Archive for the ‘ACT 9 Experience’ Category


The Joys And Opportunities Of Magazine Publishing… The ACT 9 Experience. Linda Ruth Reporting… Part 5

May 1, 2019

A magazine is so much more than a magazine now, and the job of an EIC so much more than editing, said Rachel Barret, Editor in Chief of Country Living Magazine, at the University of Mississippi’s ACT 9. Opportunities are coming up beyond the New York bubble, with publishing centers in Des Moines, Birmingham, and elsewhere; opportunities exist for scrappier ways of publishing to drive the brand economically and connect with the reader.

Jeff Joseph, publisher of Luckbox, concurs. “The first rule is there are no rules,” he said. “One of the advantages of coming in from outside the print realm.” You can’t be in the news business and be in print; Luckbox learned this from experience, and was nimble enough to pivot to a new model. For Joseph, the single most important metric is what percent of your audience don’t throw out your magazine. Luckbox is at an astounding 58%, as a result of providing useful, evergreen content. If your revenue model is from advertisers, then you are a content marketing platform. For online, look for how many clicks take the reader to content over three months old.

Now is a great time to be involved in magazines, said Jeremy Leslie, Founder and Curator of Magculture. “I love magazines,” he says. “They are like people; they have character, and they reflect the character of the people making them up. They become your friends.” They reflect the world they were created into, they exist in a historical context and become a great record of what people wanted, thought—and how they designed. The world of independent publishing, while still undervalued and under recognized, is coming into its own, breaking new ground to show people what a magazine can be. For example, Delayed Gratification, launched to look back at news three months ago and point out what was important. Migrant was launched to re-address the topic of immigration, limited itself to six issues and wound up the topic with the last issue. MacGuffin takes one object and tells many stories around it. Civilization melds design and content. Real Review is published as a triple fold. And Ordinary has a blank cover every issue, and every issue has an “extra” on the cover; they use that object in the photos in the visual-only content. These groundbreaking independent publishers are leading the big multi-title publishers in new directions.

Jo Packham, the 2018 Magazine Launch of the Year Winner (Where Women Create and its sister titles) launched Where Women Work with an augmented-reality video on the launch cover. Magazines are alive, she tells us, but must be integrated into the world of technology. The audience, the small entrepreneurs, the makers, loves print. Every publisher, every person, should have a mission in life, and Packham’s is to educate people on what it takes to create, and to deepen the appreciation of this process. Packham thinks of herself, not as a publisher, but as an entrepreneur who specializes in the written word. Entering publishing, she promised herself her magazines would be authentic. Her photos are submitted and her articles are in the writers’ voices, not re-written.

Her advice to others who want to share the joy and opportunities of this field: Be selective. Build a community. And do not waste your valuable time doing something you don’t care about. Do what you love.

To watch my fireside chats with Rachel Barrett and Jeff Joseph, Jeremy Leslie’s presentation, and Jo Packham presentation click on the videos below.


“This Is Your Brain On Paper” Says Sappi’s Daniel Dejan… The ACT 9 Experience Recapped. Linda Ruth Reporting… Part 4

May 1, 2019

Is content just content? Daniel Dejan, Print Creative Manager for North American Sappi Paper, asked the question at Mr. Magazine’s ACT 9. If you take the same content and duplicate it across platforms, is it the same content, is it the same experience? Has technology impacted the user experience, and if so how? Sappi decided to do a deep dive research to answer these questions.

Brain activity is very different when reading on paper compared to reading on a device. The device adds nothing to the reading experience. Reading on paper stimulates visual memory. It leads to mapping of information in our brain for later retrieval. Mapping can’t be done well with the moving stream of digital. Ink on paper is tactile, stimulating four senses.

The endowment effect means that you want something more if you can touch and hold it. Touch is an important part of our decision making. Print can trigger ownership imagery. Well-crafted advertising in print creates connection with consumer, leads to purchases. Even online purchases, for example in catalog industry, are begun at the print level—in fact over 75% of online purchases, in some cases, are begun at the print level.

When you read ink on paper, you slow down. Your heart rate and blood pressure slow. You have a higher valuation of the content, the authorship, better understanding, better retention, and you have a higher valuation of the brand. Reading the same content on a digital device switches our brain to skim mode. Our brains have new, evolved digital synaptic cortexes, and the moment we open a device we switch to that mode, seeking key words, highlighted copy, links. This is called bi-lateral literacy. When we read content digitally, we don’t get the full depth of the content.

The next level of print offers opportunities to enhance the tactile nature of the medium and offers new levels of connection with the consumer. Electroluminescent Ink creates a mesmerizing cascading effect. Electroconductive Ink can connect paper to your phone.

The US ranks 24th in the world in reading. This problem might be connected to our increasing digital dependency. The child who is distracted will not learn as deeply. How we read is as important as what we read. Can we provide a foundation for the child so the formation of deep reading is part of our transition to digital? It is essential that we do so.

Because, we find, content is not just content. How we encounter that content is critical, and print is essential to our continued depth of experience and depth of learning.

To watch Daniel Dejan’s entire presentation click on the video below:


Linda Thomas Brooks On “Saving The World One Magazine At A Time”… Linda Ruth Reporting From ACT 9 Experience… Part 3

April 26, 2019

Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO, MPA- The Association of Magazine Media

Magazine offer busy readers a shortcut to quality, says Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA: The Association of Magazine Media at the first session of Samir Husni’s ACT 9 at the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. When trust in other sources of information is going down, trust in magazine media is going up.

Credible sustainable journalism becomes more important every day. Brooks began with a story about a new business dedicated to creating fake vacations to enhance social medial presence. Twitter and FB had to close fake accounts set up to divide our country. The steps between fake vacations and fake news are getting shorter, Brooks cautioned. As a result, never have magazines been more important. Magazine Media builds brands and sells product with proven verifiable results in a safe and transparent environment of quality, professional journalism that supports an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable society. This is important to us as individuals and also, even more, to us as a society. What we are fighting for is bigger than an ad page, another dollar. It’s for intelligent discourse and rigorous inventory.

And advertisers, Brooks tells us, are beginning to get it. They know that magazines are invited guests in consumers’ homes. Readers have asked for them. They savor them. And the advertisers get to come along as plus one to the invitation.Contextual relevance is an important element—it’s not just the numbers, it’s the context in which the message is delivered. The context is professionally researched, written, edited, produced, curated content. Trusted brands offer that, the shortcut to quality.

Silicon Valley itself is getting it, too. Brooks, whose background is digital, tells us that in the center of the tech world, parents are requiring nannies to sign an agreement to not use tech in front of the children. Learning outcome is a fascinating developing science. Paper based reading offers higher comprehension and recall, stimulates emotions and desires, slower reading, more focused attention, sensory involvement. While some school systems are still trying to build their tech resources, Silicon Valley is taking the tech out of school. They have learned that tech is actually impeding learning. Tech is great at quick hits of information, quick facts. Your brain ignores everything that is not that quick fact. Print facilitates learning.

Case studies, independently commissioned, have shown that in every case having magazines in an advertising media mix helps drive ad awareness. This includes TV advertising. The lift in purchase intent is significant when magazines are in an advertising mix. For years advertisers were getting addicted to the pure numbers offered by digital; but they didn’t see the results from it. They have learned that having magazines in the mix builds brand and sells product.

Other results, based on analyzing over 1400 studies of sales at retail, have shown that advertising in magazines yields a $3.94 return on every advertising dollar. It’s higher than digital, TV, mobile and video. Magazines still have a bigger consumer reach than TV; Brooks showed a comparison of the top ten TV show (including the NFL) with the top 10 magazines (print only, not even taking into account their digital presence). The print reach is about double TV.

Magazines have been great at keeping print robust while growing audiences across all platforms. So the measured magazine brands are showing robust growth across all platforms. Magazine brands dominate social media engagement over non-magazine influencers across every channel—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Magazine brands have vastly more social influence and consumer trust than non-magazine brands.

Marketers need to simultaneously build brand and sell product. Magazines are the single best channel to do this. But more, magazines are important for their credibility, their research, curation, and quality. They are a bulwark against the deluge of fake news and unresearched, unedited opinion. Which is the reason that Brooks and her association aim to save the world—one magazine at a time.

To watch Linda Thomas Brooks’ presentation click on the video below:


Welcome to ACT 9 Experience: Creativity and Innovation. Linda Ruth Reporting From Oxford, Mississippi. Part 1

April 24, 2019

I’m back at Ole Miss for ACT 9: Amplify, Clarify and Testify about the future of print in a digital world, and seeing lots of old friends and making some new ones. I rode in with Jeff Joseph, Publisher and Editorial Director of Lunchbox magazine. His magazine is a lovely example of the future of print: an independent publication serving an enthusiast audience with a premium package. He and Grayson, our student shadow, had a lively conversation about importance of innovation, of trying new things, of coming out from the shadow of the way we’ve always done things and breaking new ground.

Here on campus I see Bo Sacks, Tony Silber, and Samir Husni, Mr. Magazine himself, who is being honored by the University for his leadership in innovation and his insistence that his students and colleagues keep their thinking fresh.

It’s the opening gala and dinner and Robyn Tannehill, mayor of the city of Oxford, is here to welcome us to one of the best small towns in America in which to live, with one of the most beautiful town square in America, on one of the country’s most beautiful campuses; she came in 1988 and has been here ever since, and it isn’t hard to figure out why.

Noel Wilkin, Ole Miss’ provost, spoke about the nature of creativity. Creativity isn’t about waiting for the muse to strike, but about learning, forging new connections, imagining a new world. And ACT 9 aims to share thoughts and ideas that will lead to those connections, both for the good of our industry and for the good of the world.

It’s a worthy start to our three day venture.


Print Smart Digital Proud: The Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 9 Experience Opens April 23

April 17, 2019

OXFORD, Miss. – A who’s who of the international magazine industry will be at the University of Mississippi from April 23 to 25, but it won’t be the movers and shakers of publishing who will be in the spotlight.

The real stars of the show, according to ACT 9 Experience founder and coordinator Samir Husni, are the Ole Miss students.

“There are a whole bunch of magazine conferences, but, to me, what makes this conference unique is the presence of the students,” said Husni, a UM journalism professor, Hederman Lecturer and director of the Magazine Innovation Center. “This conference brings together current industry leaders and the future industry leaders.”

More than 30 speakers from the highest ranks of magazine publishing will be on campus, and Husni places a priority on having students in the university’s magazine publishing and management specialization interact with those professionals.

“I assign students to shadow the speakers; they actually will pick them up from the airport,” Husni said. “I want that interaction. I want the students to have enough time to spend time with these leaders of the magazine industry.”

For junior Sarah Smith, the ACT 9 Experience serves as a chance to further her knowledge of the industry in which she wants to work, but also to meet people who will prove to be invaluable for her future career.

“This is the only opportunity I know of that you’re going to get a taste of worldwide magazine making anywhere near here,” said Smith, a journalism major from Mount Pleasant. “I expect to gain a lot of information about the next few years of magazine making.

“For media students, this is an unparalleled event where we can meet and mingle with industry leaders. This is a great chance to secure a summer internship or even a job after college.”

The ACT Experience, which stands for “amplify, clarify and testify,” is hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media. The event began in 2010 and has more than doubled in size in nine years.

The university has created a name for itself as a higher education hub for magazine publishing, and the ACT 9 Experience is the highlight of that achievement, Husni said.

“We have people from all over the world coming to this conference, coming to Ole Miss,” he said. “That’s why I tell people, when they say, ‘You need to have something like this in New York or you need to do something like this here or there,’ I’m like, ‘No, the ACT Experience is Ole Miss and Ole Miss is the ACT Experience.’”

The theme of this year’s ACT 9 Experience is “print smart, digital proud,” which Husni said emphasizes the ever-changing landscape of print publications.

“I want to focus on the integration between print and digital, that we are no longer an either/or industry,” he said.

Among the speakers for this year’s event are Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA: The Association of Magazine Media; James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP, the network for global media; Michael Marchesano, managing director of Connectiv, a leading business-to-business magazine media network; and Jerry Lynch, president of the Magazine and Books at Retail Association.
Husni will moderate a discussion featuring these industry leaders.

“We will talk about some of the challenges facing the entire magazine and media industry locally and worldwide,” Husni said. “It should be fun to have those CEOs at the same place on the same campus in front of future industry leaders.”

The diversity and depth of the speakers makes the event unique, Smith said.
“Dr. Husni is a genius when it comes to magazines, and he puts his heart and soul into this event,” she said. “I think that the fact someone as successful and well-known as him puts his heart in it, always creates something genuine and fresh that you can’t get anywhere else.”

All lectures at the Overby Center are open to the public.

Activities begin Tuesday (April 23), with an opening gala for registered participants, featuring welcoming remarks by Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannenhill and UM Provost Noel Wilkin and keynote speaker Stephen Orr, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens.

Speakers will continue all day Wednesday and Thursday, and Thursday’s events for paid participants feature a bus trip and tour of the Mississippi Delta. The Overby Center for the Study of Southern Journalism and Politics will host the majority of speakers, and a full list of speakers can be found online.

Registration for the event includes all meals, sessions and transportation to and from the Delta. The Inn at Ole Miss is also offering special rates to ACT 9 attendees.

Click here to see the entire agenda.

Ole Miss Press Release BY JUSTIN WHITMORE

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