UPON FURTHER `REVIEW': A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT THE NJCAA'S OFFICIAL PUBLICATION
February 13, 2013
by Mark Krug, NJCAA Assistant Executive Director
NOTE: As part of the ongoing celebration of its 75th Anniversary, the national headquarters of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) will release nine insightful articles during the 2012-13 academic year that will make up the NJCAA 75th Anniversary Feature Series. Below is the sixth in the series, which can also be found in the February issue of NJCAA Review.
Each month during the collegiate sports calendar multiple glossy pieces of paper are printed, saddle-stitched and then shipped to the campuses of over 520 member colleges of the NJCAA. It is the end product of a month’s work at the organization’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., entitled, NJCAA Review.
The title gives its contents away. There is no hidden agenda or tease. The publication aims to report on and highlight the accomplishments of the organization’s member colleges and student-athletes. Now in its 64th year of continuous operation, the publication has been and continues to be the heartbeat of the NJCAA. As eras of the association have come and gone, and advancements in technology and communication have shifted, the official publication of the NJCAA has been steadfast in providing its membership a vital product.
The origins of the NJCAA’s official publication can be traced back to its defining era. After the NJCAA emerged following World War II, leaders within the NJCAA recognized the need for publicizing the activities of the association. Stephen Glover of Rochester Business Institute (N.Y.) was tabbed by NJCAA President E.P. Coleman to produce a monthly bulletin that highlighted the activities of the association. In September 1948 the first issue of NJCAA Monthly News Bulletin was distributed. However, by March of 1949 the bulletin ceased and Glover resigned from his post at both RBI and the NJCAA.
Newly elected NJCAA President Reed K. Swenson appointed Mike Mason of Compton College (Calif.) as the organization’s public relations director in May of 1949. Mason immediately volunteered to revive the NJCAA’s efforts for a monthly bulletin, which was to be mimeographed and mailed to the president and athletic director at each member college, beginning in September of 1949 with the name N.J.C.A.A. Bulletin.
While producing what would end up being the first volume of the organization’s official publication, Mason researched whether a full-scale magazine was needed. He concluded that N.J.C.A.A. Bulletin would suffice the organization’s goal to having a vehicle for the exchange of ideas as well as promote its activities. Thus, an elaborate magazine was unnecessary. However, by the end of the 1950’s the bulletin he started matured into a full-fledged magazine.
Throughout the 1950’s the bulletin was devoted to presenting information on national and regional legislation and activities, outstanding athletic achievements and philosophical positions of the NJCAA in relation to various issues affecting its member colleges.
In the fall of 1954 the publication appeared for the first time as The JUCO Review under the dutiful guidance of Laurence J. Burton of Weber College (Utah). No documentation exists as to why the title was changed but the content and scope of the publication did not, with the exception of the cover. Writing and content improved, but the format did not. Pages were filled with just text and little flair.
Burton changed this in the fall of 1959 when the publication finally looked and read like a true magazine. Formatting changes, including multiple column texts and large print headlines, gave the publication a professional image. Burton also went to great lengths to include pictures, which was very difficult during that era. A significant improvement beginning with the September ’59 issue was an impressive photo of an athletic facility from a member college’s campus featured on the cover. In addition, inside several pages highlighted the member college featured on the cover. This concept soon evolved into the ‘College of the Month’ feature that is still an essential piece of the magazine today and is set to return in the fall of 2013.
Just as soon as the publication matured into an impressive magazine, plans were made to scale it back. During the 1950’s, as well as 1960-61, The JUCO Review was published 10 times per academic year. Beginning in September of 1961plans called for the magazine to be published just four times. This action stemmed from an agreement with a new, upstart publication entitled, Junior College Sports based out of Grand Junction, Colo.
Junior College Sports was to be a newspaper-style publication and was to feature comprehensive reporting of news pertaining to athletic competitions and accomplishments within the NJCAA ranks. Working in harmony with the Grand Junction publication, The JUCO Review was to focus on NJCAA policy matters, legislative initiatives and calendar announcements.
Before the media strategy was implemented, Joseph Much, editor of Junior College Sports, sent a letter to President Swenson in August of 1961 stating that financial problems caused him to shut his publication down. Burton was forced to quickly alter his plans for the 1961-62 academic year and publish The JUCO Review under its previous format.
Assisting Burton as Associate Editor of The JUCO Review, George E. Killian was not disappointed when the partnership with Junior College Sports collapsed.
“I didn’t have an interest in that,” recalled Killian. “I knew it would take away from the valuable piece that we were doing for the membership. Our people never jumped on board with that publication (Junior College Sports) because our schools were asked to purchase it; meanwhile we were providing The JUCO Review for free.”
Burton continued as the editor of The JUCO Review until he resigned his post in 1962 to pursue public office in Utah. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives as the Representative from Utah’s first congressional district, taking office in January 1963. He was reelected three times before an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate in 1970.
“I have put a lot of blood, tears, toil and sweat into filling 24 pages of copy for the magazine every month for years,” said Burton in the pages of the spring 1962 issue. “I have enjoyed it. But no one knows better than me that it’s time for new ideas and new leadership.”
New NJCAA President Gerald Allard of Farmingdale Agriculture & Technical College (N.Y.) tabbed Killian as the publication’s new editor.
“In those days there were guys that volunteered their time to do this kind of thing,” said Killian. “Gerry (Allard) saw that I had an interest in the magazine and trusted me with it.”
Killian was then elected President of the NJCAA in 1967 and the duties of the magazine were briefly entrusted to Donald Schmidt of Hudson Valley Community College (N.Y.). However, when Killian was asked to become the organization’s first Executive Director in 1969, duties of The JUCO Review were in question.
“People back then were leery of giving one person too much authority,” Killian stated. “But putting the magazine together was tough and by that time it was getting too difficult for a volunteer to do on their own.”
On top of his many duties as Executive Director, Killian was the Editor of The JUCO Review from 1969-2004. Over the course of 35 years, he was devoted to making sure the publication stayed true to its roots while also improving its content. Regional activities, national legislation, outstanding athletic achievements, in-service training, and philosophical positions of the NJCAA as well as updates on its partnerships with other athletic organizations were the bedrock of the publication. In addition, Killian made sure The JUCO Review continued to serve as a free exchange of ideas, especially for coaches. For much of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the publication featured articles submitted by head coaches of NJCAA member colleges.
As many coaches served as faculty members on their campuses during this time, Killian explained how important this opportunity was for them. “Everybody in my day that was a coach was also in a faculty position. There were no coaching-only jobs. Any coach or any person that was involved with athletics was a faculty member. You needed to be published to get tenure. If you wanted to put yourself in the good graces of your president you needed to be published.”
“Football coaches especially took advantage of this,” Killian explained with a grin. “They would run around their campuses yelling at faculty members saying, ‘I’m published!’ I always got a laugh out of that. Yet, at the same time this was very important for these coaches to keep their positions.”
The magazine went through several changes during Killian’s reign as lead editor. When the association’s women’s division came into existence in 1976, pressure mounted as to what sports would get more attention in the organization’s coveted publication.
“I was always juggling the publicity of men’s sports and women’s sports,” he explained. “If you took a full page to highlight football then you needed to do the same for a women’s sport. I understood that. However, there were football coaches that obviously didn’t! I was always juggling that issue each and every year.”
Looking back on his work with the magazine Killian believes his top objective was to convey professionalism for the association. “Everything I did, or we did, was for one purpose only – to gain respect. Junior colleges had the worst reputation of any organization that I have ever had anything to do with. Our junior college representatives would have fights with four-year colleges all the time. We were always fighting these perceptions.”
Leading up to Killian’s retirement, the national office hired Amy Tagliareni as NJCAA Sports Information Director. She became Editor of The JUCO Review in the fall of 2004. Tagliareni made many aesthetic changes to the publication, including a new cover theme and full color throughout the publication. In addition, articles shifted from coaching philosophies to stories of student-athlete success and community service. She also enhanced long-standing classics like the ‘College of the Month’ feature.
“I enjoyed working on anything that highlighted student-athletes as well as the ‘College of the Month’,” said Tagliareni. “Being able to showcase the hard work of the student-athletes, from national championship wrap-ups to those giving back to society, was a great feeling. It was exciting to work with a different college each month, giving them a national spotlight to showcase their institution.”
Tagliareni served as editor from 2004-08 and is now the Assistant Athletic Director at AIB College of Business (Iowa) of the NAIA. Following Tagliareni’s departure, the magazine emerged in September 2008 as NJCAA Review, along with significant graphic design improvements. The title change was an ode to the publication’s previous N.J.C.A.A. Bulletin name and merger with its long-standing ‘Review’ tagline.
“The time felt right for the change,” said NJCAA Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht. “Our goal over the past five years with the publication has been to keep it relevant, modern and something the membership can be proud of. The magazine is one of the most important things we have as an association. It can make a great first-impression to a potential student-athlete, coach, administrator or president of a two-year college looking to start an athletic program.”
Throughout its history, the NJCAA has attempted to use its official publication to showcase the very best of its organization. It is the one item that gives the best snapshot and purpose of the NJCAA that one can hold in their hand. It’s a tangible, living product that serves as a public relations initiative, membership communication tool and historical archive.
“It is a fantastic part of who we are,” said Leicht. “The NJCAA Review will always be a part of the strategic plan of this association as it was intended some 64 years ago. I wonder what the originators would say if they could see how far their concept for a NJCAA magazine has come.”
FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITORS
“I loved the magazine. I loved working on it. From the beginning, I was always costconscious. In my day to print a full-color magazine would have been an enormous expense. Today it is not. The more I read it today, the better I like it. Yet, what is most important is that the membership likes it and uses it.” — George E. Killian
“I think the magazine represents the best of the NJCAA, both current and historically. It is a strategic communication tool, highlighting the many positives of the NJCAA. With a membership as geographically large as the NJCAA, it’s an excellent way to give a national snapshot of the organization. My goal was to update the look of the magazine and its contents. I wanted to make it a more eye-catching piece that would benefit both the membership and the sponsors/advertisers.”
— Amy Tagliareni
“Being the current curator of the association’s magazine is something I take seriously. It is an honor to be tasked with the responsibility of producing a product that represents the NJCAA in such a formal and public way. Like Laurence Burton said back in 1962, there is a lot of blood, sweat, toil and tears put into this publication, but it is something I love doing and will continue to do with great passion.” — Mark Krug
EDITORS OF N.J.C.A.A. BULLETIN, THE JUCO REVIEW and NJCAA REVIEW
Mike Mason, Compton College, Calif. (1949-50)
Earle J. Holmes, Compton College, Calif. (1950-53)
Laurence J. Burton, Weber College, Utah (1953-62)
George E. Killian, Erie County TI, N.Y. (1962-67)
Donald W. Schmidt, Hudson Valley CC, N.Y. (1967-69)
George E. Killian, NJCAA (1969-2004)
Amy Tagliareni, NJCAA (2004-08)
Mark Krug, NJCAA (2008-present)
Here are some of our favorite covers from the NJCAA's official publication.