Farewell to Folio

Michael Brown

On Sept. 1, 1964, faculty and staff at the University of Alberta opened their mailboxes to find a four-page news- letter entitled The Folio.

A publication of what was then the U of A Information Office, The Folio’s first issue began with a simple list of appointments. There was an interview with the university’s first architect, Cecil Burgess, with a rendering of the original campus plans and an aerial shot of campus on the facing page. The back page had a list of events and some faculty news.

That first issue also explained the upstart publication’s name and rationale:

“By definition a folio is a sheet of paper once folded. Hence, the title of this new publication, which replaces the Staff Calendar. The Folio will be distributed twice monthly to the academic staff of the University of Alberta at Edmonton.”

Thus began an impressive twice- monthly (or so) run of the faculty and staff newsletter of record that would last 50 years and more than 1,700 issues—with this issue being its last.

Over the years, the title was shortened to just Folio, the page count tripled and the paper had numerous makeovers, breaking cutting-edge discovery stories and celebrating the university’s achievements before entering its final role as a bridge between the rigidity of hard-copy news and the flexibility and timeliness of the many digital communications channels now at the university’s disposal—channels that have led to a decline in readership for the printed publication.

Internal news about the U of A is now gathered in numerous locations, including the university’s news web page, the president’s Friday bulletins, the email FYI Digest and the Colloquy blog, as well as the U of A’s social media accounts.

“The ways we communicate are changing,” says Kiann McNeill, director of Marketing and Communications, “and with the wide variety of communication channels and opportunities available to us, it is time for us to reimagine how we communicate internally with the campus community and engage staff and faculty.”