Between the Lines: May-June 2004

June 1, 2004

Exactly twenty years ago, Duke Magazine made its debut. In that first issue, the editors said they would strive to produce a publication that would remain "compelling in its content, striking in its visual impression."

A lot has changed for the magazine, just as a lot has changed for Duke. The first issue was forty-eight pages, and no more than two colors saturated those pages. The look was gray, formal, and understated. Feature stories were rigidly clustered into standing sections; the main recurring design elements were thick vertical and horizontal rules.

Now, the magazine's standard is seventy-two pages. The design is more exuberant. Color is more pervasive. The flow of content has been repaced, and readers now are led into the magazine by shorter pieces. The cover is image-rich rather than type-heavy.

And our staff addition, the Clay Felker Magazine Fellow, gives us the energy and insight of a recent Duke graduate with a strong grasp of writing and a strong sense of the campus.

From the start, Duke Magazine has focused on the interplay between the campus and the wider culture. In the first issue, stories looked at an engineering professor's investigation of space-age materials, a political scientist's theory on the rhythms of American politics, an environmental researcher's application of cost-benefit analysis, an alumna's work in establishing a Durham soup kitchen, the array of concerns produced by big-time college athletics, and the intellectual argument for a program in women's studies.

And so, for all the tweaking over the two decades, the magazine has been characterized by editorial constancy. The aim then remains the aim now: to "provide a sense of the intellectual dynamism that characterizes the Duke community."