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UM Magazine Students Visit Southern Living for Editor Meet-and-Greet

By Sima Bhowmik
for Hottytoddy.com

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine, and his associates welcomed a group of undergraduate and graduate-level students from the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media for a daylong visit Thursday, Feb. 27. Students were able to witness the print, video and logistic productions of Southern Living at its Birmingham, Alabama office.

Magazine students gather in the Southern Living offices in Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Samir Husni.

Evans said he thinks readers will still welcome new ideas of news writing despite all technological developments and expansion of social and digital media that are now attracting more people every day.

“Learn how to be a good writer. It means something different … Think of something, the kind of radical idea that isn’t being served yet,” Evans said.

UM Professor Samir “Mr.Magazine™” Husni led a group of his students to the southern offices of the Meredith Corporation, which produces magazines for different audiences and brands. The corporation also produces videos for digital platforms including Southern Living, the seventh highest-paid monthly read by 60 million people every year.

Food, travel and lifestyle are still the main subjects and the pillars of the magazine though many things have changed through time. “But our essence is still the same,” said Evans.

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine, gave students tips on how to better their writing and critical thinking skills. Photo by Samir Husni.

Evans reiterated that he still believes print is powerful. He provided tips to the students on how to build up their careers in the world of media.

“A good idea is to always cut through all the way … There should be something which should surprise the audience,” Evans said. “Learn how to write. Being a good writer means something different. If people want the magazine they will buy it. It doesn’t matter how much the cost.” 

Carole Cain, director of human resources at the Meredith southern offices, offered advice to students on how to make their personal websites and blogs impressive.

“You have to impress a robot first … and then a person,” Cain said, giving them tips on how to impress the computer system filing applications. 

“The visit was thrilling,” one of the students, Madelyn Johnson, a second-year graduate student in journalism, said. “I have learned how to utilize website and social media platforms to fit the content to best reach the consumers.”

Ted Helmout, a senior in integrated marketing communications, said after the visit his job thinking process changed.

“I need to work on my LinkedIn, Instagram and other networking tools … the cover line writing skills need to be improved,” he said. 

Abbey Lindsay, another student in journalism, was truly excited about the outcome of the “exceptional” visit. Seeing the test kitchen of Southern Living was really intriguing to her.

“I had only seen such test room kitchens in cinema and television before this, but seeing these is awesome and a completely new experience,” she said. 

There is no better way to teach students about the current status of magazine journalism without merging the classroom with the newsroom, Husni said. Hearing and listening to the host of editors, designers, and marketers covers in one day what it may take a professor a whole month to explain.

“I am thankful to the Meredith Corporation and Southern Living for opening their doors and hosting our students in typical southern hospitality,” Husni said.

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