Archive for July, 2011

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Carson Magazine is Now Untitled and Here is the Reason Why?…

July 30, 2011

Anyone with an iota of interest in magazine design, the news of David Carson’s launching a new magazine, simply called Carson, was a major news event. Bloggers wrote about it, designers could not wait and reporters and subscribers kept waiting for the first issue to arrive. The first issue was supposed to appear in January, however it did not surface until late March and the second issue “should be arriving any time now.”

However, the second issue carries a major surprise. The name Carson is crossed with what looks like a magic marker and the website of the magazine has changed to a new website promoting the same magazine under a different name, Untitled Magazine. On David Carson’s personal website there was this note buried in a sea of other notes:

david carson has no connection whatsoever with the magazine calling itself “carson mag”,

So, considering the note and the new name for both the magazine and the website, I reached out, via email, to Alex Storch, the magazine’s editor with few questions about the situation. Here are my questions and his answers:

Samir Husni: What is the story behind the shift from Carson magazine to Untitled magazine?

Alex Storch: We bent over backwards to try and accommodate David but unfortunately he made working together impossible. The funny thing is, under all of this drama, we’ve realized that the real story here is how remarkable the magazine is. We have amazing content in Issue Two, which features Noam Chomsky, Mike Doughty, Neil Strauss, Shepard Fairey, and more. We’re currently in the process of changing the name and bringing on new designers for future issues, but hey, life goes on.

SH: Is the second issue with the line on top of Carson’s name going to be sold on the newsstands as such?

AS: Yes.

SH: What about the future?

AS: We are moving forward as planned, and have increased subscription numbers as well as distribution. We should be in all Barnes & Noble stores for the next issue and have some exciting collaborations planned. Stay tuned!

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On bookstores, newspapers and other “Chain” issues…

July 20, 2011

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I am one who believes that the “chain” ownership is on its way out and that it is the worst thing that have ever happened to the individual ownership of almost anything. Whether it is a newspaper or a bookstore or even a grocery store, individual ownership has always been driven by the passion, zeal and interest of the owner, the founder, the caretaker. The bottom line was always the owner’s and not the share holders.

I know times have changed, but it seems they have changed for the worst. You visit newsrooms these days and the passion is not there. You visit a chain bookstore and the store is trying to sell you, right from minute you enter the store, the latest tablet or gadget that will take you away from the store and back to the confines of your living room with the rest of the electronic gadgets that you’ve acquired.

Chains are in the business of making profits to their share holders. They are their customers who count, rather than the buyers, users, readers, and viewers who utilize their services. Chains, in their search of the mighty dollar, found out that cutting is a good strategy to increase the profit line for a product rather than investing in that product.

It does not take a genius to look at the chart on the front page of today’s The Wall Street Journal showing the numbers of books (ink on paper books) being sold compared to e-books, to figure out that we are still selling more, much more, ink on paper books than e-books: almost 1.3 billion units compared with less than 200 million units in e-books. And, yes I do see that ink on paper books sales have declined percentage wise, and e-books have increased percentage wise, but keep in mind we are talking percentages, and we all know what folks say about percentages and statistics.

So what gives you may ask? Well, for one when we lose sight of what business we are in, for bookstores, selling books and for newspapers serving the public with the best “what is in it for me” content, the future is of course going to be nothing but gloom and doom. Borders (the chain that is closing its stores) like all the other chains has been promoting online sales with bigger discounts than what you can get in store. Newspaper chains has been cutting staffers all over the chain, regardless of the market and how well that newspaper is doing in one market or the other. All units have to chip in. I guess, chains believe in the motto of going to hell in one basket!

I truly believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of chain ownership and not bookstores or newspapers. Individual entrepreneurs are going to step up and fill the void. Independent bookstores, family owned newspapers, locally invested individuals are going to fill the void left by the dearly departed chains. The time has come. The future is good, no matter how thick the clouds are today. Maybe as the chains vanish one after the other, that passionate, zealous individual will step in and start a new newspaper, a new bookstore, a new magazine for those of us who still consider ourselves customers who count rather than share holders who we are to be accountant to.

As much as I hate to see the demise of a bookstore or a newspaper, I welcome the end of a chain and the future birth of a new independent bookstore or newspaper. The light at the end of the tunnel is not the train coming!

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Media Adventures in Foreign Lands: My Two Students’ Magazine

July 20, 2011

Two Students & A Prof. is the name of the magazine that two of my students created based on our trip overseas to Austria and Slovakia. The magazine is printed, sold and distributed via MagCloud. <a href="

First Issue, Summer 2011

Two Students & A Prof. Issue 1: First Issue, Summer 2011

Find out more on MagCloud

“>You can access it here.

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ACT2 Experience: The Future of the Printed Word in a Digital Age. Registration Starts Today

July 18, 2011

The second annual ACT Experience “registration doors” are officially open. Click here to register and learn more about the two and a half days of Magazines, Music and Mississippi. Registration is limited to 100 persons, so do not delay if you want to be one of the participants as we “Re-Start Our Engines” and look into “The Future of the Printed Word in a Digital Age.”

The Magazine Innovation Center at The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media introduced its annual ACT Experience last October. ACT stands for Amplify, Clarify and Testify and the Experience, that lasts for two and a half days on the university campus, teams some of the top industry leaders with magazine media folks looking for solutions for today’s publishing problems. The think-and-do-experience (neither a course or a conference) is an intimate gathering that is limited in attendee’s number but not limited in ideas and solutions. ACT 2 Experience is themed “Restart Your Engines: The Future of the Printed Word in a Digital Age” and takes place October 26 – October 28.

Industry leaders who are confirmed headliners and keynote speakers at the event are, in alphabetical order:

Frank Anton, CEO of Hanley-Wood
Vito Di Bari, Innovation Designer and Futurologist, Italy
Scott Coopwood, Publisher, Delta Magazine
Scott Crystal, Former President, TV Guide and former Publisher, National Geographic
Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, CEO of Hoffman Media
James Elliott, President, The James G. Elliott Co., Inc.
Sid Evans, Group Editor, Time Inc., Lifestyle Division
John Harrington, Partner, Harrington Associates and Publisher/Editor, The New Single Copy newsletter
Nina Gerwin, Founder, Eye Capture
Kent S. Johnson, CEO of Highlights for Children, Inc.
Steven Kotok, President, The Week, Felix Dennis Publications
Jeremy Leslie, Editorial Designer and Founder, magCulture.com, The United Kingdom
David C. McDonald, CEO, True North Custom Media
Mark Pasetsky, Founder, CoverAwards and former editor OK! Weekly and Life & Style weekly
Will Pearson, President, Mental Floss Inc. and Co-Founder mental_floss magazine
Roy Reiman, Founder of Reiman Publications
Sue Roman, President of Taunton Press
Bob Sacks, President of Precision Media Group (bosacks.com)
Franska Stuy, Editor in Chief of Libelle, The Netherlands

In addition to the aforementioned industry leaders, a panel discussion will take place about the future of the printed word lead by leading industry printers and paper companies.

Our thanks to the early sponsors Delta Magazine, Democrat Printing & Lithograph Co., Freeport Press, Fry Communications Inc., IOStudio, James G. Elliott Co. Inc., Publishers Press, and True North Custom Media. To become a sponsor please email me at samir.husni@gmail.com

The ACT 2 Experience is limited to 100 attendees in addition to the speakers and sponsors.
Click here to register if you want to ensure a seat at the ACT2 Experience.

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Is Traditional Anything Not in Vogue Anymore? And Other Random Notes…

July 15, 2011

In this day and age it seems that anything traditional has no value. Everyone wants the new and now. Even Traditional Home magazine, the Meredith publication, is testing a new name TRADhome instead of Traditional Home. Take a look at both covers of the July-August issue of the magazine.

And while we are at the subject of Meredith, Ladies’ Home Journal sported two different images of their celebrity cover star Valerie Bertinelli, one in front of the beach and the other in front of the pool. My guess they were thinking about all their audience, the coastal ones and the ones who live in the midland.

And just in case you did not have the chance to catch a copy of the now famous “runaway bride” cover of the July issue of Playboy, here is the two covers of the magazine. The one without the sticker is the one that arrived early on the newsstands, before the bride changed her mind. The “sticker to the rescue” cover was the one harder to find on the stands.

Last but not least, while it seems that everyone is downsizing these days, Martha Stewart’s Everyday FOOD has just published an up-sized special issue to go along its “little engine that could” the digest size successful magazine.

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A Media Feast Celebrating the End of the World…

July 14, 2011

It never fails, when the news is about the media, the media have a field day. Here are the covers of two magazines and their take on the phone hacking scandal that is rocking the world of News Corp. Who says we are not our “best” enemies?

Take a look at Bloomberg Businessweek and at TIME magazine covers… A great job, even if the “subject” is one of our own media folks, or should I say a great job because the “subject” is one of our own? Judge for yourself.

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