Valley Dish is finally here!

We are so excited to share our magazine, Valley Dish! Enjoy!

SpringFest selfie

Selfie, plural: Part of the class, at Spring Term Festival, Friday May 22, 2015

After four weeks of hard work we were proud to present the Valley Dish prototype at the Spring Term Festival! The festival gave us an opportunity to present Valley Dish to our friends and professors.  Our magazine stood out among other posters because of colorful pictures and engaging content. We were able to project the magazine on a screen so visitors had the change to flip through the pages of the magazine in print and view it in a more digital format. It was a great way to end a great semester!

— Myers McGarry

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Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts

Leigh in shades

Leigh and her breakfast

Today was the day for donuts. Since our story idea for Jessie Knadler’s cool jam/preserve-making didn’t work out, I set out on a new adventure to cover and photograph the ever-so-popular “Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts” in Lynchburg.

What’s better? It’s a food truck, so I’m a fan. The whole scene around Mama’s was very Austin, Texas, so I felt right at home. The food truck (robin’s egg blue) sits right next to a juice stand and down the street from a farmer’s market, so after I grabbed half a dozen to try and share with a couple friends, I made my way down to get some of the strawberries and fresh honey from the farms around. Mama Crockett’s, started by two SVU alums, began in Buena Vista, but has since then made its way to Lynchburg to fit in with the food truck scene there. When you round the corner of 12th and Main, there is a whole slew of them, and you can have your pick: custom grilled cheese, fresh fruit desserts, juice, bagels, and (of course) the donuts!! To say they were a bite out of heaven would be the understatement. I attached some cool pictures from the extravaganza this morning, so y’all can check it out.

Mama C truckWhile I was there, there were SVU students doing a video project on the alums-turned-entrepreneurs at the donut hotspot. Definitely make your way down to Lynchburg to experience the goodness. It is so worth the drive. You can check them out on Facebook, find out a little about their story, read/write reviews, or even look at Jessie Knadler’s blog (she covered them in her food/drink section not too long ago!) How cool is that?! Anyway, I have joined the following and will definitely be going again.”

— Leigh Lloveras

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City Lights

New York City really IS full of surprises. For me, some of the highlights of the trip were an all girls meal at Trattoria Del’Arte on 7th and Broadway, exploring other good eats with the group, and our trip to the World Trade Center. Although I live in a huge city and am exposed to skyscrapers a lot, there was something so humbling and surreal about being so high up looking out in the Glamour offices over where the twin towers fell. It has been years, but I couldn’t help wondering if that ever crosses the mind of the many workers at Condé Nast as they peer out their sky high windows on their lunch break. for thought.

I truly enjoyed Jeff Hamill’s talk with us at Hearst (and not to mention the yummy munchies provided! How sweet was that ?!). I learned a lot about the magazine industry at large and that it really ISN’T dying. If anything, get on board now!

Looking back on our busy trip, the best memory I will take with me was just being immersed in the culture of the city itself. I took the time every morning to head down to one of the coffeeshops on the corner and just people watch. There really is every kind of walk of life around you if you just open your eyes long enough to take it all in and appreciate it. It definitely is NOT the little Lexington, Va., we all know and love, but it was wonderful and fascinating to be among the bustle of the New Yorkers for a few days.

— Leigh Lloveras

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Aloft and Elated

New York City is full of surprises. For instance, there is a magical green land that floats above the grey sea of building fronts and streets that are flooded with taxis and busy, busy people. High LineOn one of our spare evenings, Jenna and I ventured our way up the stairs to this 1.45-mile long magical green land, which is actually referred to as the High Line. What we found on this elevated section of the city was a decrepit portion of the New York Central Railroad, covered and adorned with greenery and botanical gardens and organic looking artwork. Jenna and I skipped along the railroad, ooh-ing and ah-ing at every cool new feature that came into sight. We admired the beautiful, mostly contemporary high rises and apartment buildings that surrounded the area.Gretchen & Jenna High Line

Alas, as we descended the stairs back to the busy-bee atmosphere of classic New York City, we caught sight of a cute little restaurant called Cookshop (on 10th Ave.). Upon arriving at this cafe, we asked for a spot at the bar and enjoyed delicious drinks (Kumquat margaritas and grapefruit mojitos) and great company. The night got even better when we met up with Myers and an old friend, an alumna of W&L, for juicy burgers and a medley of fries (which came with five different types of dipping sauces). Finally, we ascended to the 18th floor and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city from a rooftop bar. It was an enchanting night, a big city adventure for students from a small town.

— Gretchen Sengelmann

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Hallway of Pop History

I thoroughly enjoyed each place we visited in New York. Because I’m pursuing a career as a magazine editor after graduation, the trip was beneficial for me. I got an inside glimpse of the work environment I will soon enter. Each company had a different vibe that reflected the different types of magazines it produced, and I benefited from hearing the different testimonies from the different employees at each.


John Lennon in “How I Won the War,” RS’s first cover

My favorite part of our trip, however, was walking down the hallway of magazine covers at Rolling Stone. As I ventured down the hallway, I witnessed the evolution of popular culture (and our society at large) on the walls. I studied the premier cover that displayed a photo of John Lennon. The antique, black-and-white covers progressed into ones with bright colors and bold text. I examined the covers from my parents’ generation. I particularly enjoyed looking at the covers from my childhood. NSYNC was my favorite boy-band in the late 90s and early 2000s, and I felt like I went back in time to see that band and its contemporaries when they were at the peak of their influence on popular culture. As the covers progressed through the years I began noticing faces from our present day culture, such as Katy Perry. The hallway of Rolling Stone contains so much history, and I loved experiencing the changes in our society by studying the covers from past to present.

— Grace Hayes

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Rockin’ at Rolling Stone

Aside from the final transportation debacle, our trip to New York City could not have gone smoother. The excursion reminded me of just how many diverse opportunities lie in the big city. NYC is so dissimilar from my childhood home, but it is undoubtedly a place that I could see making my home in the future.

Feelings of inspiration and intimidation, both, overcame me as we meandered through the halls of historically successful and prestigious magazine companies. Rolling Stone, our first stop, left a great impression on me despite the recent controversy over the magazine. The office rang of years and years of nonconformist and shocking approaches to journalism. As Andy Greene Rolling Stone hallwaysguided us through the hall that had on display every Rolling Stone cover page that ever existed, he spoke of the cover shots that had gained the most attention in the press, of the issue that was banned from certain store shelves (Annie Lebowitz’s shot of a nude John Lennon cuddling with a fully clothed Yoko Ono, which turned out to be the last picture taken of Lennon before he was fatally shot), and of the shots he was personally most fond of.

Andy Greene

Andy Greene

He spoke with such an air of casualness about the countless celebrities and renowned musicians that he has interviewed on the job and even befriended. I was totally beside myself. Actually, everything was so casual about the place. Of the employees that we came in contact with or passed by, Nike kicks or Converse seemed to be the shoes of preference. It was really encouraging to hear Andy, a 33-year-old who has worked at Rolling Stone since his early twenties, talk about the countless amazing opportunities he has come across so early in life. Just recently, no big deal, he was hanging out with James Taylor!!!

— Gretchen Singelmann

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Shooting food (and a barn)

Earlier this semester our class met with Kevin Remington, the campus photographer, and he gave us a bit of advice on photographing food. The main thing he pointed out was to keep the aperture as open as possible. This means that the camera is letting in the most amount of light. And it also makes the image focused only on parts of the subject at a certain distance. So, I put my 50mm lens on my camera because the aperture can open very wide. I then tried it out at Farm To You, a store in Lexington that sells only local food. Here are a couple of these pictures.


— Hines LilesLilesH_greenleaf

P.S. I hate snakes. I cannot stand them. I don’t even like pictures of them and will avoid them at all costs. I grew up on a farm and I understand that snakes love barns. Recently, while photographing Paradox Farm, an organic farm in Rockbridge County, I was told of an opportunity to take a “cool” picture. So I followed my host and he led me to the barn. I couldn’t say no. So I followed him in, dodged a rusty tractor and climbed a ladder to get to the hay loft. Immediately I see snake skin everywhere. Not just small snake skin, but long fresh skin. I was terrified. I hopped from hay bale to hay bale just to avoid touching anything I couldn’t see. But, I got the “cool” pic of the sunlight passing through the walls of the barn. And everything worked out, except I still hate snakes. LilesH_barn


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A Conversation with Graham Spice

Graham Spice

Graham Spice

This afternoon, I met with Graham Spice of the W&L Music Department to discuss his experience as a regular pianist at Haywood’s Piano Bar on Main Street (part of a new hotel called The Georges) in Lexington. As part of my research for my article, this conversation proved incredibly helpful as a complement to my interview with Ann Parker Gottwald, the owner of the inn. As Professor Cumming says, a one-source article is a cardinal sin in journalism. Spice offered a lot of interesting information and a different perspective that I couldn’t have gotten from Gottwald. He worked with Haywood’s before they opened in an effort to help them through the live entertainment aspect of the restaurant, though he humbly commented that they didn’t take many if any of his tips.

Spice told me a few things that I believe Gottwald’s humble nature would prevent her from admitting. For instance, he so astutely pointed out that the establishment of Haywood’s and TAPS has “changed the scene downtown a little bit.” Having grown up here, Spice knows the town very well. Even though he moved to Nashville for 15 years, he has been back in Lex for the past nine. He said that now, because of these two restaurants, there is a bar crowd of 20- to 50-year-olds that wasn’t here five or six years ago. The restaurants have successfully expanded the social scene in Lexington, and some of the older restaurants are beginning to step up their game, he believes. The Palms apparently is hoping to begin featuring live music, to compete with Haywood’s and reclaim the centrality of its bar scene.

Haywood’s as a hotel has to offer something more to its guests than what is readily available at any other hotel in Lexington. The owners accomplish this with the piano bar, but also with the casual lounge atmosphere and low-priced menu items across the street at TAPS. They have even initiated different events, like a Mardi Gras parade. Spice worked closely with Mary Carter Hyman, one of the managers and Gottwald’s sister, to orchestrate the music component of the parade. He arranged the music selections and distributed them to local high school and middle school band departments, in an effort to include the community as much as possible. “We started at Haywood’s and ended at TAPS,” he recalls, detailing the route along the historic streets of Lexington.

Spice also listed a bunch of other musicians that have played at Haywood’s. He plays every Sunday, so he knows a lot of the other entertainers. A lot of them are some of his very students from W&L. He is thrilled with the opportunity Haywood’s afford to students, where they can put into practice what they’re learning in the classroom. They have the experience of performing for a crowd while still in school, a luxury he never had while studying and living in Nashville. “And they pay well,” he says. Other professors join the music scene at Haywood’s occasionally, along with VMI Keydets, keeping the relationship with the universities strong.

I was very interested to hear all of these wonderful things about the music aspect of the restaurant. While this could be a provocative article in and of itself, I knew that for the nature of Valley Dish the focus on the restaurant and food was much more relevant. It’s exciting that Lexington is effectively getting a new vibe just from the opening of The Georges. He suggests that this gives the brand new inn a longevity that might otherwise not exist without the live entertainment.

This conversation added an element to my article that was missing before. While I left out a lot of what we discussed, it altered a little bit the vibe of my article previously. Gottwald and Spice were both incredibly gracious while speaking with me and offered a lot of information I may not have even thought to ask about. It definitely pays to reach out to anyone you can find when writing a magazine article. Glad I learned my lesson.

— Elise Petracca

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New Magazines: They Make a Difference

Throughout the process of creating Valley Dish, a magazine that highlights food in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region, we have learned a great deal. But perhaps most notably, we learned that the best time to enter the business is now.

Spencer & Jack MPA

Spencer and Jack at the ASME/Magazine Publishers Association offices

We will, therefore, “launch” Valley Dish on May 22, with the goal of engaging people who have a passion for food and, in a larger sense, the intent of making a difference in people’s lives.

A lot of work has gone in to this publication; the last month, in particular, has been pretty hectic. So now, just a few days before Valley Dish hits newsstands, I figured it might be helpful to take a break and consider a different, comedic take on what people think of magazines. Take it away, Jerry… Seinfeld

— Spencer Payne

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The Death of Print Advertising?

While we were in New York, Jeff Hamill discussed the thriving advertising market associated with magazines. His clients are typically monoliths of the fashion and beauty industry that can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on glossy full page ads in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and Marie Claire. As you can imagine, businesses in Lexington, Virginia advertise a little differently.

As part of our market research, our team went to multiple businesses to gauge their interest in advertising in Valley Dish. Even though the response was overwhelmingly positive, it was rare to find a business that actually had an allocated advertising budget. Word of mouth seemed to be the most important and common way that local businesses advertise. However, many of the people we talked to indicated that they intend to begin utilizing social media.

Some of the business owners interviewed us just as much as we interviewed them. As we began to delve into more specifics about advertising, several of our subjects wanted to talk to us about how we as their target audience would respond to a social media presence. We told them that using social media would likely be the quickest way to reach young people and promote their businesses. This spurred a discussion within our group about the future of advertising — will the cost-effectiveness and immediacy of social media allow it someday to completely overtake print advertising? Considering the catastrophic effects this would have on the magazine industry, lets hope for the sake of our future careers that this is never the case.

— Allison Smith

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Out on the Town

Engel & friendsWhile our magazine is called Valley Dish and only relates to food beyond the Blue Ridge, our class had the opportunity to try some of the world’s best food in New York. The picture above was taken at a restaurant called Koi and is located in Bryant Park. I had the Lobster Rolls and wine from an unbelievable bottle of Stag’s Leap. Our class trip to New York helped to expand my pallet and to be honest grew my appreciation for the authenticity of food in the Valley.


Rolling Stone magazine was probably one of the coolest experiences I have had in New York to date. Meeting with Andy Greene was unreal because he is on a first name basis with members of some of the most prolific rock bands ever. This list includes the likes of U2 and the Rolling Stones. Walking through their hallways with every issue published since their first was actually beautiful and is a memory I will never forget.

— Kyle Engel

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Tips on seeking a magazine job

When the class went to visit Glamour at Condé Nast, Washington and Lee alumna Abbie McCoy gave us three pieces of advice when applying for jobs.

1. Your resume and cover letter should not have any spelling errors.  She noted that you should pay special attention to how you spell people’s titles and names.

2. You should assume that the person reading a networking email has social skills. Write as you would talk. You should not use words like “shall” in your emails. She also said that you should not refer to a person as their title, but you should use their name.

3. Make sure what you say in your intro email matches the job posting. Make sure that you are describing the job that you are applying for, not just the job you want.

— Myers McGarry

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3 NYC Experiences That Were Totally Worth It

On our recent trip to New York City, we were lucky enough to visit a few companies that are home to some of the biggest and best-selling magazines in the country, and to also talk to and learn from some of the great minds behind them. When we weren’t learning about the editorial work that goes into Glamour Magazine, or the steps that it takes to come up with a Rolling Stone interview piece, we were out in the Big City itself, and experiencing everything that comes with it. Being from the  DC area, I’m no stranger to big tourist groups, so it was interesting to be on that end of the spectrum while I was touring NYC. I got to play three different “roles” during my time in the city, and they’re pretty clichéd to be honest, but I still loved every New York minute.


1) The Tourist

I played this role for about 99% of the trip, but it was still really fun. There were literal ups, such as straining to see the tops of the massive skyscrapers or enduring cramped elevator rides just to be rewarded with an incredible view of the city or the skyline. There were also “downs,” which were just as literal, as they often involved taking several subway rides in the wrong direction or getting lost in Chinatown on the way to Little Italy. In spite of all this, the best parts of this role were its little victories, which, in most cases, just meant finding the place that we had been looking for in the first place.

Other times, “victory” meant getting to see something like this:

(Street performers in front of the Metropolitan Museum)


2) The Foodie

This was probably my favorite tourist role, because every meal was a different culinary experience for me. I tried to stay true to this role by seeking out a different popular food or theme for dinner every night, and it was a success. I got to taste the famed New York thin crust the first night, some really good Chinese and ice cream/frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity on the second night (thanks, Lindsay!) and authentic Italian in Little Italy on the third night. And even though the journeys to each of these destinations was no easy feat, I was not disappointed…

2015-05-11 22.24.07

The famed Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity!

2015-05-11 20.39.36

Delicious chicken lo mein at Manhattan Chinese restaurant, Chef Yu.

2015-05-11 22.23.51

Hot fudge, chocolate and coffee ice cream sundae at Serendipity!








3) The VIP

This was a very unique role, one that I might not have experienced without the help of this spring-term course. I couldn’t help but get excited when we visited all of the magazine companies, and were ushered in as important guests, complete with our names on all of the lists. It was great to hear about all of the up and coming job opportunities that our hosts presented to us as they urged us to apply, and to also hear that millennials like us make excellent employees in this day and age. I felt like a very, very important person while we were visiting the Hearst tower. Everything about it was a total dream– complete with a kind and talented security guard/tour guide, complimentary breakfast, and a breathtaking view.

The view from the Hearst Tower's conference room, on the 44th floor.

The view from the Hearst Tower’s conference room, on the 44th floor.

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No Magazine Pity in the Queen City

During our class’ recent trip to New York, we were repeatedly told that people love magazines. Although everyone we heard from were successful in the magazine industry, I was skeptical. At least for me personally, magazines have played a very minor role in my life. My family is not into them, and I subscribe to only one. Candidly, I thought our New York presenters were simply exaggerating their power for effect.Spencer pix

But after taking a trip to Charlotte this past weekend to watch the Wells Fargo Championship—PGA Tour with some friends, I learned that my limited experience with magazines is the exception, not the rule. We stayed with my roommate’s family and, among the things in their home was a large basket in the family room filled with magazines. They were not just there for show. My roommate and his parents talked about them from time to time during our stay—reflecting a sincere interest in, and affection for, magazines.

Needless to say, I am glad that I was able to watch some great golf with some great people. But I am also glad that I was able to see magazines in a different light. I now believe that they can impact people, and that they can shape lives. So even though I was skeptical at first, I definitely think that people love magazines, and that they will not disappear any time soon.

— Spencer Payne

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The Glamorous Life

There are few women’s magazines that can compete with the success and iconic status synonymous with Glamour magazine. Its glossy pages, full of celebrities and beautiful people, have enticed me since I was 8 years old. Entering the WTCGlamour office, then, I was filled with wonder and anticipation. As soon as the elevators opened onto the glossy white and black Glamour entranceway, my eyes widened as I realized that my high expectations were about to be met tenfold.

Abbie McCoy

Abbie McCoy, editorial assistant at Glamour

The view from the 30th floor was phenomenal — we sat level with the looming New York City skyline as we overlooked the 9/11 memorial pools. Many of us (particularly the girls) could not contain our excitement as our guide led us through rooms full of beautiful and expensive clothes and beauty products. The designer clothes and accessories strewn about the room designated the “closet” made my head spin. I could only imagine the amount of money that had been invested in the handbag collection alone. Even so, it was only when our guide offhandedly mentioned that Anna Wintour was in the office that day that I fully realized the sacredness of the space we had entered.

I have never been jealous of the graduating seniors until our guide mentioned a job opening at Glamour. Just the idea of spending every day in that office surrounded by all things fashionable and chic is enough to make me wish to graduate a year or two early.

— Allison Smith

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The Devil Wears Prada 2.0

When I first saw The Devil Wears Prada, a movie supposedly based on one employee’s experience working for Condé Nast, I figured it was a dramatic exaggeration of what it was probably like to work for a large magazine company. Tough, cutthroat, tense, exhilarating, fashionable – all at once. In reality, I assumed it was more like any other business, but with amazing perks on the side.220px-The_Devil_Wears_Prada_main_onesheet

Our visit to Glamour, one of the Condé Nast suites at One World Trade Center, showed me just how wrong I was. Just from being there for 45 minutes I got the feeling that working for a large, glamorous magazine had its benefits as well as its drawbacks.

I am an avid Glamour reader and I look forward to reading the new edition every month. From my couch at home I imagine super fun, trendy, kind humans behind the printed pages, talking to me as if I’m their younger sister or best friend. However, the experience I had in the Conde Nast building was frighteningly similar to that of Anne Hathaway’s character and I definitely felt out of my element. Instead of excited chatter about the newest shoes or latest makeup, I heard hushed discussions on the floor and caught apprehensive glances over computer screens. Instead of bright colors, mock-ups, and clothes strewn around the building, I saw clean cubicles and stark black and white furniture.Glamour

This was very different from how I had pictured Glamour to be, but it was incredibly interesting to see how imagination can be so different from reality. Working at Glamour is probably an amazing experience and career to have and if given the opportunity I would love to try it. That being said, I would always be on the lookout for the Miranda Priestlys of the office.

— Jenna Faude

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Rolling Stone, and the Business World

RS cover hallway

Our class, walking through 48 years of Rolling Stone covers.

This weekend I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, for my older sister’s graduation from Rhodes College. While at a reception with my extended family, my uncle asked me about our recent trip to New York City. I started to talk about our trip to Rolling Stone and within seconds of mentioning the name of the magazine, my uncle was firing off questions about that particular visit. He immediately asked if any of us had the audacity to ask about the “Rape On Campus” scandal. Halfway into answering his question, I remembered that my cousin (this uncle’s son) had recently graduated from UVA.

I could see the anger steaming out of my uncle’s ears as we discussed the issues with Rolling Stone’s article. He was frustrated with how Sabrina Erdely had portrayed UVA, where he is a proud parent of a young alum. He also said that he was shocked to hear that Erdely still had a job at Rolling Stone. He told me that he had read the Columbia Journalism Review which critiqued Rolling Stone’s editing and reporting process. He came to the conclusion that there was no editing or fact-checking process at this well respected magazine. He expressed that he didn’t understand how this story could have been passed through so many people with so many errors. Through the eyes of my uncle, it didn’t seem like Rolling Stone was going to recover from this blunder.

Andy Greene

Andy Greene, Rolling Stone staff writer

After just visiting Rolling Stone and talking to staff member Andy Greene, it was interesting to hear from the other end of the spectrum. Greene had a very positive outlook on the future of the magazine. He said that their way to recover was to keep on going and report on even bigger stories.

I can honestly say that I have never read an issue of Rolling Stone from front to back, or have really even flipped through an issue. But, after discovering the uncertainty of this magazine’s future and reputation, I can say that I will be following this magazine’s upcoming issues.


Frustrated with my lack of responses from people I have tried to contact for information to develop my story in our magazine, I called my dad for advice. He works as a Market Researcher for a consumer electronics company. I told him the three people I needed to contact. He replied, “That’s it?”

He told me that when his company does this sort of information gathering that they will call five and hear back from two. He told me to extend my list of contacts because you won’t hear back from as many as you expect.

Going through this process of reaching out to people has been an experience. I have developed communicative skills and have seen how a magazine business operates. What I have not understood is why companies avoid talking to reporters and press. Coming from the reporting side as a student, my goal is to promote their business, not to criticize them. I would have thought that by prefacing that I am a student working on a prototype magazine for a class, people would have been more lenient and willing to talk to a “reporter.”

— Sidney Sikes


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This post isn’t really about magazines.

For some reason, most people native to the New York metro area have never visited the city’s most historic landmarks. I’m no exception, having never set foot on Ellis Island or inside the Empire State Building. I’ve never been to most of the city’s renowned museums, and have almost no interest in seeing the world’s best theatrics being played out on and off Broadway. As a Long Islander, Manhattan is usually a stepping stone to other places more central to my life. At the same time, Manhattan has subconsciously remained at the center of the last decade and a half of my life.

I can recall September 11, 2001 and replay it in my head like a movie, from the moment our school began to send everyone home that morning. I was home in time to see the second plane ram into its target, sending flaming shards of glass and steel across the skyline. That day has shaped the path of my entire life, directing me towards the military and foreign affairs. As the American mission in Afghanistan winds down this year, the 9/11 chapter of my life closes with it. I’ve seen two invasions, occupations and withdrawals unfold overseas on the same TV where I watched live as WTC 2 was attacked. I purposely studied “Critical Languages” and trained with the Army for the last three years, gearing myself for a life spent among murkier lands in Central Asia. Yet somehow, through all these years, I never actually visited Ground Zero.

Our class visited Conde Nast’s new offices in One World Trade Center yesterday. More commonly known as the Freedom Tower, it stands ferociously tall, and I found myself rather intimidated by its size as we walked in. It was sleek on the inside, meticulously styled to impress. Glamour magazine’s offices sprawl across several floors, their black and white interior design scheme not-so-subtly exuding the power and influence of Conde Nast’s media empire. I found myself quietly appreciating the notion that one of America’s most vain, materialistic and feminine publications proudly lives at the Freedom Tower, publishing content jihadists must certainly loathe. I’m not a Glamour reader, but I liked their quietly standoffish attitude. They loaned the Freedom Tower their own sense of superiority and pride.

Afterwards was the inevitable visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I got a preview of the waterfalls from Glamour’s windows. For lack of a better term, it was surreal. I can’t describe how it felt to look down for the first time at the place where the last fourteen years of my life began. Standing beside them a bit later, I was torn between searching the stone outlines of the towers for the names I knew to be there, or letting them be in peace. I halfheartedly scanned about half of the North Tower names before following the group inside the museum. I didn’t find anyone familiar. Half of me didn’t want to. I didn’t necessarily want my mind to be jolted into vivid, obscure memories of old neighbors or parents of friends I’ve not spoken to in years. The other part of me longed for them to be back, but wasn’t brave enough to bring them to life in my own head.

Everything in the museum was riveting. After passing through security perimeters reminiscent of US embassies, we plunged underground into the caverns below Ground Zero, where I set off alone through the exhibits. I’m normally very good at keeping my composure, but the museum severely strained the limits of my stoicism. Walking along the scenes of 9/11 felt nearly as horrifying as the day had been a decade and a half ago. I’ve seen some pretty gruesome sights overseas, and am not one to flinch at the sight of blood or grisly injuries. But a gnarled, melted and punctured FDNY helmet that had been sheared off a dead fireman’s head sent me reeling on the inside. It was just one of many items on display that churned my emotions. Remains of an annihilated crushed fire truck, mangled police badges and photos of EMTs trying to staunch arterial bleeding drew my awful gaze. Recordings from flight attendants and firemen echoed their dying breaths, forcing their final moments into the minds of thousands of visitors. And me.

Afterwards I met my dad and a friend from high school for beers at a Belgian restaurant in midtown. I avoided talking about our visit to the World Trade Center, letting my buddy Connor entertain us with stories from his wild semester in London. After several pints of Palm and Leffe over dinner, Dad went home, and I intentionally continued down a course towards blackout with Connor. We’re both rather competitive by nature, so it was easy to drive the memories out of my head by going pint for pint with him while swapping stories from our collegiate misadventures. It was a wild, raucous night of immeasurable fun. But today, my memories from last night are foggiest, while 9/11 lives on in my head with unyielding clarity.

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The view from the 44th floor

NYC: Day 2. Elevators still a conundrum. Jeff Hamill ‘81, Executive Vice President of Hearst Integrated Media, guides us to a conference room on the 44th floor boasting a 180-degree view looking north on Manhattan’s West Side. To the right, we can see the southwest corner of Central Park, and to the left, the Hudson River, and even into New Jersey. Some kind soul has set up a spread of bagels, muffins, pastries, fruit salad, coffee, tea, water, and juice and I’m thinking, I could get used to this. Hamill jokes that none of the refreshments would be there without advertising, as he launches into a presentation he gave to the folks at Procter & Gamble just recently on the very subject.

Hamill & class

Jeff Hamill addresses the class

The presentation details Hearst’s new content initiatives, what they’re calling “Unbound,” in order to  re-conceptualize the supposedly “dying” print market. Hamill admits that newspapers readership is falling dramatically, but points to a chart that shows how from 2007-2014, the number of print magazine readers has remained remarkably consistent. Hearst Corporation owns 21 separate magazine titles, all of which reach over 80 million readers annually. With this “Unbound” campaign, Hearst will push advertising boundaries to engage and connect with readers, thus maintaining—and hopefully increasing—the appeal to advertisers following.

One of these avant-garde advertisements is for Guess Jeans. Hamill describes a patch of denim with a real zipper featured in one of their magazines, that when unzipped by the reader reveals the advertisement. By engaging the reader, these advertisements go farther. It is innovation, Hamill insists, that brings results, echoing a similar statement from Stacy Morrison ’90 during yesterday’s visit to ASME. Because magazines rely almost entirely on advertising to support their content, Hearst has discovered new ways to push the envelope—or unzip the zipper—in order to stay ahead of the game.

But focusing on print advertisements isn’t all Hearst is doing lately. “From months to moments,” Hearst is adjusting its business model to accommodate millennials. The corporation recognizes that in addition to monthly magazine distribution, advertising and content initiatives will benefit from constant digital platforming. He describes a Marie Claire collaboration with TRESemmé titled “10 Hair Styles You Can Do in Literally 10 Seconds” ( that offers original content for as well as additional advertising space for TRESemmé—a win-win. The website can then repost this article (and any others like it) to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc., ultimately producing immediate content for their followers. This brilliant campaign proves Hamill’s opinion that social media has become the driving force in content consumption, and that is something Hearst is ready and prepared to take advantage of.

From our class’s individual presentations on magazines of our choosing, we know that advertising is an essential and lucrative aspect of the magazine industry. Hearing from Hamill helped us to understand why. Now if only we could figure out these futuristic elevators…

— Elise Petracca

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Unbound and determined

Magazines were once defined by the way their pages were “saddle-stitched” with staples or glue – not loose like a newspaper or sewn like a book. They were bound.

So Hearst, with Elle, Esquire, “O” and 18 other major magazine titles, came up with a clever motto for the concept of the magazine today: “Unbound.”

Hearst lobby

In the Hearst Building lobby

Here’s how unbound the company’s magazines have become. Content – traditional or sponsored – is varied with the needs of readers in each platform. For a print magazine, you want something that goes with a sofa and time; for mobile, you want quick. How consumers use the web keeps evolving. It used to be search-driven, he said. Now it’s driven by social. It used to be measured by page views. Now, it’s engagement – what the viewer does in response to viewing a page.

We’ve been hearing from all aspects of the magazine scene in New York. From Sid Holt at ASME, on the migration and disaggregation of ad dollars. From more recent W&L alums Leanna Murphy and Melissa Cook at People magazine, on marketing to readers.

Elyse Moody

Elyse Moody

And then there are the content folks, like Elyse Moody, ’07, who got a masters in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins, worked in editorial at Elle for three years, and is now at O, the Oprah magazine. Our visits started yesterday with a staff writer at Rolling Stone who does many of their Q&As with rock stars, Andy Greene. Drawn to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his hometown of Cleveland as a teenager, he came to New York to work for RS for free at age 22 – his “graduate school.” Now, at 33, he’s flying all over the place for profiles of the likes of Stephen King (in a recent issue) and James Taylor (upcoming).

Tomorrow morning, one last crafter of content: New Yorker staff writer Alec Wilkinson is meeting us early at the memorial site for John Lennon in Central Park, called Strawberry Fields. Then we check out and head home.

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New York, New York

A good packed first day, from Rolling Stone to Glamour, from midtown to Downtown.

Just pictures for now. . . Gretchen Myers & Jenna at RSStacy at PressBox lunchWTCFrom WTC cafeteria

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From Cosmo to Here

Jessie Knadler visited our class to discuss her life in the magazine world. With a lot of animation, she described the quirky individuals she encountered in that Manhattan world.Jessie

Knadler entered the business of women’s magazines when it was at a peak of cultural influence. After graduating from Hunter College in New York, she joined the advertising staff of Modern Bride. She left advertising for an Editorial Assistant position at Cosmopolitan. Knadler reported stories on fashion, beauty and relationships.

Establishing a friendship with Cosmopolitan’s then-Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller, Knadler followed her boss to Glamour. Later, she joined Fuller’s editorial team at the former tabloid Star, which Fuller re-launched as a glossy celebrity magazine. Knadler described Fuller as a “Canadian bulldog,” a force to be reckoned with in the magazine world. Women’s magazines were becoming the cultural mecca that everyone looked to for fashion advice, beauty tips, and lifestyle trends, and Fuller used her magazines’ influence to shift the focus from ordinary people and public affairs to celebrity gossip and paparazzi photos. During her reign as Editor-in-Chief of Star, Fuller created a “Stars—They’re Just Like Us” column that featured celebrities in the supermarket without makeup. Knadler witnessed first-hand the change from a value placed on long-form journalism to a strict adherence to “what people wanted” — shorter articles that featured more pictures about celebrities and popular culture.

Jessie and classOver time, Knadler grew disillusioned with the superficial world of sex tips and celebrity gossip. She left New York and ventured back to her home state of Montana to freelance an article about an amateur rodeo, and there she fell in love with the military man and “cowboy” she would marry. The couple then moved to their current residence in rural Rockbridge County. Knadler continued to freelance for magazines in New York, but also has been writing books. She has published a cookbook and is working on a second memoir. Her first memoir, Rurally Screwed, recounts the transition from her cosmopolitan city life to her rural family life. Her vivid details, identifiable anecdotes, and quick wit captivate the readers’ attention throughout.

She has recently taken on a new line of work: doing audio feature stories for the local public radio station WMRA out of Harrisonburg. She had no background in radio, but says she is excited about how it gives her story telling a third dimension.

— Grace Haynes

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Phood Photos

Today we met Kevin Remington to discuss some ideas for Valley Dish’s photography. Kevin is a full-time photographer at Washington and Lee, where he captures images from around campus and across the Lexington area. He shareKevin in labd some tips for how to make the best use of lighting and the equipment at our disposal. He also showed us some samples of great food photography from Sara Remington (no relation).

Pineapples and... Pilsners?

Pineapples and… Pilsners?

As a part of our afternoon “lab” session, we split up into small groups and hunted down artsy photo opportunities in Lexington. At least half the class sauntered through the Healthy Foods Co-Op on Washington Street at some point or another. Some students artfully captured pineapples while others fumbled with angles of eggs. Being the least artistic, I decided to taste some free samples of local honey. Classmates spread themselves out from Pure Eats to Blue Sky in search of potential cover photos, but no one seemed to find a winner today. Maybe we’ll have better luck on our reporting excursions.

— Jack Anderson

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10 Steps to Starting a Magazine

From the third floor of Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, Dan Smith, who helped start Valley Business Front and Blue Ridge Business Journal, shared his 10 Steps to Starting a Magazine.

  1. Figure out how to get advertisements. Smith said this is the part that was more difficult than he expected.
  2. Hire a staff and divide up the labor. You’ll need to pull in people to help you and make sure you show your appreciation for those who do.
  3. Hire a good designer. Echoing the advice we heard earlier in the day from Kurt Rheinheimer at Leisure Media 360, Smith said never to underestimate the power of good design and aesthetic.
  4. Read other magazines and read blogs.
  5. Hire a good lawyer. A good lawyer will make help you work with contracts, ensure that you have the proper business licenses and keep you from getting sued.
  6. Use local printers. The cost of printing your publication will be cheaper and you will have more control and small businesses might take more interest in your magazine. For example, they’ll tell you if you are about to print a photo upside down…
  7. Be careful about your distribution model. Consider all aspects of how you want to distribute your magazine (print, online, how often etc.).
  8. Create a good sample magazine. A good preview of what your magazine will look like will go a long way with advertising representatives.
  9. Learn how to manage advertisements and trade ads. You can get a lot done simply by straight advertising trades.
  10. Writers like writers. Rely on your writer friends. Writers usually like and want to help other aspiring writers!
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Design advice from Caroline McKean

On Thursday’s visit to Roanoke, Leisure Media 360 Editor in Chief Kurt Rheinheimer said one way to ensure the success of a magazine is to hire a good designer. He introduced Caroline McKean, Art Director for Leisure Media 360, who gave technical advice and inspiration ideas.

As Art Director for Valley Dish, I took particular interest in what Caroline had to say and was blown away when she mentioned being responsible for the design of 25 publications in 2014. That would mean completing one publication every two weeks. It will be a challenge for us to design one publication in double that amount of time! We took advantage of the opportunity to ask her some technical questions, which will make our design process easier. She suggested using to download fonts and recommended straight photoshop files if possible for photos.

In addition to scouring pintererst and issuu for ideas, Caroline highlighted her Top 5 Magazines for Design Inspiration:

  1. Food Network Magazine
  2. Conde Nast TRAVELER
  3. Sunset
  4. Modern Farmer

And the most important aspect of good design: White Space!

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5 Steps to Story Success: How to Pick the Perfect Article Idea


On Thursday’s trip to downtown Roanoke, our first stop was the Leisure Publishing Company, now known as LeisureMedia360, the company behind local magazines like The Roanoker and Blue Ridge Country. A few of the employees met with us to share some words of wisdom on how to navigate the world of magazine publishing. Samantha Hoback is a recent college grad-turned-editor (and fellow French major!) who talked about some of the methods that she uses to find her article ideas.

1) Use other magazines for inspiration:

There is a pretty good chance that the magazine article that you’re reading has its roots in one that the author read before— and that’s okay! Recycling is an essential part of the magazine world, where ideas are limited. Just find a magazine or specific article that interests you, especially one with a similar theme and audience, and use it to start brainstorming.

2) Adapt existing stories to fit your niche:

After you have found a story that interests you, consider your magazine’s desired niche. What is the theme of your magazine? What specific audience are you hoping to reach? Use these questions to take your inspiration and put your own spin on it. In the end, you should have an article that is attractive, interesting and relatable— to you, your audience, and your magazine.

3) Take advantage of popular, local events:

If existing magazine articles have failed to pique your interest, then take your search to town! Covering local events and interviewing the people involved are both great ways to come up with a story; one question can uncover a completely new and interesting topic.


If all else fails, take a popular article or idea and try to recreate it. Find a new setting, new people, or a similar event and do it your way. This also works well for annual local events or timeless topics that are already guaranteed to attract a lot of readers/viewers.

5) Curiosity is key!

With whatever method that you choose, it is important that you stay curious throughout your story search. Pay attention to details, ask a lot of questions, and be sure to keep your own interests in mind. Simply having the right attitude and the right questions can make a big difference, and a great story.

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Naming “The Valley Dish”

You don’t know how hard it is to name a magazine until you try to create a title yourself. At least that was my experience with our magazine the Valley Dish. Thinking of the many other magazines I know – Glamour, Vogue, Golf Digest, The Knot, Architectural Digest, The Roanoker – the names all seem so easy and obvious. Hindsight bias inflates my sense of satisfaction and familiarity with these names, so I don’t even realize how difficult it probably was to create these renowned titles. They just seem so seamless and obvious.Magazine rack pix

With these well-known titles in mind, we sat down as a group on our first day of class to brainstorm titles for our own magazine: a food and drink magazine from the southwestern Virginia region. We knew it had to be clear and concise so people would immediately recognize its larger significance in the culinary space. We also wanted it to be hip and fresh, so we could attract a younger, millennial-based audience.

To begin, we started with words we liked:

Blue Ridge

And then we tried out different combinations and words:

Blue Ridge Fridge (too DIY)
The Virginian Table (too old and traditional and too hard to say)
Table (eh)
Dished (gossipy)

…Among others.

Finally after intense discussion, passionate puns, consumer market examination, and testing of the words, we decided upon The Valley Dish. Cool dish1This name fit for many reasons. First, the “valley” alludes to the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys and the I-81 corridor. This is consistent with our plan to target southwestern Virginia. Second, “dish” evokes images of food, tables, plates, and more. This conveys a gentle hint to potential readers that our publication has to do with dining, without saying it directly. It even can have a double meaning: “dish” as a serving vessel and dish as in “to dish” the story.

“I love the name Valley Dish,” said Art Director Lindsay Cates. “It’s very unique and it really fits with the direction we are taking with the magazine.”

She added that the name lends itself well to a having a good design, something she is excited to start working on. She said the design will be simple but colorful. She hopes to really showcase the pictures that the photographers get of delicious food and cool places in the area. Now that we have a good name, we’re off to a good start!

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Truckin’ south to Roanoke

Had a fine day in Roanoke yesterday. Began at the home office (more homey than official-looking) of Leisure Media 360 (woo-woo!), publishing company that began with the dream of an Asheville Citizen-Times reporter (J. Richard Wells) in 1972. It seems to be doing quite well now, publishing its beautiful glossy Blue Ridge Country and The Roanoker as flagships, and a fleet of other publications, including travel and visitors guides such as our own Lexington guide you can get for free around town.

Editor in Chief Kurt Rheinheimer gave us the history and overview.

Caroline McKean, one of two in the art department, covered the creative challenges of layout and design. That’s her, below, face in sunlight; Kurt brooding in the corner. We also heard from Samantha Hoback, a local gal who graduated from Wake Forest, spend a few years at Houghton-Mifflin in New York and seems delighted (and very busy) being back in her hometown doing what she loves, writing and editing for these magazine.

class with KurtKurt and CarolineDan at Nora's

Then we went to lunch at the airy-bright Nora’s at the Taubman Museum. (Not named for anyone at the restaurant, but for the elegant lady in the painting by John Singer Sargent we saw later in the museum’s collection.) Dan Smith, a raconteur who has helped start (and left) two local business magazines, joined us for lunch. He knows and is beloved of everybody he’s covered in town, so it was not surprising to see him get up and hug a lady at another table in the restaurant: Della Watkins, the museum’s director. Suddenly, we had the third floor board room available after lunch for Dan to give his “How to Start Your Magazine” talk.

His blog post on the day.

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Class act: A life in magazines

Be flexible. Be nice. Do good work.

Julie Campbell offered up the secrets of the amazing career she’s had in magazines.WP_20150429_011

It’s a zigzaggy trans-Appalachian trip that took her from a B.A. in history to a New York secretarial school, and from magazines with sexy titles like Plastics Machinery and Equipment and CPI100 to the job she has now, editor of W&L’s alumni magazine. Julie’s survived having a crazy coke-head editor (long ago, not one of the magazines mentioned here) and having a state budget crisis pull the plug on the Virginia history magazine where she was editor.

The magazinJulie Campbell in classes of her life passed through our hands, a reminder of how magazines like jobs go poof into the abyss. But Kyle recognized one by its size and heft. Yes, CPI100! He remembered hauling tons of those magazines out of his grandfather’s attic. His father got that magazine in New Jersey when Kyle was a lad.

Be nice, but take opportunities — even in Colorado. Still, Julie Campbell wonders what might have happened had she taken that secretarial job offer at Condé Nast back in New York in the early days.

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