The stories in The Update have kept thousands of readers connected to Pensacola Christian College. Since 1974, this campus publication has sought to appeal to its audience by expanding and enhancing content, adding pages through the years. Several months before it opened, PCC began sharing its news and history in a simple newsletter. Then in 1988 to 2022, The Update took on a magazine-style format, featuring engaging ads and stories about alumni and faculty.
This magazine continues this legacy but with a fresh new look. Starting with the fall 2022 issue, PCC’s Advertising Services staff collaborated to produce a magazine with an updated design, larger size, and content that focuses on alumni and friends of PCC. The Update is now a full-size publication that continues to be offered through digital and print versions.
A Modern Publication
One of the biggest changes to The Update involved redefining its audience. Previously, articles and ads appealed to prospective students but are now geared to graduates and friends of PCC. Samantha Allen, the editorial strategist for the new magazine, shared, “With the new audience in mind, it was a lot easier to solidify and direct content that would be applicable to our more focused audience.”
“I’ve always enjoyed interviewing others to share their story,” Samantha continued, who also wrote pieces for the magazine. “Tackling articles from a new angle—for our grads rather than prospective students—allowed us to delve into certain details of a piece more than we would have usually. For example, rather than spending time showing a reader how PCC can prepare them, we can show that a graduate is prepared for what they’re doing with their degree, how, and why PCC was a significant part of getting them there.”
As the lead designer for the new Update, Mikayla Stewart was responsible for all the visual elements throughout the magazine. “Most alumni magazines are full-size publications that utilize eye-catching, full-page graphics with large text to grab attention,” she explained. Supported by her department director and supervisor, Mikayla designed the entire publication. “I took articles and ads from the editorial/writing staff, and it was my job to visually represent those words in a way that supported the content.”
“We can show that a graduate is prepared for what they’re doing with their degree, how, and why PCC was a significant part of getting them there.”
“The new look embraces white space,” said Samantha. “Where the previous Update offered page-to-page content, the new magazine has room for spaced-out content and creative design to make certain elements of a page pop or stand out more.” The new issue showcases a cutting-edge, simple look that appeals to readers.
The Little Details
Writing Supervisor Tiffany Rott oversaw written content and ensured that high-quality articles were delivered in a timely manner to the designers and on to approvals. “I am proud of the way the team came together to make sure this magazine happened,” Tiffany said. “Because we approached this as a brand-new magazine, there was a lot of research done at the beginning to plan the best article topics that would interest our readers. It was fun to put together all the elements and I have enjoyed watching all the different aspects of The Update (interviews, writing, design) come together to create this new magazine.”
Readers can expect regular alumni spotlights, employee testimonials, and news about on-campus events—but also spiritually enriching devotionals (a nod to those chapel days), current student Q&As, and more. This first issue includes stories about the former PCC Eagles basketball coach’s induction into the NCCAA Hall of Fame, a congresswoman making a difference in politics, and a piece covering biblical worldview.
A subtle design feature stands out to Print Media Supervisor Dwight Reid. “I think the turned-down corner that appears in The Update name on the cover (and elsewhere throughout the magazine) is very significant,” he explained. “This represents to me the ‘next page’ in the life of PCC, its students, and alumni. It’s also a reminder that God always has something good in store for His children and hints that there’s good stuff just on the next page.”
“The turned down corner that appears on the cover represents the ‘next page’ in the life of PCC.”
How Did We Do?
After many years serving on print media staff, Dwight felt that The Update had “grown up.” He added, “A highlight has been seeing the very first magazine-style issue which I designed back in 1988 [become] the more creative and purposeful publication that it is now.”
Sharilee Johnson, accounting PCC graduate from ’94, found the extra white space in The Update appealing and easier to read. She also appreciated the alumni spotlights and student interviews. “I really enjoyed reading about graduates who are still using their education to serve the Lord and their communities even decades later,” she said. “The interviews with current students were fun to read since each one has a unique perspective. I also enjoyed the short articles about how recent graduates are entering the workforce and finding the next role the Lord has for them in life.”
“I really enjoyed reading about graduates who are still using their education to serve the Lord and their communities even decades later.”
Subscribers Chris and Paige Getz loved the magazine’s new look. “The larger size is wonderful, and we are especially grateful that [PCC] continued to offer it in print as well as digital,” they said. “Our son will be attending PCC next fall, and this magazine has really helped us get to know the College, faculty, and students during this transition.”
“This magazine has really helped us get to know the College, faculty, and students.”
From current students to faculty to alumni—everyone has a unique story. And when these stories are shared, connections are made and developed.
Alumni, what have you been doing since graduation? Share for a chance to be featured in a future issue. And, if you haven’t already, consider subscribing to The Update Magazine! As writer Samantha Allen says: “There’s only more great content to come, so why not be part of it?”