Issuu Generators Summit 2018: Event Recap

By December 4, 2018Events

The 2018 Issuu Generators Summit kicked off with a beautiful breakfast spread and meaningful conversation with creators. As the sun rose over New York City, innovators and learners alike gathered to chat and connect before the event. The event took place at New York’s PUBLIC Hotel: An Ian Schrager Hotel, with a panoramic view of lovely Manhattan.

Soon, it was time for Issuu CEO Joe Hyrkin to take the stage, where he unveiled the brand new Issuu Stories experience. The new Stories experience is set for launch and rollout in early 2019. Issuu Stories turns content from Issuu publications into beautifully designed social media Stories designed in line with brands’ attitude, identity and narrative. Any digital publisher on Issuu can transform their PDF content to engage with a new generation of users that consume content on mobile, where readers are spending more and more of their time.

With four distinctive panels of innovators, change makers and creatives, the Issuu Generators Summit was off to a running start with its first panel.

Related: Check out some of our New Stories on our Instagram Stories, or if you’ve missed it, check our Story Highlights!

Panel 1: The Rise of Stories: The Driving Force Behind Today’s Top Brands

We’re celebrating The Year of Stories. We’ve seen the major platforms like Snapchat and Instagram grow Stories content with great success. Heading into 2019, more brands plan to open their platforms for content creators to produce stories. Issuu brings together a panel of heavy-weight creators to share their vision of using Stories as a critically important format to grow brand discovery and engagement.

In his introduction, Joe spoke on the importance of stories in today’s digital landscape. This flowed right into the first panel, The Rise of Stories: The Driving Force Behind Today’s Top Brands. We heard from creative director and entrepreneur Patrick Janelle, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Quoted Magazine Rolf Leer, Founder of sisterMag Antonia Sutter, and Associate Director of Social Media for The Knot Whitney Little.

“What I love about Stories: there’s so much flexibility. Just being playful and taking a chance… you’ll never know unless you try.” – Patrick Janelle

The panelists talked about the importance of stories in today’s landscapes from their different perspectives in marketing and publishing. One of the main takeaways was the amount of freedom that stories allows brands in their marketing strategy.

“[With] Stories, we’ve been able to send people from a traffic perspective to read, but also able to say “here’s our new issue!” “swipe up to create your registry!” There’s so many places, it’s been that spot to catch all versus a post.” – Whitney Little

This influential group also talked about the engagement that using stories brings to their social feeds. With static posts, the panelists noted, their audiences may be less likely to follow multiple directions to convert their social engagement to traffic for their brands. With stories, however, the ease of swiping up to direct traffic, create polls, use stickers, ask questions and sharing visual previews of their greater content allows viewers easier access to their content and simple prompts for engagement.

“Stories give the opportunity to go away from the polished pictures of the feed so we can give more behind-the-scenes, more real life between stories.” – Antonia Sutter

Related: View the Generators Summit 2018 panel streams on our Facebook Page

Panel 2: How Creative Media Is Evolving

Who are the players that are going to be dominant over the next 20 years, and how is the way they present their information evolving? Content creators, self-starters, and brands have more and more tools to produce their creative vision, so the media landscape keeps changing with an array of applications to launch and grow their media empires. From storytelling strategies, emerging technologies, and techniques to perfect your craft — how can content creators impact new media?

The second panel at the 2018 Issuu Generators Summit discussed what’s next for the creative media industry. Sharing their unique takes from different facets of media, these panelists included moderator Lauren Alexis Fisher of Harper’s BAZAAR, Ghen Maynard of CBS Studios, Carl Van Arsdall of Pixar Animation Studios, and Mindy Abovitz of Tom Tom Magazine.

“You have to be honest with what your audience is and what your platform is.” – Ghen Maynard

These innovators discussed the evolving industry of creative media and how brands can stay relevant in today’s environment. One thing was made clear with these speakers–– the need to adjust your voice between platforms is absolutely necessary. What works for one platform for a brand may not work across each of their networks, and it’s important for brands to adjust and tailor to their audience.

“We sound different on every platform: you have to address the medium. There’s a total different likeness of each platform.” – Mindy Abovitz

Another takeaway from this panel: audiences crave authenticity. Today’s audiences are craving authentic content from their favorite brands and content creators. Audiences stray from disingenuous content; they want to be sold on products, stories and ideas that come from a place of authenticity.

“I think my telling these authentic stories and taking risks I think these are going to help America as a whole come to understand [other people], and maybe I can have conversation” – Carl Van Arsdall

Related: Catch some quotable highlights from the day on our Twitter feed

Panel 3: A World Without The First Amendment – The Importance of Journalism, Free Press, and Speaking Out

Without journalism, our future is at risk. So, who are the next generation of voices and what news do they care about most? High School and University publications are covering major social and political issues, proving how critical it is for young journalists to delve into topics that are much deeper than were discussed even in the recent past. This panel features an impressive group of next generation journalists who are leveraging digital content platforms to broadcast their message to the world to impact social and political change.

After a hearty lunch and some time networking and connecting, the Generators returned for the third panel of the day: A World Without The First Amendment – The Importance of Journalism, Free Press, and Speaking Out. The speakers were Melissa Falkowski, Faculty Adviser & Teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; Rebecca Schneid, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ publication ‘The Eagle Eye’; Lori Oglesbee, Educator and Advocate; and Neha Madhira, Student & Editor-in-Chief at Prosper High School.

“I think some of the greatest threats to the future of freedom of the press is the misnomer of journalism today. The way our current administration believes in the purpose of journalism. I don’t see journalists becoming discouraged or disenfranchised, I see them empowered by it.” – Rebecca Schneid

The panelists discussed not only the purpose of journalism, but the true importance of exercising freedom of speech. With their collective experiences in raising their voice for change and influence, each speaker covered the absolute necessity of journalism in today’s society and how they are encouraging others to speak up.

“Without journalism, democracy fails.” – Lori Oglesbee

The students and advisors alike tackled the challenges they’ve faced with censorship, both from administrators and self-censorship. Prosper High School’s publication has faced the difficult task of trying to balance objective reporting on hard-hitting issues while attempting to share both sides with the administration’s take.

“The goal above anything else is to tell the truth. Whether you’re running a story about the baseball team or a bigger issue its about accuracy, getting it right, and telling the truth. This is the core of journalism and what we teach. That’s what should guide journalism.” – Melissa Falkowski

An important note from this panel: The student journalism environment in the United States is evolving, but still hindered by censorship from self-censorship and outside forces. The health of student journalism varies state by state depending on if there is value placed on it, and what the protections are within the state. Nonetheless, these panelists have all stressed the necessity of student journalists and training the next generation of voices to speak up.

Panel 4: Change Makers

Using their unique perspectives, a group of change makers tell their story on how they’re using their experience to drive conversation across media channels with the intent of inspiring others to join them in their missions for change. Our panel will share their strategies to influence impact and reflect on their personal and brand stories that are changing the future narrative.

The change makers panel consisted of some remarkable individuals, including moderator Grace Bonney, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Design*Sponge & Good Company; Jen Tolentino, Director of Policy and Civic Tech, Rock the Vote; Nora Gomez-Strauss, Director of Digital Strategies, Public Art Fund; and Tavi Gevinson, Actress & Founder of Rookie Magazine. The panel was recorded for Grace’s podcast, Good Company.

“I don’t think I could leave [Rookie Magazine] without feeling like I’m giving it my all, you have to overachieve to survive.” – Tavi Gevinson

They discussed the impacts they’ve made, why they felt the need to do what they’re doing and how they are inciting change every day with their careers. With a broad range of perspectives from politics, to the arts, to publishing, these panelists articulated what they saw that needed changing and how they sought to make it happen.

Tavi Gevinson closes Rookie MagazineYoung people are online now, it’s much easier to reach a much broader audience in a targeted way.” – Jen Tolentino

Each panelist discussed the importance of a digital presence to their change making efforts. The era of social media and the digital landscape at present has proven beneficial to reach a broad audience within each of their niches. However, Tavi also noted that the digital era can create problems for many businesses, specifically in regards to algorithm shifts. “Everything moving to social, the algorithms [shifting] on social… for a few years we knew our existing audience would come to our content and see it and that isn’t a guarantee anymore.”

“The moment of going with my kids and husband to vote for ourselves was incredible and surreal.” – Nora Gomez-Strauss

The panelists gave ended with giving some concrete advice for up-and-comers–– which you can hear on the Good Company Podcast, coming soon!

Panel 5: Craft a Story, Craft a Cocktail – an Interactive Happy Hour Experience

We’re mixing food, music, and mingling for an experiential session with featured Issuu publishers who bring creativity to the next level at The Roof – PUBLIC’s rooftop cocktail lounge with a jaw-dropping 360-degree panoramic view of New York City.

Event photo booth pictures

The day was wrapped with a cocktail hour for Generators of all kinds to mingle with each other in the rooftop bar of the PUBLIC Hotel. Serving up good eats, good drinks and good music, the cocktail hour was a curated session with some of the biggest publishers in New York. With a curated playlist from entertainment magazine FLOOD to set the mood and a curated menu with the help of Sweet Paul Magazine, Generators mingled with a stunning view of a night in Manhattan from every angle. The evening ended with performances from Tom Tom Magazine’s curated selection of drummers who kept the energy moving throughout the happy hour.

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