Magazinists, airborne

Welcome! We are only two days into this spring term, and already we have this blog up and running.

We also have 14 magazines that you, my students, are researching, looking at whatever you can find about their past and present.

Magazine rack in W&L Bookstore

Magazine rack in W&L Bookstore

And we have a vision for our own magazine. It’s “Town & Gown: A magazine for university town life.” This would be a regional Southern magazine for towns like Lexington, such as those with traditional private colleges in the Associated Colleges of the South (Danville, Ky.; Conway, Ark.; Winter Park, Fla.; Davidson, N.C., etc.) and university towns like Chapel Hill, N.C.; Athens, Ga., where two in this class are from. Team assignments spelled out in the file in Sakai called “Magazine focus ideas.”

We’ll aim at generating content and design for a prototype, and a business plan and market research for a prospectus.


It was 25 years ago that I was involved in the launch of a regional magazine in Atlanta called Southpoint. It launched just as its sponsor, Time Inc., merged with Warner Bros. to create a behemoth that was $14 billion in debt. We figured we could hide in the smoke and roar of that, and do our thing.

Tech guy Michael Todd, helping us launch this blog.

Tech guy Michael Todd, helping us launch this blog.

I think this class has covered more ground in two days that we covered in the six months it took to get Southpoint up to  halfway to a prototype and prospectus. Now that we’ve got a road map, I think we can slow down a bit and enjoy the work we’ll be doing.

Julie Campbell, editor of W&L’s alumni magazine, says our magazine looks great. “I would read it!” she says. She’ll be talking to our lab tomorrow afternoon.

Then, on Thursday, we’re taking two vans to Roanoke. At Leisure Publishing (Blue Ridge Country & Roanoker) we’ll talk with editor-in-chief Kurt Rheinheimer, the art director and a marketing person. Then we’ll meet Dan Smith, former Blue Ridge Business Journal editor and co-founder of Valley Business FRONT, for lunch at the Taubman Museum. After browsing the Picasso show there, we’ll be back by around 3 p.m.

Looking forward to New York City!

— Prof. Doug Cumming

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