Grad students to compete for $1,000 in Mobile Mag Contest

By Zane Warman

February 20, 2014

This weekend, graduate students will pitch online magazine ideas to a panel of professional judges for the chance to win $1,000. Any Newhouse graduate student may enter the Mobile Magazine Competition, hosted by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. The Magazine Newspaper Online Capstone class will produce the winning idea this summer.

The event runs 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 in rooms 252 and 253 of Newhouse 3 and continues 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. This year's guest coaches are: Brian Floyd from SB Nation/VOX Media, Kaitlin Santanna from Time Inc., Jessica Suarez from Songza, and Rachel Glickman from Hearst Digital. Santanna and Glickman are graduates of the Newhouse School. Coaches will work with student teams on Friday and then hear pitches on Saturday. The judges will then select three winning ideas to progress to the finals.

Finalists will move onto the final round, where offsite judges will listen to each team's pitches before choosing a winner. The winning idea will be chosen by the end of March, says Melissa Chessher, chair of the magazine department and director of the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program.

Here is some history on how the competition came to be, according to assistant professor Corey Takahashi: "The Newhouse Tablet Competition was born during the 2012 winter break at Panda West restaurant on Marshall Street. Melissa Chessher, director of the graduate program in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online journalism, and Corey Takahashi, a new professor at Newhouse, were brainstorming ways of generating fresh editorial ideas for the summer graduate capstone project, in which students create and launch an actual iPad magazine."

Takahashi said he suggested turning the capstone selection process into a "Silicon Valley-style hackathon," and so the Mobile Magazine Competition was born. This is the contest’s second year. Click here to see additional photos from the 2013 contest.

A new addition to this year's contest is an emphasis on the financial feasibility of the magazine, Chessher says. Previous winners have created an advantage for themselves by emphasizing how the magazine will attract advertisers and investors, Chessher says.


Zane Warman is a freshman newspaper major.

Photos by Geoff Campbell, who earned a master's degree in public relations from the Newhouse School in 2013.