We’ve been letting the alumni magazines pile up here at Capstone HQ. That said, the sunny weather, a new margarita recipe, and some Adirondack chairs outside are going to make going through that stack a breeze.
In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been collecting for you guys.
All of us asked to do stuff we don’t want to do. Maybe it’s someone who wants you to pursue that “great” story idea for your magazine. Maybe it’s an alum who wants their 7,000-word letter to the editor published exactly as written. See how the greatest writers, politicians, and artists have turned down requests in this post by Austin Kleon. They’re brilliant. You should definitely steal their ideas.
The best reason to decline any request.
Check out some good stuff from the archives
See how the best of the best think about magazines: read interviews with a couple of Sibley winners (including their very best tips on making your own stories and magazines better) on the Capstone blog. Here’s one with Heidi Singer, editor of 2016 Sibley winner UofTMed, and another with Dale Keiger, editor of 2015 Sibley winner Johns Hopkins Magazine.
Remember Brian Doyle.
Brian Doyle, the longtime editor of Portland magazine who died last week, helped transform the way that many people think about alumni magazines — including lots of alumni magazine editors. Even more, he was a master at bridging the divide between magazine writing and fundraising writing, something most of us are asked to do. For example, a CASE CURRENTS story shares one fascinating pitch he made to his readers — and why it was more than just an “ask.”
“Could you invent a scholarship for left-handed kids who want to teach red-headed kids how to play the cello with their toes? Sure.” A development staffer’s phone number follows.
Here’s how he framed his decision to make that solicitation without compromising his magazine’s integrity:
“I’m telling true stories,” he says. “Yeah, you’re a journalist, but really what you are is a fundraiser—potentially a genius fundraiser. You are the prime story catcher, and stories are what fascinate people and attract investment.”
It’s perfect. Read a bunch of his non alumni-magazine stuff here and visit the CASE College and University Editors community to hear more from those who knew him well. There’s still so much we can all continue to learn from the work he put into the world.
Read some recent clips: I’ve been writing a ton, too.
Here’s a story I did for Colgate about what the university had in common with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (page 26). Here’s a how-to guide on activism for Macalester (page 12). And here’s part three of The Ohio State University story, Master Minds.