New business model announced for Yale Alumni Magazine

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Yale University and the board of directors of Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., the Connecticut-based 501(c)3 that currently publishes the Yale Alumni Magazine, announced that, beginning July 1, the 124-year-old Yale Alumni Magazine will become a department of the university.

Editor-in-chief Kathrin Day Lassila will remain at the magazine’s helm, and the board of directors will continue to serve as a sounding board and source of guidance for the magazine.

“The new structure will ensure that the magazine remains robust, both journalistically and financially. Its adherence to high standards of journalism and its editorial point of view will be preserved,” said Yale Alumni Publications chair Joanne Lipman, an author, founding editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Portfolio, and a former deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to Lipman, the board includes Paul Steiger, founder of Propublica and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal; and Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed. It also includes several Yale alumni who have served in volunteer leadership roles for the Association of Yale Alumni, as well as several Yale faculty and administrators.

The arrangement will last for at least three years, after which it will continue unless either party decides to withdraw from the agreement.

“Yale appreciates an alumni magazine that honors the intelligence of our alumni — one that adheres to high journalistic standards and delivers strong reporting in a thorough and engaging manner,” said Peter Salovey, president of the university.

The magazine will continue to be guided by its Statement of Purpose, which requires it to “impartially explore the achievements, issues, and problems of the university — of its administration, faculty, and student body — in order to convey a complete, fair, and accurate understanding of Yale today” and to “portray Yale in all its complexity.” In addition, it serves to record news of the alumni. In the past decade, the magazine has explored topics ranging from how Yale handles free-speech controversies on campus to the university’s increasingly international orientation, its renovation of landmarks such as Sterling Memorial Library, and its efforts to expand scientific research. The magazine has also broken news such as the discovery of a 1918 letter from a Skull and Bones member about an attempt to rob Geronimo’s grave, and the discovery of documents showing that Yale College admitted its first African American student earlier than previously thought. Its reporting has been followed by major publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

“There could not be a more thoughtful, interesting, and perceptive readership than the Yale alumni, and we look forward to continuing to serve them,” said Lassila.

The new arrangement came after thorough investigation by the board of directors into the best way to ensure that the magazine can remain strong, both financially and substantively.

Linda Lorimer, senior counselor to the president of Yale, will oversee the magazine. She has been a member of the board of the magazine for 22 years. She said, “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. 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.”

Lise P. Chapman, chair of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), said, “I am delighted by this new arrangement, which will ensure that the magazine continues to be available to all graduates of the university for free. The AYA appreciates this investment by the university in alumni communications.”

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