At Yale Publishing Course, an Intimate Gathering of Minds
At the Yale Publishing Course, a one-week intensive for magazine publishers (book pubs get their turn next week), don't expect to be a fly on the wall. Sharing hotel accommodations, meals and one classroom with fewer than 100 other publishing executives, everyone feels intimately involved, engaged and enabled to speak frankly. Whether discussing revenue strategies over breakfast or querying Conde Nast president Bob Sauerberg about what it takes to launch a new brand, publishers can expect one-on-one interaction with fellow attendees and presenters (speakers even have "office hours" during the week to accommodate personal discussions).
As course organizer and director Tina C. Weiner joked this morning, she'd like to see herself as something of an intellectual catalyst for the week's proceedings, but ends up feeling more like a camp director. (Unlike most camps, though, there's wifi and white wine. Oh, and a view of the spires of Yale University.)
One of the biggest surprises for me is the international flavor of the gathering. There are publishers here from Korea, Australia, South Africa, Abu Dhabi, Germany, Hong Kong, mainland China and Chile, as well as all over the U.S. Participants come to share and pick up ideas, to take a step back from the daily grind and gain a broader vantage on where they might want to take their businesses.
Publishers large and small share ideas and learn how to move ahead amid rapid change in publishing. Major themes include the transition to digital publishing, brand extension, understanding millennials, the evolving role of media and journalism, financial trends and management, boosting audience and what the tech industry can learn from traditional publishers (and vice versa).
An oft-repeated word is "inspiration," which captures what attendees hope to carry with them when they return to their regular jobs. At the very least, new connections and friendships are sure to be forged.