JSK Fellowship at 50: Book + Event Branding
The JSK Fellowship was founded as an experiment in journalism in 1966. Media, and news media in particular, enjoyed industrywide stability. A lot has changed since the first class of JSK Fellows arrived at Stanford. And as the JSK Fellowships at Stanford neared their 50th anniversary and reunion, former Director Jim Bettinger describes on the very last page of the book:

“We decided to celebrate 50 years of journalism fellowships at Stanford by doing something we’d never done before: publish a book.

Not just any book. Not a coffee table book that looks pretty and just lies there, not a glorified yearbook with hundreds of tiny headshots. Not ‘the first rough draft of history.’ This had to be a book worthy of our fellows: Our gift to them.”

Jim’s piece goes on to share that the idea for the book was generated by a trio of JSK alums and affiliates. Among them, In-House partner Michu Benaim Steiner and Lope Gutiérrez-Ruiz, a 2015 JSK fellow who, with Michu and Alexander Wright, co-founded the studio.

The fellowship took the leap, led by Innovation Director Pam Maples, to make the book and the identity of the event all come together for the July 2016 reunion.
The process of putting together the book was a collaborative effort. The goal was a useful, interesting book about the fellowship that didn’t read like a navel-gazing institutional history. The structure of the book would be key. Finally, we resolved to distill the chapter themes from what we called ‘elements’–the key decisions or ingredients that make this fellowship what it is. With 50 years of fellows (with constant change in format, length, frameworks and in the makeup of a class of fellows),the institutional knowledge provided by the directors of the program was crucial, and finally we settled on chapters about Stanford, a global perspective, leadership, journalism, and fellowship.

Working very closely with JSK Innovation Director Pam Maples and her team at JSK we pulled together data and created a series of large format infographics. Illustrations by Igor Bastidas brought it all together. And with cover art by Alexander Wright, we had a book that the leadership was proud to give its distinguished alumni.
First things first: If you’re ever making a book on an accelerated timeline, we highly recommend working with current and former top-notch journalists. No deadline was too tight, nor any story too difficult to write. Stories from the fellows ranged from highly personal interviews and essays to think-pieces and profiles. They covered the challenges of journalism, war, the value of diving into new areas of expertise, culture shock, displacement, and the value of journalism.
Once the book was sent to print, the folks at JSK turned their attention fully into organizing the event.
We received a request to lay out a one page print program. Once again we called on Igor Bastidas to dream up a couple of illustrations matching those in the book. JSK prides itself on having a ‘yes-and’, constructive approach to creation. And one phone call later, what was a program layout turned into the full event branding, including an event logo, a design for tote bags, enamel pins, a T-shirt. Suddenly it all came together. The book was presented to fellows inside custom tote bags that also contained an event pin, a lanyard, and the program. T-shirts were available for purchase at the event.
“Making this book, with the speed it required, shows the power of collaboration as an engine to find solutions. We look for people who want to tackle hard problems; the cross-pollination that happens during the fellowship is a key component of how tough journalism challenges will be solved.
The book is very much in the vein of how the fellowship works – testing, failing, finding a new way to do stuff, reevaluating and discarding, and ultimately proving that there’s a lot of value in the in-between space that collaboration creates…
…Through March and April, Michu [with the In-House team] and Pam [at JSK] experimented as each element moved from concept to prototype to finished product. Nothing in the book looks like it did at first. Underlying it all was a refusal to settle for anything but the very best.”

Jim Bettinger
Director, JSK Fellowships at Stanford 2000-16
JSK Fellowship at 50: Book + Event Branding