Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Audience participation required  Meryl Streep graces the January cover of Vanity Fair, proving the obvious: you can’t pin an age on star power. In an industry that has historically ignored middle-aged actresses and their fans, 60-year-old Streep has enjoyed starring roles in several wildly popular movies. As the article states, “Streep’s success has forced Hollywood to consider a startling hypothesis: If you make movies that actually interest women, they will buy tickets to see them.”

We see a parallel with alumni magazines. Clients often lament that readership is down and wonder if they should discontinue the publication. Perhaps it’s time to walk a mile in readers’ shoes. Stop writing about the things that interest the institution and start writing about the things that interest your audience. Give your readers reasons to be proud. Remind them of your institution’s value to the world and, like Hollywood, you may be surprised to rediscover the obvious—if you respect the needs of your alumni, they’ll respond with enthusiastic support.