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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin people & ideas
Volume 52, Number 2 (Spring 2006)

Fischer, Joan
The name is our game,   p. 3

Page 3

The name is our game 
f you experienced some 
surprise upon finding this 
magazine in your mailbox, we 
hope it was a pleasant one! 
In our last edition, we let 
readers know that a name change 
was coming and why. We had 
been led to recognize, after much 
soul-searching and conversation 
with  momh~r     nntpntiii 
members, booksellers, colleagues, marketers, friends, and our 
hairdressers-always the source of frank opinion and the real 
word on the street-that the name Wisconsin Academy Review 
was, well, academic, in a dry and daunting sense of the word. 
The title, we were told, did not accurately impart the engaging, 
accessible content to be found inside. Many people felt it was 
not for them. 
With the new name, we hope we have made things clear. 
The Wisconsin Academy's mission is, in colloquial terms, "to 
connect people and ideas for a better Wisconsin." Our maga- 
zine title now gives you "Wisconsin People & Ideas." Pretty
simple, eh? 
As obvious as that choice now seems, it is seldom a straight 
shot to the perfect thing. We banged our heads over many 
options. As a fun and frustrating game, I invite you to think of a 
really cool company or product-and then try naming it. Go to 
the federal trademark website,, and see if that 
name has been taken for a similar good or service. Bear in 
mind that sticking "Wisconsin" in front of something does not 
make it yours. I didn't understand this until one trademark 
attorney said to me, "Wisconsin Coca-Cola." You can see why 
the Coca-Cola Co. would have a problem with that. 
It's a miracle anything gets named. We tried Wisconsin Arts & 
Minds (shot down by an East Coast ad agency that had trade- 
marked "Arts and Minds" for a line of its products). We tried 
Wisconsin Arts & Ideas, but, sans "Wisconsin" and the plural,
was taken by a company producing programs and services for 
museums, which was thought to overlap with the Wisconsin 
Academy's art gallery and related visual arts programs-and 
also emphasized the arts too much among our disciplines, the 
scientists in our ranks felt. We considered just plain Wisconsin 
Ideas, but discovered a University of Wisconsin System 
newsletter with that name. We came up with Wisconsin Minds 
& Matters, which was available-but was rejected for sounding 
too focused on weighty, controversial issues. 
Then we talked to board member Jim Armstrong and, as 
usual, the sun came up. Armstrong heads a communications 
firm called Good for Business and was behind our new logo 
and communications revamp a few years ago. This included 
leading us to our new, mission-based tagline, "Connecting 
people and ideas for a better Wisconsin." Armstrong consid- 
ered that line, looked at the magazine, and made the leap. 
(And if you wish to learn more about Armstrong's communica- 
tions ideas, you can read about his new book on page 20.) 
Wisconsin People & Ideas is plainspoken and to the point. It is 
so simple that it almost sounds generic, which allows our cover 
subjects and their stories to remain in the forefront. These qual- 
ities-plainness, honesty, attention to substance rather than 
flash-strike me as being quintessentially Wisconsin. 
And so we found our new name. Now it's yours, and we 
hope you like it. 
Another exciting development debuting with this issue is 
the participation of the Wisconsin Humanities Council, a 
nonprofit whose mission is to infuse our cultural, social, and 
intellectual lives with the humanities disciplines. 
"Our state's most creative minds-particularly those 
studying literature, language, history, musicology, philosophy, 
and other humanities disciplines-have opinions and ideas 
that resonate beyond the walls of academia and into the halls 
of public discourse," writes Wisconsin Humanities Council 
executive director Dean Bakopoulos in his introduction to 
their section on page 43. 
So what are the humanities? Beyond naming the particular 
disciplines, the Council notes, "The humanities seek 
answers about who we are, where we have been, what we 
value-and why." 
We can certainly make room for more of that discussion in 
Wisconsin People & Ideas. We are pleased that the Wisconsin 
Humanities Council sees the magazine as a good way to help 
reach "the halls of public discourse." And we are certain our 
readers will enjoy and look forward to the Council's valuable 
and engaging contributions. 
Joan Fischer, editor 
608/263-1692 ext. 16 

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