Yes AUSMM. (awe-some) What an acronym. It stands for Association of University Student Media Managers. We used to be PCPM (Pacific Coast Publications Managers, and then Western Association of University Publications Managers). Which are almost as wordy and the acronym is not as much fun to say as AUSMM. We’re glad we’ve changed it. Oh, and we’re not very Western, either. Look at our members and you’ll see we are fairly equally distributed by regions – East, Central and West. We’ve been together since 1945 and we’re rather attached to the name.
BIGGER MAY NOT BE BETTER
Some of the world’s most influential organizations boast memberships in the thousands. That’s great for them. Strength in numbers can speak powerfully. AUSMM, however, touts a whopping maximum membership of 36 schools. What’s to brag about in a membership that small? In fact we’ve been called elitist or even secretive, but these less-than-flattering descriptions couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve remained small to enable our members and guests to have an intimate, intensive opportunity to share information in ways that are simply impossible in organizations and at conferences with hundreds or thousands of participants.
WE EXCHANGE INFORMATION AND SHARE IDEAS
AUSMM has two major activities each year: A conference of members in the spring and a very detailed data exchange. Each experience offers an in-depth look at each member’s programs and publications.
THE SPRING CONFERENCE
The annual spring conference provides an opportunity for member schools’ key student media managers to come together for several days of meetings, presentations, discussion and exchange. The small size of the group allows for meaningful discussion around an open square conference set-up. Only one session is offered at a time so all attendees benefit from every offering of the conference. Most meals are planned in a group setting with our professional colleagues so even social time provides great opportunities to share our issues of concern and accomplishments.
AUSMM members complete an exhaustive data survey that brings together in one confidential document information about newspaper space usage, circulation, revenues, expenses, personnel, equipment, yearbook sales, web traffic and much more. It allows for meaningful analysis of common trends that can be valuable for individual members as they face challenges throughout the year.
AUSMM currently has 33 members. All members produce a variety of student media ranging from newspapers to magazines, from yearbooks to web sites and from radio and television stations. Membership in AUSMM belongs to the institutional university, not any individual. Each school’s principal full-time administrator of the recognized student media program is that school’s AUSMM representative. AUSMM serves these professionals who manage the training, facilities and equipment for the students producing student media at their universities. Each year, AUSMM members invite several universities with similar student media programs to be guests at the spring conference and to participate in the data exchange. Although membership is limited to 36 schools, guests who have attended two or more conferences may apply for membership if there is a vacant membership position available.
The AUSMM conference planners consider industry trends and look at companies doing business with college media in order to develop a group of industry guests to invite to the conference. These vendors and partners participate in sessions, meals and informal discussions, and find the conference to be a valuable opportunity to meet with this group of student media directors.