.

Moving Mountains
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazine editors often must operate with insufficient staff. One way to solve the problem is to use freelance writers and editors, student workers, and contract editors. Faculty, professional contacts, communications officers, local journalists, students, and alumni are all potential candidates. The author provides advice on managing outside workers to maximize their usefulness and minimize problems.

AdvanceWork: Pre-flight Checklist
CURRENTS Article It's an exciting feeling: The latest issue of your alumni magazine arrives from the printer, still smelling of fresh ink. Then, the horror. There's the front-cover headline, in all its four-color glory-with a 36-point typo.

Got Personality?
CURRENTS Article Alumni magazines should have identities that are as unique as the institutions and communities they serve. To infuse personality into a publication: 1) Make a statement with the cover design. 2) Choose feature topics and approaches that reflect the magazine's personality. 3) Make class notes as unique as your institution's alumni. 4) Use the editor's note to start a conversation with readers. 5) Spend time interacting with members of the institutional community. 6) Use good writing to figuratively bring alumni back to campus. 7) For influences, reach beyond alumni periodicals and look at magazines from all fields. 8) Use humor, in the form of witty headlines, cartoons, or oddball features.

Closing Remarks: Keep Those Letters Coming
CURRENTS Article Editorial guidelines for alumni correspondents

Finding the Perfect Fit
CURRENTS Article Questions to consider when trying to determine the right size advertising program for your magazine include: 1) who are your readers and where do they live?; 2) who is your competition?; 3) what’s your circulation?; 4) what rates will you charge?; 6) who will sell ads, or coordinate materials and billings?; and 7) what postal rate is best for you? A sidebar article looks at postal restrictions and requirements of two alumni magazine mail classifications.

After Class Notes
CURRENTS Article Former Dartmouth Alumni Magazine editor Heinrichs describes his move to founding editor of US Airways Attache magazine. His advice for campus editors includes 1) focusing on the magazine, rather than all types of related chores and issues; 2) limiting the number of meetings you attend; 3) remembering that campus editors are custom publishers, not journalists; 4) playing up the strengths of the institution; and 5) remembering every magazine needs a mission.

Dealing with Dilemmas
CURRENTS Article The author presents ideas for adding to, cutting back, or simply improving the class notes section of an alumni magazine. If more class notes are needed, consider recruiting a few class correspondents to help gather information on alumni and ongoing special events. If the class notes need to be reduced in size, carefully edit and set limits on the content of the class notes.

Class Notes That Sing
CURRENTS Article Class notes can be distinctive and provide readers with information they are looking for. Make them more appealing to readers by having them reflect real life tragedies or accomplishments of alumni. Including updates on all groups within the individual classes is important. No one wants to feel like their group is continually forgotten in the class notes. And finally, asking questions or opinions of alumni helps to open the door for communicating and sharing within the class notes. A sidebar article looks at how to deal with problem class notes. Suggestions from staff of Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, Brown Alumni Magazine, Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Williams College, University of Missouri-Columbia, Carnegie Mellon Magazine, Macalester College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Bethel College, St. Michael’s College, Wesleyan University Magazine, Randolph-Macon Women’s College, Drake, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute are among those included.

Let's Get Fictional
CURRENTS Article Keiger, a senior writer for the Johns Hopkins Magazine discusses the need to develop the essential elements of strong characterization and strong narrative when writing nonfiction. When characterizing something or someone, focus on what is striking or curious. Try to catch subjects in different settings. What do the surroundings say about the individual? Listen to their speech patterns. Remember that photographs are often included in articles and this reduces the need to use traditional descriptions of people or things. It is important not just to write stories, but to tell them. Consider the place of narrative. Some stories may lend themselves to narrative, some may require that you use a hook. The key for the writer is to pay attention.

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