Op-Ed: EKU Magazine makes alumnus think “surely you jest”

I am a 1975 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University (double major in journalism and broadcasting) and I am on the mailing list for EKU Magazine, aimed at alumni. For years, I have considered this magazine to be a substitute for Ambien, but after receiving the latest issue (Spring, 2021) I envisioned a staff meeting when they designed this edition. I can hear it now:

   “Okay, let’s talk about the cover for the Spring issue.”

   “How about putting the new president on the cover?”

    “No, let’s put an ad for Men’s Warehouse on the cover.”

    “I’ve got it! Let’s put the new president on the cover and make it look like a Men’s Warehouse ad.”

    “Brilliant! That will get alumni to open it.”

    “Just make sure his hands are in his pockets.”

    “And let’s make sure when they open the magazine, they see him looking again at the camera, but this time, show one of his hands.”

    “Ooh. That’s good.”

    “Then, they turn the next page, and he’s looking at the camera again!”

    “I don’t know. That might be too exciting. Our alumni aren’t getting any younger.”

    “But here’s the kicker. We’ll show both of his hands in this one.”

    “Great idea. I see a running theme here. Now, how about the title for his message?”

    “Here’s an idea: “My column – Putting Alumni to Sleep, Together.”

    “No, that could be taken the wrong way. Remember, some of our alumni are from the '70s and earlier, when nobody was allowed to sleep together.”

    “What’s he talking about in his message?”

    “Ummm, let’s see. He says, ‘hard work is the good work that gets the job done.’”

    “Hard work? I guess he wasn’t a journalism major.”

    “Okay then. How about this headline: “One Eastern: Moving Forward, Together.”

    “Yes. Did you make that up?”

    “I think I saw it on a bank ad.”

    “Perfect. But I’m reading his message and it feels full of clichés.”

    “Then let’s put it in a small type so alumni will have trouble reading it.”

    “I say we should put the entire magazine in small type.” 

    “And be sure to fill the magazine with pictures of people looking at the camera.”

    “Well, there are some nice pictures of a graduate with a job as a zookeeper, and there are animals in some of the pictures. Also, we have a few pictures of students doing stuff, like climbing a rock wall. Those shots are interesting.”

    “Okay, but keep them to a minimum.”

    “I don’t care about the other people. Just make sure each time President McFaddin is in a shot, he isn’t doing anything.”

    “Should his hands be in or out of his pockets?”

    “Be creative. Mix it up.”

    “Well, I don’t know about you folks, but I think we have a winner with this issue.”

    “What’s our main goal with EKU Magazine?”

    “To get alumni to donate, of course.”

    “Perfect. My grandfather is an alum, and he says the last issue made him donate. To UK.”

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Ken Gullette is a 1975 graduate of EKU and a former humor columnist and managing editor of the Eastern Progress. Gullette left journalism in 1997 for a career in media relations and communications.

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