A brave new beginning

Since 1955 UBC Reports has reflected the stories of our academic community— from the curious, to the considerable—in print

There are always mixed feelings  at the onset of momentous changes.  And this one is no exception.

With this last regular print edition of UBC Reports, we morph a chronicle that has been a UBC mainstay since 1955. In April, UBC Reports will only be distributed via email as a digital edition.  And although May will see us produce a print graduation special focusing on the Class of 2013, from June onwards our feature stories will be posted on the soon-to-be-launched UBC News website.

It’s a bold step to take—and a bit of a gamble.

For the past 58 years, UBC Reports has been an attentive witness to the university’s stunning growth, news and debates, its visionary thinkers, students and leaders, as well as the odd character or two. Our retrospective look at UBC Report’s shape shifts will undoubtedly elicit a tinge of nostalgia among longtime readers.

Through its many editions and thousands of stories, UBC Reports has reflected the university’s evolution and growing ambitions. At first written for a local campus readership, UBC Reports is now aimed at a broader audience as a monthly digest of features on university life, teaching, research and learning.  Former director Scott Macrae’s approach, launched in 2001 , has been good for UBC’s reputation. Today roughly 60 per cent of UBC Reports stories inspire further mainstream media coverage.

Many of us still get pleasure reading something tangible that can be scribbled on, highlighted, clipped and saved. Some will feel, and perhaps even resent, the loss of what has been an award-winning magazine, edited by Randy Schmidt, designed by Arlene Cotter and her team, featuring Martin Dee’s stunning photography, and the insightful stories told by Public Affairs writers and campus colleagues. Not everyone enjoys firing up a computer to get caught up on news.

But there’s no fighting the digital tsunami. Leading universities in Canada and beyond have been switching to online newsrooms in droves—and not for the reasons you would expect.  Publication and distribution costs  are not the big driver.

An important argument for UBC is sustainability. Intent on living our Place and Promise strategic commitments, it’s hard to justify putting out print publications when so many copies languish in distribution boxes.

Yet the decisive argument was the imperative to reach greater audiences, at times through mainstream media.  A digital news site allows us to bring attention to momentous research and UBC’s breadth of expertise, to more people, in more creative and numerous ways, and in a much more timely manner.

Think about it. No more artificial monthly print cycle—the stories can be told when they’re fresh. No limit to the number of stories or their length—we can feature newsworthy content from diverse university sources. And we won’t be bound by text and photos—we will meld video, images, motion graphics, audio, text and social media elements in a seamless and engaging news website.

We believe we can reach a greater number of you, farther afield, and in ways that you will readily adopt.  We think you will appreciate being able to pick and choose what you want from our offerings. And yes, you will also be able to subscribe to the new digital UBC Reports—the emailed link to the collected features of the month.

This is not the end. This last regular print edition heralds a new beginning and celebrates in these pages a proud tradition.

Here’s to the memories—and to the discoveries ahead.

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UBC Reports | Vol. 59 | No. 3 | Mar. 6, 2013

A brave new beginning. Martin Dee Photograph

A brave new beginning. Martin Dee Photograph

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February 1955
Alumni Kick Off 1955 Campaign For University Development Fund
Although no target amount has been specified by Development Fund directors, they are hoping to raise $75,000.

December 12, 1968, page 4
Suzuki captures top  NRC award
UBC geneticist Dr. David Suzuki, 32, has been named the 1969 recipient of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, one of Canada’s most prestigious scientific awards.

May 1, 1978, page 2
New computer bought  by UBC
UBC has purchased a new computer that will increase the processing capacity of its computing centre by more than 60 per cent. Jim Kennedy, director of the computing centre, said the new Amdahl V/6 – II, with four megabytes and 12 channels, was purchased for just over  $2.7 million.

February 15, 1984
A first for Canada
Robbie, the first child in Canada conceived through in vitro fertilization outside of his mother’s body, weighed two pounds two ounces when he was born two months premature on Christmas Day. The UBC in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer team is led by Dr. Victor Cornel, head of the obstetrics and gynecology department.

April 8, 1993
Summit puts campus on world stage
It’s the casual apparel of UBC students and world leaders: the UBC sweatshirt. U.S. President Bill Clinton jogged Stanley Park’s Seawall April 4 sporting the white sweatshirt, a gift from the university during the Vancouver Summit.

May 6, 2004
Nobel Laureates Receive Honorary Degrees  from UBC
Canada’s national newspaper called it “a one-of-a-kind traveling road show, and we may never see its likes again.” The Globe and Mail reporter was referring to the historic visit to UBC’s campus of three Nobel Peace Laureates.

February, 3 2010
Insane Pain: Thrill of the skeleton
When Jeff Pain describes himself  as a Type A personality, he’s not kidding. The 39-year-old Pain, who will compete in his third Winter Olympics at Whistler in February, recalls the first skeleton ride he took in November 1994.

May/June, 2013 A new digital platform
What you can expect:
• Feature stories
• Video clips
• Social media sharing
• Latest news
• Faculty expert profiles
• Daily UBC in the News summary
• Subscription by news beat

More stories from this issue

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