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Husni partners to help magazine students with financial needs pursue dreams

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

For many college students, the idea of working in the magazine industry is a dream, but not a reality. That’s because many can’t afford to work for free and don’t have money to cover expensive housing costs in New York City, even if they were awarded an internship.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, is trying to change that. Husni’s Magazine Innovation Center has teamed with the MPA: Association of Magazine Media to create an endowment to help magazine students with financial needs pursue their dreams.

“We are teaming to start an endowment to help send students on internships and jobs,” Husni said. “We called it the Magazine Innovation Center/MPA Endowment.”

Dr. Samir Husni speaks on stage at the American Magazine Media Conference 2018 on Feb. 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media)

Husni recently shared the idea with magazine executives during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City Feb. 6. “I was humbled and proud at the same time standing on that stage and talking about the University of Mississippi and our school of journalism,” he said.

The endowment will start with $25,000 from the MPA: Association of Magazine Media Foundation. Husni will also work to raise funds through sponsorships from the ACT Experience, his Magazine Innovation Center’s annual magazine industry event. Part of the sponsorship funds are used to help students.

“It will mainly be aimed at talented magazine media students who are in financial need to go places like New York City or Los Angeles,” he said. “So it will level the playing field among those who have and those who don’t if they share the same love and talent of the magazine media.”

Husni said he’s always felt that some students didn’t have equal access to magazine internships that can be very costly considering all expenses involved.

“I’ve always felt the inequality of the internships, especially today,” he said. “Very few people pay for interns. So not only do the students have to pay to register for the course, they have to pay for their travel. They have to pay their living expenses. So it’s really a lot if you don’t come from a hefty financial background. This is just a little effort in balancing or leveling the playing field.”

Husni has a busy season ahead of him with magazines. He is currently preparing for the ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

And Newell Turner, one of Husni’s former University of Mississippi magazine students, who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event during the ACT 8 Experience April 18. The event will be held in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the UM campus at 5:30 p.m.

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

If you are interested in donating to the endowment or learning more about it, contact Husni at 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 or samir.husni@gmail.com.

Husni names The Magnolia Journal as 2017 magazine Launch of the Year

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by ldrucker

In the hit HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines own and operate Magnolia Homes, a remodeling and design business in Waco, Texas. The show chronicles their adventures turning dilapidated houses into showplaces while helping revitalize neighborhoods throughout central Texas.Houses aren’t the only thing that have benefited from the duo’s magic touch. The couple’s magazine, The Magnolia Journal, won the 2017 magazine Launch of the Year Award at the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City Feb. 6.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, presented the award along with the MPA: The Association of Magazine Media.

From a field of 212 new magazines launched with a regular frequency between Oct. 2016 and Dec. 2017, Husni said they selected 20, then carefully chose 10 finalists for the top honor.

What made The Magnolia Journal stand out? Husni said the magazine will launch its spring issue Feb. 13 with a $1.2 million rate base.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 06: Doug Olson and Samir Husni speak on stage at the American Magazine Media Conference 2018 on Feb. 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media)

“It’s been a long time since a magazine has generated as much buzz in the marketplace as The Magnolia Journal has,” Husni said. “The connectivity of the content and the design made, and continues to make, this magazine fly off the shelves. Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Joanna Gaines, this print product creates a very interactive experience for readers. All in all, The Magnolia Journal burst onto the scene, and in less than a year, floated to the top, deserving the Launch of the Year Award – an honor well-deserved.”

Husni said the magazine has had amazing success on newsstands. The first issue sold out immediately, and Meredith Corp. had to issue a second printing. “It’s rare in that industry that takes place,” Husni said.

He said one reason the magazine has been successful is because of the couple’s strong connection to their fans. “People who watch their television program always tell me how close they are,” he said. “You feel like you are just talking to them. So the magazine was just an extension. It brought the pixels-on-the-screen-experience to something you can actually hold in your hand. Only print can give you that experience.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines, who serve as the editor-at-large and editor-in-chief, respectively, sent a video response about the award that played during the award ceremony. Joanna Gaines said they were honored that the Waco, Texas-based title won the 2017 Launch of the Year Award, and they thanked Husni.

“For us, this has been such an amazing journey watching these issues come to life,” Joanna Gaines said. “We’ve loved every minute of it … We are really excited about what’s to come with The Magnolia Journal.”

The event was held during the American Magazine Media Conference, the largest magazine media conference in the country. Among the top 10 finalists were titles such as Airbnbmag, Alta, Bake it up!, goop, MILK Street, The Golfer’s Journal, The National, The Pioneer Woman and TYPE Magazine.

“Almost every major magazine publisher published at least one new magazine last year,” Husni said. “That’s why I called 2017 the Year of the New Magazine. He said that’s evidence print magazines are not a dying medium.

Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines, accepted the Launch of the Year Award from Husni. “We’re super excited about it for lots of reasons,” Olson said in a video. “Number 1, it was a huge team effort starting with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their vision and our execution on that. Second, Meredith doesn’t win very many of these awards, so we are super excited and very much appreciate the recognition.”

Husni has a busy season ahead of him with magazines. He is currently preparing for the ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

And Newell Turner, one of Husni’s former UM magazine students, who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event during the ACT 8 Experience. The event will be held held April 18 in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the UM campus at 5:30 p.m.

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

CONTACTS:

 Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com

Magazine Media Bliss: ACT 8 Experience set for April 17-19 at Meek

Posted on: February 2nd, 2018 by ldrucker

It’s been called “two and a half days of magazine media bliss.” The ACT 8 Experience, an event organized annually by the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism, is set for April 17-20 in Oxford. The 2018 theme is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

Dr. Samir Husni, professor, Hederman Lecturer, and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, said the conference is not for the faint-hearted. “We have an interesting lineup of professionals from all over the world,” he said. “If you’re interested in marketing, journalism, magazines, digital, or a combination of all, you need to attend this conference. It will be a wild ride of critiquing the current magazine industry and welcoming my magazine students who plan to change it for the better.”

Husni said the event will be the biggest ACT Experience to date. This year, it will welcome several new faces, including Linda Thomas Brooks, president & CEO of MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, formerly known as the Magazine Publishers Association; and James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP, formerly the Federation Internationale de la Presse Periodique (International Federation of Periodical Publishers). The United Kingdom-based trade organization works to improve media content and is comprised of 700 enterprises, including nearly 60 national magazine associations.

The ACT 8 Experience will also welcome Erik van Erp, founder and editor of Print Media News in The Netherlands; Bonnie Kintzer, president and CEO – Trusted Media Brands (formerly Reader’s Digest); and Newell Turner, editorial director of the Hearst Design Group.

“You’ll have direct access to more than 10 editors and editorial directors, nine presidents and CEOs, and a slew of marketers, designers and sales consultants,” Husni said. This will include a total of 33 magazine and magazine media makers.

“Consider this a small vacation,” Husni said. “Sit back and listen to prolific speakers tell their stories – their trials and tribulations we all rallied against to become the best writers, designers marketers and business people we could be.”

Those who attend are encouraged to immerse themselves in the foothills of Mississippi by exploring Oxford. Participants will also have the opportunity to stroll the streets in Clarksdale, home of the Delta Blues Museum and actor Morgan Freeman’s famous Ground Zero restaurant.

Husni said he wants them to leave Oxford with a leg up about the industry, a belly full of Mississippi fried catfish, and an ear full of soothing, Delta blues. “It’s a refreshing experience to slow down to the Mississippi pace of life,” he said. “Enjoy a memorable ACT Experience of learning, doing, seeing and living the Mississippi way.”

Husni said his main motivation for bringing these industry professionals to Oxford is for Meek School students. “The only reason I do that is to bring the industry leaders to meet the future industry leaders,” he said. “I tell my students that it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be sitting in a car with a CEO of a major magazine or media company, you name it. I assign my students to shadow all these speakers, pick them up from the airport, take them to the airport.”

The Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, will also be awarded at 6 p.m. April 18 during the ACT 8 Experience. Newell Turner, a former University of Mississippi magazine student who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the award.

Turner is responsible for the collective editorial direction of ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, and Veranda magazines. He served for five years as the 22nd editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, and in 2012 under Turner’s leadership, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award for general excellence—the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar—and was a finalist in the category in 2013.

The Silver Em is usually given to a native or resident of Mississippi who has excelled in the field of journalism and media.

The ACT 8 Experience is dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Reeder, vice president of sales at Democrat Printing and Lithography, and a board member of the Magazine Innovation Center.

Industry leaders may attend and be part of the ACT 8 Experience for less than $400. To register, visit: http://maginnovation.org/act/register/. Only 100 attendees are permitted to register, so it’s important to reserve your space now.

Confirmed ACT 8 Experience Speakers (in Alpha Order) as of Feb. 1, 2018

Joseph Ballarini: founder and editor-in-chief – Tail Fly Fishing magazine

Joe Berger: publishers marketing and sales consultant, Joseph Berger Associates

Linda Thomas Brooks: president and CEO – MPA: The Association of
Magazine Media

Deborah Corn: principal, chief blogger, and intergalactic ambassador to The Printerverse™ – Print Media Center

Marisa Davis: associate director, product marketing – MNI Targeted Media

Daniel Dejan: North American ETC (Education, Consulting and Training),
print creative manager – Sappi Fine Paper

Jim Elliott: president – The James G. Elliott Company.

Erik van Erp: founder and editor, Print Media News, The Netherlands

John French: co-founder – French LLC

Tony Frost: senior vice president, TVGM LLC, TV Guide

Natashia Gregoire: reputation manager, Editor, Access magazine – Fed Ex

Abdulsalam Haykal: founder and publisher, Harvard Business Review Arabic, United Arab Emirates

James Hewes: president & CEO – FIPP: The Network For Global Media

Mona Hidayet: executive director, clients and products – Advantage CS

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: founder and director, Magazine Innovation Center

Joe Hyrkin: CEO – issuu

Todd Krizelman: CEO – MEDIAradar

Bonnie Kintzer: president and CEO – Trusted Media Brands

Jerry Lynch: president – Magazine And Books, Retail Association

Daren Mazzucca: vice president/publisher – Martha Stewart Living

Mark Potts: managing editor – Alta The Journal of Alta California

Sebastian Raatz: publisher/co-founder – Centennial Media

Jen Ripple: founder and editor in chief – DUN magazine

Monique de Ruiter: former editor diversity magazine and VTWonen – The Netherlands

Bo Sacks: president, Precision Media Group

Ray Shaw: executive vice president/managing director – MagNet

Tony Silber: former editor – Folio

Franska Stuy: founder and editor – Franska.NL, The Netherlands

John Thames: founder and publisher – Covey Rise Magazine

Newell Turner: editorial director – Hearst Design Group

Liz Vaccariello: editor in chief, Parents Magazine, and Content Director, Meredith Parents Network

Jeffrey Vitter: chancellor – University of Mississippi

Thomas Whitney: president, Democrat Printing & Lithographing

CONTACTS:

Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com

Meek School will present Silver Em to Hearst editorial director

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 by ldrucker

Newell Turner, a former University of Mississippi magazine student who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event April 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Turner is responsible for the collective editorial direction of ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, and Veranda magazines. He served for five years as the 22nd editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, and in 2012 under Turner’s leadership, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award for general excellence—the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar—and was a finalist in the category in 2013.

Newell Turner

Dr. Samir Husni, professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, said the Silver Em is usually given to a native or resident of Mississippi who has excelled in the field of journalism and media. Turner was one of his early magazine students.

Husni said when Dorothy Kalins, then editor-in-chief of Metropolitan Home magazine, visited the Ole Miss campus in the mid-1980s, she was impressed by Turner’s passion for the magazine industry. “Newell, who was in my class, asked her a few questions that left an impact on her,” Husni said. “When she went back, she called and said, ‘Samir, I have an assistant position. I would like to offer it to Newell.’”

Husni said he encouraged Turner to take the job, saying: “If you are going to be in this profession, those opportunities don’t knock twice.” Turner took the job and eventually became editorial director of the Hearst Design Group, a leader in the publishing world with the development of innovative editorial production models and business strategies across print and digital platforms.

Turner has reported on interior design, architecture, product design and the lifestyles of upscale consumers throughout his 30-plus year career, which has included positions at House & Garden and Metropolitan Home. He was also the founding editor of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens and its sister publications: Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens and Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Southern studies with advanced work specializing in magazine design from the University of Mississippi. Turner is a current member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a trustee on the board of the New York School of Interior Design.

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

The Wednesday, April 18, Silver Em event and dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Auditorium in Farley Hall on the University of Mississippi campus. It will take place during the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience April 17-20. The theme of the 2018 annual magazine industry conference is Print Proud, Digital Smart.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009, funded with an endowment gift by Dr. Ed and Becky Meek. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in both journalism and integrated marketing communications on the Oxford campus and in coordination with satellite campuses. Because of the increasing variety of media careers, enrollment continues to rise in the Meek School, and there are now almost 1,200 undergraduate journalism and IMC majors.

CONTACTS:

Dr. Samir Husni | 662-915-1414, 662-832-6247 | samir.husni@gmail.com
Charlie Mitchell | 662-915-7146 | cdmitch1@olemiss.edu

 

PREVIOUS SILVER EM HONOREES

1958 – George W. Healy Jr.

1959 – Turner Catledge

1960 – Kenneth Toler

1961 – John Oliver Emmerich

1962 –

1963 – George McLean

1964 – William B. Street

1965 – Purser Hewitt

1966 – Hal C. DeCell

1967 – Paul Pittman

1968 – Hodding Carter Jr.

1969 – Willie Morris

1970 – T.M. Hederman Jr.

1971 – Joseph R. Ellis

1972 – Wilson F. Minor

1973 – Mark F. Ethridge

1974 –

1975 – H.L. Stevenson

1976 – William Raspberry

1977 – Joe L. Albritton

1978 – James A. Autry

1979 – James Nelson

1980 – Mary-Lynn Kotz

1981 – Curtis Wilkie

1982 – Harold Burson

1983 – John O. Emmerich

1984 – Hazel Brannon Smith

1985 – Charles Overby

1986  – W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker

1987 – Charles Dunagin (2)

– Larry Speakes (2)

1988 – Edward Fritts

1989 – Rudy Abramson

1990 – Hodding Carter III

1991 – James L. McDowell

1992 – Rheta Grimsley Johnson

1993 – Dan Goodgame

1994 – Robert Gordon

1995 – Jere Hoar

1996 – Gregory Favre

1997 – Stephanie Saul

1998 – Lerone Bennett

1999 –

2000 – Jerry Mitchell

2001 – Bert Case

2002 – Ira Harkey

2003 – Jim Abbott

2004 –

2005 – Otis Sanford

2006 – Dan Phillips

2007 – Stanley Dearman

2008 – Ronnie Agnew

2009 – Stan Tiner

2010 – Terry Wooten

2011 – Patsy Brumfield

2012 – Greg Brock

2013 – W. Randall Pinkston

2014 – Fred Anklam Jr.

2015 – Bill Rose

2016 – Dennis Moore

ACT 7 Experience at Meek School is a magazine industry success

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by ldrucker

John Harrington @nscopy shares what he learned in his 40 years of single copy sales #MICACT7.

The magazine business has changed radically over the past two decades, and John Harrington has learned a lot.

Harrington, a partner of Harrington Associates, and the former editor/publisher of The New Single Copy, spoke Thursday afternoon in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Overby Center auditorium on the topic: “Why I’ve Learned: A Personal Perspective.”

“Everyone here knows that magazines (industry) have undergone a shocking transformation in the last decade,” he said. He said leaders who work in traditional magazines now seem focused on developing new forms of media other than print.

“Their mission is to find ways to exploit, leverage .. their valuable magazine brands on these new media formats, and or platforms, such as mobile, video and other forms of apps,” he said. “Truthfully, as indicated, I am unqualified to offer predictions or guidance in any of those areas. However, all of these expanded magazine extensions will contain content, editorial, and hopefully that content will contain journalism.”

Harrington was one of more than 50 speakers who shared his thoughts about the magazine industry during the ACT 7 Experience at the University of Mississippi.

The conference, hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media from Tuesday to Thursday (April 25-27), focused on the revival of the magazine industry in terms of publishing, advertising, creating content and distribution. The event also allowed students to network with industry professionals.

Inside the Act 7 Experience.

Posted by Meek School of Journalism and New Media on Thursday, April 27, 2017

Created in 2010 by Samir Husni, Ole Miss journalism professor and Magazine Innovation Center director, the conference featured more than 50 speakers and 50 other attendees, including CEOs of major magazine and marketing companies, publishers, editors-in-chief and other industry leaders. Students were paired with industry professionals throughout event to learn directly from them.

Harrington addressed students at the conference:

“To the students, as your careers unfold, many of you will not necessarily be involved in writing in journalism contained in the future’s many multimedia formats, whether it be print publications like magazines and newspapers, or internet, … sites, apps or even presently unimaginable platforms,” he said. “However, whether you are in sales, in production, or in audience development, a.k.a. circulation and distribution, you will still be involved in journalism, which is what I always felt I was involved in for the past 40 years – first as the leader of a trade group, then as a publishing consultant, then as the publisher of a newsletter about the business.

“An ethical journalist acts with integrity and ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists,” he said. “The guidelines should not just be the goal of those who are essayists, writers, novelists, or writers of any kind. It should be a standard of all of you to be part of the machinery that produces the journalism and makes it available to the public.”

In this age of challenges, such as the blurring of church and state, political spin, alternative facts and fake news, Harrington said future journalists face enormous challenges.

“I would like to think that I followed this concept during my 40 years involved in magazines, but I also admit that it is not always easy,” he said. “The pressures and choices are not always clear. Often, they are very subtle. And few of the veterans of this experience can say we were always pure.

“However, let me praise the Magazine Innovation Center, the ACT 7 Experience, and magazine journalism students,” he said. “ACT has done much more than educate future generations of journalists. By exposing me to the creativity and energy of its students, it has given me a greater recognition of the significant role that our business, no matter what our contribution to it is, plays in a free society in our democracy, and in our responsibility to be true to its values. For that, I think the school and the students as well.”

Husni said there is no other event that involves this collection of experts with future industry leaders, our students.

“When they see students in the audience, they tell us stuff from the heart, and it creates an intimate atmosphere,” Husni said in a news release. “CEOs and freshmen students are on the same level of communication.”

All conference lectures were in the Overby Center Auditorium. They were free and open to the public, thanks to the support of industry leaders and their sponsorships.

Husni tells his students to leave an impact on the industry professionals they shadow, and some have.

At last year’s conference, Austin Dean, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Hammond, Illinois, shadowed Jim Elliott, president of the James G. Elliott Co. By the end of the conference, Dean was offered an internship at the company and spent his summer in New York working in the industry.

“For me, the benefits have been spending one-on-one time with publishers, editors and distributors, getting to know them and making reliable connections with them,” Dean said in a news release. “Dr. Husni does a great job at putting together this collective group of people and makes sure each of his students have someone they want to shadow.”

Ashlee Johnson, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Monticello, Arkansas, enjoys the intimate aspect of learning from both the guest speakers and Husni.

ACT 7 Experience attendees talk before the next presentation begins.

“Even people that work with these professionals don’t get to know them like we do,” Johnson said in a news release. “It’s a great opportunity and it’s good for professional development.

“Another great part of this conference is watching Dr. Husni interact with the speakers. He is so well-respected in the industry. He’s a hidden gem in Mississippi, and we’re lucky to have someone who cares so much about their students as a mentor.”

Students accompanied guest speakers on a trip through the Delta to experience magazines, music and Mississippi. The group traveled to the B.B. King Museum, Dockery Farms Historic District and Delta Blues Museum before ending the evening with dinner at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Dinner on the Meek School grounds #MICACT7 serving the famous Taylor Grocery catfish.

“When I started the Magazine Innovation Center, it was at a time when everyone was saying print is dead and new media is in,” Husni said in a news release. “It’s not an either/or situation. Print, broadcast, digital, mobile, social media – it’s all journalism. The necessity will never change, regardless of the platform.”

“When magazines hire, they want writers,” he said. “The other stuff is great, but journalism is still what’s important.

“Magazine industry leaders are experience-makers. Reading a magazine is unlike reading something online. It’s an experience packaged together in your hand.”

To see a Storify of some of the event’s social media activity visit: https://storify.com/lareecarucker/act-7-experience/ 

Meek School set to welcome magazine industry leaders to the ACT 7 Experience April 25-27

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Speakers during the ACT 6 Experience last year.

If you are a magazine leader who is still publishing like you did 10 years ago, you should rethink your business strategy.

“I tell people if you are still publishing your magazine as if it is still 2007, there is something wrong with the picture,” said Samir Husni, Ph.D. “We have to reinvent our content. We don’t have a problem with magazines or newspapers as an income paper entity. We have a problem with what we are putting in those entities and the business model.”

That is one of the issues the ACT 7 Experience will address this year. The 2017 theme is Magazines Matter, Print Matters.

Husni, who is known internationally as “Mr. Magazine™,” is a professor with the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media and director of the Magazine Innovation Center

The MIC was founded in 2009 at UM. It is an international collaboration linking the best thinkers in publishing, marketing, printing, advertising and distribution. The MIC works to ensure a thriving future for magazines, magazine media and the print industry. It also introduces future industry leaders (students) to  current industry leaders (magazine and magazine media makers).

Future and current industry leaders will meet April 25-27 during the ACT 7 Experience at UM. ACT stands for amplify, clarify and testify about the future of print in a digital age. The number of attendees is limited to 100 in addition to speakers and students who are part of the Experience. One student will individually shadow each speaker and sponsor during the entire event.

The ACT 7 Experience will feature a variety of speakers who will discuss three major themes: magazine launches, magazine reach and power, and the future of magazine distribution.

Panelists and speakers will share stories of new magazine launches. Information will be provided for those who want to start a magazine, and organizers will offer a look at magazine launches throughout history.

The Experience will also focus on ways to ensure that magazine leaders continue to make money in print. The third theme will imagine magazine distribution and newsstands in 2020. Industry leaders will discuss the old ways, new ways, what is working, what is not and offer solutions.

Husni

“Some magazines are still making a lot of money,” Husni said, “and they are finding new ways to make money. We know the business model is broken. We know the distribution model is broken. So what can we do?”

Despite the fact that many magazine leaders have been forced to rethink business strategies, Hunsi said print is not dead.

“Some of them are still publishing as if it’s 2007,” he said. “And that’s why we hear that their sales are going down, and that they are dying. But you know how many television programs have come and gone? Did you ever hear anybody saying ‘TV is dead.’ If a magazine dies, no matter how big the magazine is, it doesn’t necessarily mean the industry is dead or there is something wrong with the platform.”

The first ACT Experience was held in 2010 just after the MIC’s 2009 creation. Husni, who is responsible for organizing the entire event with assistant Angela Rogalski, said the first ACT Experience was a great success and continues to be.

“We have more magazine media and industry leaders in one place paying their own way than any conference I know of,” he said. “That’s why we don’t call it a conference. We call it an Experience because of the engagement with current industry leaders and future industry leaders. What differentiates this conference from all other conferences and experiences is to integrate the two groups of industry leaders – the students and the ones who are actually working.

“I’ve heard from more than one CEO telling me the reason they enjoy this conference more than anything is that when they see these future industry leaders, they let down their guard, and they start telling people things that they don’t talk about when they go to other industry conventions.”’

Throughout the year, Husni works to secure funds for the ACT event and the MIC. When magazine executives come to Oxford, Husni said they experience magazines, Mississippi and music.

“We go to the Delta for half a day, and the students have an opportunity of a lifetime sitting next to a CEO on a charter bus for an entire half a day,” he said. “I tell the students if you can’t leave an impression on a magazine publisher, editor, advertising director, or CEO of a marketing group in two and a half days, you should quit the industry. You don’t belong.”

Husni said the ACT Experience usually results in many jobs and internship opportunities for students. It’s also about finding solutions for magazine industry issues. One of those is a shift from an advertising-driven business model, where 90 percent of the revenue comes from advertisers, to a circulation-driven business model that depends on paid subscribers.

“The majority of the new magazines that are coming to the marketplace are charging a very high cover price for them to get money from their customers rather than the advertisers,” Husni said. “We see now that the norm in new magazines, the average cover price, is almost $10. As you know, for $10, you can get a whole year from some of the established magazines.”

In the process of reinventing the business model, Husni said he’s seeing much creativity among industry leaders. He’s also noticed a trend in recent years with the popularity of food, crafts and hobby magazines.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of titles devoted to food,” he said. “Food has become the sex of the 21st century. There are so many titles out there.”

Husni said Brian Hart Hoffman, of Hoffman Media, will talk about his new magazine Bake from Scratch. Husni also recently interviewed the editor and chief of Cooking Light magazine that has been published for 30 years.

“I tell all of my clients ‘audience first,’” he said. “Do not fall in love with the platform. Fall in love with the audience. We are all about the audience. The minute we forget about our audience, the minute it’s our downfall …

“The first assignment I give students in any of my classes is to humanize your magazine. If you tell me you are in the content business, that’s not enough because anybody who can put out 140 characters can be in the content business. We have to go beyond content and become experience-makers. The journalist of the future must be an experience-maker.”

Husni said journalists must give their audiences a reason to read a publication.

“How are you going to engage me?” he said. “A lot of our magazines have no content. Are you kidding me? You are asking me to pay $12, and you don’t give me anything to chew on. You want to fill me up with the appetizers and desserts.”

The ACT 7 Experience will begin Tuesday evening, April 25, with a gala opening dinner in the Ole Miss Ballroom.

On Wednesday, three CEOs will talk about adding value to your brand before you sell it, and they will discuss making more money for magazines. In the afternoon, the group will travel to the Delta and visit sites including the B.B. King Museum, Dockery Farms Historic District, the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, and they’ll dine at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.

Thursday is devoted to distribution. Speakers will talk about new ways to put magazines in the hands of the audience. Many people who started new magazines last year will speak Thursday.

“Whether you are a CEO, whether you are a publisher or an editor, the ACT Experience is not an appetizer or a dessert,” Husni said. “The ACT Experience is the whole meal.”

Husni said his ultimate goal is to help students secure an internship or a job. “I don’t care what they take away, as long as they actually create a relationship that will lead them to a job,” he said. “… I tell the students, this is their golden opportunity. This is their golden ticket in the Wonka’s chocolate bar.

“Even if you are working for Hearst, chance are you are not going to be able to speak with the president. Chances are you’d never interact with that person, yet you have access to that person for two and half days. If you don’t use this and benefit from it, you don’t belong in our business.”

Husni offers the following tips to students who plan to attend the ACT 7 Experience:

  1. Research the speakers and industry leaders.
  2. Be yourself. Be honest with them. Tell them you are seeking advice. Tell them you are a future industry leader in the making. Ask them for tips.
  3. Make the other person feel more important than you, and make sure you are appreciative that they are offering their time.

Space is limited to 100 people. All the lectures are free for students on a first come, first serve basis. Meals and other activities are not. You must be a registered or invited guest.

“I’ve never looked at my job as a job,” said Husni. “I’ve never looked at my students as students. They are journalists. I don’t care if you are in journalism or IMC, you have to learn everything from a journalism point of view. And the first thing you learn as a journalist is audience first. Falling in love with the audience is what we need to do.”

To see the full schedule of the ACT 7 Experience, visit http://www.maginnovation.org/act/agenda/ 

  • Story by LaReeca Rucker, adjunct journalism instructor

From Millionaire Businessman to Magazine Founder

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by alysia

Roy Reiman, who started 14 national magazines in his career, looks on as new magazine founder Jeramy Pritchett describes his publication Blindfold at the ACT Experience, Oct. 25, 2012. Photo by Deb Wenger.

Imagine making millions of dollars and just walking away from it all one day. That’s what Jeramy Pritchett, co-founder of Blindfold Magazine, says he did with no regrets.

“I was making a lot of money, but it wasn’t what I wanted,” said Pritchett, who says he got in on the ground floor of the dot.com boom and then went into mortgage lending before that industry blew up.

About a year ago, he decided to radically change his life and launched a magazine. Blindfold is what Pritchett calls “socially conscious.” Published in Boca Raton, Fla., Blindfold hit the newsstands in March and now issue No. 4 is in the works.

“Barnes and Noble bought the first issue for every store,” said Pritchett. He said the latest publication went to all Whole Foods stores and is nearly sold out.

The magazine and its focus is very much influenced by Pritchett’s years growing up. For example, one reason that Blindfold is visually rich, is that Pritchett was captivated by photos as a child.

“That became my first love: photography- a movie inside a picture,” said Pritchett.

And why the socially conscious theme? Pritchett says he went through a phase where he wanted to be Gandhi, even dressing like the man on Halloween and sometimes giving up food.

“I fasted for all of three hours and I would tell me parents I wouldn’t eat until they bought me a toy,” said Pritchett with a laugh.

Pritchett was speaking at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media as part of the ACT Experience. The conference is sponsored by the Magazine Innovation Center, founded by Dr. Samir Husni.

Pritchett says his magazine fills a niche for those who are interested in changing the world. The Blindfold theme of the magazine fits with that goal of raising the audience’s social consciousness.

“We always make the last picture in our magazine someone with a blindfold still on. It symbolizes that a lot of people are still blind.”

This story was crowd sourced by students in JOUR 102 Introduction to Multimedia Writing. Contributions by Nick Finch, Frances Phillips, Victoria Mekus and Drew Moak.

Watch the ACT III Experience Opening Reception

Posted on: October 24th, 2012 by alysia

Just under 150 magazine publishers, writers, faculty and students took part in the opening reception for the ACT III Experience at City Grocery on the Square in Oxford. The reception is part of a three-day conference that focuses on re-inventing print publications in today’s digital world.

You can view the reception on MCast.

Tony Silber, Folio Mag, Praises Students and ACT Experience

Posted on: October 27th, 2010 by alysia

‘The Future Does Not Exist’

Tony Silber

Reimagining the Future conference offers a mosaic of opinion and perspective.

BY TONY SILBER


That phrase was the title of one of the presentations at Samir Husni’s recent conference, called “Reimagining the Future (While We Still Have Time),” and held at the Magazine Innovation Center in Oxford, Mississippi. The presentation was made by Thomaz Souto Correa, the vice president of editorial at The Abril Group in Brazil. And while Correa discussed many things, there is a particular idea in that title worth thinking about.

Perhaps the future doesn’t exist because no one, and I mean no one, knows what it’s going to look like even two years from now. Think about one of the biggest debates of the last few years—whether to charge for online content.

When Steve Brill and Walter Isaacson and Rupert Murdoch and others suggested that thestatus quo was unsustainable, the purveyors of the conventional wisdom came down hard. The cat’s out of the bag, they said. Stop thinking like it’s 1997. Start building a business for the Google economy. There’s no other choice.

Well, one thing none of those wizards thought of was how mobile apps and iPads would change the equation. Now, suddenly, there’s a path to paid content online, because there’s a significant migration away from the free Internet and in the direction of apps you have to buy. Or apps from which publishers sell subscriptions to their content.

The point here is that as the media world changes, what seems dominant today may turn out to be yesterday’s news in short order. Remember CompuServe, AOL, etc.? I could go on, but you get the point.

So while the “Reimagining the Future (While We Still Have Time)” conference provided no real visionary solutions, because that’s impossible, it did offer a mosaic of opinion and perspective, when combined into a whole, provided a good look at where the industry is now and where it needs to go.

The future doesn’t exist because we haven’t built it yet.

And even more important, the students at the University of Mississippi were full participants. Anyone who spent a few days with the young journalists at that conference couldn’t help coming away with a new confidence about the future of the profession. These people are bright, energetic, savvy and ready to take the reins. Here is a list of some of the student participants. I wanted to acknowledge each of them by name, because they were all so impressive.

Undergraduate Journalism Students:

Natalie Dickson
Kirby Sage
Elizabeth Pearson
Alex Pence
Maggie Giffin
Markus Simmons
Katie Williamson
Ja’juan McNeil
Rashell Reese
Addison Dent
Houston Cofield
Ren Turner
Nick Toce (also event photographer)
Alex McDaniel (also event coordinator)

Courtesy of Folio Magazine

ACT Experience

Posted on: September 24th, 2010 by alysia

Re-imagining the Future While We Still Have Time

Is there a future for print? Is there a future for digital, or is digital the future? Can the advertising-driven magazine publishing model survive? What role will design, marketing, branding and distribution play in the future of magazines?

These questions and many others will be answered at  “Reimagining Our Future While We Still Have Time,” the first Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT Experience taking place at the Magazine Innovation Center located at The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford, Miss. on Oct. 20, 21 and 22, 2010. The experience, which will be conducted by some of the very top leaders in the media industry worldwide, will have a very limited number of participants and very high concentration on the future of the magazine and print industry. 

The Experience Makers include Thomaz Souto Corrêa, Editorial VP, Editorial Committee, Abril Group, Brazil; Baird Davis, Circulation Consultant and former Ziff-Davis Executive; Stephen Duggan, President, Athlon Media; James G. Elliott, President, James G. Elliott Company, Inc.; Roger Fransecky, CEO, The Apogee Group,; Bob Guccione Jr., Founder, Spin and Gear magazines; John Harrington, Partner, Harrington Associates; Lisette Heemskerk, Managing Director, Mood for Magazines, The Netherlands; Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Director, Magazine Innovation Center; David McDonald, CEO, Sunshine Media Group; Bob Sacks, Founder & President, Precision Media Group; and Haines Wilkerson, Chief Creative Officer, Morris Visitor Publications.
 
Dr. Fransecky will give a welcoming keynote on Wednesday, October 20, titled “Re-imagining the Future While We Still Have Time.” The first ACT Experience will include five tracks, and will be divided into three days of think-and-do activities. The experience will continue Thursday with presentations by all keynote Experience Makers, followed by a tour of the Mississippi Delta, which will include authentic Delta blues music and food.

The focus will shift to tracks dealing with the participants’ interests on Friday, October 22. The five tracks featured are editorial, consumer marketing, successful magazine launching, advertising and marketing, and the digital future. Participation is limited to 18 individuals per track. 

The three-day experience will include a visit to the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the Blues and a visit to Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner. The price of registration includes all the Experience Making events and meals for the three days.

Those interested in registering, please visit www.maginnovation.org/actexperience_registration.html.
To become a sponsor of the event, contact Dr. Samir Husni at  samir.husni@gmail.com.