ATLANTA, Ga. – Brenau Window magazine received top honors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education here Feb. 19 at the annual District III meeting for the publication’s improvement of linking its Fall 2012 edition and future editions with a new online magazine.
The Brenau University alumni and general interest quarterly magazine earned a Grand Award, the highest award in any category, in the “most improved” publication category. The Fall 2012 issue was the first that established a linkage between the printed version, which circulates to more than 25,000 readers nationally, and the dynamic online version, available globally at no cost at http://window.brenau.edu.
Brenau Window also picked up a writing award for an article in the same issue entitled “A year… if you’re lucky,” a poignant story about 2004 Brenau Women’s College graduate Kelly Flanagan McCormick’s turning the death of her child into a meaningful learning experience for current Brenau nursing students. The article was written by another Brenau Women’s College graduate, Candice Dyer, the award-winning Cleveland, Ga.-based freelance writer and author who is a frequent contributor to the magazine.
The online edition serves as a companion to the print edition with expanded articles and content that is not in the paper copy of the magazine, including audio and video stories and additional photos. Plus, said Editor David Morrison, it is “interactive. You can give instant commentary on an article or tell your own version of the story.”
Morrison, who is the university’s vice president for communications and publications, said the key to the award, however, was design director Christie Gregory, who created the stunning layouts and visual appeal of the print and online editions.
Since they teamed up at Brenau in 2007, Gregory and Morrison between them have collected eight previous CASE awards for Brenau Window and other university print materials.
“Any time that Christie is on the field, you have a chance to win,” said Morrison.
Morrison also cited Web Publishing Director Michael McPeek, who joined the team in the summer of 2012, just a few weeks before the Fall 2012 issue went to press.
“We had been talking for several years about a true, interactive, vibrant online magazine instead of the electronic static facsimiles of the print edition that we started posting on the Web site in 2007,” said Morrison.
“Michael grasped the concept the moment he started working here in August and he was able to turn Christie’s designs and selected template modifications into a fully-functioning online magazine in about a month.”
“Brenau Window makes no claim that we invented the concept of an online alumni magazine as a companion to the print edition,” said Morrison, “In fact, we probably were a little late to the party. This award, however, proves that a small university with limited budget and resources can still do some very good work.”
Another key to the success has been the writing, said Morrison, who has received two CASE feature writing awards in earlier years.
But the judges had the tough job in “picking between the kittens” because another of Dyer’s articles from the Fall 2012 issue was also nominated: the much lighter fare, “Talking with Another Side of the World” about her experience as a twang-talking north Georgian in Chinese language class at Brenau.
“Candice is a fantastic writer who can be hilarious, droll and sardonic or evoke any other emotion she needs to summon forth,” said Morrison. “We put Kelly McCormick’s moving story into the right hands.”
The Fall 2012 issue evolved around the theme of communications at the university with a cover story about the legacy to the university from the late John W. Jacobs Jr. of Gainesville, the longest-serving university trustee and a Gainesville communications pioneer.
It also included a close examination of the intercollegiate Golden Tigers sports teams, four of which finished in the top 10 nationally last spring, and a profile of the Brenau Women’s College honors program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012.
The online edition featured the same material but also included expanded versions of articles, bonus features, like profiles of alumni and students in the communications fields, and video and audio clips to illustrate articles along with still photos. For example, an article about singer-songwriter Bruce Burch, who is now on Brenau faculty, features videos of artists like Reba McIntyre performing songs Burch wrote.