When I opened up the September 2010 edition of the SAU Theatre Newsletter, I was stunned by the imbedded pictures, the interactive links, and the fresh, sleek formatting. The competitive spirit went off in me instantly, as something turned over in my stomach and my jaw sat agape. I found myself envious of this new marvel. It had only been six years since my time as Newsletter Editor and it had transformed from a typed up e-mail with carefully placed spaces, bolding, and underlining to this interactive wonder.
The praise I give to the newsletter may seem overstated to some. However, as you track the newsletter over its roughly 10-year lifespan you may better understand my astonishment.
"It began in the year 2000 as a way to connect with alumni and currently enrolled students," reflected theatre professor and newsletter faculty advisor, Dr. Corinne Johnson. "We did hard copies that were distributed through campus mail and through the US post."
"As best as I recall, it was a print piece at the time, rather than electronic, and laid out using the now-defunct Adobe Pagemaker," recalled the newsletter's original editor Stephanie (Massick) Alexander '01 (at left).
The very next year the newsletter would take its leap from its hardcopy origins to the world of electronic communication under the dedicated leadership of Megan (O'Connell) Cox '03. "I wrote the majority of the stories myself and had to keep our wide audience in mind," stated Cox.
The newsletter would stay in this email stasis for some time. From September 2001–September 2006, no major overhauls in the design were made. "I remember sitting [at the computer] in the library trying to make the newsletter send and wanting to pull my hair out," joked editor Jenny Stodd '06 (shown at right). "(It was) multiple sends from Yahoo mail back in the day."
During this email period however, a tradition blossomed. Any student from SAU knows they can count on getting to know one of the newest freshmen or say goodbye to a graduating senior. SAU students know that they will surely be able to catch up on the latest from KCACTF, the Studio Theatre line-up, what students and professors did theatrically over the summer, and the ever constant "Theatre in the QCA."
In September 2006 the newsletter added an official header with interactive links and a line-up of photos to boot. Over the course of Seth Kaltwasser's three year tenure (the longest of any editor), the newsletter continued to improve the format and ease at which a reader could move around the newsletter. "I enjoyed seeing the newsletter grow," said Kaltwasser. "The newsletter changed immensely during my time on the team from January 2006 to May 2009."
Dedication is clearly a quality for anyone who joins the SAU Theatre Newsletter Staff. With a small department, everyone is expected to be at the top of their game in a variety of areas. The former writers and editors for the newsletter were generally some of Ambrose's busiest students, going above and beyond to contribute to something they believed to be important. Katie McCormack '10 (shown at left) recalls, "Everyone who writes for the newsletter always ends up being too busy, as we all often are. So remembering to send out reminders about deadlines was paramount."
The honor of being the editor is now squarely on the shoulders of SAU Sophomore Stephanie Seward '13. Seward touched on a prevailing theme that seems to run through all former editors and their relationship with faculty advisor Dr. Johnson. "Her expectation of excellence constantly pushes me to be a better worker, actor, and person overall," noted Seward. "I couldn't ask for more than that."
"Cory was an amazing role model," added Alexander. "She was a leader with whom you could be friends, while still having respect and more than a dash of awe for her. That's a hard balance to find, especially for a woman, and I'm so grateful to have learned that from her."
With the driven leadership of Dr. Johnson and editorship of Seward (at left), the newsletter has once again taken a huge step forward. The e-mails now received carry the same links, but draw you in to the world of the website and SAU, as a whole. Selecting any one story will automatically mount the story in its own window, filled with pictures and links.
Spending so much time reviewing old newsletters to write this story, something struck me. I look at the newsletter and see an experience that helped shape me professionally and define me personally. I look at the newsletter and see its growth as a piece of journalism. I look at the newsletter and a history comes into focus; a history that is greater than my own and a definition of what it is to be a part of the SAU Theatre Department.
"It reminds us of what we did and how we did it," proudly stated Dr. Johnson. "I love going back to read articles. It takes me back to very specific and clear moments in our departmental history."
Be sure to visit the SAU Theatre Newsletter website. From there, you too can see the growth.
2000 - 2001 : Stephanie (Massick) Alexander ‘01
* Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Skiff Medical Center
2001 - 2003 : Megan (O'Connell) Cox ‘03
* Regional Marketing Manager for USA TODAY newspaper
2003 - 2004 : Daniel DP Sheridan ‘05
* Artistic Director of Davenport Junior Theatre and Performing Arts Supervisor for Davenport Parks and Recreation
2004 - 2006 : Jenny Stodd ‘06
* Actress, working at El Dorado Casino in Reno, NV playing in THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY
2006 - 2009 : Seth Kaltwasser ‘09
* Starbucks Employee and Intern at the Jungle Theatre (Minneapolis) / Recently completed four month contract acting for Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls, WI
2009 - 2010 : Katie McCormack ‘10
* Employee at Borders Books
2010 - ???? : Stephanie Seward '13
* Current student
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