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Coming Soon: A Free Cornell Magazine?

No, the University hasn't suddenly given the Cornell Alumni Federation and the Cornell Alumni Magazine the money that is needed to circulate their magazine free to all Cornell alumni. But it may be the next best thin, as the gray lady reports:

A small New York publisher on Friday bought 02138, a magazine for Harvard alumni, with visions of expanding it into social networking and event sponsorship, and then duplicating the operation for each Ivy League school.

Mr. Kim will stay as publisher. Tom Allon, president and chief executive of Manhattan Media, said he hoped the executive editor, Richard Bradley, would also stay. The magazine will go from four issues a year to six, he said.

“We plan to launch a companion Web site that’s a social networking Web site for Harvard alumni, and sponsor a series of events, alumni events, around the 02138 brand,” he said. “We think this is a sort of new paradigm in publishing. I think people do share common interests when they’re alumni of a university.”

Over the next few years, Mr. Allon said, “Our plan is that this is the first of what will become eight Ivy League magazines, sites and events companies,” one each for Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Though he is an alumnus of Cornell and Columbia, Mr. Allon said the next project would probably be Yale or Princeton.

The magazine, mailed free to about 100,000 Harvard alumni, is supported by ads, and the other magazines would follow that lead. “Paid circulation, I think, is a dying model,” [Allon] said.

Tom Allon received his A.B. from Cornell in 1984.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. First, I don't think Cornell alums navel gaze nearly as much as some of their Ivy peers. Let's face it: a plant botanist or materials science engineer probably won't be very interested in how alums are dressed in California. Secondly, it will create some competition for the present Alumni Magazine, as well as for the Daily Sun, and blogs like this one. But if you ask us, competition is always a good thing. So is more people writing about Cornell. And the fact that it will be free and distributed to all alums is just icing on the cake.

Also, any guesses on what they will name the Cornell-centric magazine? I hope they don't go with 14853. After all, there already is a magazine called 14850. Let's hope they go for something with a nice Cornelliana ring to it. But remember, "Far Beyond Cayuga's Waters" is already taken.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on May 12, 2008 (#)

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