Medill alumni upset over termination of email list

Alumni of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications may start to communicate through the Our Northwestern portal later this year after their email list is discontinued May 30. Users can incorporate other social media accounts into their profiles.

Source: Our Northwestern screenshot

Alumni of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications may start to communicate through the Our Northwestern portal later this year after their email list is discontinued May 30. Users can incorporate other social media accounts into their profiles.

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

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With the launch of a new online community later this year, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications’ alumni email list will be discontinued despite complaints from many former students.

Belinda Clarke (Communication ’91, Medill ’94), Medill’s director of communications and alumni relations, messaged the email list Thursday to confirm the mailing list will be eliminated on May 30.

“As I explained briefly in the newsletters that went out last week, the Northwestern Alumni Association has spent the last several years building a new online community for Northwestern alumni, students, faculty and staff called Our Northwestern,” she wrote. 

Our Northwestern will allow alumni to access an alumni directory, communicate with various clubs and network with the NU community. Users can access the portal through various social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus. 

(Northwestern Alumni Association launches social network to connect students, grads)

Jessica Hilberman (Medill ’05) said she was disappointed when she found out the email list would be terminated. She said she uses the email list for a variety of purposes including employment opportunities, keeping in touch with fellow alumni and discussions related to journalism.  As a result, she created a new email list through Google Groups, which 250 people have signed up for. 

“It was clear that others would also like to continue to have an email resource available, so I set one up,” Hilberman wrote in an email to The Daily. “It’s clear that some alumni would prefer to continue networking in ways that are already integrated into their lives.”

Although Ian Monroe (Medill ’09) has only tried Our Northwestern a few times,  he said he was not impressed by the site, which is currently in its beta phase.

“It’s a network site,” he said. “The utility for something like that is only in proportion to the number of people that participate in it. If there’s not participation, then there is no utility. That was one of the nice things about the email list. … There were enough people who were contributing to it on a regular basis where it actually did have a fair amount of utility for the people who were using it.”

Monroe said there are anywhere from two to a dozen emails sent over the email list each day.  

University spokesman Al Cubbage (Medill ’78, ’87) said the email list is “an old-fashioned way of doing things” and Our Northwestern will serve as a universal hub for all alumni communication.

“We understand that the listserv is popular with a number of Medill alums and serves as a good tool, but we also think the new site will not only meet the current needs, but also provide other services,” he said. “It’s a bit of a change. We understand that, but at the same time, we’re confident that Northwestern alums will be able to adapt.”

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager

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