Welcome to UMagazinology, the weblog for university, college, and independent school magazines. It comes to you by way of The University Magazine Group, a provider of university magazine editorial and design services based at Johns Hopkins University and directed by Catherine Pierre, editor of Johns Hopkins Magazine. Over the years, many of you probably had some interaction with the Alumni Magazine Consortium, directed by Donna Shoemaker; The University Magazine Group is the successor to the AMC. The other members of the group are art director Pam Li, editorial consultant Michael Anft, design consultant Shaul Tsemach, and me, The Dale.
We created UMagazinology in large part because we are evangelists for university magazines. We believe that smart, serious intellectual, science, and cultural journalism is vital. It is also endangered. Much of the commercial press, both newspapers and magazines, has been struggling to keep its head above an ever-deepening sea of red ink, and we’re pretty sure it does not see its salvation in quality journalism about molecular biology, nanoengineering, the next great contemporary orchestral composer, or the latest scholarship on Diderot. The heavy lifting for that kind of writing will be done by publications produced by foundations, nonprofits (no jokes about Conde Nast becoming one of them), and educational institutions. We believe university magazines to be uniquely suited to this mission. And we’d like to become central to a large, vibrant, robust digital conversation about what’s best in our publications, what’s less than best, what sort of problems we face, how creative editors solve those problems, and what’s on the minds of the men and women who produce the hundreds of titles in our publishing niche.
In the coming months, we plan all sorts of things for this blog. We’ll draw your attention to particularly good stories, great design, and great covers. We’ll discuss big issues like editorial autonomy, institutional imperatives, squeezed budgets, and onrushing technological developments. (Show of hands: Who’s working on an iPad edition?) We’ll pose provocative questions about what appears on university magazine pages, start a few arguments, put the spotlight on new talent, and now and then try to bring you the story behind the story. We hope the comments section becomes a lively forum, and that we’ll regularly hear from you with ideas for future posts, debate about current posts, and some jabs when you think we’ve got that coming. This will always be a work in progress. We’re excited by that. We hope you are too.
And as Laura McDaniel says in every issue of NDSU Magazine, “Thank you for reading.”