To You – Summer 2009

By: Magazine Editor
Jun 21, 2009

Richard ByrneWe were gratified by the enthusiastic response that greeted our first issue. We have also been eager to obtain your constructive feedback. There is a sampling of both on our “From You” page, and we will incorporate the best of your suggestions to create an even better magazine.

As the 21st Century sweeps toward the conclusion of its first decade, readers might be wondering: “Why is the university publishing a print version of this magazine?”

It is a question that seems particularly pertinent in a moment when headlines about the “death of newspapers” and other print media are very much in the air.

You might also be asking: “Just how ‘green’ is the decision to print a magazine?”

Here are some answers.

The university established its new alumni publication in print because alumni – surveyed online and in focus groups held at the university in 2008 – expressed a strong desire to receive a print publication.

The survey group spanned ages and disciplines, and many respondents stated that they continued to read a number of general interest publications (including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) in their print editions. In addition, more than two-thirds of the respondents read a book every week. So for our alumni, print isn’t dead yet.

Alumni also stated that they associated pleasure, indulgence and the investment of time with their reading of print media. We want your experience of UMBC Magazine to carry those connotations.

Also, as an editor and a journalist who has spent a number of years reporting and writing on media, I can add this observation: Web publications are still grappling with how to present broad swathes of information. The Web is good at creating channels that sort and foreground information of particular interest.

But since our project here at UMBC Magazine is to show connections and expose readers to the university’s progress as a whole, print continues to be the best way to achieve that aim. We are, however, working hard at establishing content on our Web site – and wherever you see the icon, we urge you to look in on our extended versions of stories and multimedia presentations.

On the topic of the environmental footprint of UMBC Magazine, we are happy to report that our publication is striving to be a part of the university’s larger sustainability efforts. You can see how UMBC is going green at our “Sustainability Matters” Web site.

As far as the magazine’s environmental footprint, we made the decision to publish on partially-recycled paper (30 %) from our very first issue – which qualified for the Forest Stewardship Council’s Mixed Sources certification.

Each ton of the Rolland Opaque30 paper on which UMBC Magazine is published reduces our ecological footprint by five trees, 324 pounds of solid wastes, 904 pounds of air emissions and 2,472 cubic feet of natural gas.

So enjoy your new issue of UMBC Magazine – and know that we’re doing our best to not only give you something good to read, but something that’s better for the environment than virgin paper as well.

— Richard Byrne ’86

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