When we let readers know, in our June email newsletter, that we didn’t have enough paper for our full print run, it never crossed my mind that a Brown alum would have a solution. It should have. A few days later, Marti Schiff ’83 wrote back, offering a little unexpected help: she could put us in touch with one of the country’s largest paper distributors to see if we could buy paper directly. The upshot: BAM’s paper shortage seems, for the rest of this year at least, to be a thing of the past—although the global market is still very, very tight.
Marti is a former management consultant who helped launch Entertainment Weekly before launching her own company, Strategic Media. Now, from her New York office, she helps clients as diverse as OpenTable, Facebook, and big traditional media companies acquire new subscribers. She’s all about forming useful connections—including, in our case, letting us know about an option we didn’t even know existed (and that our printer would never have told us about although, given the unusual market conditions, they are willing to work with us on it). It’s the kind of smart, unexpected—yet 100 percent practical—thinking I have grown to associate with Brown, and has reminded me just how lucky I am to be connected to a community of people who don’t just know how to get things done, but have the generosity and vigor to actually do them—in Marti’s case, with no prospect of recompense. Ever true.
Talking of generosity, we at the BAM want to thank all of you who spent a minute filling out our quick email survey. The response rate was amazing and answered our most pressing question: Should we continue to print on paper? While some of you were happy to read online, the vast majority asked for print—“I spend way too much time online,” as one alum put it; “I reflect on print but skim and discard online flotsam,” said another—so that’s what we’re planning to do. It was also wonderful to learn which sections of the magazine you prefer, but the best part has been reading the notes so many of you took the time to leave. It’s been a rare treat to hear directly from so many, and we’ll be using your input to inform our editorial and design strategy going forward. Here’s a sampling of what you told us: Less wokeness. More sports please. More on Brown architecture. Love the books section. More stories on Providence. Love the crossword puzzle in the email BAM! Even though I can’t call the obituaries one of my favorite parts, I wouldn’t skip them…. More on alumni who work for large corporations; we’re not all authors/educators/NGO employees. A column about those of us who have led, well, normal lives. Pick an alum at random and profile them. My favorite is the annual Gift Guide. Timely and insightful. I live overseas and appreciate receiving BAM by mail, it reminds me of home. It’s one of the best parts about being an alum. Receiving it in the mail is like receiving a letter from an old friend. The BAM helps keep me connected to Brown, a connection I cherish.
We cherish our connection to all of you. Thanks for reading!