Susan Rosenlof masters the Marian magazine

By J1 reporter Mia Butler 

Writing and design takes time— we all know this. But how much time? The Marian magazine is a process unlike anything the students understand. It’s beyond American Comp and Lit and more advanced than art fundamentals. 

The Marian magazine owes its glory and fame to Mrs. Susan Rosenlof. Rosenlof knows the Marian community like the back of her hand. Graduating from Marian in ’82, she returned years later to do freelance writing and cover maternity leaves in the advancement office. 

Photo by Mia Butler. Rosenlof editing the Marian Magazine

Time has furthered, and so has her role. She is now the director of marketing and communication and the backbone of the semi-annual Marian magazine. 

Rosenloff took the role in 2017, and well, first things first, she immediately made one drastic change: the magazines historically came out 3-4 times a year, however, with that quantity, they faced the consequence of the dreadful… budget. Photo quality, photographer, and page numbers were limited as they tried to fill content in a skinny price. 

With this, Rosenlof pulled the plug.

She reduced the magazine to simply twice a year: allowing more financial flexibility for a better photographer, quality and content. However, there was another action that she is still currently dedicated to. 

“We are trying to be more more discriminatory in who we mail to,” Rosenlof said since paper and postage costs are high, and supply chain issues are ongoing.

The question on the table is who should the magazine be mailed to? Right now, about 9,000 magazines are mailed to various recipients. The more “restrictive” list consists of alumnae ages 59-99 who have engaged with Marian in the last 10 years and parents of alumnae and friends who have engaged in the last three years. The minimum year rule was placed because “why would you receive a magazine if you don’t participate anymore?”— a valid question Rosenlof’s team had to answer.

Other than that, a fully inclusive list of parents, second parents,grandparents, board members, both past and present, Servite houses, special friends, faculty and staff, and all alumnae from 2000-2022.

With 9,000 readers, the content selection and writing process is intense. Also, now that the magazines (spring and winter editions) cover six months, Rosenlof must fill the pages wisely.

The first step of the process is gaining content. Alumnae can submit their “success stories” online, but that is not the only way Rosenlof obtains the latest news. LinkedIn, Facebook, word-of-mouth, and faculty are  a big help to her when she is hunting for pieces, as well as Marian’s own journalism students. 

Rosenlof is not shy to spotlight the work of journalism girls. “You guys are doing the stories, they are good, and even if they are not perfect, so what? They still showcase the student work, so why not boost your guys’ work?” she says. 

Not only are journalism stories featured, but so are many of their photos. Using journalism pictures benefits the magazine, displaying student pieces and bonus: saving money. Truly, it’s a win-win.

Obtaining content has been more of a struggle recently. With the boom of social media platforms, people are posting their own news on their own pages. From births, marriages, deaths and awards, social media gets its hands on the stories first. Since a simple click of the “post” is all it takes to share with the world your latest news, people are not taking the time to submit online. 

However, this struggle does not hinder Rosenlof’s process too much. The stories can still be found and the magazine operation proceeds. 

After the photos and stories are obtained, a color system selects the finalists. Rosenlof uses a “red, yellow, green status is used to highlight and pick away” the stories to eliminate with ease. 

Next, is the serious business. Editing galore. Proofing, fixing, and proofing again consumes Rosenlof’s time. 

Finally, when her stress is complete, the magazine is sent to the designer to make the final cuts. 

Boom.

The Marian magazine is complete, and Rosenlof sends out another 9,000 editions to be read by Marian connections everywhere. 

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