May 28: Story meeting recap

Ohio State is fighting the battle against cancer in just about every corner of the campus. That was apparent after Wednesday’s story meeting where campus communicators shared just some of the ways that students, faculty and researchers are advancing the fight. To take a look at some of the ideas shared, you can review the story-meeting notes here: May 28 meeting notes.

The ideas we gathered are a great starting point for some of the coverage plans centered around the opening of the new James Cancer Hospital later this year. We will continue to build ideas from this base and welcome any new stories that detail the ways your college or unit is helping to advance the cancer fight. In addition to the discussion of cancer efforts, two stories are coming up soon that will merit some attention: Ohio State’s Big Idea Finals is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, and the three-year Eco-Car competition will come to a close with finals beginning this Sunday.

The next meeting will be on June 26 here at Gateway. I would invite any attendees to bring some of their success stories with them to that and any future gatherings. We’d like the meetings to be a place where our campus storytellers can share accomplishments and best practices, so if you’ve recently completed a project you are proud of, we’d love to hear about it.

Stop the presses!

Earlier this week a copy of the New York Times’ Innovation report leaked, giving us a chance to look at a news organization that is taking a hard look at itself as the media landscape changes at an ever-increasing pace.

The report itself is examines how the NYT is trying (and failing by its own assessment) to transition to a digital-first news organization. I found the report interesting, and applicable to some of the work we are tackling at Ohio State.

This is probably a good time to say that we are not the New York Times (duh). Our work and goals are significantly different. With that said, there are some organizational similarities. We are both large influential brands, have rich print and digital storytelling platforms and loyal audience bases. So while this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, I think there is something to be learned from the Times’ soul-searching.

One item that stands out is that it’s apparent the NYT, while still producing outstanding journalism, is struggling to make a full-fledged shift into the digital realm. The print product remains king, largely because of the revenue it generates. This has created some challenges, because continued audience growth hinges on the Times’ ability to have digital lead the way.

At Ohio State, there are some similar challenges. While our non-print advertising revenue has grown over the past few years, it doesn’t come close to the resources provided by print. So while I think we all agree that we are heading to a digital-only time, there’s less agreement on the speed with which that transition needs to happen.

Will we have print publications in five years? In 10? That is largely unclear at this point. What is clear from the NYT report is that when the change is made, it won’t be as simple as turning off the presses with the flip of a switch.

A brand new look

We’ve just recently moved past the one-year anniversary of operating under new brand standards. The anniversary coincided with the launch of a redesigned brand website that is easier to navigate and puts more resources in the hands of those who need them. These are all good things.

While we are undoubtedly proud of the work done to establish the standards, there are still many steps to be taken to get to where we want to be. One of the next ones involves a redesign of all publications that are produced by University Communications. The reorganization that merged the teams from UC, the Alumni Association and Foundation together also brought a number of publications under one umbrella.

Generally, those publications look like they were produced by different teams with different goals. Our aim is to bring them more in line with each other and Ohio State’s overall brand guidelines.

While we are still developing a timeline for roll-out of some of these redesigns, we do know that Ohio State Alumni Magazine will have a new look beginning with its November/December edition.

The magazine was last redesigned in 2005. Since then we’ve tweaked here and there, but this will be the first major overhaul since ’05. I think we all agree that the magazine is long overdue for a makeover.

We are currently in the beginning stages of that redesign. We’ve already tackled internal auditing of magazine content, shared ideas of other magazines we like and are currently using the CASE magazine survey to ask our readership what it thinks of the publication. This information will form the foundation for the work that lies ahead.

Writing about LASERs

The May/June edition of Ohio State Alumni Magazine is scheduled for a mail drop today, which means folks in central Ohio should begin receiving their magazines very soon.

The cover feature in this edition focuses on Ohio State’s Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER) program. The LASER program was established in 2009 by Ohio State director of Latino studies Luis Aldama, a recipient of the university’s 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award. The story focuses on the student success being created by this academically rigorous program, and how mentors and young people are both benefitting from the program’s scope. One LASER program mentor and mentee, Guadalupe Medina, is featured in our magazine cover image:

MJ14 OSAM cover_Page_01

In addition to the LASER feature we feature Ohio State food scientist Monica Giusti is featured, alums Peter McGraw (a humor researcher at the University of Colorado) and Ram Mohan (owner of Reynoldsburg’s Avian Health Clinic), and Ohio State’s top-scholar athletes, among others.

We are already deep into work on the July/August edition. That cover feature will take a close look at how the university’s North Residential District will help further ensure student retention and success. It will also give us a chance to allow alums to look back and share stories about their experiences in Ohio State residence halls. Well, at least the stories that are a fit for a family publication.