September 15, 2011

Cornell Alumni Magazine Cuts Full-Length Obituaries

Print More

Cornell Alumni Magazine has changed the way it recognizes alumni deaths in print, now only listing the names of deceased alumni instead of full-length obituaries.

Jim Roberts, the editor and publisher of CAM, said the decision to abbreviate the Alumni Death section of the magazine’s print version has been discussed for over a year. As Cornell’s alumni network continues to grow, so do the number of deaths reported by the University, he said.

“What was happening was we were running almost a year behind in publishing these [obituaries], which is really not acceptable to me as the editor of the magazine or to the alumni body in general,” Roberts said.

He also attributed the magazine’s publishing delays to a limited budget.

“Like a lot of people at Cornell, our budget is tighter than it’s ever been. We’ve had to reduce the number of pages in every section,” Roberts said. “We knew some people wouldn’t like it, but we had to look at how we could do it in a different way, so we could be timely with the publication.”

The original format for the section took up three times as much space compared to running a list of names, according to Roberts.

The full biographies are still available online, and the magazine indicates this access. Anyone can request the full biographies in print, Roberts added.

The opinion of Cornell alumni remains to be seen, as the Office of Alumni Affairs said they received only one complaint about the magazine’s changes.

“Few things are perfect in publishing,” Roberts said. “But we do the best we can with the resources we have.”

Original Author: Christa Nianiatus