Beginning this week, members of the Yale community will find a newsletter from the University’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications — dubbed Yale Today — in their email inboxes every day.
The daily newsletter will replace the Yale News emails that reached about 200,000 people semi-weekly, according to a Jan. 9 Yale News article announcing the launch. A weekly summary called “Yale Today: Best of the Week” will also run on Saturdays. Many of Yale’s peer institutions, such as Harvard University and Dartmouth College, already send out daily news emails.
“We definitely want to inform this community in a curated, straightforward way,” said Vice President for Communications Nate Nickerson. “We really want to expose and celebrate the culture of this place.”
Nickerson said the new daily format will allow the newsletter “to cover the full breadth of the university,” while being short enough to keep readers engaged. Yale Today also allows for a better layout, according to Nickerson, as it will provide space for more visuals.
A team of designers at FAY Design in New York worked with OPAC on the newsletter, according to the company’s principal Aron Fay. The template they created is not static, he said, but “more of a modular system” that can adapt to that day’s content demands.
“The role of FAY was really to help us conceive and design an excellent email,” Nickerson said.
Some insight for the project, said Fay, came from recent Yale graduate Devon Merlette ’19, who works for his company. Merlette had only been out of Yale for a few months when he began work on the project.
Merlette said he was familiar with other Yale publications, and he knew “which ones I would go to and why.” Using that knowledge, he could issue recommendations for how Yale News could improve its design.
“I thought it was terrific to have such a recent Yale grad being all over that project,” Nickerson said of Merlette’s involvement.
As with the old newsletter, Yale Today will feature headline links that lead to Yale News articles, the Yale Calendar of Events and even the Yale Instagram. But now, each day’s newsletter includes larger photos and fewer news pieces than the previous semi-weekly emails. A test of Yale Today also included a photo from Yale’s Instagram and a “P.S.” section that Nickerson said would be a “hopefully somewhat fun… informal way of calling attention to different things” that are “off the beaten path.”
Stories will draw from members of various communications teams across Yale, as well as from dedicated Yale News writers in the OPAC, according to Nickerson. He said that stories will include features of interesting items from the University’s collections, profiles of its alumni and posts from its social media. Another section will call attention to Yale in the media.
The newsletter’s circulation includes students, faculty, staff, alumni and others who sign up for the emails online. Nickerson noted that readers could opt to receive daily emails, weekly emails or both. Accordingly, recipients can also choose not to receive any of the newsletters.
Marissa Healy ’23 and Ophelia Pilkinton ’23 said they would likely use this feature to receive the Saturday newsletter.
“I generally have more time on the weekends,” Healy said. “On a busy weekday, I wouldn’t necessarily have time.”
Pilkinton agreed that the weekend recap would be helpful to “see what I missed,” whereas the daily emails might get lost in the shuffle.
Jack Chapman ’21 said, “I mostly just read the headlines,” and “if there’s an interesting article, [I] read it.” With the launch of Yale Today, he said he will likely maintain these reading habits.
The Office of Public Affairs and Communications launched Yale News in October 2011 with weekly emails, and it moved to twice-weekly emails in March 2016.
Giovanna Truong | firstname.lastname@example.org