50.8 F

Southern Living Magazine’s Sid Evans Gives Keynote Address At Ole Miss ACT Experience


The sixth annual ACT Experience will commence with a keynote address from Sid Evans, Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living Magazine, at The Inn at Ole Miss on Wednesday, April 20.

Evans will discuss the successes of the leading magazine in the South as well as celebrate its 50th anniversary alongside many other renowned professionals in the magazine industry during the three-day conference.

Dr. Samir Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center (MIC) at The Meek School of Journalism and New Media, began the ACT Experience to provide Ole Miss students with an opportunity to network with magazine professionals.

“That’s what I believe education is all about,” Husni said. “I mean, yeah, it’s good to enhance the intellectual ability of the student and this and this… but also, it’s good to prepare people for the marketplace. Here, you have an opportunity to show yourself, show what you’re worth and give them a copy of your resume. And then later, when you send them a note or letter, instead of saying, ‘To whom it may concern,’ you say, ‘Dear, Mr. Evans.’”

Husni said he was called a fool when he first began the ACT Experience in 2009 with one major goal in mind: to amplify the future of print in a digital age. Despite negative comments, Husni gave it a go saying, “Maybe I can get some people to come.”

Dr. Samir Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
Dr. Samir Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

“When I did The ACT Experience, which stands for amplify, clarify and testify, it was such a hit,” Husni said. “And all of a sudden, I had people coming from The Netherlands, from England, from Spain, from Canada, I mean from all over the world, from Italy, from Brazil. All of a sudden the conference had become… a hub.”

Husni intended for the conference to pair students with magazine industry leaders, which has led to successful careers for many Meek School students, but he also wanted a chance to show magazine leaders Mississippi’s true colors.

“I don’t think that there is a state in our union that has more stereotypes about it than our state,” Husni said. “And if I can play a tiny, small role in showcasing our state, our Blues, our Delta, to those movers and shakers in the media industry, it will leave an impact.”

On Day 2 (Thursday) of the ACT Experience, speakers and students are invited on a trip to the Mississippi Delta. On the trip, guests experience a tour of Clarksdale, Mississippi’s Delta Blues Museum and the Shack Up Inn of the Hopson Plantation as well as a dinner at Ground Zero Blues Club.

Not only do the guests experience Southern BBQ at its finest, but they are entertained with a true taste of the Delta Blues.

With the growth of the ACT Experience over the last few years, a few of the returning magazine industry leaders have formed a band, known as the ACT band.

“We have the vice president of Folio Magazine playing the drums. We have another guy from The Netherlands that brings his guitar with him, and of course, Scott Coopwood,” Husni said.

Coopwood, the publisher of Delta Magazine and a contributor to HottyToddy.com, is a leading beneficiary of making the Delta trip possible for ACT Experience guests. With expertise in all areas of Deltan culture, Coopwood realized that guests weren’t getting enough of the Delta and decided to improvise.

“At Ground Zero, during the dinner one year, they had a band playing, and I stopped the band at some point and said, ‘Let us play a couple songs,’” Coopwood said. “Tony Silber, editor of Folio, was a drummer, and then another guy was a harmonica player. Four of us got on stage… I played guitar, and the roof came down.”

Ever since the spur-of-the-moment performance, the ACT band has entertained the guests during the dinner held at Ground Zero. As Coopwood said, any willing magazine professional or student, who feels so inclined, is welcome to bring an instrument and join the band.

Scott Coopwood performs at Ground Zero Blues Club during Clarksdale’s 13th annual Juke Joint Festival.

Husni said, “It leaves such a lasting impact about the true Mississippi. It just defies all stereotypes. This is our Mississippi. You are more than welcome to come down, and you will be surprised with what you see.”

The three-day conference is full of engaging information on how to keep the magazine industry thriving in a digital age, whether provided by the vice president of Folio magazine, the CEO of Hoffman Media or the editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest Magazine. But of all the things the ACT Experience has to offer, there are two highlights that keep professionals and students coming back for more.

“The first two on everybody’s tongue will be… number one, the students,” Husni said. “They’ve never attended a conference where the students were involved in what we are doing. And number two, the Delta trip. Everybody looks at this defying moment in culture, both the popular culture and our culture, as in our Mississippi culture, blending together. And, it becomes magical.”

The conference will begin at 6 p.m. with a registration and welcoming reception on Wednesday, April 20, at The Gertrude Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss.

For more information on guest speakers of the sixth annual ACT Experience or to view the three-day agenda, visit maginnovation.org.

Randall Haley is the social media editor and a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

Most Popular

Recent Comments

scamasdscamith on News Watch Ole Miss
Frances Phillips on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Grace Hudditon on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Millie Johnston on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Binary options + Bitcoin = $ 1643 per week: https://8000-usd-per-day.blogspot.com.tr?b=46 on Beta Upsilon Chi: A Christian Brotherhood
Jay Mitchell on Reflections: The Square
Terry Wilcox SFCV USA RET on Oxford's Five Guys Announces Opening Date
Stephanie on Throwback Summer
organized religion is mans downfall on VP of Palmer Home Devotes Life to Finding Homes for Children
Paige Williams on Boyer: Best 10 Books of 2018
Keith mansel on Cleveland On Medgar Evans