Print vs. Online

September 26th, 2011

As one who admires BAM's consistent excellence and who also oversees the news and communications office for another leading university, I was interested in your editor's column lamenting the small percentage of BAM readers who ever visit the magazine's website (Here & Now, July/August). As the column noted, it's a situation common at many top universities. Your conclusion was essentially that readers really, really should visit the BAM website.

Well, perhaps. Another possibility is that the data are telling you clearly that Brown alumni, like their counterparts elsewhere, love your printed magazine but prefer to go to the University's website and other sites, such as Brown's growing Facebook page, for their online information about the University.

BAM's readers may not be the ones who need to change their behavior. A more promising response to the data might be for the magazine to accept reality and, instead of measuring its online success by the number of visits to the BAM site, look for new ways to share its superb content in the online places where Brown audiences choose to congregate.

David Jarmul '75
Durham, N.C.




In the July/August Here & Now item, editor Norman Boucher is surprised that the percentage of alumni who have visited the BAM website isn't higher. But maybe it just shows how on-target the print BAM really is. Busy, successful people don't have time to spend the day surfing the web. Maybe the content of the print BAM matches well the amount of information and involvement many alumni want to have. If you're more interested and involved, you can always visit the website, but it will not replace the print BAM's function of providing pre-edited news and information without one's having to go looking for it. If the print BAM were ever discontinued, this function would still need to be provided, perhaps in an e-mailed version, and could not be replaced by exhortations to visit the website.

David A. Ernst '74
Lexington, Mass.

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Related Issue
September/October 2011