On July 1, the Yale Alumni Magazine will become a department of the University.
The new business model for the magazine was recently announced by the University and the board of the directors of Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., the magazine’s current publisher. Despite this change, current editor-in-chief Kathrin Day Lassila ’81 will retain her position, and the acting board of directors will continue to guide and advise the magazine. According to Yale News, the board of directors reached this decision after exploring the ways in which the magazine could remain a strong publication both journalistically and financially.
Linda Lorimer, outgoing vice president for global and strategic initiatives, has been a member of the board for 22 years and will oversee the magazine.
“I think the new organizational arrangements will enable the excellent Yale Alumni Magazine to continue to inform the alumni of our university in impressive ways,” she told Yale News. “We have one of the leading alumni magazines in the country, but it didn’t have financial sustainability. This new arrangement gives a pathway for continued editorial excellence and also business sustainability.”
The print version of the Yale Alumni Magazine, which is published bimonthly, is mailed to almost every alumnus for whom Yale has a mailing address, totaling nearly 135,000 individuals. The magazine, founded in 1891 by the student editors of the News, was originally called Yale Alumni Weekly. It was meant to cater almost exclusively to graduates, acting “as a bond between the Alumni themselves and between the Alumni and the University,” according to the first issue of Yale Alumni Weekly. The News eventually sold Yale Alumni Weekly to two alumni, who ran it privately until the Yale Publishing Association became its publisher in 1909. Nearly 30 years later, the University’s Alumni Board incorporated the Connecticut-based nonprofit Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., to take control of the newly renamed Yale Alumni Magazine.
According to the magazine’s statement of purpose, the magazine is meant to facilitate communication among alumni, between the alumni and the University communities and between alumni and anyone with an interest in Yale.
“A defining characteristic of the magazine is its editorial independence,” the statement reads.
Although the magazine’s business model is changing, those involved with the publication assert that the magazine will continue to impartially cover University news and to “portray Yale in all its complexity.” In past years, the magazine has covered positive stories about Yale in addition to more controversial on-campus issues.
Yale Alumni Publications chair Joanne Lipman ’83 said the magazine’s editorial point of view and adherence to high journalistic standards will be preserved with the new structure. Other board members include Paul Steiger ’64, Propublica.org editor-in-chief, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, and a former editor for the News, and Buzzfeed editor in chief Ben Smith ’99. Several University faculty members and administrators are also members of the board.
Lise Chapman SOM ’81, chair of the Association of Yale Alumni, told Yale News that she supports the new arrangement, as it guarantees that the magazine will remain free to all Yale graduates.
According to Yale News, the new arrangement will last for a minimum of three years and will continue afterward unless the University or Yale Alumni Publications, Inc. wishes to withdraw from the agreement.