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A Hidden Bonanza - Alumni Magazines
by Robert S. Nailor
Youve seen them in doctors, dentists, legal
offices or perhaps a friends home-that great reminder of a possibly wild and
oft remembered youth, the college alma mater magazine.
If you attended an Ivy League university or
college, you probably receive them on a regular basis. You open it up, scan the
pages and reminisce those by-gone days. Perhaps you may even read about one of
your classmates. The magazine is an update of your past.
Let me point out that the main reason the alumni
magazine exists is to create the urge to donate money to the college. The pages
are laden filled with quiet requests for support.
But where do all those articles come
Some colleges have their own full-time editorial
staff for the alumni magazine, others are shoestring affairs that barely make it
from issue to issue.
This is where you come in. Between both ends of
the editorial spectrum, from full-time to part-time staff, input is needed from
outside the hallowed halls. Alumni magazines can only insert so much current
news and financial information before they become just another piece of junk
It is the personal articles, those stirring
stories of other alumni, that grab the readers attention. It is these pages
that tear at the alumnis heart and purse strings.
It is these articles that YOU need to
There are several ways to put an article
together. One example is to find somebody local that has invented, discovered,
excelled or done some great charity job, such as a computer manager who
recreates Indian lore for the local Scouts and received a community award for
his efforts. Find out if this person attended college, where and
Now you need to contact that college and pitch
your story. Be sure to send samples of prior work and a resume. Be professional
at all times.
If the college is nearby, you may be able to
schedule an appointment with the magazine editor. If you do, while you sell your
idea, pick his brain for future possibilities.
The article must always tie back to the
institution and reflect well upon it. It must also give a warm, fuzzy feeling to
the reader so they will donate money. Attempt to research the school and find
out everything you can to link it all together. The Internet is a great resource
for college information, including classes, students (current and past) and
While researching you may find that the alumni
magazine of your choice will have guidelines. Read the magazines requirements
and write within those guidelines. Make sure you get familiar with the style by
reading some back issues.
Approximately anywhere from 10% to 75% of the
articles that appear in alumni magazines are from freelance writers. This is
dependent upon the college and funding available. Therefore pay can be from a
few dollars upward to $1000 for the right article to the right magazine. Most
alumni magazines attempt to be commensurate with their national
Most alumni magazines are published monthly,
quarterly, semi-annually or annually; again dependent upon resources and size of
Create and develop a relationship with the
editor and you may find yourself being given assignments that pay.
© Copyright 2001, Robert S. Nailor