This event is free and open to all. No registration necessary.

The bond between editors and writers is one of the most crucial in journalism—a strong collaboration can transform even a routine story into a masterpiece. In a day-long conference open to all, 11 top pros — from The Atavist, Esquire, GQ, Los Angeles magazine, Women's Health and the Tampa Bay Times — explore conceptualization, reporting, narrative storytelling devices, investigative techniques, artful service, and more. Join us at 9 a.m., Monday, March 16, in the Fred W. Smith Forum.

Join the conversation before, during and after the event with #mizzouwrites. If you can't make it in person, all sessions will be live streamed at All times are Central Daylight Time.  

Sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism magazine faculty, Meredith Corporation and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Kelley Benham French is a professor of journalism at Indiana University. Previously, she was enterprise editor at the Tampa Bay Times, where she edited "For Their Own Good," a 2010 Pulitzer finalist in local reporting. She also edited “Speak No Evil” for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a 2014 finalist in local reporting. As a writer, she was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer in feature writing for “Never Let Go,” the story of her extremely premature daughter.


Meirav Devash is a New York City-based writer and a contributing editor at Allure magazine. Her work has also appeared in Women’s Health, InStyle, and The New York Times.  



Evan Hughes was nominated for a National Magazine Award in Reporting for "The Trials of White Boy Rick," a story for The Atavist. He is the author of “Literary Brooklyn” (2011) and has written for New York magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times, Grantland, The New York Review of Books, and other publications.



Chris Jones is a writer at large for Esquire and a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. He is the winner of two National Magazine Awards for feature writing and two National Headliner Awards for column writing.



Amy Keller Laird is the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health magazine. Previously, Amy was the executive editor at WH, and before that, she served as deputy editor and beauty director at Allure. She has also held editorial positions at Good Housekeeping and Redbook. Amy has appeared on national television shows including Dr. Oz, TODAY, Good Morning America, and HSN. She is an alumna of the Missouri School of Journalism.


Mary Melton was named editor-in-chief of Los Angeles magazine in 2009. She joined the magazine in 2000 and was previously the executive editor. Since she became editor, the magazine has been nominated for 10 National Magazine Awards and won three, the first wins in its history. A fourth-generation Angeleno, she began her career as an intern for the LA Weekly.



Ben Montgomery is an enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, author of The New York Times bestseller “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk,” and founder of the narrative journalism website In 2010, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called "For Their Own Good," about abuse at Florida's oldest reform school.


Evan Ratliff is the co-founder and CEO of Atavist, a media and software company that produces a digital storytelling platform and the award-winning magazine The Atavist. He also writes for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor.



Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper's, Rolling Stone, and Virginia Quarterly Review, and an associate professor of creative writing at Dartmouth College. He is a bestselling author or editor of six books of literary journalism, including “The Family,” “C Street,” and “Sweet Heaven When I Die.” In her book “Godless,” belle-lettrist Ann Coulter named him one of the stupidest journalists in America.  



Eric Sullivan, assistant editor for GQ, is a generalist at heart, covering service journalism in the front of the book, features in the well, and everything in between except sports. Before this, he was at Mother Jones.



Amy Wallace is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She is editor-at-large at Los Angeles magazine and a correspondent for GQ, and her work has also appeared in Wired and the New York Times magazine.

9-9:50 a.m.  Learning Curve: An Editor and Writer Make Their Feature Debut

GQ’s Jeff Sharlet, a features writer and bestselling author, and Eric Sullivan, an up-and-coming editor, relive the tumultuous experience of producing one of the most moving stories of 2014—on a super-tight deadline.

Link to their work:

10-10:50 a.m.  Bringing up the Bones

Editor Kelley Benham French and reporter Ben Montgomery describe how they merged investigative and narrative techniques in their Tampa Bay Times probe into the hellish Florida School for Boys—a project that led to the closure of the 111-year-old reform school and became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Link to their work:

Recommended reading: "Never Let Go

11-11:50 a.m.  Lies My Editors Told Me

With wit and wisdom, Esquire’s Chris Jones, who has authored some of the iconic magazine’s most memorable stories, unveils lessons learned from his legendary editors.

Recommended reading: "Animals" and "The Things That Carried Him"

1:30 p.m.-2:20 p.m.  Cinematic Storytelling in the Digital Age

The Atavist founder Evan Ratliff and contributor Evan Hughes describe how to conceptualize, develop and structure a piece of literary journalism in an era of digital-only publications with unlimited space.

Link to their work:

Recommended reading: "Vanish"

2:30-3:20 p.m.   Heating Up a Cold Case

Los Angeles magazine Editor-in-Chief Mary Melton and celebrated longform writer Amy Wallace unpack narrative storytelling devices and the collaborative process behind their resurrection of gangster Bugsy Siegel’s historic mafia slaying.


3:30-4:20 p.m.   10 Ways to Boost Your Writer-Editor Mojo

Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Amy Keller Laird and veteran writer Meirav Devash offer tips for shared idea generation, sure-fire research methods and cooperative editing approaches, with techniques for sidestepping editor-writer flare-ups. 

Sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism magazine faculty, Meredith Corporation and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.


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