How to Create a Magazine That Won CASE Three Years Running : Newark Academy

Chosen because while awards are great to win, garnering one doesn't mean the project is effective. But in Newark Academy's case, it is.

If print is dead, don’t tell Newark Academy. Its magazine, Outreach, has won a CASE District II Award three years in a row, gets high marks from its wide and varied audience, and spurs individuals to take action to benefit the school. What more could a school ask for? Let's take a closer look.

In recognizing the magazine, CASE cited, “Your accomplishments in creative planning, production, and promotion of programs merit the accolades and admiration of your peers.”

But for a magazine to be worth the months of hard work and $20,000 to $30,000 or more it takes to produce, results have to go beyond awards. Debra Marr, Newark Academy's director of communications and Outreach editor, has seen those results: “The publication, which debuted in 2001, has remained relevant, meaningful, and informative, as evidenced by the number of alumni who contribute articles, class notes, and gifts to the annual fund; and in the number of current faculty, students, and families who participate in its development through the submission of story ideas, articles, and photography.”

“The publication spurs positive action among our constituents in various ways such as recommending the school to a potential student or family; making a donation; attending an event; or contacting a classmate.”

In 2011, Newark Academy executed a CASE Magazine Readership Survey and found that approximately 90% of respondents found Outreach's content, writing, design, and photography to be good or excellent, higher for all aspects than the average for school magazines. The survey also showed that the vast majority of respondents (80%) reported taking action as a result of reading the magazine. “The publication spurs positive action among our constituents in various ways,” Deb explains, “such as recommending the school to a potential student or family; making a donation; attending an event; or contacting a classmate.”

Unfortunately, we can only surmise what drove Outreach readers to make annual fund donations, for example. It could be the AF appeal on the fall 2011 issue's inside front cover, which highlighted “Inspiring Teachers, Memorable Mentors” and asked readers which teachers they would like to honor.  (“Inspiring Teachers, Memorable Mentors” is one of five brand messages, developed in 2009-10, that define the Newark Academy experience.) Or it could be that the articles in that same issue, many of which had to do with the school's diverse, international focus (brand message: “Global Thinking, 360° Perspective”), were especially resonant.

“As our community evolves, social platforms and electronic media have been added,” Deb says. “However, the print magazine format has endured as the most effective way to communicate with our readers, young and old alike.”

Newark Academy's magazines are archived on ISSUU.

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrea Lehman

STRATEGIST, WRITER, AND EDITOR  Andrea Lehman is a freelance marketing strategist, writer, and editor for independent schools and colleges as well as for travel guides. Author of Fodor’s Around Philadelphia with Kids, she previously was Editorial Director of the School Division (college and independent secondary school guides) for Peterson's Guides. She and her daughters are the proud products of terrific independent school educations.