Our partner in space

Author: Kerry Temple ’74

Notre Dame Magazine has launched an experiment. It’s the magazine’s new and improved website. And a whole new way of doing stuff there.

To understand the revolution, though, you need the historical context.

Back in 1995, like many commercial periodicals, Notre Dame Magazine ventured into online publishing by creating a site that closely mirrored the original print product. Internet browsers could read stories from the latest issue on their computer screens and get information about the print version. The magazine’s website, as an electronic complement to what readers got in print, changed little between each quarterly incarnation.

While the years passed and the magazine staff watched this new medium explode across the planet and plotted exciting new horizons for ourselves, one person was actually making things happen. In fact, the magazine’s website owes its existence, identity and evolution to one person — Carol Schaal ’91M.A.

Carol, who joined the staff in 1987, became managing editor in 1995. So she’s second in command of the print side, manages each issue through the production cycle, oversees the Café Arts section and copy edits — assertively, fastidiously, meticulously copy edits — every word in each issue (except the class notes). In addition to this full-time job, Carol started the website at the behest of then-editor Walt Collins ’51 and has steered its development ever since, adding a few new features and managing its content.

She’s also been the impetus behind this latest venture and has worked with the talented and collaborative web designers and developers down the hall at AgencyND to get it off the ground.

The idea is to create a website that reflects and extends the print magazine while assuming a distinctive life of its own, changing its content frequently, giving readers reason to visit more often, and expanding upon the dialogue that occurs four times yearly in print. That means more stories, more photos and more voices — faculty, alumni, staff and others — in the continuing conversation that has become one of the hallmarks of Notre Dame Magazine.

Our thinking was that other venues existed to electronically report campus news and to communicate with alumni. But the magazine has a tradition of presenting readers with the healthy discussion that is a Notre Dame education, and the stories, analysis, opinion and expertise found on campus and among members of the Notre Dame family. Perhaps this conversation could also reside here, online, under the aegis of the magazine.

So that’s what we’ve launched. What we’re hoping is that bloggers, writers and readers bring their views here in a cordial, informed and appropriate manner to discuss a wide array of topics — from campus concerns to global ones — to spread understanding and share common ground.

You’ll find other features there, too, as we hope the magazine’s website provides an active and lively online community. So we’ve launched the experiment; it’s still a work in progress. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

Kerry Temple is editor of Notre Dame Magazine.