The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office of Communication and Marketing intends to carry on with La Louisiane’s circulation with a scheduled distribution date of April 1.
La Louisiane is the university’s publication used for communicating university-related subjects pertaining to the students, faculty and culture.
Jennifer Stephens, associate vice president of the Office of Communication and Marketing, oversees the magazine production and said it provides premium content for the university.
“The biggest and the best stories around the institution are in this publication, and so when we’re trying to sort of highlight and feature all that the university represents and all of its brightest spots, this is where it all comes together in one place,” Stephens said.
La Louisiane discontinued production after their last issue in fall 2019 due to COVID-19 related issues and regulations. Stephens joined the staff in 2020 after the previous editor retired in 2019, and according to her, they endured over a year of preparation to get to this point in the process.
The publication also recently added a student editor to the staff, which they did not have in previous years.
“We had to just put a bunch of pieces of the puzzle back together,” Stephens said.
According to Stephens, the database process, which involved reevaluating the target audiences, expanding their publication distribution list and checking addresses and emails, took about one year from March 2022 to work on. The extensiveness of the preparation and decision-making as it pertained to who would receive the magazine led to a delay in the previously intended distribution date, which was scheduled for sometime during the Fall 2022 semester.
Also, the bidding process for the publication commenced in May 2022 and lasted six months, ending in October 2022.
“In the spirit of stabilizing the publication, we bid it out in a way that we can kind of renew the bid for four years. So that helps to where we’re not having to bid it out every single year,” Stephens said.
The team is currently finishing the creative production process, with a March 13 send-off date to their printer. They’re estimating the print time to be approximately two weeks, and during that time, they have plans to promote the publication on social media and online.
Students pay a $2.50 fee each semester for the publication and have continued to pay the fees during the planning and preparation stages of the publication. According to records, during the fiscal year of 2021, the publication received more than $60,000 of tuition and student fees. More than $15,000 worth of expenditures were used, leaving the remaining amount of revenue at almost $45,000.
According to Stephens, the office was focused on COVID-19 related communication during 2020 and the revenue was stored for uses like the bidding process. Stephens said the money was not used, except for minor needs like equipment.
“You know, all fees were being collected at that time, all tuition was being collected at that time, and our entire focus was trying to keep the academic enterprise operational in a whole new dynamic and keeping students safe,” Stephens said. “We began in 2021, sort of rolling back into a lot of our operations that were a little bit more non-pandemic related.”
“So all the funds that were collected, you know, they remain there, they’re restricted for use with the magazine. And so they’re all being used for the purpose that they’re designed to be used for,” Stephens continued.
The Office of Communication and Marketing plans on looking for more digital usage of the publication, however, they still intend to continue distributing printed copies at the university and sending them to others.