Next week the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will be hosting the annual conference of the University Research Magazine Association (URMA). The association is comprised of editors and staffers at magazines that cover the research and scholarly activities of universities, nonprofit research centers, and institutes in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Europe.
Depending on your field and professional background, you may or may not be familiar with publications such as Yale Medicine, UNC's Endeavors, the HHMI Bulletin, Florida State's Research in Review, and Arizona State's Research Stories and magazine for kids Chain Reaction.
The URMA conference this year takes a look at the future of these magazines, examining the transition to new online media tools and social media technologies, and strategies for engaging general audiences.
What do readers think? What should be the role and function of university research magazines in the new world of digital media? What are the stories that these magazines should tell and how can they expand their reach and value in a competitive media environment? How can the content of these magazines and their Web sites be integrated with other university-based communication, media, and community engagement efforts?
These are some of the issues I will be addressing in a presentation on the second day of the conference. In preparing that presentation, I am interested in what readers think.