Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roy Reiman: Building an Empire

Earlier today, Roy Reiman, CEO of Reiman Publications, was the Keynote speaker for Journalism Week at the Meek School of Journalism. For anyone who would not know, Reiman is a Godfather of magazine innovation with his publishing empire credited with building the country’s largest, private, subscription-based publishing.

His presentation began with a picture of a Royal typewriter on a TV tray in the basesment of his family home. Time and time again, people told Reiman "you can't do that", or "It will never work" but time and time again he proved them wrong. Today one of every 10
homes in America subscribes to at least one of his magazines, none of which accepts adversiting.

To Reiman there are two factors that contribute to success

  1. Never look at problems negatively - every problem invokes entrepreurship.
  2. Creativity is the engine that powers success. It is the difference between dreams and reality.

When Reiman first quit his job and started writing in his basement, his first project went straight down the drain along with $10,000. He credited this to not testing his markets and it was a lesson in learning from his mistakes. Labeling the experience as his "master's degree in publishing," Reiman didn't stop trying and later created his first successful magazine Farm Wife News.

His publishing company went on to create other hit magazines such as
Country, Reminisce and Taste of Home. From there Reiman persued additional innovations such as his promotional t-shirt "I'm proud to be a farmer's wife" which led to an entire line of the garment production for the company.

Even in retirement, Reiman could not help himself and started a new magazine named Our Iowa. Starting from scratch and continuing with the same principles as before, his new venture boomed in business and with it he continues to push the ideas of creativity and innovation.

When asked about the uncertainties of journalism today, Reiman cites two reasons: There have been too many average writers and editors for years just getting by and publishers have allowed advertisers to dictate their content to readers. He even created an imaginary ad salesman for the company named Cal to jokingly ward off advertisers.

When it comes to magazines, Reiman believes they should be treated as welcomed friends in our homes that visit us once a month. And to Reiman, the future of magazines is clear. These "doom and gloom" times call for a "zoom" approach.

"Optimism sees its the perfect time to create," he said. "With less competition there are millions who want a good magazine because people need an escape."

Reiman ended his presentation with a simple quote: "The difference between the possible and impossible is creativity."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finding North

Today was the kick-off of Journalism Week, held each spring and fall by the Meek School of Journalism. As a special guest, our dean, Dr. Will Norton invited Roger Fransecky, the CEO of The Apogee Group to speak on what he described as the "illumination of a meaningful life."

Fransecky focused life into two core principles; Prose - the defining of your own voice by listening and establishing your view on life, and Poetry - the meaning and light in what you do. The rest, Fransecky said, is plumbing. Sometimes the plumbing makes people fall into routine and slip away from the prose and poetry in life.

"It is why you have to find your true North," Fransecky said, "You do this by finding focus and finding a purpose driven life."

And just as quickly, he turned his focus on the issue of "Change."

Fransecky described Change as having its own architecture, saying "real change begins with ending something. As behavior follows belief, you have to make visible your beliefs."

He then went on to create the allusion of the journalism profession as a boat upon a fog filled lake. As journalists, we cannot see the beginning or the end. To turn back is to try to regain the certainty of what we knew but may never find again. The only clear answer is to go forth through the fog until you reach the new land, or the new world of media tomorrow.

Fransecky discussed the personal side of realizing higher achievement. "The question of life is not what you're doing but what you are becoming," he said.

He went on to describe the 5 factors NEEDED for Higher Achievement:
  1. A Mentor - Someone you admire for positive traits.
  2. A Lover - We all need love. It teaches us to love life as it illuminates your own.
  3. An Editor - Someone to watch your back and call you out and keep you humble
  4. A Truth-teller/Champion - Someone who will praise you and fill your balloon when you need it, given their words are sincere.
  5. A Friend - The people who tell us the truth, find us, travel with us, belong to us. It's important to have a few great friends and remember you cannot be a friend to all.

Finally, Fransescky left us with what he called the two doorway truths (the truth someone tells you just as they are departing). The first is that everything we knew and trusted about everything is over! The second is that today is just the beginning of finding that greater tomorrow!

Apogee’s clients range from Fortune 100 companies with global reach and riveting competitive challenges, to entrepreneurial enterprises flush with dreams and deadlines. Whether taking part in their development programs or visiting The Apogee Group website just to learn something, they are a MUST for PR pros seeking high-impact coaching & development.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Living His Dreams

This past Wednesday, political cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, a nationally syndicated two-time Pulitzer finalist was a Society of Professional Journalists guest speaker at the Meek School of Journalism. Ramsey, who is the political cartoonist for The Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi, spoke about life as a cartoonist and political satire in Mississippi.

During the two programs he gave at the school, Ramsey talked with students about the obstacles he went through to get to where he is today; from college advisers who told him the collegiate newspaper didn't need another cartoonist, to his first newspaper editor who told him he had no career in the profession. Without a doubt, Ramsey's message was one of perseverance and achieving one's dreams.

As a result of his persistence, His cartoons while attending Kennesaw State College won the top prize for collegiate cartoonists, The John Locher Memorial Award. From then on, his career has skyrocketed as his cartoons have gone on to appear in USA Today, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times.

Also a melanoma survivor, Ramsey has been honored by the Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society for his work with promoting skin cancer screening. During his presentations he reminisced about overcoming cancer and finding away to see the humorous side."How do you brush the devil off your shoulder?" Ramsey said to the classes, "You laugh at him."

It truly was an honor having Ramsey to speak and this program was one I had been planning since last April. Quite often, speakers that come through are trite and boring. Having heard him three times in the past seven years, I knew Ramsey would be a welcomed break from the norm. "He was like a stand-up comedian with his own visuals," student Darren White said, "Every cartoon he showed us had a great impact and he always had a punch line to go with it."

One of my favorite aspects to preparing the program was creating the event poster. It is by far the most creative and enjoyable I've been able to be in my SPJ program designs. Although there were many complications involved with the preparation of this program, thanks to team work and an extensive amount of emails, SPJ was able to cover all the basses in making the program a successful one.

We even got a shout-out from Ramsey later in the evening on his Twitter account.

"I'd like to thank Andrew Scott, Debora Halpern Wenger and the Ole Miss chapter of the SPJ for inviting me up to speak at Ole Miss today," Ramsey said on his profile.

The Essence of Oxford

A recent press release I wrote for my internship at the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce about the release of their 10th Artists' Series print featuring Glennray Tutor. This Friday, the article ran in THE OXFORD EAGLE.

"Chamber Debuts Annual Oxford print – 10th in Artists’ Series"

Oxford, MS – Are you looking for a unique Oxford print? Maybe something that captures the essence of Oxford in a seemingly simplistic but ultimately surreal and dynamic fashion as though experiencing the city for the first time. Well, the Chamber may have just what you are looking for.

The Oxford – Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce is featuring another in a series of prints that showcase talents of artists in the area. This year’s print, entitled "Afternoon on the Square," by famed Oxford artist Glennray Tutor.

This beautiful photorealistic art piece sends you on a stroll back through time as it peers toward the center of the historic Oxford Square from the west as if strolling down Van Buren on a late afternoon walk. The art features shops and stores that have come and gone, plus some that have stood strong through the years, sparking memories for many Oxonians and Ole Miss Alumni alike.

Tutor, known for his photorealistic paintings, is part of the photorealism art movement. His paintings are immersed with intense color, nostalgic items, metaphor, and a complete focus on detail.

His works have been shown at The Mendenhall Gallery in California, The Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, The Hahn Ross Gallery in Santa Fe, The Alice Bingham Gallery in Memphis, The Frist Center of Visual Arts in Nashville, The Mississippi Museum of Art, The Schmidt-Bingham Gallery in New York, Helander Gallery in New York, The World's Fair in New Orleans, as well as many other well respected art galleries.

Influenced by painters Ralph Goings and Charles Bell, Tutor is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and English in 1974 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting in 1976. During the years of 1999 and 2000, his artwork was featured in a show known as "Outward Bound: American Art on the Brink of the Twenty-first Century: An Exhibition of American Contemporary Art" which was sponsored by the Mobil Corp. The traveling gallery show started in Washington, D.C. and continued to tour South Eastern Asia.

The limited edition signed and numbered print can be purchased for $25 at the Chamber of Commerce office, located at 299 Jackson Avenue West. Only 250 prints will be sold.
Tutor’s artwork is also featured on the cover of the 2009-2010 Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation Community Guide and Membership Directory. He won first place in the tenth Annual Art Contest held by the Chamber of Commerce in the spring.

For more information about the print or the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce, call 662.234.4651.

Published: October 23, 2009