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Reading Between the Lines

By Lisa Asher

The June issue of the Baylor Alumni Association’s e-mail newsletter was sent this week, which means that I spent a lot of my time over the last few days online. As editor of Between the Lines, I write the newsletter text, the Family Album section, and usually a story or two each issue. Then I create the electronic version of all of the stories and of the newsletter itself.

The process has changed quite a bit since the BAA first began sending out the newsletter. That first issue, in July 2001, was a leap into the unknown–for the university and for me. Between the Lines (BTL) was the first online publication in Baylor’s history to be sent to all alumni and friends with a good e-mail address. Here is the message that greeted readers at the top of that first issue:

We’d like to introduce a new addition to the Baylor family. No, it’s not the new bear cub, Joy, named after chancellor emeritus Herbert Reynolds’s wife, Joy. It’s Between the Lines, a complimentary monthly e-mail newsletter published by the Baylor Alumni Association.

While the Baylor Line magazine reaches alums four times a year, there’s a lot of information we’d like to share with you in between the Line issues. At the first of each month, we will send a newsletter to update you on campus activities and alumni association events, and to let you get to know campus folks and fellow alums.

Reading the story list for that first issue is like walking back through time. In addition to a preview of the summer 2001 Baylor Line, we covered the ongoing construction of Truett Seminary and the Baylor Law School and featured a Q&A with men’s head basketball coach Dave Bliss.

I still remember my interview with Bliss, who, after we had talked, took me outside the Ferrell Center to show me his favorite tree. I still have a hard time reconciling that image of him with the one of scandal and disgrace that would later emerge.

From the very first issue, BTL was a success–while some people did unsubscribe, many more have joined our mailing list over the years. We currently send to more than 70,000 people, and every month, I get more requests to be put on the list.

We’ve adapted our story selection as readers’ interests have changed. But a few important things have remained: we continue to offer news about campus, alumni, and BAA goings-on. We continue to include the Family Album story, a collection of alumni-submitted photos that remains our most popular feature.

And we continue to feature original stories, not recycled press releases. Our stories are written by the BAA’s communications staff–thankfully, aided by eager student interns.

The June 2009 issue includes a BAA history story by Todd Copeland; an alum profile of Jim Van Valkenburg ’68, written by Judy Prather; and a story about a new mission program at Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, written by student intern Claire Moncla.

Oh, and there’s also a couple of things in there from yours truly. We love creating this historic publication–and we’re glad you enjoy reading it!

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