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HOMECOMING 2002: Magazine editor gives alma mater credit for where she is today

JACKSON, Tenn.Feb. 12, 2002 – Planning meetings, editing copy, brainstorming with colleagues, catching up on emails and doing a final speed check are all typical things that Sara Aldridge McNeece (’98) can be found doing on any given day. However, McNeece, a graduate from Union’s Department of Communication Arts with an emphasis in public relations, says that as associate editor of the contemporary Christian magazine CCM Magazine in Nashville, she rarely has a typical day.

"One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that it is constantly changing and at any given time of the month I will be doing completely different things,” says McNeece, who describes herself as a very organized, consistent and fun person.

She also has a fascination for heavy things. Things like bowling balls, rocks and other heavy objects make her feel as though they are a constant, she explains.

“I don’t deal with change that well and heavy things have some sort of consistency about them,” admits McNeece, an ironic self-described quirk when you consider the fast and consistently changing pace that her job quite often takes.

McNeece believes one of the biggest challenges she faces as a professional in the Christian music industry is the idea that Christian music is both a ministry and a business.

“With the change of Christian music going from a mom-and-pop-owned business to ownership by larger entities, the bottom line has become more intensive and that has to be balanced by what is right,” says McNeece. She also says there is a constant pursuit to produce excellent music. “People are looking for literal lyrics and it is important for artists to look through the heart of people and what they are going through.”

CCM Magazine, she points out, is different from a lot of other music magazines such as Rolling Stone Magazine because they cover music because it is Christian, which encompasses all different types of music.

One of McNeece’s most memorable interviews has been with artist Charlie Peacock. She had the opportunity to interview him at his home, which was formerly a church, and got to eat dinner with he and his wife.

“The setting was great and it was with an artist that I really respected and who I felt produced good music and thoughtful lyrics,” says McNeece.

When asked whom she would like to interview for her magazine if given the chance, she said that Bono of the popular secular music band U2 would be at the top of the list.

“We at the magazine feel they make really great music and it often seems to be on a spiritual level,” explains McNeece. “He lives such an interesting life and if we could get real uncanned answers from him, it would be a great story.”

McNeece is also fortunate to lead an interesting life that allows her to work with creative and famous people. She admits, though, she has learned that it is important to be “sort of nonchalant” around the stars in order to do her job.

When McNeece thinks back at her time at Union, it leaves her feeling nostalgic because of the great friendships she developed during her years on campus, and she attributes her college experience as a main tool in shaping her into who she is today, learning commitment, tenacity and the ability to accept change.

“My experience at Union taught me that if you stick with it, you never know what will happen next,” says McNeece.

From a writer for Union's student newspaper, Cardinal & Cream, to an editor for a national Christian magazine, McNeece is proof of just that.

By Shelley Camardese,
Class of 2002

Media contact: Sara B. Horn, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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