From the Nominator
Brown Alumni Magazine—the 120,000-circulation, 121-year-old flagship publication of Brown University—is published five times a year, and reflects the ethos of Brown, something the university's president describes as “constructive irreverence.” To be true to our alumni, we set out to tell stories that are surprising, bold, intellectually rigorous, progressive, and engaged with the world; and we do it in a dense, bold format with a smaller trim size that allows us to mail to all alumni in a cost-effective way. Brown's progressive stance includes commitments to acknowledging the university's historical ties to slavery, need-blind admission and generous aid packages that replace loans with grants, and a long-held and deeply cherished tradition of student activism. This series of feature stories reflect the magazine's commitment to honoring both the institution and its alums by exploring issues of racial justice.
From the Judges
With this series, Brown Alumni Magazine offers a master class on writing complex, compelling narratives about racial justice—stories that move readers, and also move the needle. “Now this is how you tackle race as a topic,” exclaimed one judge. “Break it down, find the angles, don't lecture.” Each of the stories in this series stands on its own, and would be of interest to general readers in addition to alumni. The editors note in their entry description that, “As an all-white staff, we have done a lot of soul searching about how to explore issues of racial justice, given who we are.” For institutions doing their own soul searching and antiracism work, this series provides a great aspirational model of how to do so with depth and integrity. And knockout quotes. As Heidi Kim says in one of the articles: “Whenever an old, traditional institution—like Brown, or the Episcopal Church—starts selling a narrative of inclusivity that’s still aspirational, there are going to be growing pains. There’s going to be friction. And that friction can light a spark, and create light and warmth…or it can just burn shit down.” These stories lit sparks for these judges.