Tagged: david brittan

UMag inbox: Lots of pictures

swatcoverA couple of terrific covers in my inbox. The first is from Swarthmore, a photo of Jackie Morgen, founder of the Swat Circus at the college, by Laurence Kesterson. The “cover story” is about seven inches in the front of the book, which strikes me as odd. I’m still not quite on board with the thinking that the cover story need not be a feature. But the counter-argument is that your cover works if it gets people to pick up and open the magazine, and this one works in that regard. (Sherri Kimmel edits the magazine.)

tuftscoverThe second cover, which I really love, comes courtesy of Tufts. For those of you who can’t place the school, Tufts is in Boston. In the wake of the bombing of this year’s Boston Marathon, editor David Brittan ran a tribute to Tufts marathoners, including former student Bobbi Gibb, who in 1966 defied a ban on female runners in the marathon, snuck into the field disguised as a man, and as far as anyone knows became the first woman to complete the race, running the 26.2 miles in 3:21. Photographer Kathleen Dooher was assigned the job of creating a striking cover image of a Gibb, and man oh man did she succeed.

Dartmouth Medicine has updated its design package. Editor is Amos Esty; design by Bates Creative. Below are covers from before and after. (Click on all of these if you want to see them honkin’ big.)

dmcover1   dmcover2


ricecoverWhile we’re asking various magazines “have you done something different with your hair?” I have to note a redesign I love, at Rice. It was executed by the magazine’s newish (as of November 2012) art director Erick Delgado. I’d point you to an electronic version or PDF edition so you could admire more of it, but the magazine does not seem to be online. Lynn Gosnell edits.

vettatsFinally, LMU out of Loyola Marymount has a great six-page spread on memorial tattoos. Written by editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch, “Ink Tank” describes and samples the Memorial Ink project by Andrew Ranson. Ranson finds veterans who bear tattoos that memorialize comrades who were killed in action, then interviews them and photographs their memorials. The magazine’s website has created a gallery of the Jon Rou photos that accompanied the story.

How’s this for coordination?

The Tufts University publishing empire—note the array above—hit a new mark for a coordinated communications strategy with its Spring 2011 editions. Each magazine published the same Taylor McNeil interview with incoming president Anthony Monaco (below). Same text, same four-page spread. The only thing that differed is where the editors ran the piece. Julie Flaherty led the feature well of Tufts Nutrition with the Q&A; Helene Ragovin held it for pg. 26 of Tufts Dental Medicine.

Tufts Magazine, the flagship publication edited by David Brittan, was first to publish the Q&A in its Winter 2011 edition. Brittan notes that a central publications office produces all five titles and coordinates content when there’s a major event or announcement, such as, in this case, a new president. This way of working arose from an institutional branding effort around 2004 and 2005 (just before Brittan arrived) and the conclusion that the Tufts professional school magazines were too disparate in presentation and all concerned would benefit from a more consistent look.

The circulations of Tufts and the divisional magazines overlap, to varying degrees, but Brittan says he fields few complaints from readers who notice duplicate content. He adds that unlike his magazine, each of the four professional school magazines circulates to non-alumni who have some connection to the schools; those readers do not receive Brittan’s flagship title, so a story in a divisional publication is the only way to reach them.

UMag inbox

This will be a special photography edition of the Inbox.

The worst aspect of more umags than I can count is their photography. Page after page of poorly composed, poorly exposed, poorly processed images of people caught in the act of looking square at the camera and smiling. The fault, in almost every case, lies with editors forced to produce magazines on no money. They can’t pay for even pedestrian photography, much less good, and may not even have decent photographers available who could provide better work were there money to pay them. Which must make it really galling for editors to be reminded once again that editor Tina Hay at The Penn Stater has an alumni base that includes the phenomenal shooter Steve McCurry. McCurry is unjustly famous for his haunting National Geographic photo of an Afghan girl; I say “unjustly” because he should be famous for only that one image but for the body of profound work he has done in the last 30 years.

Because the story has received surprising wide play, you may already know that when Kodak announced it would cease the manufacture of Kodachrome, McCurry asked the company if he could shoot the last roll. Kodak said yes, and McCurry exposed the last 36 frames of the legendary film in New York, India, Turkey, and Kansas. The March/April issue of The Penn Stater publishes 10 of them, including the cover shot. Remind to look into whether McCurry ever, I dunno, had a cup of coffee on the Johns Hopkins campus or recalls a relative made well at Hopkins Hospital. Any excuse to get him into my own magazine.

Tufts Magazine continues to impress, not the least in its latest issue with portraits of animals by Australian wildlife photographer Tanya Bright. Her images accompany Dale Peterson’s essay “The Kindness of Animals.” I find the pictures of primates especially compelling, but you should take a little time out of your day to visit Bright’s website and look at more of her work. Editor at Tufts is David Brittan.

UMag inbox

The forthcoming issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine went to press Monday, which means The Dale is back in business as UMag Supreme Blogger. Some of what’s come in the last few weeks:

I usually have an allergic reaction to life-affirming stories about plucky individuals who overcome obstacles to do great things, because they are almost always badly written. So when I came to Jason Ryan’s story “Life’s Rich Pageant” in College of Charleston Magazine, I nearly paged right past it, and would have were it not for Diana Deaver’s striking photography. I mean, not only is the story life affirming, it’s about a beauty pageant winner, for God’s sake—to my amazement, Charleston has a “Miss College of Charleston” pageant. Anyway, I started the piece, and kept reading, and kept reading, and damn if I didn’t read the whole thing. Beauty queen Meagan Orton is, indeed, a beautiful young woman, but she’s also tough as a boot. She’s been a medical disaster ever since her premature birth, enduring injuries and illnesses and serious allergic reactions, the last of which, at the end of her sophomore year, left her deaf. Deaf but undaunted—her pageant performance was as a dancer. For the story, she gamely pulled her hair up so Deaver could photograph the hearing device implanted in her skull behind one ear. The story has some treacly bits, at least to my grumpy taste, but it held me to the end. Mark Berry edits the magazine, which is worthy of attention for its photography throughout.

Reach, from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, notes that Poets & Writers has ranked the school’s creative writing program 14th out of 140 nationwide. Poets & Writers ranks writing MFA programs? Apparently this ranking nonsense has been proliferating. Can’t wait for Saveur‘s ranking of dormitory cafeterias, Turkey World‘s list of the best ag school poultry programs, and from Turf the nation’s 100 top quadrangles. Remind me . . . what does this have to do with education? My favorite item was that the Minnesota program ranked “10th for placement of grads in highly regarded post-MFA programs.” That’s one more way of saying creative writers still can’t make any money as creative writers. Meanwhile, Reach scored Garrison Keillor for its cover and seven pages inside; Keillor conversed with six undergraduates about “academic happiness.” There’s not much Keillor here; he wrote the intro and a postscript, but the story is all quotes pulled from the student interviews. Must be said, though, the Lake Wobegon man is spiffy in red retro Adidas runners. Editor is Mary Pattock.

I’ve come to expect fine stories from David Brittan’s Tufts Magazine. The summer 2010 issue contains two. One is Hugh Howard’s discussion of slavery in Boston; Howard notes that Massachusetts was the first of the original U.S. colonies to legalize human bondage. The other, by Al Gore’s former speechwriter Robert A. Lehrman, is an informative and entertaining explication of what makes a good political speech. In a sidebar, I learned that not only did Patrick Henry not write his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, he didn’t deliver it, either. Accept for that one notable line, the whole thing was made up 40 years after the fact by an inventive biographer.

The summer issue of Dartmouth Medicine has a great lead sentence: “My first case at Saint Francis Designated District Hospital in Ifakara, Tanzania, was to close a hippo bite.” That from a story by Meredith J. Sorenen. Dana Cook Grossman edits.

Good work: Michael Blanding

The winter 2010 edition of Tufts Magazine contains a well-penned feature story by Michael Blanding about the new—really new—field of cultural neuroscience. “The Brain in the World” surveys what neuroscientists have been learning about how the neural structure of the human brain appears to be affected by culture. If you are Korean or Indian or Japanese or American, the culture that you inhabit does not just influence your behavior, it actually changes the physical structure of your brain.

Illustration by Mariko Jesse

The story’s anecdotal lead describes a 1997 crash of a Korean Air flight that killed 228 people. The crash occurred when an exhausted pilot failed to clear a hill blocking his approach to an airport on Guam. Investigators later determined that the flight’s first officer and flight engineer both recognized the danger, but apparently could not overcome a typically Korean deference to authority and warn the pilot he was about to make a fatal error. (The information for the lead is taken from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.) When Korean Air began requiring its air crews to speak English in the cockpit, its safety record improved dramatically. English lacks several deferential forms of address common in Korean, and English empowered the Korean crew members to speak more directly to superior officers.

Research in the two-year-old field (told you it was new) has found that Americans and Indians have different brain activity when listening to popular music, even when listening to the same songs, and the differences found on brain scans sort along cultural lines: the American scans matched, and the Indian scans matched. So brains of a feather scan together. Blanding writes:

What [Tufts professor Nalini Ambady] and other cultural neuroscientists have discovered is that although the brains of people from different cultures do not exhibit large structural differences, certain neural pathways do become more ingrained from immersion in a particular culture. They’ve also learned that those differenes in brain function can influence our emotions, our behavior, and our attitudes toward people from cultures other than our own.

Blanding explains the science with grace and clarity, and presents research in little narratives that give the piece some energy. One nice thing to see is that the story doesn’t focus solely on research at Tufts, but also cites work at the University of Michigan, MIT, and Northwestern. Tufts recognizes that bringing the reader a fully informed story is more important than merely singing the praises of neuroscience at the university. And when the story does dig into research from Tufts, that research is work done by a couple of doctoral students. Nice to confer some recognition on people just beginning their careers.

Tufts Magazine is edited by David Brittan.