What the Yale Publishing Course Has in Store for Book & Magazine Publishers
The annual Yale Publishing Course (YPC), an instructional gathering of publishing leaders, is fast approaching. Held on July 12th-17th for magazine professionals and July 19th-24th for book professionals, the course offers two individual five-day tracts of interactive, classroom education for mid- and senior-level publishing professionals.
The goal of YPC is to inspire "new ways of thinking" around innovative business models and strategies. This year the course will explore emerging topics for the book and magazine industries, including video, native advertising, and audience development, as well as social listening, improving ebook experiences, and global expansion. Speakers and instructors hail from Penguin Random House, Condé Nast, Quartz, and more.
In the following Q&A YPC director Tina Weiner shares why the program offers a distinct and valuable experience for publishing leaders and provides insight into some of the most important trends in publishing.
The application deadline for both tracts is June 1st.
Why is the Yale Publishing Course valuable for publishing professionals?
Because the publishing landscape is changing so rapidly, it seems to me to be more imperative than ever to take some time and step away from one's daily routine and think about where the industry is heading and what that means for one's own career. Everyone is scrabbling to keep up with an ever-increasing workload, and this leaves little time to find out what is going on outside one's own silo. The value of gaining a wider perspective on what's changing in the media world and being immersed in thinking about strategic planning and how to be innovative is essential in becoming a more effective leader. Our mission is to provide an environment and curriculum that allows mid- to senior-level professionals to do just that.
What makes the Yale Publishing Course unique among industry gatherings?
The most significant feature that distinguishes YPC from other gatherings is that it is a course, not a conference. We offer a carefully curated curriculum taught by faculty from the Yale School of Management and industry experts, who are selected for their proven leadership and teaching skills. The highly interactive classroom experience is supplemented with ample opportunities to meet in smaller groups and with one-on-one counseling sessions with the speakers. The conversations outside the classroom are as stimulating as the discussions during the sessions I allow a great deal of time for Q and A.
The fact that the participants come from all over the world and are involved in all areas of publishing and media make the experience even more dynamic. The attendees often learn as much from each other as they do from the faculty. Small group discussions at meals and receptions throughout the week allow for lots of networking and leads to enduring friendships.
The presentations at YPC, in comparison to most other events, are much deeper dives into very specific topics that we feel are the most crucial at this particular point in time. Even the returning speakers deliver completely refreshed presentations even if their topic is similar to what they have discussed in previous years.
What new topics or trends are being addressed by this year's program?
The Magazine Media program will include more time devoted to video, native and programmatic advertising, audience development, data analytics, and repurposing content.
The Book Publishing program will give more focus to using your brand more effectively, social listening, partnering, improving the ebook experience, and becoming a global publisher.
Both programs will delve more deeply into leadership strategies, finding new sources of revenue, developing new metrics to measure readership, using social media more effectively, and what are the most disruptive start-ups competing for the reader's attention and what we can learn from what they are doing. Both programs will include more in-depth case studies and more classroom exercises than in previous years.
What type of knowledge can attendees expect to bring back to their organizations to help boost business?
Attendees will come away from the Course with a greater understanding of: the financial realities facing them; how to manage their time more efficiently and retrain, retain, and motivate their staff; new business models and sources of revenue; ways to foster innovation, and work more effectively in teams; and non-traditional ways to find new readers and build a wider audience. In addition, past attendees report that they return to their offices energized and more confident. They immediately share what they learned with their colleagues and put into effect things they have learned at Yale. This pleases me immensely since that is our goal.
What are some crucial leadership challenges in publishing right now you hope to address?
The constant state of disruption and the huge advances in technology have left many people worried about the future. The goal of the program is to help them turn challenges into opportunities and to be better able to lead their staff through change and help them make the transition to an environment in which print and digital coexist. It is crucial that managers are able to motivate their existing staff and know what skills to look for in hiring new staff. They need to know not just what to do right now but, more importantly, how to be more flexible, nimble, and equipped with the knowledge and the skills that will enable them to think about the future in a broader context.
What sessions are you particularly looking forward to?
The thing that has always amazed and delighted me as the curator of the curriculum is that I never really know which sessions will be most inspiring. Because the classroom dynamic is so intense and interactive, a lot depends on how the participants react to what the speakers are saying. Since the Course is limited in size and not open to the public, the speakers are more candid than they might be at other venues. This leads to some wonderfully spontaneous discussions. I ask all speakers to spice up their presentations with personal stories, leaderships tips, and their thoughts about the future. I guess that their responses are what I am looking forward to most.