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Lakehead University Magazine Fall/Winter 2007

Notes from the Editor

What We Have Learned

Welcome to the Fall/Winter í07 issue of the Lakehead University Alumni Magazine.

Frances Harding, Eleanor Abaya, and Mehdi Zahaf
Over the past year, Lakeheadís Director of Communications Eleanor Abaya and I have learned a lot about what our readers like and donít like about the Magazine.

Thanks to Mehdi Zahaf and his graduate students in Business Administration, we were able to conduct a readership survey where we learned that our readers:
  • Consider Lakehead University Alumni Magazine to be the most important source of information about Lakehead (followed by the Website and Lakehead e-bulletins)
  • Are very satisfied with the Alumni Magazineís content and layout
  • Prefer to read the Alumni Magazine in print rather than online
  • Would like to read more about Lakehead research initiatives, and alumni, faculty, and student achievements in every issue
  • Would like to receive more than two issues per year, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.
We also learned that some of our readers were concerned about seeing advertising in the Alumni Magazine and questioned why there was a need to solicit advertising. Others questioned why advertising was heavily weighted toward Northwestern Ontario companies. The answers to these questions can be found in our budget and in our demographics.

Lakehead University has a limited budget for the Alumni Magazine and, for the past several years, the Office of Communications has relied heavily on revenues from the sale of advertising (electronic and print) to offset the increasing costs of production (writing, design, photography, and printing).

Currently, we mail one copy of the Alumni Magazine to every graduate -- except in the case where there are two or more Lakehead alumni living under one roof. We have also kept the number of pages to a maximum of 28, and write most of the articles internally rather than hiring paid external writers. But even while making these economies, we are still challenged to keep abreast of rising costs. In fact, prior to generating advertising revenues, the Alumni Magazine had been operating on a deficit.

As to why so much of our advertising relates to Northwestern Ontario, the answer lies in our mailing list. Lakehead has over 41,000 alumni living around the world, but we have correct mailing addresses for only 25,288 and of these, approximately 34% live in Southern Ontario and 51% in Northern Ontario including Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay businesses have been supportive of the Alumni Magazine, and they have been quick to see the benefits of advertising. It has been a greater challenge to sell advertising space to companies operating outside the region, but we would certainly welcome those advertisers!

Taking all these factors into consideration, we have determined that an editorial to advertising ratio somewhere between 65:35 and 70:30 is a satisfactory solution that addresses our revenue needs while maintaining the editorial standards that our readers have come to expect.

So thank you to the many readers who took part in our focus groups and telephone and online surveys, and to our advertisers who continue to choose Lakehead University Alumni Magazine. We have learned a great deal over the past year and, with your help, will continue to improve the publication.
We urge you to stay engaged. Send us news about your accomplishments and new ventures, because unless you tell us, we wonít know. Remember, too, to keep us informed of your current postal and email address so you can continue to receive Alumni Magazine.

Best Wishes,

Frances Harding
Email: editor@lakeheadu.ca 
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