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Poynter Institute’s Kenny Irby: Diversity Drives Innovation in the Magazine Business. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview

November 28, 2012

Diversity and innovation, the twins that should anchor and drive the changes in today’s magazine business, are always on the mind of Kenny Irby, Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for visual journalism, and newly appointed director of community relations & diversity programs. I met Mr. Irby during a visit to the campus of the University of Mississippi and I asked him three short questions about the magazine and print world today. His sharp and well-thought answers bring a needed prespective on the future of the industry and its surroundings.

In this brief interview Irby talks about magazines and their legacy of connectedness and value in reading societies, and how diversity drives innovation toward a more successful tomorrow.

So in typical Mr. Magazine™ Interview’s style, first the sound bites, followed by the video interview and then the succinct, but very informative, interview transcript with Kenny Irby.

The Sound Bites:

On magazines and diversity: First of all, I think it’s important to acknowledge that magazine publications’ staffs really do get the idea that diversity drives innovation.

On the future of magazines as we know them
: I think as long as magazines continue to innovate and create attraction and connection to their audiences, they’ll continue to evolve and be very successful.

On the differences in magazines and newspapers when it comes to print
: I think because the magazines are a definitive choice that the citizens make and that audiences will invest in them because they appreciate the value and the surprise that comes with a magazine. Newspapers have not learned enough from that constant kind of innovation and creativity.

On words of wisdom for publishers and editors
: I think that magazine publications need to continue to innovate and develop, and to look at technologies that will continue to enhance the possibilities of the magazine in a digital space.

And now for the lightly edited transcript of the “Mr. Magazine™ Interview” with Kenny Irby of The Poynter Institute.

Kenny Irby: We’re talking about magazines and diversity. First of all, I think it’s important to acknowledge that magazine publications’ staffs really do get the idea that diversity drives innovation. We’ve seen great exploration and innovation in magazines, not only because of the technology, but because of the niche marketing, the special interests, and the possibilities that citizens and audiences are really excited by being able to have magazines and publications that they can keep that tactile feel and connectedness to. Now the key is to continue to diversify, not only in terms of topic, but also in staffs and story ideas. That is a human process. So, I think that’s why magazines once were the new media, and now are a legacy media that still has a connectedness value and penetration in reading societies.

Samir Husni: What do you think is the future of magazines as we know them?

Kenny Irby: I think as long as magazines continue to innovate and create attraction and connection to their audiences, they’ll continue to evolve and be very successful, not only because of the tablet technology that creates new opportunities, but because of the connectedness and the kind of topics and subject matter that magazines have historically covered and will continue to.

Samir Husni: Do you see any differences between magazines and newspapers when it comes to print?

Kenny Irby: Absolutely. I think because the magazines are a definitive choice that the citizens make and that audiences will invest in them because they appreciate the value and the surprise that comes with a magazine. Newspapers have not learned enough from that constant kind of innovation and creativity that magazines have exhibited for years in the past and we expect it to continue in the years to come.

Samir Husni: Any final words of wisdom to magazine publishers and editors?

Kenny Irby: I think that magazine publications need to continue to innovate and develop, and to look at technologies that will continue to enhance the possibilities of the magazine in a digital space and not just try to replicate what they’ve done in the print edition in an online edition. I think that’s what’s really important.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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One comment

  1. [...] Institute’s Kenny Irby: Diversity Drives Innovation in the Magazine Business. The Mr. Magazine(TM) Interview by Samir [...]



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