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You may have noticed a slight adjustment on the cover of this issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine. It says “Fall” instead of “September”—the first indication of our change from a five-times-a-year magazine to a quarterly one. As I mentioned in my June editor’s note, that reduction is the result of our challenging economic times; it’s a decline of frequency but not, the staff and I are determined, of quality.

In fact, we took this opportunity to make a few upgrades. The biggest change you’ll see is the design of our two news sections, Wholly Hopkins in the front of the book and Alumni News and Notes in the back—both of which, I think, were overdue for a tuneup. Art director Shaul Tsemach, with help from designer Pam Li, did a beautiful job of freshening up those sections, giving them a cleaner, more contemporary look and creating a more pleasant reader experience. More importantly, the new design reflects the interaction of the two sections. We think of them as bookends—the former reporting campus news, the latter news about alumni and other friends of the university. The integration of their design better reflects that connection, while still maintaining each section’s identity.

You’ll see another change on the magazine’s back page—the introduction of a new regular feature called “How To.” With it, we plan to tap Johns Hopkins expertise, whether for practical, step-by-step advice, or for something more along the lines of “don’t try this at home”—like our debut installation, “How To: Wake Up a Sleeping Spacecraft,” about New Horizons’ annual checkup during its journey to Pluto. (I love illustrator Wesley Bedrosian’s whimsical interpretation of this not-so-whimsical subject.)

One thing about the magazine that hasn’t changed is the excellence of the writing—as demonstrated by a couple of awards the staff brought home this spring. Associate editor Dale Keiger won a silver medal in the CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Circle of Excellence Awards for “Drugs vs. Bugs,” his February 2008 story about drug-resistant pathogens and Johns Hopkins’ work to fight them. And senior writer Michael Anft won a Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his September 2008 article “Of Mice and Medicine,” a comprehensive study of the research mouse. The DeBakey award recognizes journalism that adds to the public’s understanding of how humane and responsible animal research contributes to scientific discovery. Mike’s win put him in the company of journalists from CBS’s 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and LA Weekly.

Congratulations, guys!