Conferences & Training
Program - Editors Forum

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Preconference Workshops
Wednesday, March 29

Preconference Workshops

8:30-11:30 AM
Essentials of Magazine Editing: Magazines 101
Designed for editors who are looking for a comprehensive overview of alumni and university magazines, this fast-paced and visual workshop explores the basics of magazine planning, writing, editing, design and production. Review examples of magazines that are doing it right (and wrong), learn where to find inspiration and leave with solid ideas for making strategic tweaks that will take your magazine to new heights. The session is ideal for those new to magazines, or higher education, but there'll also be plenty of useful information for those who've been in their role a few years and want to brush up on the basics. A continental breakfast is provided. Pre-registration is required.

8:00 AM-NOON
University of Chicago Guided Tour
Arrive early on Wednesday and join your colleagues to network and visit a local campus, the University of Chicago. From Frank Lloyd Wright to Enrico Fermi to James Henry Breasted (rumored to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones), the University of Chicago campus on the city's South Side has attracted many colorful characters in its 125-year history. This tour on foot guided by a Chicago Architecture Foundation docent, takes attendees to see historical sites and architectural landmarks, including the glass-domed Mansueto Library with 55 feet of underground storage, the Henry Moore sculpture that commemorates the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, and Wright's iconic Robie House. After the campus tour and a coffee break, take in artifacts from the ancient Near East-Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and more--in the collection of Breated's Oriental Institute Museum with one of the museum's conservators.
A shuttle to and from the University of Chicago will be provided. Plan to board the shuttle from the Chicago Renaissance by 8:00 AM and return to the hotel by NOON. A continental breakfast will be provided at 7:30 AM. Pre-registration is required.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM
Newcomers Lunch
This informal boxed lunch is for newcomers to the Editors Forum. Join us to network with other first-time attendees and conference speakers before the Editors Forum begins.
Pre-registration is required.


Day 1, Wednesday, March 29

NOON-1:00 PM

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Join conference chairs Pam Fogg and Dale Keiger to kick off the 2017 Editors Forum.

Opening Keynote Session
Engaging narrative storytelling can help the reader understand science that is often complex and difficult; but narrative storytellers can enter sketchy territory by bending fact and the record to form a better tale, something science does not permit. Ann Finkbeiner talks about how narrative enhances science journalism and how science imposes needed rigor on storytelling.
Speaker: Ann Finkbeiner, Freelance Science Writer

Networking Break
Visit the Magazine Exchange, visit with exhibitors and network with your Editors Forum colleagues. Snacks and coffee will be provided.

Keynote Session
Digital Redesign Demystified

Often the biggest obstacle in starting a digital redesign is fear of the unknown. In this session, Alissa Levin, creative director at Point Five, will demystify the process, guiding you through the stages of a redesign—from your decision to take the plunge to what your life looks like post-launch. Using case studies from recent publication redesigns, Levin will provide concrete advice for publications considering upgrading their digital presence.
Speaker: Alissa Levin, Creative Director, Point Five

Day One Wrap Up

Networking Reception
Join conference speakers and your colleagues to network and unwind after the first day of the Editors Forum. Drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres will be provided. Don't forget your business cards!

Networking reception sponsored by:


Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own
Optional dine-arounds in small groups, online sign up required.

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Day 2, Thursday, March 30

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast

Keynote Session
What Do Stories Mean Now?
The world in which magazines reside has changed radically around us, from the internet, to social media, to mobile phones, to fake news. The idea of "storytelling" has been coopted by diluted by brands and political movements; the attention of audiences fractures more each year. Where does that leave writers and editors today? How do we harness new mediums and technologies without succumbing to the siren's songs of whiz-bang appendages or viral fluff? Out of his experiences as a journalist and co-founder of The Atavist magazine and the Atavist platform, Evan Ratliff starts a conversation about why our stories—and how we tell them—matter more than ever.
Speaker: Evan Ratliff, Journalist and Cofounder,The Atavist and

Elective Sessions (choose one; repeated at 11:45 AM)

  • Audio on a Budget
    Interested in starting a podcast? Want to add audio clips to your online stories? Learn practical tips for getting clear audio (including how to make an affordable and portable studio), tricks for appearing in iTunes's featured podcasts carousel, and strategies for finding free interstitial music, editing your tape, hosting, and more.
  • Cease and Desist! 50 Things You Should Stop Doing Now to Make Your Magazine Better
    In a creative rut? Not firing on all editorial cylinders? The creative team behind Dartmouth Alumni Magazine understands and wants to help. Join editor Sean Plottner and art director Wendy McMillan as they run through a checklist of habit-shaking tips, unconventional advice and highly subjective don'ts aimed at making you a better magazine maker. The pair offers lessons learned from 17 years of working together, winning awards, launching websites--and making mistakes that any editor or designer, print and digital, can learn from.

  • Resourceful Art Direction Ideas to Stretch Your Budget
    Executing engaging visuals issue after issue can be daunting when you have a lean team and limited resources. This session offers oodles of examples pulled from benchmark publications that illustrate different approaches to art direction that make the most of your money and elevate the mundane. Plus, Kat shares a couple of personal attempts that were epic in conception, but flopped in execution.

  • Turn Boring Strategic Initiatives Into Stories Your Readers Will Love
    Turn vague strategic initiatives into stories your readers will love. Need to write a feature on your school's "innovation leadership," its "interdisciplinary focus on the world's grand challenges" or its "student first philosophy"? In this session, we'll cover some of the smartest ways to turn vague concepts into concrete, compelling stories both your readers (and administration) will love. The session will include real examples from alumni magazines as well as story packaging elements that you can use for every feature in your magazine. The tactics offered in this session will also be helpful for other challenging stories, including anniversary features, donor profiles, and fundraising pieces.
  • Fitting Your Multifarious Institution onto the Pages of Its Magazine
    We all work for schools that do pretty much the same things. But every college and university is unique, with singular personalities, traditions and traits. This session explores how a magazine might leave behind the predictable, discover distinctive characteristics, and convey a particular sense of place.

11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Elective Sessions Repeated

Lunch on your own

Elective Sessions (choose one; repeated at 3:15 PM)

  • I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Cover Current Events and Avoid the Echo Chamber Effect with Stories that Advance Your Brand
    The hot topics of the day create waves of attention that are oh-so-tempting for magazines to try to ride. Yet, our publication schedules rarely allow for timeliness, and our resources can't compete on depth with other outlets. What can you say that isn't already being said, and better, by others? The answer lies in your identity as a publication and institution. What the story unique to you, the angle only you can offer? The answer to these questions can result in content that propels your brand and serves your readers by adding depth and nuance to the exhaustive coverage of current events they're already getting everywhere else.
  • Targeting Audiences with Targeted Newsletters
    E-newsletters are retro chic. They're back in vogue because they're critical to getting readers' attention. In this session, we'll talk about how we decided our magazines needed newsletters in the first place, and how we developed or are developing our strategies around them--how you can move away from the old model of a quarterly newsletter that simply announces the print mag's feature stories to re-envisioning your newsletters as vehicles to drive consistent digital traffic. We'll also look at tactics: how to rewrite headlines to catch the eye of a digital audience, how to curate the right stories to engage your targeted newsletter audience. We'll talk about Mailchimp's A/B test system and what it taught us about subject lines, as well as about what we've learned about how specific audiences respond to specific stories, and how social media can help you "sell" those stories.
  • Power to the "Write" People: Design Your Way to More Editorial Control
    Ahh, the dream: Advancement leaders and university administrators fully trust your editorial and creative skills, and happily turn over full creative control of your alumni magazine to the writers, editors and designers. Plus you're fully staffed. And have a reasonable budget. Few alumni magazine creators live the dream. When Augusta University recently launched a redesign of their alumni magazines, they aimed for both structure and flexibility. The award winning result has been budget-stretching drop-in content capability plus gratifyingly more sway over content. And reviews from both alums and administrators are glowing.
  • The Art of the Interview
    Interviewing a source or a subject for a story is more than just asking questions and recording the answers. If you are to unearth and gather the information that will prove vital to any story, you need to embrace both the science and the art of the process. In this session Matt Jennings, Middlebury Magazine editor, offers up a basketful of helpful tips and advice on how to conduct the perfect interview.
  • Speaker Panel: What I've Learned
    Whether you're a seasoned editor and its your first year in education or you've been in education and just inherited the alumni magazine, this session provides you with some advice for navigating this new terrain. We have assembled a panel of wise people who will dispense advice and answer your burning questions.

Elective Sessions Repeated

Keynote Session: Podcasting
Investigative journalists provide the public with the information we need to make decisions and told hold powerful people and institutions accountable. Another way of saying that is: journalists tell stories that matter. Many of these stories are complex, and it takes time to tell them. As a radio reporter, Madeleine Baran has found that audio is a compelling way to tell these important stories. Audio draws people in, engages us, and makes us care. She'll talk about this in the context of her nine-episode investigative podcast, In the Dark, which examined a notorious child abduction case and asked the question: Why did this case take 27 years to solve?
Speaker: Madeleine Baran, Reporter, APM Reports

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own
Optional dine-arounds in small groups, online sign up required.

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Day 3, Friday, March 31

8:00-9:00 AM
Ask the Expert: Breakfast Roundtables
Join optional roundtables for small group discussions during breakfast. Share your biggest challenges and discuss solutions with your peers.

Keynote Session: Rediscovering Stories in Science
Speaker: Len Small, Art Director, Nautilus Magazine
When a magazine team is challenged by an article that feels out of their usual field; say, a think-piece on quantum gravity, or the condition of the micro-biome in the gut, how can you give the piece the punch-up it deserves? I will discuss my experiences as an art director at a start-up science magazine and the challenge of creating memorable visuals. We'll explore ways to rethink storytelling, hire smart illustrators and photographers, and to find outstanding images on a budget.

Chicago Manual of Style Gameshow
Wondering what a squinting modifier is? Or what false attraction has to do with grammar? Or where the heck you are supposed to put that comma? The Comma Queens are here to help out. Using the ever-popular game-show format, we will test your knowledge of usage and grammar and give you helpful tips on where to go to find answers to style questions that come up as you edit and write. There will be prizes!

11:45 AM-NOON
Conference Wrap Up

Conference Adjourns

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