Hey, Editors and Writers, Here’s What Publishers Are Talking About This Weekend

By Jack Limpert

The annual meeting of the City and Regional Magazine Association is going on this weekend in Atlanta. Here’s what editors are talking about—the sessions cover a lot of what we’ve done in the past, plus there’s discussion of current problems and how the digital revolution is forcing editors to try new things. The typical 45-year-old editor would feel comfortable in these sessions—something old, something new.

Front of Book, Front of Mind. Front-of-book sections are arguably a magazine’s most important real estate: they have an identity of their own and serve as a vital entrée to the feature well. How can you produce the most punchy, interesting, enlightening front of the book that, despite being in a monthly magazine, still feels urgent, timely, and part of the larger conversation? Experts from editorial and art teams weigh in.

The Newsstand Gamble: Rolling the Dice with Covers. City magazines are notorious for playing it safe with cover subjects: Best Restaurants, Weekend Getaways, Top Doctors. But what happens when a city book takes a risk on the newsstand with a provocative issue or highlights an ambitious piece of narrative journalism? Three editors dish on the good, the bad, and the ugly of risk taking with covers.

White-Out: Cultivating Staff Diversity. The staffs of city magazines are, by and large, woefully behind the times in reflecting the diversity of the communities they cover. As America’s cities continue to become more and more diverse, a panel of minority and nonminority editors and writers discuss this phenomenon and how city magazines can proactively cultivate a diversity of talented staffers.

Inside the Writer’s Studio. Two of the most respected and decorated magazine writers working today discuss the challenges of reporting, balancing the demands of picky editors, and writing insightful, artful, and impactful narrative stories and the future of the form.

Food: The Topic That Ate Service Journalism. Food and dining coverage is the core franchise of most city magazines: year in and year out, we produce lists and packages that readers devour. But how, as editors and writers, can we keep food coverage fresh? This panel will explore new and creative ways to write about food and restaurants.

Full Package: The Importance of Multimedia Storytelling. As we move into an era in which editorial content delivered on digital platforms is more and more important, how do we take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Web and mobile apps? Listen to insight into creativity and best practices in print, online, and mobile—and how to do it all within budgetary constraints.

Content Strategies Across Multiple Platforms. Your print magazine is different from your website, and your website is different from your apps. So why are you recycling the same content across different platforms that are serving different audiences? Hear why your web site and mobile app editorial content should differ from your print content.

And Now, For Something Different: Breaking Out of Established Editorial Conventions. Magazines are living, breathing things and need to constantly evolve to stay fresh and vital. In this interactive, participatory session, a panel of editors will present stories and packages that eschew traditional formats, break rules, and are unconventional and exciting. We’ll hear from editors involved in the conception and execution of these stories on lessons learned, challenges faced, and reader feedback.


What has really changed at the CRMA conferences is a new focus on how  do we get the revenue to survive in this fast-changing digital environment. In the old days—10 years ago—the focus still was mostly on the building blocks of print journalism, with panels on special ad sections, increasing newsstand sales, subscriber renewal strategies, and the like. In those days a 45-year-old advertising or circulation executive could live in the past with an eye to the future, and an editor could sit in on those sessions and feel comfortable.

Here’s what CRMA publishers and ad executives are talking about this weekend in Atlanta. Today’s 45-year-old magazine executive better learn fast how the revenue side of journalism is changing. And that includes editors.

Let’s Get Digital: Understanding Your Digital Options.  With so many options in the market, it’s hard to know what digital platform fits your magazine’s needs best. Spend this session taking an in-depth look at Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite, deemed the future of digital publishing.

Debating Digital.  Now more than ever advertisers are fleeing us for Google Ad Words, Facebook or online only digital ad opportunities. Digital experts will help you learn how to handle these objections with detailed facts and stats that prove traditional media is still the best buy in the market!

Mobile Monetization Strategies.  Mobile usage is revolutionizing retail, and it is projected that by 2015, shoppers worldwide will spend $119 billion via mobile purchases. It’s clear that readying ourselves to monetize mobile is a critical next step. Our panel of experts will showcase successful strategies for mobile platforms and their revenue generation strategies

Strategies Across Multiple Platforms. Your print magazine is different from your website, and your website is different from your apps. So why are you recycling the same content across different platforms that are serving different audiences? Hear why your web site and mobile app editorial content should differ from your print content.

Custom Projects: Crack the Code. Puzzled on how to successfully land and retain custom projects? Fuzzy on how to structure a deal that truly is a win-win? Learn from CRMA experts on who makes for promising prospects, how to package and sell this capability and the secrets in determining which projects to say yes to.

Branded Content: The New Frontier. We’ve heard the talk, who’s walking the walk? Learn from CRMA innovators on how to successfully sell branded content. Uncover the key considerations to take into account and how to successfully introduce this new model into your organization.

E-newsletters. This panel session will give you the insight you need on everything e-newsletter.

From Circulation to Audience Development. Circulation? Branding? Audience Development? What industry are we in exactly? As readers become users, and print subscribers move to digital subscribers our roles and job functions are constantly changing. Hear from other seasoned industry experts on the changing landscape of our jobs and how to stay on top!

Social Media. We are past the honeymoon phase with Social Media. And it’s time to get serious about our social strategy. Sit in on this session and learn about social trends, obtaining followers and using social media in creative ways to develop a following and make money.

Selling Successful Sponsorships. Improve the ROI on your events. Develop sponsorship packages that not only deliver for the clients, but also provide the return on investment for you. Discover best practices in prospecting, positioning and closing sponsorships. Plus, don’t forget post-event follow up and delivery.

Survival of the Fastest: Emerging Trends in Tech and Social Media. This serial entrepreneur, educator, and venture investor offers the latest emerging trends—each intersecting with social media and technology—that will change the way any business in every industry will operate and relate to its customers, employees, vendors, lenders, and partners. You’ll learn how to leverage social media and technology platforms to expand your business. You’ll hear about the newest technologies, the latest social-media tools, ways to better understand customer acquisition, and how to drive and build traffic.

Mobile First Strategy: Making Mobile Meaningful. Why and How Publishing for mobile consumption is now a necessity as readers increase their use of mobile devices. This panel will explore the changing landscape and address challenges that city & regional publishers face—from editorial, audience development, and advertising sales perspectives. Session will include mobile solutions, tips, and best practices.

Embracing Digital Convergence. Publishers discuss how they integrate, promote and digital initiatives within their organizations.


  1. Chris Antenen says:

    I read your blog because of an assignment in a class to learn how to blog. I’m a writer. Reading through all of your topics for the varioius sessions, panels, etc., I kept looking for something creative. I kept finding the word ‘creative’ but nothing creative. Obviously I’m not at the conference, but I’ve been at plenty of others. Didn’t Dickens teach you anything? People might not pick up your city magazines because of the fiction in it, but they’ll pick up the next one for the next chapter in a series. When fiction disappeared from all the monthlies, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post, etc. I know –some defunct–they lost readership. You need to realize that fiction was part of the allure of magazines–remember True Romance, etc. ‘People’ has replaced that kind of magazine, but it’s a cheap replacement. I mean ‘cheap’ in the sense of taste. When I was a kid, there were always kids stories in Colliers, McCalls, etc. and I think my parent’s bought the magazine as much for me as for themselves. With the rise in popularity of flash fiction–Google it–you might come up with something really new if you used your first pages, not for some full size picture of a half-naked woman or man advertizing jeans or eye makeup, but a lure into a really good story in 1000 words. If you don’t know about flash fiction , read Smokelong Quarterly, Every Day Fiction,. Vestal Revue. Start a Dickens-like serial or even use Dickens.
    Truly, every one of your sessions sounded boring, old stuff with new people probably, just … well that says it, ‘boring.’

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