Tagged: baylor line

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What all is stuffed into the mailbox this week? Let’s see . . . mm-hm . . . mm-hm . . . Portland . . . looks like a food issue . . . damn you Doyle!

The winter issue of Portland flaunts editor Brian Doyle’s unparalleled ability to convince world-class writers to contribute to his magazine. This time, damn him, he has pieces from Michael Pollan, Pico Iyer, and Edward Hoagland. Pollan to Iyer to Hoagland—man, there’s an infield. To be accurate, Pollan’s long contribution, “The End of Cooking,” is an excerpted reprint of something he published in The New York Times Magazine, and Hoadland’s “The Top of the Continent” is drawn from the essayist’s new volume, Alaska Travels. But still.

By the way, there’s a lot more to a meaty issue. I especially liked the photo essay by Steve Hambuchen of Pacific Northwest farmers, bakers, vintners, and brewers.

IC View from Ithaca College sports a redesign, as well as my favorite subhead of the week: “Alumni See Trash With Fresh Eyes.” Robin Roger edits the magazine. (Below, new cover is on the left. Relative dimensions are not accurate. The new design has the same trim size.)

The 2013 record for most people smiling and facing the camera on the cover is currently held by The Baylor Line (editor Todd Copeland:

California (editor Wendy Miller) produced my favorite lead sentence of the year, so far, in David Tuller’s “Putin v. Pussy Riot“: “In a cozy, two-room apartment in a leafy Moscow neighborhood, I gathered with half a dozen local gay and lesbian activists on a mid-August evening to drink tea, munch on zakuski (snacks), and discuss the regime of creepy Russian president and former KGB thug Vladimir Putin.” Love the opening spread, too:

Good words alerts:

— Binghamton University Magazine (Diana Bean edits) has a recurring feature called “The Other Side,” and in the Fall 2012 issue devotes it to a four-question Q&A with associate professor Steven Tammariello, who at age 43 still plays football for the semi-pro Cortland Bulldogs. (I know what you’re thinking . . . another story about a PhD biologist who plays semi-pro football?) My favorite line: “I used to be the only player with a PhD, but one of our defensive linemen earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from Cornell, so I have some company.”

— My second-favorite lead sentence so far in 2013 comes from Immaculata Magazine: “When Bob Kelly’s radio station asked if he knew a football expert who could be on their morning show The Breakfast Club, he immediately said, ‘I know just the nun!'”

— Extraordinary, moving essay by Mel Livatino, “Dogged by the Dark,” in the latest Notre Dame Magazine, Kerry Temple, editor.

Finally, since I began this post with my nose out of joint—damn you, Brian Doyle!—I will end with this great spread, from the Fall 2012 Medicine at Michigan. The photo illustration is by Clint Blowers; editor of the magazine is Richard F. Krupinski.

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For the second issue in a row, Baylor put football on the cover. OK, the first, Fall 2011, was technically a homecoming cover, but homecoming revolves around the football game, of course, and football players were part of the cover illustration. Winter 2011/12 featured Baylor’s new Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III. That makes four football or football-related covers in the last 14 issues. Can’t wait for the Spring 2012 cover—spring football practice! (Randy Morrison edits Baylor. By the way, RG3, as he’s known at the school, also made the cover of The Baylor Line. Yes, Baylor has two alumni magazines. It’s complicated.)

New redesign for CM, the magazine of the Commonwealth School in Boston. Editor Tristan Davies—you may recognize him as the CUE-L listserv majordomo—notes that the new biannual magazine consolidates the formerly annual alumni publication and two yearly newsletters. Davies says, “I’m an alumnus, and even before I came to work at Commonwealth, I had talked with people at the school about how old-fashioned its pieces seemed: loaded with dense text, almost no color, illustrated almost completely by student art that also printed in black and white, and not based on the standard periodical magazine. Once I started working at Commonwealth in July 2008, I started thinking more seriously about merging the three pieces into one. But I was also about to lead a complete redesign of our admissions materials, and so I put off a decision.” Then came last year’s Editors Forum. Davies got a critique from Middlebury’s Matt Jennings—hard to see how any good could come of that, but maybe it’s just me—and attended Tina Hay’s “Magazines 101” workshop. Says Davies, “On the Friday afternoon of the Forum I sat in my hotel room and mapped out the new magazine format.” Jeanne Abboud of Abboud Design had been doing the publications the last few years, and she did the new look, as well. “Yes, the same person did both the before and after,” Davies says, “which I think says quite a bit about how much we were holding her back.” The first issue of the new CM surely does look better, and includes a couple of fine pieces, Janetta Stringfellow’s “Unbreakable,” and Melissa Glenn Haber’s “Into the Words.” Now if only they’d stop employing the term “alumni/ae.”

Two other major redos: USC Trojan Family, from Southern Cal, and Drexel Magazine. First issue of the new USC magazine includes a letter from athletic director Patrick C. Haden detailing the violations of NCAA rules that led to sanctions against Souther Cal football, men’s basketball, and women’s tennis. The NCAA ordered publication of the letter, which is not exactly what you want appearing in your pretty new magazine. Sympathies to editor Lauren Clark.

Drexel’s previous design was hardly bad, but I thought the book looked more like a corporate report than a magazine. Editor Tim Hyland says, “Content-wise, the magazine was just fine when I arrived. And it looked pretty good, too. But my sense was that we really wanted to make sure that we achieved a sort of ‘cutting-edge’ look to this redesign, and to make sure the look of the magazine matched up with all of the exciting things that are happening here at Drexel today. It really does feel like a university on the move, and there’s a lot of energy here right now. I wanted the magazine to capture that.” He retained designer Emily Aldritch, who previously had designed Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin and Voice (Carleton). “She came for a campus visit, and within no time delivered two really interesting design directions. Both of them reflected the ideas we wanted to convey about Drexel—it’s urban location, it’s focus on experiential education, it’s fast-paced environment, etc. In the end, we ended up choosing a hybrid approach that borrowed from each of the design directions.” The new look makes use of bigger type and bigger art, and drops the dragon mascot from the nameplate. I was actually sort of fond of the dragon, but will concede that working your sports mascot into your nameplate is a bit lame. (Unless you are the University of California, Santa Cruz, in which case I want to see banana slugs all over your pages.) Says Hyland, “I think from a design perspective we are exactly where we want to be. Emily has done her part, and now I’d like to really focus on making the content as engaging and interesting as possible. I want our alumni to look forward to getting the magazine, and to reading it. I want to see more feedback and more letters to the editor. To get there, we need to churn out really interesting content. That’s on me as editor and on my team as well.”

Sad to say it, but the mail brought the last print edition of Endeavors, the axed research magazine at the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill. Jason Smith’s fine publication lives on as a website, but it just ain’t the same. And it must be said of the Winter 2012 finale—Best Pig Cover Ever. Look at the penetrating gaze on that beast.

Finally, the latest Drew Magazine (Renée Olson, editor) has a centerfold. Yeah, yeah, yeah, not what you’re thinking, grow up already. It’s a double centerfold, actually, of a watercolor by Drew faculty member Roberto Osti of four seasons in Drew’s much-loved Forest. Look, it’s got birds and a chipmunk and a bunny. Now don’t you feel bad about where your mind went first?

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The newest issue of Rochester Review, from the University of Rochester (Scott Hauser, editor), shipped with a bonus insert: four window decals, assuming you can still call those newfangled static-cling sticker things “decals.” The exercise in decalcomania includes a standard university coat-of-arms sticker, a mascot sticker (Rochester sports teams are the Yellowjackets), and one each for alumni and parents. (Not that you care, but I’m feeling damned clever for figuring out how to scan one of these things, even if I did make the solid white letters look like they’re rendered in a camouflage motif. It’s Friday afternoon as I write this and I’m ready for some easy amusement.)

The latest magazine to have a little work done is Baylor Line from the Baylor University alumni association. The magazine’s art director, John Sizing, led the redesign, the magazine’s first facelift in 10 years. New typefaces, bigger photographs, reconfigured departments, and a much-changed cover design. Now Sizing and editor Todd Copeland can sit back and enjoy all those letters from people who can’t believe that the magazine ruined, ruined the design they didn’t know they loved until it was gone.

Baylor Line old:

Baylor Line new:

The winter issue of Xavier, from Xavier University in Cincinnati, has the sort of story that doesn’t often grace the cover of an alumni magazine. Jacob Baynham’s “The Man Who Brought Down the Mob” profiles alum Vincent Presutti, who spent years as an FBI undercover agent. I love this callout: “Al is one of the funniest guys I ever met. But this was a guy who also beat a guy to death.” And I have to say, in my 18+ years of writing for a university magazine, I’ve never gotten to scribble anything like this:

Marcello drove them over the causeway, a long and lonely stroke of pavement over Lake Pontchartrain. At that time of night no other cars were on the road. Presutti looked down at the inky water below him, wondering if he was being chauffeured to his death. The man sitting next to him leaned over and whispered in a Brooklyn accent, “Yo, not for nuttin’, but if we get two in the coconut, they’re never gonna find our f***in’ bodies.”

“Two in the coconut”—sounds just like a faculty senate meeting. Skip Tate is editor.

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Baylor Line, magazine of the Baylor Alumni Association (Todd Copeland, editor), takes good advantage of the wonderful photography of Baylor alumna Martha Swope. For 40 years, Swope shot dancers and actors with uncommon skill and instinct, and Baylor Line devotes its cover and eight pages to images of Leonard Bernstein, Mikhail Baryshnikov, a very young Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead role of Annie, and Betty Buckley.

A couple of issues of Bonaventure Magazine (Beth Eberth edits), from St. Bonaventure University in New York, found their way to my mailbox, and the Spring/Summer 2010 edition features on its cover rollergirl Jennifer Eskin. When I perused the Fall 2010 issue of Denison, I found an alumni note on Amy Spears (right) who, it so happens, also is a rollergirl. That’s two alumni rollergirls—one more and we officially have a trend.

While I’m on the subject of Denison, it has a tremendous cover story by Steve Nery about American combat veterans who suffer from PTSD, “Home is Where the Heartbreak Is.” On the cover and the magazine’s first eight pages are wrenching photographs by Erin Trieb of vets back from Afghanistan, the funeral of a soldier who committed suicide shortly after his return to the States, and the grieving fiancee of a soldier who, the day after his return from the Afghan war, beat her up and later died of what was first thought to be suicide, but later determined to be pneumonia. To me, this is university magazine work at its best. Editor at Denison is Maureen Harmon.