Beyond Blogging: Writing A Cover Story

Something came to reality this past week that I would count as a career highlight. Interestingly enough, it had nothing to do with social media or even digital marketing. Rather, it had to do with another skill I am passionate about.

On Wednesday, I was delivered a copy of Coastal Magazine, the biannual alumni publication at Coastal Carolina University. For those of us who have any knowledge of colleges, we know that the alumni magazine at any university is one of that institution’s premiere showcases, a major periodical that is the result of hard work, extensive planning, and the efforts of many.

When I was delivered the latest issue, I held it in my hands and took a long look at it, staring at the intense-looking NASCAR driver on the cover. It became apparent that soon thousands of people would open the magazine and learn his story, reading the words of a grateful CCU staffer who was given the opportunity to tell it.

This is the Fall 2017/Winter 2018 Coastal Magazine issue.

It was my honor to write the cover story for the Fall 2017/Winter 2018 issue of Coastal Magazine.

It was cool to see my name underneath the title of the cover story.

I accepted my position at Coastal Carolina because it gave me an opportunity to primarily focus on and manage the social media program of an entire university. However, I also made the best decision of my life because I knew I would be able to nurture other pursuits as well.

I had the honor of writing the cover story of the latest Coastal Magazine issue.

I serve on the magazine committee at CCU. I have the pleasure of contributing a regular social media section to the publication and I have written shorter features for it over the past few years as well. However, this was my first time undertaking the task of writing the cover story.

A look at the first several pages of the story.

I was asked to write it on Brandon Brown, a student at CCU who happens to be a NASCAR driver. I have become familiar with Brandon as I have traveled to a couple of his races and reported on his accomplishments via our social media channels. Additionally, this summer, he worked in my office once a week, learning about what it takes to run a social media program at an institution of higher learning. Because of my familiarity with Brandon, I was a good candidate to write the story. When our magazine editor asked me to take on the project, I enthusiastically accepted.

I have become familiar with Brandon over the past couple of years.

After significant research, two in-depth interviews with Brandon, and hours composing the piece, I submitted the story. Our talented University Communication team took it from there. Doug Bell, the magazine editor I have mentioned (he also serves as the director of media relations), polished my piece and made it better. Our photographers contributed incredible images, including the cover photo, to bring the story to life. Our graphics team came up with the layout of the piece and created an outstanding infographic to explain Brandon’s successful career. Our video production personnel put together content that allows the Coastal Magazine digital audience to cruise around in the passenger seat with Brandon.

A look at some of the photogaphy and graphics our talented team produced.

What resulted from the teamwork is a beautiful 10-page spread smack dab middle in the latest issue of Coastal Magazine. If not for the talents of my co-workers, the story of Brandon Brown would just be 1,000 words of text and no one would read it. To Doug, Rob, Regis, Scott, Judy, Jady, Ron, Caroline, Mona, Geoff, and others – THANK YOU!

Thanks to all involved for making the story look so good.

I realize I have a reputation as a blogger. I put together crappy top five lists and Thursday Rundowns. But underneath that blogging façade is a soul that enjoys the challenge of composing quality writing. I am thankful that I have an outlet to do that at CCU. Don’t Blink.

Graphic Influences and Precious Text Messages

I like Thursdays more than half of the other days of the week and a reason for that is because of the Thursday Rundown. Here we go with this week’s five random topics…

Magazine Feature – Our latest alumni magazine here at Coastal Carolina University was recently sent out to the masses. I am tasked with contributing a piece of some sort to the twice-a-year publication. This time around I had the opportunity to do a short story on the opening of our beautiful new baseball stadium. I wrote the copy and conducted the interviews while our amazing graphics team came up with the sweet layout.

This is the portion that I got to contribute to Coastal Magazine.

This is the portion that I got to contribute to Coastal Magazine.

Fat Brent – Speaking of our graphics team, the head man of that group, Rob Wyeth, created this flattering image of me. Rob usually responds to most of my blog posts with a witty sentence or two but this time around he replied with a graphic. Of course this came about because of my post I wrote earlier this week regarding my Cookie Dough Café concept. If I did in fact open such a place I would indeed probably look like this. But then since I would be so rich I would get liposuction.

That cookie dough will catch up to you after awhile.

That cookie dough will catch up to you after a while.

Price of Parking – I explained last week that Sidney, her dad, and myself would be making the night trip to and from Charleston to pick up her car. Left at the airport for two weeks because we had to drive it there to catch a flight, the charges piled up just a little bit. Just another byproduct of Delta’s incompetence.

The cost to keep Sidney's vehicle parked at the Charleston Airport. Thanks Delta!

The cost to keep Sidney’s vehicle parked at the Charleston Airport. Thanks Delta!

Precious Texting – Sidney has an adorable six-year-old niece who I already pretty much consider my niece as well. Yesterday I was surprised when I received a text message from her! Using an old phone of her parents, she got my phone number and made my afternoon. We had a very meaningful conversation as we went back and forth a few times. You can never send too many emoticon hearts.

Russell and I had quite the conversation.

Russell and I had quite the conversation.

Wedding Update – Today at our second marriage meeting we expressed the date we want for our wedding and submitted it for approval by the priest! Also related to our wedding, I am amazed at the amount of planning that Sidney and her mom have already devoted to the big day. Although we won’t say our vows for another 11 months, important things still need to be done this early in the game. Shout out to my fiancé for picking out her dress this week!


Last weekend was extremely relaxing and I hope to do it again this weekend. I wish the same for all of you. Be safe and enjoy the British Open. Don’t Blink.