Spotlight: False Cover by Miamian

Like most, if not all, magazine editors publishing this spring, I debated long and hard as to whether I should ask to stop the presses, or at least slow them way down, so I could rip up already completed “normal” articles and replace them with stories about COVID-19. Instead, I decided on a cover wrap (aka false cover). We could use the articles we’d already designed and thus provide some diversion for our readers while still sharing how the pandemic changed life on campus in mind-boggling record time.

For the false cover, we ran a people-free photo of our iconic sundial, a picture large enough to fill front and back cover. My intended, subliminal message was that the readers’ alma mater has withstood many tragedies in 211 years and remains a strong and calming presence in the midst of this chaos. The wrap’s front cover opened to a letter from Miami’s president, continuing that tone of quiet assurance and strength. He also shared some of the challenges facing our school, challenges all of us are dealing with, unfortunately.

Across from the wrap’s inside cover is, of course, our original cover. It just so happened that for our “real” cover, which was completed before the coronavirus arrived, we had tried something radically different. Gone was the full-bleed color shot with an upbeat tone. Because we were featuring New York Times best-selling suspense writer and alum Mary Kubica, we opted for a dark and mysterious black-and-white cover. However, the idea didn’t seem appropriate once our world found itself in its own suspenseful and far too real nightmare. The wrap enabled us to both keep the Kubica cover and communicate a time-sensitive message.

Donna Boen, Editor, Miamian, Miami University