Archive for August, 2012

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The Newsweeklies Are Dead; Long Live the “News” Weeklies: TIME, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Week. The Digital Age Ink on Paper Trio of “News” Weeklies

August 29, 2012

I am going to take the liberty to declare one word, newspaper, an oxymoron. That moment in time when you realize how contradictory a word is: news and paper. I mean, come on. Today, the two are definitely not synonymous. Most people are getting their news (as in Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) from anything but a paper: the internet, their cell, tablet and any other mobile apparatus that may come to mind. So if the “newspaper” is an oxymoron, what can one say about the “newsweeklies?” The words “news” and “weekly” maybe even a worse (if there is such a thing) oxymoron that the words news and paper.

But, in reality, there are some “news” weeklies out there today that are more relevant than ever before. Believe it or not, today’s “news” weeklies are not your father and grandfather’s traditional grab-your-pipe-sit-in-the-wing-back-chair-and-yawn-through-the-read-type weeklies.

Envision a three-legged barstool, draped in glossy black and white, with three titles wrapped around each spindly protrusion. The legs have always consisted of TIME, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. We have since seen the demise of the third leg: U.S. News & World Report, as a weekly magazine. And the change in Newsweek, from what it used to be, a magazine that featured a wide spectrum of information from politics to national breaking news stories, to what a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) now refers to as “A British-Opinion” magazine, has made its ability to hold position iffy, to say the least.

So, it is with the picture of this precariously-standing barstool in mind, that I would like to introduce to you the weeklies that, in print, are as relevant and important in today’s market as the latest Apple app waiting to take over your iPad.

Leading the pack is the current first leg holder: Time Magazine. Under the leadership of Richard Stengel and his team, Time today is as relevant as it was when Henry Luce and Briton Hadden created it way back in 1923. In fact, the magazine coined the phrase “newsweekly” and has mastered the content and design ever since.

In 2007, when Time was reenergized under Stengel’s leadership, it exemplified the phrase: glossy, intelligent weekly. And five years later, Time continues to be the leader of the pack. It is the only of the original so called newsweeklies to have earned its first leg status in this digital age and seems to have no intention of relinquishing it.

However, it is now joined by two more weeklies that easily replace the leg U.S. News & World Report gave up and the one that Newsweek might as well let go of.

Bloomberg Businessweek, under the leadership of Josh Tyrangiel, since late 2009, has gone way beyond business and has become the pulse of every aspect of our daily lives. From business to politics, all presented in a package that offers both candy for the eye and food for the brain, Bloomberg Businessweek has become a force to be reckoned with in the realms of weekly magazines. Engaging and captivating, the magazine now offers a weekly surprise that, though unpredictable, remains positively surprising week in and week out.

And the last leg, last but least, the one now occupied by the weekly that may make that phrase prophetic, is The Week. Under the leadership of William Falk, The Week was, is and will continue to be, the Rolls Royce of all weeklies and the new “presidential briefing” in publications. Not big in circulation nor in number of pages, The Week, by design, remains slim and trim. That is one magazine where truly size does not matter and it is the quality rather than the quantity that counts. Since its inception in 2001, the magazine has been a welcomed innovation in weekly news magazines. Although, as I have just mentioned, it has a limited number of pages, The Week overflows with an unlimited creativity and editing, and it provides the complete round-up of everything that matters to anyone that matters.

All three weeklies appear on your newsstand or in your mailbox on a Friday, prepping you for the weekend and really (to borrow a phrase from another great magazine, Mental Floss) make you feel smart again, without insulting your senses, all your senses, and by assuring you that they appreciate and value your time (no pun intended). Those magazines collectively are providing some of the best content and design that is out there, and are offering the biggest compliment a reader can get: a magazine that actually values YOU, the customer.

So, before you bemoan the “news” weeklies or the entire magazine business for their woeful presence in this digital world, go grab a copy of the three mentioned magazines and see whether they do value your time and that they do treat you like a customer who counts rather than just being a number in the business of counting customers.

And, please, no need to send me a thank-you note. Your enjoyment of the experience is thanks enough! Happy reading.

P.S.: And for those who are going to say what about The Economist? It is a great must-read “news” weekly, but it is not, historically speaking, part of the three American newsweeklies… and that’s what this post is all about this time around. Sorry.

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New Ink on Paper Magazines Continue to Arrive on the Nation’s Stands…

August 11, 2012

The Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor was able to track a total of 54 new magazines that arrived at the marketplace in the month of July. 14 of the new titles were published with an intended frequency. Take a peek below at three of such titles and check all the images of the July titles at the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor.


Be an experience maker and not just a content provider… Join us for the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 3 Experience Oct. 23 – 25. Find out more here about the event themed Never Underestimate the Power of Print in a Digital Age. Click here to see the list of speakers and to register for the this annual event.

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Innovation in Print: Introducing the Machine-Washable, Ink-on-Paper, Highlights Hello Magazine

August 6, 2012

Imagine that… a printed magazine that you can throw in the washing machine, together with all your clothes, and still be able to read and enjoy it when it comes out of the dryer. That’s what the folks who brought us Highlights For Children magazine almost 67 years ago are about to introduce to the marketplace this coming January. Highlights Hello, the new ink on paper monthly magazine, with crystal clear display, is the latest addition to the family of Highlights magazines that include Highlights, Highlights High Five and now Highlights Hello. All three monthlies are 100% circulation driven and advertising free (I guess they do believe in the concept of customers who count rather than counting customers). The three magazines aim to cover the different stages of a child’s life starting from age 0 to age 11.

Highlights Hello is “printed with non-toxic ink containing soy and/or vegetable oils, on durable, washable, paper with rounded corners.” The magazine even survived the test of being put in a washing machine according to Chris Cully, the magazine’s editor in chief. Highlights Hello dubbed “the first Highlights magazine” is dedicated to “parents embarking on the journey to help their children become their best selves.”

I asked Chris why now and why ink on paper. Her answer,

“The research is clear about the benefits of reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The cuddling, talking, laughing, and singing are all part of the experience. A magazine like Hello makes it easier for parents to create these experiences often.

Also HELLO is lightweight and portable. It fits easily into mom’s purse or diaper bag. It fits toddler hands perfectly. It can be wiped clean–and it can withstand a little chewing. It is hard to imagine a digital product that could be so perfectly tailored to the needs of this audience.

And for those of us who believe children’s books and magazines on paper are going to be around a long time, this creates a great first experience and early memories.”

The 16-page-monthly is intended to be read aloud and in an engaging way (it even comes with the handy instructions to the parents in the corner of every new section) so that the content of the magazine becomes much more like an experience rather than just ink on paper content. The magazine targets babies 0 to 2 years old, their parents and caregivers.

In this digital age, there is still a place for lots and lots of good ink on paper ideas. As I have often mentioned on this blog, the so-called problem with print is not the ink on paper, but rather the message it carries. There is no need to shoot the messenger just because some messages or even a lot of messages stink!

By the way, please don’t try the washing machine test on your iPad, Kindle, or any other digital device. I can guarantee the results and I can guarantee that you will not be happy with them.


Be an experience maker and not just a content provider… Join us for the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 3 Experience Oct. 23 – 25. Find out more here about the event themed Never Underestimate the Power of Print in a Digital Age.

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