The 5x approach to campus news

Are your campus news stories starting to feel a little stale? Does telling one more exactly-the-same story on that new dean, award-winning student, or updated program ranking make you die a little inside?

Check out this short video on how to improve your campus news stories with a simple rule of thumb.

Let me know what you think!

How many sources do you need for a feature story?

When you’re mapping out that big feature story, how many sources should you have?

Check out the video below to learn the rule of thumb that we use to help every story feel robust and well-reported.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

Before & After: A magazine cover makeover

What do you do if you have a mediocre cover?

Check out this 82-second video to see the before and after images of the most recent Medicine at Michigan cover — including the exact process editor Katie Vloet took to transform the cover from so-so to spectacular.

Send me an email to let me know what you think!

A headline trend worth copying

A good headline can mean the difference between a story’s success and failure.

So how do you write one that works?

Here’s a recent trend I’ve noticed — and loved — in headlines.

This 90-second video shares plenty of examples that you can use as templates for your own work — and it’s ideal for that profile headline you can’t quite crack.

(Want to know how to write a scroll-worthy profile? Check out this video.)

Like these? Loathe them? Take the survey here to help shape the next topics Capstone covers!



An Irresistible Format for Long Profiles

Every once in awhile, you need to do a long profile — a new president, famous alums at the zenith of their careers, a big donor (gulp).

If you’ve got a profile that’s 2,000 words long or longer, how do you keep people engaged?

Watch the video to learn a simple approach that you can steal from David Marchese, one of our country’s very best profile writers.

Love the video? Hate it? Let me know.

Use This Coverline Approach To Grab Your Readers’ Attention

I love studying consumer magazines to understand how to translate their best techniques to the world of education publications.

One big difference I’ve seen between consumer publications and alumni magazines is their approach to coverlines. Check out the short video below to see what they (probably) do better than your magazine right now, and how you can steal their exact technique for your next magazine.

Want more of these? Send me an email at and tell me what you’d like to see!

The 1-Minute Hack to Better Stories

One of the things I hear most frequently from readers is they want more hacks–more small things that they can implement immediately to improve their content, their magazine, and their design today.

So today, I’m thrilled to share with you a small experiment I’m trying: a series of short videos (60-90 seconds) that share a single improvement that you can make to your content to improve it.

The first one is a non-intuitive editing hack I learned from an editor years ago.

You can use it to make at least one — and probably more than one! — of your stories better in about 10 seconds.

Have an idea for a video you’d like to see? Shoot me an email at