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Making her own mark

Andrea Gunn
After four editions as the editor, Andrea Gunn feels she has put her own mark on the Queen’s Alumni Review. (University Communications)

Andrea Gunn has her dream job.

With four editions already under her byline, Ms. Gunn is the new editor of the Queen’s Alumni Review, the quarterly magazine that helps connect thousands of alumni across the globe with each other as well as with what is happening at the university.

Back in August, when she moved into the editor’s chair, it marked a major career accomplishment that also came with some trepidation.

Ms. Gunn isn’t exactly new to the magazine. She started working at Queen’s in 2008 and a year later joined the QAR as the Keeping in Touch editor.

“I was elated. It really was, and is, my dream job,” she says. “It was a little bit scary because I know the two most recent editors and my immediate predecessor was on the job for 28 years. So I knew I had some big shoes to fill and at the same time I need to carry on a tradition while making my own mark on the magazine.”

And she has already started making that mark.

Under Ms. Gunn’s editorship, the magazine has taken on a more graphic-style of design, employing new ways of delivering information and stories. She also points out that each edition is being centred on a different theme.

“We started a graphic redesign last year that has really started to bloom. We’re focusing a lot of our resources on great graphics, big photos that tell a great story, and illustrations,” she says. “But we’re also being more thoughtful with our stories and our story curation. For instance, our upcoming May edition is focused on mental health and it’s a weighty topic but I wanted to show various pieces of the mental health story – what’s important to talk about, what Queen’s researchers are doing in different fields, what Queen’s students are doing in terms of peer support – so, really telling different aspects of a larger story.”

Visit the Queen's Alumni Review website.

At the same time there is an increasing use of the QAR’s website but instead of simply posting the stories from the magazine Ms. Gunn is utilizing the strengths of the medium to complement the print version. In the August edition, she explains, she wrote a profile of an alumnus who is a composer and conductor.  In addition, exclusive to the website, she published an interview with the alumnus done by a recent School of Music graduate. Those interested could read the printed story, the online interview, or get the full experience by reading both.

Another new step is that there will be an online-only edition of the magazine this fall, which Ms. Gunn says offers her an opportunity to explore new ways of delivering information through video, audio and photo albums.

However, the print version of the QAR is here to stay, she adds.

“I don’t see the print issue going away. People really like having a print university magazine,” she says. “It still bucks the trend of the dying of print magazines. People still like to have the magazine in their hands or on their coffee table.”

From the feedback she has received so far, it is clear that QAR readers remain engaged and are always eager to hear the stories of their university, their community.

“The role of the QAR is, I think, to inform and engage the readers on what is happening at Queen’s today as well as providing a conduit for them to share their news with their Queen’s friends,” she says. “So I want to inform them about research, about student works, faculty work, and keep them excited about what is happening at Queen’s.”

Yet she also doesn’t want to give readers information they already know and that means having her finger on the pulse of life at the university, from new programs and graduate student research to new forms of teaching and the ups and downs of the greater Queen’s family.

The next edition of the QAR will be published May 19. Along with home delivery for alumni, issues are available at various locations across Queen’s.