Time for a magazine makeover

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Kansas Alumni magazine

Welcome to the next era of Kansas Alumni. After many months of research, brainstorming, choosing and planning, the redesigned magazine makes its debut with this Issue No. 1, Winter 2020, a quarterly print format, beginning, of course, with the new logo (or nameplate, in magazine parlance).

The magazine team has created a new visual and editorial presentation to appeal not only to the Association’s current members, but also to new generations of readers, who connect with content far differently than their elders. To be honest, it is high time for a makeover, but most important, the print edition now must complement kansasalumnimagazine.org, the expanded digital format that made its debut last August, offering stories to all Jayhawks who visit the site.   

Of course, we are mindful of the fact that the magazine remains by far the most valuable membership benefit, as alumni affirmed in our 2018 survey. Equally important is your alumni magazine’s 118-year tradition. As stewards of this legacy, we are committed to preserving the high standards and trusted voice of the longest-running periodical that captures KU stories.

Here’s a guide to help you navigate: 

Page 1 of the new format, which formerly housed half of the Table of Contents, now highlights Heard by the Bird, or, as Creative Director Susan Younger, f’91, christened the page, “talk and squawk in the news,” tidbits from varied local, regional and national media that mention Jayhawks or KU. 

The Table of Contents is now a double-page spread that presents all stories throughout the print edition as well as digital features and extras, including videos and, in this edition, an audio essay. 

This page, formerly First Word, now will share a KU Voice—an essay by a varied University or Association leader. 

Lift the Chorus, our letters to the editor, will remain, though sadly we did not receive enough recent letters to fill a page in this issue (hint, hint). 

Near the front and the back of each magazine, we will display dramatic photos of places, people, and memorable events in First Glance and Photo Finish

Rock Chalk Review describes an expanded up-front section that combines elements of the former Hilltopics, Jayhawk Walk and On the Boulevard, along with stories on research, the arts and books that appeared in the previous Rock Chalk Review at the back of the magazine. We plan to offer more variety up front and bring research stories forward to their rightful place in KU news. After many decades, we have retired the Hilltopics name, which no longer fits a university that spans five campuses and growing numbers of online students and alumni. 

Jayhawk Sports will showcase more in-depth profiles of individual athletes, along with highlights from all KU teams who wear the crimson (or pink) and blue. 

Following the feature stories, alumni profiles and Alumni Association news form a section called Always Jayhawks. Our profiles trace alumni as they travel varied life or career paths, including those who attribute their professional success to the powerful KU connections and resources that students and alumni now can access more easily through the Association’s Jayhawk Career Network. 

Of course, Class Notes and In Memory, the mainstays of any alumni magazine, remain your go-to resources. Even in the age of social media, readers still rely on this essential news about alumni from their classes and decades. 

For the finale, we have revived Hail to Old KU, a nod to our mission to preserve cherished KU history, including reverent and irreverent milestones, quirky characters or episodes and, of course, the treasured traditions that bind us all, no matter where we live or how long ago we left our hallowed home. Rock Chalk! 

Heath Peterson, Publisher
Jennifer  Jackson Sanner, Editor 

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