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Jeremy Leslie: Ten Days in the States. Reflections on the ACT2 Experience

November 1, 2011

Jeremy Leslie, editorial director and founder, magCulture.com in the United Kingdom, spoke at the ACT2 Experience last week. His remarks about the Experience are on his blog here and below is the section regarding the ACT2 Experiences blog here

The final leg of the trip was south to Oxford, Mississippi and Samir ‘Mr Magazine’ Husni’s ACT2 Experience. I first met Samir when we invited him to deliver a keynote at Colophon2007, so it was a pleasure to return the favour. He’s director of the Magazine Innovation Center at Mississippi University, and this was the second ACT2 event he’s organised. I enjoyed meeting fellow speakers including editors Will Pearson of Mental Floss and Franska Stuy from Dutch title Libelle, but the main point was for Samir’s students to get rare time with professionals. Each speaker was allocated a student ‘shadow’ to look after them but also share time together – so a big hello and thank you to my shadow Ben. Hope you’ve sorted a name for your magazine!

While much of the conference was business-orientated, my role was to talk about creativity and share some magazines the audience might not know. The primary message of my talk was simple – quality counts – but I was pleased to have that echoed by a number of other speakers who were generally very positive about an industry so often described as in decline. My secondary message, however, that there have been too many magazines and fewer was better, was a harder sell and I fear I’ll be remembered as the speaker who celebrated closures!

Also on the schedule: a trip further south to the Mississippi Delta, driving through cotton fields to Clarksdale (above) and the Blues Museum and briefly meeting Morgan Freeman (God!) at his Ground Zero blues bar in the same town.

Thanks to Samir for a hugely enjoyable event, and to Lily and Shawn for the drives to and from the airport.

Thank you Jeremy and all those who attended and those who spoke at the ACT2 Experience. Stay tuned to ACT3, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 16 – 19, 2012.

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