Oberlin Alumni Magazine
The Oberlin Alumni Magazine (OAM) is published three times a year and mailed to about 36,000 alumni and friends of Oberlin College, including parents of current students.
The primary goal of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine is to spark the same sorts of conversations that began when alumni were students at Oberlin: Late-night dorm talks or long lunches, classroom discussions that spilled into the hallways, dialogues that kept the mind in motion during student days.
The magazine strives to explore the Oberlin community on campus and out in the world with accuracy, transparency, and enlightened enthusiasm.
Established in 1904, the OAM is the college’s flagship periodical. It is published three times a year by Oberlin’s Office of Communications and distributed to alumni, parents, and friends of Oberlin College.
The Oberlin Alumni Magazine is always open to story suggestions and pitches. People interested in pitching a story should tell us what the story is about and why the magazine should pursue it.
A pitch is more than just the name of a person or organization: It’s a description, an explanation, an angle, a point of view, and a brief argument.
Before pitching, ask yourself, “What would I hope to accomplish with an article in the alumni magazine? Who would be interested? What would I want the reader to do after reading the proposed article?”
The magazine is divided into the following departments:
- Letters to the Editor
- Around Tappan Square: a roundup of mostly campus news briefs
- Thought Process: creative and intellectual pursuits of alumni, faculty, staff, and students
- Feature Stories: main articles in the middle of the magazine
- Class Notes: alumni-submitted news and information, plus a few mini-features
- Losses in the Oberlin Family: staff-written obituaries, plus an occasional “Memorial Minute” from a faculty member about another faculty member
- Endquotes: quotes from an Oberlin-related person or about Oberlin
Keep these departments in mind when pitching a story so you can be specific about how you see your story fitting into the magazine.
When things go as planned for a person, project, or organization, it usually isn’t a story for us; when they go much better than planned, or much different than planned (even if it’s worse)—that’s where the stories are.
We’re less interested in the fact that the new chancellor of the American Academy of Poets is an Oberlin alumna (congratulations Linda Gregerson ’71!) than we are in using that fact as the news peg for publishing one of her poems in the magazine.
We think it’s great that alumnus Trevett Hooper ’98 has one of the hottest restaurants in Pittsburgh. We’re more interested in the thoughtful dialogue about food issues like GMOs he wants to start.
We’re grateful D.A. Henderson ’50 helped eradicate smallpox, of course, but we’re intrigued that he cites his time at Oberlin’s college radio station in his explanation of how he was able to do it.
We’re impressed that Michael Sorrell ’88 rose to become the president of Paul Quinn College. Yet when he plowed under the football field to create a small farm to provide fresh produce to an underserved neighborhood of Dallas, that’s when we took note and asked, “What’s he up to there?”.
Not all stories have to congratulate Oberlin for being Oberlin, but by providing a broad lineup of richly textured stories, we hope to celebrate what it means to be a part of this community.
We’re looking for stories that are relevant to the lives of our diverse readers, stories that are topical, stories that bring insight into the way the world—or the mind, or the heart—works.
To pitch a story, send your idea by email to Annie Zaleski , OAM editor.
Class notes can be about anything, from a milestone in your personal or professional life, to a gathering of Oberlin friends, to an update on where you're living so people can keep in touch with you.
You can announce that you’ve written a book, or let people know you’ve been spending a year reading books. You can celebrate a wedding anniversary, or a year of sobriety. You can let people know you’re traveling the world (and need a place to stay), or tell classmates they can stay at your place.
Class notes are written or gently edited in-house but draw liberally from what you send in, sometimes with direct quotes. You can also send in photographs—wedding photos, baby photos, a book jacket, a piece of art you’ve done, etc. We usually use only one piece of art per entry—so pick your best wedding picture because if you let us pick, we will for sure pick the one you least prefer (not on principle, but it just seems to work out that way). If you’ve written a book, decide whether you want your author photo or book jacket (I’d go for the book jacket if you want to move copies).
Class notes that mention more than one alum are considered the note of the person who sent it in, and will appear under that person’s class year. We indicate by an accent color whose note it is, we place in bold type other alums of that class year, and we include class year all other alums in the note (let us know people’s year if you know, but also let us know if you’re not sure).
When we’ve mentioned someone by pronoun, which isn’t often, we haven’t always gotten it right—so you should probably indicate your pronoun. We use full names for first reference and first names afterward.
Send your class note Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 247 West Lorain Street, Suite C, Oberlin, Ohio 44074, or to firstname.lastname@example.org with Class Note in the subject line. If you really want to be a dear, name the photo file you send with your class year, followed by a space and then your last name.
Our obituaries section includes Oberlin alumni, staff, faculty (including former), and friends of the college.
They are written in-house from material sent by family or friends of the deceased. Unfortunately, we stop far short of presenting the full measure of a person’s life in the limited space we have, and we see them more as notices to inform classmates and friends, with the hope they will follow up by finding the fuller obituary online. Thus, we don’t run photographs, we keep a tight focus on summarizing the person’s career and education, we don’t use many adjectives that aren’t easily verified, we seldom include quotes from others, and we aim for around 100 words.
We generally only include survivors by name if they are Oberlin alumni (in which case we include class year); otherwise, they will be included by description, such as “two children, and three grandchildren.”
The closer you follow how we present them, the less likely we will be to edit them unsatisfactorily, or place attention on something you might not find as important. Please consult a current issue for examples. Note that current Oberlin Alumni Magazine Losses style uses Mr., Ms., and Dr. for titles.
Please send obituaries to Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 247 West Lorain Street, Suite C, Oberlin, Ohio 44074 or to email@example.com with Losses as the subject line.