Conference 2011

University of Arkansas in FayettevilleThe University Research Magazine Association’s 2011 annual conference was held May 17–20, 2011, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The conference was held at the Inn at Carnall Hall. Attendees stayed in the historic Inn at Carnall Hall; canoed the Buffalo National River with expert storytellers, historians and scientists; and learned more about their profession through sessions such as the art of the interview, telling stories through video, successful pairing of design with writing, using the right medium to tell a story, and much more.



Conference program

Download a PDF of the program.

Monday, May 16

Guests begin arriving at the Inn at Carnall Hall.

Tuesday, May 17

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Canoe trip on the Buffalo National River.

Dinner on your own.

8:00 p.m. Come meet old friends and new in the hospitality suite.

Wednesday, May 18

7:30 a.m. Breakfast: Inn at Carnall Hall

8:45–9:00 a.m. Welcome remarks and introduction to campus: Reynolds Center

9:00–10:00 a.m. Narrative non-fiction writing for magazines: Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. Blum wrote a series on the ethical issues and dilemmas of primate research, “The Monkey Wars,” which won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. She expanded her newspaper series on primate research into a book, also called The Monkey Wars, which was published by Oxford University Press in 1994. Blum’s latest book is The Poisoner’s Handbook. Her stories have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Discover, Psychology Today, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone Books, The Utne Reader, and More magazine.

10:00–10:15 a.m. Break

10:15–11:15 a.m. Covering animal research in university magazines: Deborah Blum (bio above)

11:15–11:30 a.m. Break

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Right story, right medium: Carl Zimmer, author, blogger and journalist. In Zimmer’s books, essays, articles, and blog posts, he reports from the frontiers of biology. He is a frequent guest on radio programs, such as Fresh Air and This American Life. He is the author of many books, including Soul Made Flesh, Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, and Parasite Rex. He contributes articles to the New York Times as well as magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. He also writes an award-winning blog, The Loom. From 1994 to 1998 Zimmer was a senior editor at Discover, where he remains a contributing editor and writes a monthly column about the brain. He also hosts “Meet the Scientist,” a podcast from the American Society for Microbiology. He is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches writing about science and the environment. Zimmer is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.

12:30–2:00 p.m. Lunch with researchers, Walker Hall

2:00–5:00 p.m. Field trips: Earthquake van, virtual protein and virtual Pompeii demonstrations, Fay Jones architecture tour

5:30–7:00 p.m. Reception hosted by the Chancellor G. David Gearhart at Fowler House

7:00 p.m. Dinner on your own

8:00 p.m. Hospitality suite

Thursday, May 19

7:30–8:30 a.m. Breakfast: Inn at Carnall Hall

9:00–10:30 a.m. Critique of research magazines with Q and A: Dale Keiger, Johns Hopkins University, UMagazinology. Dale Keiger has been a professional journalist since age 19, when he began stringing for The New York Times. For the last 18 years, he has been on the staff of Johns Hopkins Magazine, currently as associate editor; he is also associate editor of the University Magazine Group. A 1976 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, he has won a Washington Monthly national journalism prize, an H.L. Mencken Award for Investigative Reporting, and more medals for feature writing in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s annual alumni magazine competition than any other writer in the history of the competition. He is also an occasional instructor in the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where he has taught nonfiction for 12 years.

10:30–10:45 a.m. Break

10:45–11:45 a.m. Telling stories through video: Will Gisler, manager of video productions, University of Arkansas. Gisler worked from 1975 to 1987 in broadcast television as an operations and production manager. He was the post-production manager at Ozark Film and Video Productions from 1987 to 2007. He has worked at the University of Arkansas for four years and helps create all the research videos on campus.

11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Lunch on your own

1:30–2:30 p.m. The unlikely story: Telling compelling stories about the environment, energy and infrastructure: Jennifer Bogo. Bogo is the senior science editor at Popular Mechanics, where she orchestrates coverage on topics ranging from medical breakthroughs and space exploration to advances in alternative energy and robotics. Stories she edited have won a National Magazine Award and been included in The Best American Science Writing anthology. She also enjoys reporting in the field, whether it’s the latest in penguin-tagging technology in Antarctica or how wind turbines have changed the energy landscape in Texas. She previously worked as a senior editor at Audubon and at E/The Environmental Magazine.

2:30–2:45 p.m. Break

2:45–3:45 p.m. Bringing together good writing and design: URMA’s own Andrea Gibson and Christina Ullman, editor and senior designer respectively for Perspectives, the magazine of Ohio University. Together, Gibson and Ullman have created an award-winning magazine that won the Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 2010.

4:00–5:00 p.m. Free Time

5:00–8:00 p.m. Live music at GoodFolk Productions. Performance and jamming with Outside the Lines: Emily Kaitz, Ed Nicholson and Stan D’Aubin

8:00–11:00 p.m. URMAfest: GoodFolk and Inn at Carnall Hall

Friday, May 20

8:00–9:00 a.m. Breakfast: Carnall Hall

9:00–10:00 a.m. The art of the interview: Kyle Kellams, news director for KUAF 91.3, an NPR affiliate. West dining room, Carnall Hall. Kellams is the news director for KUAF 91.3 public radio at the University of Arkansas. A veteran journalist with more than 15 years experience, he received kudos for his interviewing style from none other than Fresh Air’s Terry Gross when she came to Fayetteville.

10:00–10:15 a.m. Break

10:15–11:15 a.m. Josh Chamot, media officer for engineering at the National Science Foundation. Chamot is the new editor of Mosaic, the NSF’s magazine for research. He will be talking about how research magazine editors can work with NSF to help get the word out about the research at their institutions.

11:15–11:30 a.m. Break

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Business meeting

12:30 p.m. Meeting ends: box lunches provided

Travel arrangements

Airline info

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (approximately 30 minutes from campus)
  • Airport code: XNA
  • XNA Service Schedule:
    • American Airlines/American Eagle: Service to Chicago, Dallas, New York, St. Louis
    • Continental: Service to Houston, Newark
    • Delta: Service to Atlanta, Cincinnati
    • NWA: Service to Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit
    • US Airways: Service to Charlotte
    • United: Service to Chicago, Denver
    • Allegiant: Service to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando
  • Ground transportation to XNA:
    • Rental car: You may access the rental car listing from the XNA website. Carriers available include: Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, National and Thrifty. You may directly access this page here.
    • Shuttle service: Jim’s Express Shuttle can take you directly to the hotel on campus for a cost of $42 one way. Ride-sharing will reduce this amount. You may make reservations directly here.
    • A list of flight arrival times will be made available closer to the meeting so you can plan on ride sharing if you like.
Tulsa International Airport (approximately 2 hours from campus)


The Inn at Carnall Hall

465 N Arkansas Ave
Fayetteville, AR 72701-4108
(800) 295-9118; (479) 582-0400

A block of rooms has been reserved for May 17-20, 2011.

  • Block Room Rate: $105/night
  • Block Name: University Research Magazine Association
  • Reservations must be made by: April 16, 2011
  • For reservations, call 1-800-295-9118 or email

Things to do

If you are interested in extending your stay in Arkansas beyond this meeting, please check out one of these exciting destinations.

  • Hot Springs, Arkansas: Known as Spa City, Hot Springs is America’s First Resort offering historic Bathhouse Row, Garvan Woodland Gardens, and a quaint look into the city formerly known as the “Las Vegas of the South.” Hot Springs’ downtown is located in the Hot Springs National Park. Located four hours from Northwest Arkansas.
  • Eureka Springs: Set in the incredible Ozark Mountains, Eureka Springs offers something for everyone, from the Great Passion Play and Christ of the Ozarks to the downtown nightlife and booming arts community, this town has it all. Located less than one hour from Northwest Arkansas.
  • Little Rock: Check out Arkansas’ state capitol – Little Rock. You can visit the Clinton Library or the State Capitol or check out the Arkansas Travelers in a minor league baseball game. From the suburbs to the lively feel of the River Market district, Little Rock has something for everyone. Located three hours from Northwest Arkansas.