Archive for the ‘New Launches’ Category

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First Half of 2014 Ends with a Bang! 123 New Magazines Launched + 311 Book-a-Zines.

June 30, 2014

The first half of 2014 ended up with a bang. More new magazines and book-a-zines arrived at the marketplace this first half compared with the same period in 2013.

A total of 434 new magazines arrived on the marketplace divided into 123 new titles published with an intended frequency of four times a year or more and 311 book-a-zines.

The aforementioned numbers reflect an increase of 23 titles from the 100 regular frequency titles published in the first half of 2013 and 10 more book-a-zines from the 301 book-a-zines published in the same period in 2013.

The variety of the titles continue to be amazing, even for one who has followed this industry since 1978. Below are a few late arrivals…

Animal Tales-16All thiings sports-18Bizou-19LGBT Wed-17New American-15Underground-13

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Parents Latina: Born from the Womb of Data — Reaching Hispanic Millennial Mothers. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Carey Witmer, President – Meredith Parents Network & Enedina Vega, Vice-President/Publisher– Meredith Hispanic Media.

June 30, 2014

“We have a lot of data that shows in most instances print is a very important component to the media mix.” Carey Witmer

Parents Latina Cover Parents Latina, a new English-language magazine focused on serving U.S. Hispanic millennial mothers, one of the fastest-growing demographics in the United States, is about to take its place on the newsstands and the powers-that-be behind the new print product are enthusiastic and energetic about consumer reception.

Carey Witmer is President of Meredith Parents Network and Enedina Vega is Vice-President and Publisher, Meredith Hispanic Media and both women are confident the magazine will be a great addition to the Meredith portfolio, so much so that Parents Latina will have a guaranteed rate base of 700,000.

As the most respected brand in the lifestyle category focusing on moms, the Parents brand, along with Meredith Hispanic Media, plan on Parents Latina serving a unique niche of millennial, Hispanic moms across the country.

So sit back and get ready to see why the Parents brand is still going strong today and launching a print product that’s sure to be a success…the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Carey Witmer & Enedina Vega – Parents Latina Magazine.

But first the sound-bites…


On why the Parents brand is launching Parents Latina with a guaranteed rate base of 700,000:
We saw the changing demographic and that really led us to launching what we’re launching. We were seeing what was happening with the language questions we were getting from marketers and what we were observing from our consumers as well.

On the unique selling feature of Parents Latina:
There are some nuances just in terms of how she feels about family, which varies somewhat from the general market. So she does have specific needs that we will be addressing.

On whether they’re looking for a new audience or to just add to the consumer reception they already have:
I would say that we are looking to expand the data base of women that we reach.

On the stumbling blocks that they’ve faced during the preparation of the launch:
The hurdle really is to educate the advertising community and the agencies about the nuances of the Hispanic market because as marketers it’s easy for us to put people into silos and to think of segments as being homogeneous and we know that the Hispanic market is not.

On whether the message is on selling the power of print:
We have done quite a bit of research on Moms and media, so we have a lot of research that shows that this is a market segment that consumes media and it’s really not a question of digital versus print or broadcast; this is a multi-channel information-consuming market segment.

On their most pleasant surprise during this venture:
I like the phone calls; people calling us, that’s hard to come by. And from big companies that matter.

On what keeps Carey Witmer up at night: For me, it’s discovering what the next big thing is that’s going to matter to the consumer and therefore matter to Meredith.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Carey Witmer & Enedina Vega – Parents Latina Magazine…

Samir Husni: Can you tell me about the birth of the idea; what did you do before you decided to have a Parents Latina?

Enedina Vega: We worked on the strategy for almost a year, just looking at what all of the company’s assets were when it came to the Hispanic population across the company’s portfolio. We worked to identify who was in our data base and who we were reaching across digital.

And as a result we’ve found that we are reaching 6.6 million unique viewers monthly who are Latina across the Meredith data base and that we’re reaching these women with content that was both in English and in Spanish. And that’s a pretty significant number.

And then of course, the opportunity that we uncovered with this particular market’s segment: Latina millennial moms in print.

We really worked for a period of time to identify where the pockets and the assets were within the company that we could monetize and take to market in a unique way. And part of that was really focusing on our data base, the 6.6 million that we have in digital and now Parents Latina.

And we looked at a number of different, once we focused in on something in the parenthood space; we looked at many different iterations of what it could be and what we would call it. We had long meetings about what the name would be and then finally we agreed on the Parents name and we did some consumer testing and it just came back so incredibly positive. And we thought it would, we weren’t sure, but we thought that would be the case, so that really led us to where we are today.

Samir Husni: And what is the launch date?

Carey Witmer: The first issue will be out in, hopefully, April, 2015.

Samir Husni: Why now? Why are you launching a 700,000 guaranteed rate base magazine, Parents Latina, in today’s marketplace?

CareyWitmer_8.12Carey Witmer: We believe that there’s a real opportunity here. And Enedina and I and several others have been looking at this opportunity for quite some time. We were thinking about doing something last year, but I’m glad we waited to really understand marketplace. We saw the changing demographic and that really led us to launching what we’re launching. We were seeing what was happening with the language questions we were getting from marketers and what we were observing from our consumers as well. We wanted to put our toe in the water, in terms of an English-oriented magazine for Hispanics. And we examined the categories where we thought we had a lot of credibility and where there was room to play.

And then we began to study what was happening with the second generation Hispanics in that 18 to 30 year old segment, coupled with the fact that we have this incredible, iconic trusted brand with over 90% awareness in the Parents name. It just became really clear that Parents Latina was, we thought, clearly a winner.

Vega, Enedina 8.13_3 Enedina Vega: In spite of the downturn in the economy and the recession from 2008, the Latina market is a very dynamic growing market. So it’s sort of the bright spot for the American economy today, if you will. It’s kind of going counterintuitive, because it is the population segment that’s growing and fielding the middle class.

And one of the other things that we’re seeing, in terms of media consumption is that this consumer base does consume media and she does read magazines.

Samir Husni: Can you tell me what’s going to be the unique selling feature of Parents Latina and what it will offer the Hispanic second generation that they can’t get from any other source?

Carey Witmer: We believe that by and large the English-dominant millennial mom is an individual who primarily is born in the United States and we believe her experience as a bilingual, bi-cultural mom is different from that of other moms. And there really is no publication at this point, not even significantly digital, or broadcast that addresses her uniqueness.

So she is someone who is living her life in two cultures and balancing that, to some degree, in two languages. So there are some unique opportunities to address in what she’s going through.

There are some nuances just in terms of how she feels about family, which varies somewhat from the general market. There are health concerns that face her that are a little different than the general market. So she does have specific needs that we will be addressing.

Samir Husni: Do you think that those 700,000 Hispanic women are adding to the 100 million women data base that Meredith has or they’re already there, getting the other Hispanic magazines that Meredith already publishes? Are you looking for a new audience? Or is this audience already part of your data base?

Carey Witmer: I would say that we are looking to expand the data base of women that we reach, there may be a small degree of duplication, but the opportunity is to expand and reach women who we don’t have as part of our Meredith family.

Samir Husni: What have been some of the stumbling blocks that you have encountered concerning this launch?

Carey Witmer: Well, most people are excited and people who are in the know completely understand the opportunity and are looking for content that is being directed to these millennial moms who are English-preferred, so the reaction has been great.

The hurdle really is to educate the advertising community and the agencies about the nuances of the Hispanic market because as marketers it’s easy for us to put people into silos and to think of segments as being homogeneous and we know that the Hispanic market is not. And it’s really just getting the message out and educating the clients.

Samir Husni: Is part of that message selling them on the power of print? Everybody tells us that we live in a digital age and I agree; we are in a digital age, but what’s the power of a printed magazine in 2015? And how can you sell that?

Carey Witmer: That’s a big question. We have done quite a bit of research on Moms and media, so we have a lot of research that shows that this is a market segment that consumes media and it’s really not a question of digital versus print or broadcast; this is a multi-channel information-consuming market segment. We have a lot of data that shows in most instances print is a very important component to the media mix. And we feel very confident just on the basis of the number of advertisers that we do have across our Parents network print portfolio that there is enough interest and commitment to the medium that makes this viable.

Samir Husni: It seems that we have to prove that print is a viable medium quite often due to the “digital” age, while people are picking up digital without even thinking about a return on their investment. So with that in mind, what is the power of the brand Parents?

Carey Witmer: Well, we have our portfolio, which is a beautiful thing for us. We’ve worked really hard to organize it in such a way that we have something for everyone across all platforms.

We have American baby, which is pregnancy and newborn and the compliment to that is a combination of Ser Padres Espera and Ser Padres Bebé. We have Parents, of course, which is the mega brand. We have Family Fun and that is a different kind of brand, but it’s in the group as well and then Ser Padres and now Parents Latina.

So we have total market, we have in-language, we have the English solution for the English dominant Hispanic and optimally we’ll be able to calibrate the circulation levels of the entire portfolio based on how the population changes over the course of time. We feel like the strategy is really smart.

Enedina Vega: And another thing is that a lot of the research that’s out there now has surprisingly reinforced the fact that the millennial generation is actually embracing magazines as much as previous generations.

Carey Witmer: The recent MRI saw a pretty sizeable uptick in millennial to our reading print magazines. We have some circulation programs that we are doing with the Parents and American Baby brands that are going quite well that we’re excited about.

We think that motherhood is a real entry point for millennials into print; it’s when she needs trusted, branded content for the health and wellbeing of her family. So that’s one of the drivers for her to come to our portfolio.

Samir Husni: Do you think it’s better for the brand Parents to be almost the only player on the marketplace now? Have you benefited from that or how do you handle it when people come up to you and say, “It’s either Parents or nothing?”

Carey Witmer: There are lots of different ways; a lot of Pure Plays that are digital. So there’s a lot of competition, but it’s not just in print. We’re not the only game in town, but we believe we’re the most effective.

It’s interesting too; we’ve had some discussions with various digital websites over the last several years in our space and many of those in the parenthood/mom space, many of those Pure Plays are looking for a print solution because clients are looking for that 360 surround sound and of course we have that.

Samir Husni: When you were talking about all the different brands; it’s as though I’m hearing about all these titles that appear to be adjacencies around Parents, which seems to be the core of the brand and then everything else is surrounding it.

Carey Witmer: This is just really another edition to the group of offerings that we have that does include digital and data base marketing and all of our other capabilities across the company, including video and mobile, so it’s really an invigorated way when it comes to overall parenting content for the Parents network at Meredith.

Samir Husni: Steve Lacy (Meredith CEO) told me at one time that, I think he was referring to Better Homes and Gardens; that only 2% of revenues were coming from digital and 98% from print. Is it the same at Parents?

Carey Witmer: Our digital is more than 2%, I don’t know when he said that, but for Parents.com it’s a big contributor to the overall portfolio, but make no mistake print does the heavy lifting in terms of the revenue generation for this group.

Samir Husni: What was the most pleasant surprise when you announced the launch of this magazine?

Carey Witmer: I like the phone calls; people calling us, that’s hard to come by. And from big companies that matter.

Samir Husni: Cosmopolitan launched Cosmo Latina and it was a success and they increased the frequency, any chance that you’ll go from quarterly later to something more frequent? Is there a strategic plan? Is quarterly just the beginning?

Carey Witmer: What we do know is that we’re going to calibrate frequency and distribution optimally to what we’re seeing in the consumer marketplace.

Enedina Vega: And with the Meredith model, the consumer drives everything at the end of the day. So we’ll watch that and monitor it and make decisions based on that. We’ve done that with the other brands that you’ve seen us put out over the last few years. We base everything on consumer calibration.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Carey Witmer: For me, it’s discovering what the next big thing is that’s going to matter to the consumer and therefore matter to Meredith. We obviously have to have the right portfolio of products that can engage the consumer in a meaningful way, but it also has to have the proper return on investment for the company as well. We think about that a lot.

Enedina Vega: For me, since I’m focused on the Hispanic space, is the fact that this is a growing, dynamic and changing consumer and demographic population.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rights to excerpts and links to the blog are hereby permitted with proper credit. Copying the entire blog is NOT permitted without permission from the author and is a violation of the copyright laws.

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Magazine Conversations: 27 Down-to-Earth Mr. Magazine™ Conversations with Industry Leaders. A Mr. Magazine™ New Book.

June 23, 2014

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 9.28.10 PM Magazine Conversations is the latest book from Mr. Magazine™ celebrating the magazine and magazine media industry and the people who create, edit, design and publish magazines. The first volume of Magazine Conversations include interviews with 27 leaders from the magazine industry and is published by the Magazine Innovation Center at The University of Mississippi.

“Samir’s access to industry leaders is unmatched in the marketplace,” writes Michael Simon, executive vice president for Publishers Press in his introduction to the new book. He adds, “He (Samir) can take you into the executive suite, the art departments and copy desks of new and seasoned publishers. In an environment as challenging as publishing Samir’s passion and his interviews with those who have succeeded in the face of the long odds, will provide you with ideas, and hopefully some perspectives that you haven’t considered before.”

The book contains conversations with:
Bowlers Journal’s Keith Hamilton
Business Blackbox’s Geoff Wasserman and Jordana Megonigal
Cake & Whiskey’s Megan and Mike Smith
Dinosaur’s Steven Gdula
Domino’s Beth Brenner
Dr. Oz The Good Life’s Kristine Welker
Dwell Media’s Michela O’Connor
Esquire’s David Granger
Essence’s Vanessa Bush
Fitness’ Eric Schwarzkoph
Forbes’ Randall Lane
Good Housekeeping’s Rosemary Ellis and Pat Haegele
InStyle’s Ariel Foxman
Kuier’s (South Africa) Kay Karriem
Live Happy’s Karol DeWulf Nickell
Lose It!’s (South Africa) Suzy Brokensha
Men’s Health’s Ronan Gardiner and Bill Phillips
Naked Food’s Margarita Restrepo and Peter Walsh
Newsweek’s Etienne Uzac and Jim Impoco
Parade’ Maggie Murphy and Jack Haire
The Pitchfork Review’s Chris Kaskie
Politico’s Susan Glasser
Redbook’s Jill Herzig and Mary Morgan
The Saturday Evening Post’s Steve Slon
TIME’s Nancy Gibbs
World Wildlife’s Alex Maclennan

Magazine Conversations is available for a $50.00 donations payable to the Magazine Innovation Center at The University of Mississippi. Send a check or money order payable to the Magazine Innovation Center at 114 Farley Hall, Meek School of Journalism and New Media, University, MS 38677. Magazine Conversations is published by the Magazine Innovation Center and is printed and sponsored by Publishers Press.

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Ellen Levine: The Launch Queen of Successful Magazines. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Hearst Magazines’ Editorial Director

June 11, 2014

“I believe that you have to be the reader. You can’t try and force the reader to be you. So you have to give them what they want and understand it emotionally, understand the voice and the need.” Ellen Levine

HCI Being responsible for some really big magazine titles that have been around for a very long time is only one of Ellen Levine’s job duties as the first-ever Editorial Director of Hearst Magazines; she also knows what it means to develop and strengthen the flock. Dr. Oz The Good Life, Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine are just a few of her success stories while at Hearst.

If anyone in the magazine industry deserves the title “launch queen,” it is Ellen Levine. And not only launch queen, but successful magazines launch queen. She succeeded where others failed and she continues to do so. Levine is the no non-sense editor who puts her money where her mouth is. In fact, she is the “less-talk” and “more-do” editor. Levine’s mantra for success is becoming the reader, learning to look at each one of her titles through the eyes of her audience and connecting with each individual person in a very human, very empathetic way.

I spoke with Ms. Levine recently about her past and present accomplishments and her secrets of keeping that audience engagement.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Ellen Levine, Editorial Director, Hearst Magazines.

But first the sound-bites:

On her recipe for audience connectivity: You need to be able to give them what they didn’t know they wanted or needed in a way that’s appealing.

On her secret for keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground: I really don’t know my secret. I like to define myself as a normal reader when I read all the magazines that we do.

On what keeps her up at night: I am usually up at three in the morning, saying, we should have fixed that headline or that cover line.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Ellen Levine, Editorial Director, Hearst Magazines…

Samir Husni: You’ve launched and supervised more successful magazines than probably any female editor that I can think of; what’s your secret recipe for that editorial connectivity with an audience in these changing times? Things have changed so much and yet, from your days at Woman’s Day until the present with Dr. Oz The Good Life, you’re always able to captivate that audience out there.

Ellen Levine: That’s a good question. I believe that you have to be the reader. You can’t try and force the reader to be you. So you have to give them what they want and understand it emotionally, understand the voice and the need. In terms of that, it doesn’t mean you have to have multi-personalities, but you have to be open to what they want. You’re not a teacher, you’re not forcing things. And you need to be able to give them what they didn’t know they wanted or needed in a way that’s appealing.

Everybody wants health information, but they don’t want it the same way. Some want it in an academic voice, some want it in a kind of sillier voice and there is an intimacy that you have to feel. You can’t intellectualize it.

Samir Husni: You also keep your feet on the ground. A lot of editors who have achieved less than you have aren’t so grounded. You see their heads above the clouds; what’s your secret?

Ellen Levine: I don’t know. I’m sorry. I really don’t know my secret. I like to define myself as a normal reader when I read all the magazines that we do. Maybe I have so many different personalities that I should be hospitalized.

But in fact, I can just get into it. And we look to hire staffs that have the same wonderful journalism skills and are very embedded in that fact, but also have understanding and empathy with the reader, none of the holier-than-thou attitudes. You come to us and we will educate you. We want to speak in a different language in each magazine and of course, with somebody like Oz it’s very easy to capture what the energy should be.

On other brands where you’re trying to read the needs of the Food Network person, the best lesson that we ever learned, first of all was to hire brilliant editors like Maile Carpenter, Sara Peterson and now Jill Herzig; you have to understand from that reader exactly how to approach her.

The one other anecdote on Food Network, which is very much of an example, is that we went into focus groups, we did two prototypes and we went into those groups thinking, oh my gosh, what are we going to name this magazine? We liked Spoon, we liked Butter; you know we went through all these names and we’re putting them out there in the focus groups and one of the women said, “I don’t care what you call it, I’m calling it Food Network Magazine.” And there became the name.

Samir Husni: What keeps you up at night?

Ellen Levine: Everything, my children and my husband. But really, toward the closing of every magazine issue, I am usually up at three in the morning, saying, we should have fixed that headline or that cover line.

Samir Husni: Thank you.
© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Rights to excerpts and links to the blog are hereby permitted with proper credit. Copying the entire blog is NOT permitted and is a violation of the copyright laws.

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A Record-Breaking Month In New Consumer Magazine Launches: What A May and If I May… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

June 2, 2014

A Month’s Bevy Of New Launches Is Unbelievable! 96 New Titles In All & 27 Of Them Are With Regular Frequency…

From titles whose premier issue didn’t make the cut due to a non-newsstand presence to their second or third issue that did; May 2014 has proven to be a successful month for new launches. 96 new faces smiled back at me as I joyfully shopped and purchased each one…27 are with regular frequency; titles such as Anglers Journal, Bible Fun, and TVTOR show the diverse spectrum of topics that tempted magazine lovers in May…and from the 69 special issues; there was anything from Erotic Ink to book-a-zines paying tribute to the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

All-in-all, May was a spectacular month for new launches. Sit back and have a glass of lemonade as summertime approaches, and we say hello and goodbye to the month of May 2014. Something tells me we won’t be seeing the last of some of these titles from the frequency list…

not a newsstands So for the critics who continue to attack the state of new magazines and its future, all I have to say is that they will continue to talk nonsense when it comes to the health and pulse of the industry and the newbies it brings to the marketplace day in and day out. Some like to talk “non-sense,” others “some-sense,” but as for me and my blog, you are not going to see anything here but commonsense combined with actual field research and study. No pontifications from behind the desk, in the den or inside the walls of academia… (Photo Illustration: The Critics and I)

With all the problems facing the newsstands, (and I know there are a lot) single copy revenues are still far far higher than any digital revenue being generated by the so called “digital magazines.”

Enough said, relax, and take a look at all the new titles. Enjoy!

Here are the new launches with frequency:

12B-12Angler's Journal-5Angler's Journal-35Back to Absolute-16BBQ America-26Bible Fun-13BOSS-30Club Kink-28Code Breakers-27Design Anthology-17Diabetes Self-Management-19Gluten Free Baking4Home & Hill-18Jughead & Archie-25M&V-22Nautilus-32PEOPLE ESPANOL-23Prairie Style-31Red Hot Rock 2-7Red Hot Rock-6Samata-15The Bight-14The OGM-21TV Tor-8TV Tor2-9Ultratravel-10US Veteran's Magazine-20Vapor Digest-11Washington Examiner-24Willow & Sage-29

And now for the specials:

2014 World Cup-34A Taste of Summer-66Afghanistan-51Backyard Style-55Beach Body-49Beach Cottages-65Best of Flea Market-97Best Summer Knits-71Big Boy-40Black Heritage-38Build A Shed-63Climate Shift-44Collector's Edition US-75D-Day 70th Anniversary-52D-Day-60Derek Jeter-82Dragon2-86Dwell-84easy edible gardening-12Erotic Ink-96Farmer's Market Cookbook-81Freedom Summer-58French Style-64From Garden to Plate-42Gluten-Free Cookbook-88Good & fresh-100Great Garden Design-67Grilling recipes-69GRIT-94How to paint anything-77Jackie-61Jordan-70LIFE D-Day-47Living-87MAD-41Man Caves-74Modern Shooter-50National Geographic-83No Bake Recipes-73Out there style-46People Amazing Pets-80Photo Pocketing-98Pope Francis-37Puppies 101-93Quilts-99Reagan-53Recipe Box-39scientific american-59seaside style-68Simple Patterns-102Simply Sweet-89Skinny One Dish-54Slim Down Fast-62Small Yard Makeovers-95Southern casseroles-90Stay Alive-85STYLE-76Sugar Detox-56The Saturday Evening Post-91Two Saints-43USA Today-33USA TODAY2-45Vanity Fair-57Vintage Gardens-72Vogue-79Weeknight Mexican-48Women of the Bible-78World Cup 2014-92World War II-101

©Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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A Launch Story: Lose It! A New South African Magazine Promoting A High-Fat Low-Carb Diet…

May 7, 2014

People May Wonder If South Africa’s Suzy Brokensha is “Losing It” With The Launch Of A New Magazine Promoting A High-Fat Diet – But The Editor-In-Chief Of Fairlady Magazine Is Quick To Tell You That’s Just Not True – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Suzy Brokensha…

Screen shot 2014-05-07 at 11.16.07 AM Cape Town, South Africa: Controversial doesn’t even begin to describe it, low-carb and high-fat; two terms that most nutritionists and doctors have heart palpitations over when they hear them. But the Editor-in-Chief of South Africa’s Fairlady magazine, Suzy Brokensha, isn’t sweating it. She believes in the concept and in the new magazine: Lose It! 100 percent.

The new ink on paper product is inspired by Professor Tim Noakes and his reversal of his former doctrine of a high carb diet. Once a promoter of this type of eating routine with his book “Lore of Running” Noakes backtracked a few years ago when late onset diabetes took the lives of his father and uncle. His change in view has brought him both kudos and lividness from South Africans and people everywhere.

But Suzy Brokensha – Editor-In-Chief of the new magazine – is behind him all the way. She knows first-hand due to her own family’s experience with late onset diabetes that sometimes the most logical of ways doesn’t always work and blazing new trails with a print magazine that provides cutting edge evidence of unfamiliar horizons may be the only right answer.

I spoke with Suzy on a recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa and her beliefs and convictions about this magazine and as she calls it: this movement, are evident in our conversation.

So get ready to hear some things your cardiologist may not want you exposed to as you read the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Suzy Brokensha about the new print magazine – Lose It!…

But first the sound-bites…

On the concept of the new magazine: The new magazine is based on the Banting Diet, or a low-carb, high-fat diet that is not new at all.

On why she decided to launch Lose It! in the first place: I became interested in it about four years ago because my dad was also a late onset diabetic and because he died in the end of diabetic complications. And I know diabetes is a huge issue in South Africa and my brother is also a pre-diabetic and I didn’t want it happening to me.

On the initial reaction from the marketplace: It’s only been on street now for about a month and the initial reaction was incredibly positive.

On the uniqueness of the magazine and the diet itself: So I think what appeals to men is that performance aspect of it. You don’t feel deprived, in fact, you feel very satisfied and it’s a very satiating diet.

Screen shot 2014-05-07 at 11.02.12 AM On the need for print versus a digital entity: I think this is a magazine that explains the differences and the route that we’ve taken. And it’s very direct and it’s very directional. And it tells you exactly what to do. Whereas if you went online, you might find different, little snippets of information from a whole lot of different sites, but it wouldn’t be as directional as the magazine.

On what keeps her up at night: What am I worried about? I’m not worried at all about this magazine. There is absolutely nothing that worries me about it. I think that we’re lucky in that we struck at the right time.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Suzy Brokensha – Editor-in-Chief of Lose It! magazine…

Samir Husni: You recently launched a new magazine – Lose It! – can you talk a little bit about the concept of this magazine?

Suzy Brokensha: The new magazine is based on the Banting Diet, or a low-carb, high-fat diet that is not new at all. The first person to talk about the diet was probably Atkins, maybe forty or fifty years ago, when the idea for the Atkins Diet first came into being.

And since then it has been written about extensively by Gary Taubes in the States, in particular. He’s the most famous. He wrote a book called “Why We Get Fat” and it’s all about the Banting Diet.

The first incidence of the diet was around 1812 when a British doctor advised his client to go on the diet and he lost a huge amount of weight. He was a very wealthy guy and he published a little book about the diet which is still circulating today and is quite fabulous. It’s beautifully written actually.

Anyway, it’s been around for a long time, but what happened was in the 70s the whole way that we eat changed. And it basically coincided with the food pyramid in the States which had all the carbohydrates at the bottom and right at the top, a few fats and oils, vegetables and fruits. And that diet and that way of eating have been recommended for years.

The history is that what happened in America in the 70s was that there was a problem with corn growers and they weren’t making money and actually that pyramid was deliberately designed, not by nutritionists, but in order to boost the sales of the corn growers in Middle America, which it completely did.

And what it did also was create a market for corn starch which is the most lethal substance known to man. And American food, in particular, is full of corn starch. It’s incredibly fattening, with no nutritious value at all. And it’s highly addictive.

So all this diet is really is looking at all of the 70s and looking at the way people ate then with more real food and less pre-packaged food, where the idea of low-fat didn’t exist. Because when they take fat out of a product, to make it appetizing, they have to add sugar. And even if it’s artificial sugar, that’s what they do and none of that is good for you.

If you look at the amount of sugar, for example, that we eat now in the Western diet, compared to the amount of sugar Westerners ate 80 years ago, it increases unbelievably. And it’s not only in the diet drinks; it’s specifically in the low-fat foods. And that’s the issue.

Samir Husni: So why, after all these years, did you decide to launch Lose It! magazine now?

Suzy Brokensha: Well, what’s really interesting is South African Professor Tim Noakes who has become very famous internationally because of this book; he was always a marathon runner. He himself has run about a 150 marathons, he’s very fit, started the Sports Science Institute in South Africa and he wrote a book about 15 or 20 years ago called “The Lore of Running.” It was all about how a high carbohydrate diet was essential in order to run or to be an athlete and to be healthy.

And his father was a late onset diabetic and he became a late onset diabetic and he started noticing in himself that he couldn’t run anymore and he was getting fatter despite the fact that he was eating sort of militantly healthily according to his own doctrine. And he started questioning what was going on. And he kept on trying to exercise more and he tried to eat more carbohydrates and less fat, but nothing worked. And he saw himself going exactly the same way as his father had gone.

And when he started questioning it, he realized that he was wrong. And he had the courage to, about three or four years ago, to come out and say that he was wrong and that he wished he’d never written that book. It was wrong. Every bit of advice I gave about carbohydrates in that book was wrong. And in South Africa there was a massive backlash against him. Everyone was livid that this guy who they had revered for so long could reverse his decision. I thought it was excellent science. I thought with all the evidence to the contrary, it’s a great scientist who can reverse his decision and say that he was wrong.

I became interested in it about four years ago because my dad was also a late onset diabetic and because he died in the end of diabetic complications. And I know diabetes is a huge issue in South Africa and my brother is also a pre-diabetic and I didn’t want it happening to me.

So I started reading what he was saying and I went to all the talks that he was giving and I tried to get as much information as I could. And I thought he really is changing the way that people think about food in this country. And I started looking at the response when he wrote the book “The Real Meal Revolution” and it sold 200,000 copies in South Africa which is really the biggest selling book we’ve ever had in this country. And I thought there is a market for a magazine like that. The book was mainly a recipe book and there is so much information to get across about this diet that I thought it was ripe for a magazine.

I sat next to him at the launch of his book and I said to him what you need is a magazine and he said perfect. And he said we need to get the information out there, so I knew that we had his interest. And that’s what we did. We started the magazine.

Samir Husni: And what was the initial reaction from the marketplace?

Suzy Brokensha: It’s only been on street now for about a month and the initial reaction was incredibly positive. I think that I’ve seen two detractors on Twitter who were saying it’s absolute nonsense, it’s unhealthy, how could you recommend a high-fat diet in a country like South Africa, isn’t that irresponsible when obesity is such a huge problem.

But the point is that it makes people lose weight. And that diabetes is a massive issue in South Africa and it actually stops late onset diabetes, diabetes Type II. Most people go off their medication when they’re on this diet.

The biggest criticism comes from cardiologists or people who say it’s bad for your heart. And increasingly, as you know from Dr. Oz, you’ll know that cardiologists are reviewing that decision that they made all those years ago, that fat or cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. But they are seriously reviewing it now. I see it as the beginning of a movement, a revolution. And I believe in it.

Samir Husni: So do you feel you are a leader in the movement?

Suzy Brokensha: I do. I feel like I’m a leader, because there hasn’t been a magazine like this. There is a Paleo Magazine, I think; I’m not sure where it’s published, probably in the States. But it’s a different diet. I just don’t think there’s anything like it in South Africa.

And I know that it’s hugely influential because sports people are increasingly using it, because it improves their performance.

Samir Husni: After looking at the magazine, you are reaching a dual audience. You are going after, men, women and children. Most diet magazines are aimed at women; it’s rare to see a diet magazine aimed at men. What’s the uniqueness of Lose It!?

Suzy Brokensha: What I think is interesting is that it’s your performance that improves, your performance in life improves, your brain functions better, you can run farther, and you can run faster. If you look at those statistics about people who are on this diet and Professor Tim Noakes is tracking some of those people, the athletes and their performance since they started eating this way; it’s absolutely incredible. Someone I read about recently knocked 21 minutes off their marathon. And that’s really huge.

So I think what appeals to men is that performance aspect of it. You don’t feel deprived, in fact, you feel very satisfied and it’s a very satiating diet. Because of the fat, because the fat, the fix and the hormones that tell you that you are full. And that’s actually always been the problem with low-fat diets; you never feel full because you constantly feel dissatisfied because those hormones are not activated.

But the person eating a high-fat diet, those hormones are activated, so they don’t feel deprived and they perform better. And they sleep better and that fact appeals to men, I think and that whole idea that they’re functioning as a bit of a machine. And women like it because they lose weight.

Samir Husni: And why did you feel the need for a print magazine instead of just going to the website and finding all that information?

Suzy Brokensha: I think it’s about curating. So we have got several different experts speaking in this magazine and they will appear in all the magazines. And it’s about a different aspect every time. We work together to curate the best content possible for this.

So you could find little bits, but everybody that I have spoken to as well has asked: what is the actual difference between Paleo, Atkins and Banting? What are the actual differences between multitudes of diets? And I think this is a magazine that explains the differences and the route that we’ve taken. And it’s very direct and it’s very directional. And it tells you exactly what to do. Whereas if you went online, you might find different, little snippets of information from a whole lot of different sites, but it wouldn’t be as directional as the magazine. It’s a blueprint, not just a magazine. And I don’t think we could have done that just online and achieve the same thing.

Samir Husni: Do you think it’s a trend or a fad?

Suzy Brokensha: I don’t think it’s either. I think it’s a return to the truth of how we should eat. Because I think a trend also implies that it will have an end; I think this is a rediscovery of the way that we should eat. I also think it will last forever and have a massive impact on the way people will live their lives.

Samir Husni: And I have to ask you; do you follow the diet?

Suzy Brokensha: I do. But my weakness, and it’s interesting as to what your weakness is, some people battle an issue with carbs, I don’t do battle with carbs at all. I’m not eating bread or pasta, that doesn’t bother me. Potatoes? I wouldn’t care if I saw any of that again in my life.

My weakness is chocolate and wine. It’s those two things. And you can have both sparingly, but it’s the sparingly that presents the problem.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Suzy Brokensha: What am I worried about? I’m not worried at all about this magazine. There is absolutely nothing that worries me about it. I think that we’re lucky in that we struck at the right time. I think that there are going to be followers and imitators. My main concern is when we were thinking about it was to get it out first. I wanted to be first and to put it out with the authority of the people we have contributing to the magazine. And I think we have achieved that and I’m sure there will be imitators, but because we were first and because we have that staff of authority; we will stay the distance.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Truth in Reporting: Lose It! magazine is published by Media 24 in South Africa, a media company that I consult for. I had no role in the launch of Lose It!.

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Covering Every “Stitch” Of The Crafting Community And Every “Thread” Possible; Stampington & Company Isn’t Slowing Down When It Comes To Launching New Magazines In Print…The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Christen Olivarez – Editor-In-Chief & Director Of Publishing – Stampington & Company…

May 2, 2014

“It sounds silly that we have a magazine about aprons, but it’s still doing extremely well. And people who love aprons love aprons. That’s what we’re finding.”… Christen Olivarez.

Christen Olivarez When it comes to the art of crafting, no one does it better than Stampington & Company. Not only do they publish the largest number of crafting and arts magazines in the industry; the magazine media company recognizes the value and the target points of niche marketing as well.

With seemingly endless additions to their repertoire, Christen Olivarez, Editor-In-Chief and Director of Publishing, talks with Mr. Magazine™ about the company’s desire to fulfill every want their readers might have by offering up a multitude of variety and discernible selection when it comes to the titles available under their banner.

And in the words of the inimitable Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better.” From crafts to cooking to business to aprons – yes, I said aprons, Stampington & Company is proving that niche is where it’s at when it comes to launching new magazines.

So grab your favorite pastime and bring it along as you read the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Christen Olivarez – because there’s a good chance she has a magazine just for you…

But first the sound-bites…

On why she believes there is still room for more crafting magazines:
What we’re noticing is that the entire craft movement and even just a move back to domesticity with cooking and things like that are becoming more and more popular especially thanks to the rise of Pinterest as a website.

On whether or not she believes print is the right platform for all their new launches:
Right now we’re solely focusing on the print product and any of our new publications; upon first printing is always a print magazine.

On all the specialized titles and whether they’re still reaching the same audience: I think what we’re trying to do is that we’re finding that a lot of our loyal readers and some of our new readers have so many interests that we’re trying to cater to all them.

On the major stumbling block they’ve faced:
Our biggest thing is just trying to keep everything fresh so that people feel drawn to pick up the magazine when they could just as easily find something on the computer to make.

On her most pleasant surprise:
That people still get so excited about our new launches.

On her favorite title out of the 32 they have: That’s just so hard. I’ve been with the company for almost seven years and I’ve been in charge for a little over three years now. I have to say right now that Willow and Sage has taken me completely by surprise, I can’t believe how much I’ve grown to love it.

On what keeps her up at night:
For me, it’s all the ideas we have and how we’re going to put them into place and where we’re going to put them.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Christen Olivarez – Editor-In-Chief and Director of Publishing – Stampington & Company…


1WIL-1401 Samir Husni: Over the last few years, you’ve been bringing a lot of new titles into the fold. So why do you think there is still room for more craft, business and cooking magazines, the style that you do, on the market? Why did you think that today was a good time to launch yet another one with Willow and Sage?

Christen Olivarez: What we’re noticing is that the entire craft movement and even just a move back to domesticity with cooking and things like that are becoming more and more popular especially thanks to the rise of Pinterest as a website. More people are getting involved in arts and crafts; it’s becoming a more mainstream type of hobby versus just a few select women doing it at home. As well as a lot of people are realizing that they can make this into that and so we’re able to launch a magazine based on having creative businesses.

So we really just watched the industry as a whole and saw what seemed to be emerging as a trend and a lot of our readers were at the forefront of setting those trends. So that’s what really determines how we’re going to launch a magazine. We don’t have big focus groups or anything like that; if we feel like something needs a magazine, then we’ll go ahead and launch it because we’re a very small company so we can turn things around really quickly.

And we’re noticing a huge rise in people making bath and body products, especially to give as gifts. So we thought sure, there’s stuff available online but let’s put it all together in a nice book and have it as a magazine twice a year so that people can learn a bunch of different things about handmade bath and body products. The market really drove the need to launch it, so how could we not do it. It’s also a dream that our publisher, Kellene Giloff, had had for a long time.

Once the market seemed right for it, we went headfirst and we’re just thrilled at how it came out.

Samir Husni: Are you still a firm believer that print is the right platform for all these publications or do you think you’ll be moving more in the direction of merging print with digital?

Christen Olivarez: Right now we’re solely focusing on the print product and any of our new publications; upon first printing is always a print magazine. Once we’ve sold out a title, because we do not do reprints of anything, we will then go ahead and issue it as a digital magazine, but no new content right now. Our model is we will not produce anything new that will be solely a digital platform.

We just think that there is still a good market for print. It may be a little bit smaller now, but the people we cater to really like the feel of a print magazine. So we’re still continuing to invest money and all of our resources with our great paper and everything like that to produce a quality magazine that customers feel like investing in, so for now digital only after we have sold issues out.
Samir Husni: Your titles are becoming more and more specialized: Digital Inspiration, Willow and Sage, Where Women Create Business, Where Women Create; are you still reaching to the same audience or are you trying to slice and dice the market?

APR-200x200 Christen Olivarez: I think what we’re trying to do is that we’re finding that a lot of our loyal readers and some of our new readers have so many interests that we’re trying to cater to all them. There’s just so much available out there, especially in the crafts realm, people like sewing, so of course we want to have sewing magazines. People like making jewelry, so we want to have jewelry magazines for them.

So we just see a big wide world and that’s why we’re able to create these almost niche of a niche magazines for people. And they seem to really like them. It sounds silly that we have a magazine about aprons, but it’s still doing extremely well. And people who love aprons love aprons. That’s what we’re finding.

So we’re not trying to split people up, we’re just realizing that people have many interests. And so we have a jewelry artist who also wants to find out about launching her own business. Maybe she also likes sewing on the side, so we’re just trying to offer something for everyone.

Samir Husni: What has been the major stumbling block that you’ve faced in the process of launching all these magazines?

Christen Olivarez: I think there’s so much available online. So we’re trying our hardest, especially with craft blogs and Pinterest, there’s just so much on the web and so we’re always trying to find things that are not available there so that people feel compelled to pick up the magazine and they’re not just getting something that they’ve already seen on the Internet.

Our biggest thing is just trying to keep everything fresh so that people feel drawn to pick up the magazine when they could just as easily find something on the computer to make. That’s our greatest struggle.

Samir Husni: And what has been the most pleasant surprise?

Christen Olivarez: That people still get so excited about our new launches. We actually have another one coming out in August that we’re working on and people are still so excited to see what we’re going to do next. And we’ve been around for 20 years and of course readers move on but we still have the same base of readers and they’re still picking everything up and that’s great to see that we’ve built such a loyal base that they can’t wait to see what specialty pub we’ll make the next time. Just to see what tiny little area of crafting that we’ll decide to explore.

Samir Husni: You mentioned that the market may have shrunk a little bit for print, but as a publishing director; do you still think this is a good business and will it continue to be a good business?

Christen Olivarez: I think so as long as people follow smart business models. I think when people try to undersell their magazines and sell them at such a low rate of subscription that’s really hard. And I think that we’re really smart in the way that we handle our business model in that we still keep the high cover price that’s going to keep us in business. If we offered a two-year subscription for $2 we would have been out of business a long time ago.

Staying true to the product is important. We’ve seen some other magazines, not our own, over the years that the quality of the material they use just keeps getting lesser and lesser and it becomes thinner and thinner. And we haven’t changed paper, we’re still buying the same paper and we’re still keeping our page counts higher than ever. So you really just have to stay true to your product.

Also not having to have these huge print counts and just trying to stay small helps us, we’re not trying to be the next huge magazine, we’re just trying to develop a good product that people want.

Samir Husni: You have 32 titles now. If someone asked you which one is your favorite baby, what do you say?

Christen Olivarez: That’s just so hard. I’ve been with the company for almost seven years and I’ve been in charge for a little over three years now. I have to say right now that Willow and Sage has taken me completely by surprise, I can’t believe how much I’ve grown to love it. I think it’s because we got involved with creating a lot of the content ourselves because people weren’t sure of what we wanted when we were seeking submissions from people.

And I feel like when you launch a new magazine it’s so important to set the right tone for the first issue so people will know what to expect and if they want to take part in it and they know what you’re looking for. And we worked so hard on Willow and Sage and I was just so surprised at how much I fell in love with the content and just coming up with the product and the design. It’s really taken over for me.

And then our next launch is actually called Bella Grace and it’s our first time going into the women’s interest section. And it’s not a craft magazine this time. And this is another one that has taken me completely by surprise because I am a crafter at heart and I usually like the craft-related magazines. But these two new launches have completely taken over for me because it’s new and it’s a challenge.

Samir Husni: Tell me a little bit about Bella Grace?

Christen Olivarez: It will launch in August. And it will be in the women’s interest section, which is completely new for us and a little scary, but it’s coming together really beautifully.

Samir Husni: And what about Digital Inspiration, which you launched last month?

BDI-200x200 Christen Olivarez: Digital Inspiration was fun for us because it was our first Bookazine. We launched it in a larger format with a bigger dimension and what we did was we published so much incredible digital artwork in our other magazine, Somerset Digital Studio, we thought we’d go through and pick our favorite pieces and our best of and go ahead and put it together in a newly designed magazine and hopefully entice people who maybe haven’t seen Somerset Digital Studio to pick up Digital Inspiration and see the artwork coming from that magazine and maybe they’ll pick up the other one as well, because they are in two different areas of the newsstands. Somerset Digital Studio often winds up in the crafting section and our hope was that Digital Inspiration would be in the graphic design section to hopefully entice readers to pick up both titles.

So that one was really fun just learning the new format of working with the larger dimensions. We had to work with a different printing press this time and the different dimensions were challenging and fun and it’s been really well received, which is great.

Samir Husni: So, if someone comes to you today and says, you’re an expert, you’ve been doing this for years and you’ve established a print-driven customer-based business model, high cover price and subscription; I have an idea for a magazine. What advice do you have for them?

Christen Olivarez: I would first make sure that they have a really concrete idea of what they want. We’ve had people come to us before who’ve said I have an idea for a magazine and it’s “this.” And I’ll ask, what visuals will you have to go with it and what kind of contributors? And a lot of times people won’t fully think it out. So there are great ideas, but you have to see how logical they are and make sure there will be a market for it as well.

So I would just say to plan everything. There are a lot of people putting great magazines together, but it’s a lot more work than people realize. They have to make sure they have a great marketing plan too; how are they going to get it to people? It’s not always as easy as it seems. And it might seem easy because there are so many digital magazines out there too.

I would just say you really have to think it through. Will you have advertising, what kind of contributors will you have? You just have to consider every facet of it.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Christen Olivarez: For me, it’s all the ideas we have and how we’re going to put them into place and where we’re going to put them. We just have so many ideas and the office is full of people just going back and forth saying, what if we tried this in this magazine or why don’t we try doing this.

I stay up because I get excited and think how in the world are we ever going to do all the things we want to, especially working in a small company. We sometimes have our hands tied with how much we can do with the staff that we have.

And that’s what keeps me up at night…the excitement and how to carry out all our ideas.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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A Mr. Magazine™ State of New Magazines Report: A Healthy First Trimester of 2014.

April 30, 2014

A Snapshot of Popular Culture:
84 Magazines Launched with Frequency + 187 Specials and Annuals in the First Trimester of 2014…
The Mr. Magazine™ State of New Magazines Report

Magazine Frequency NEWEST! (Chart by Madisen Theobald)

The term mirror image comes to mind when I think of magazines and our society – past and present. Magazines have been reflectors of pop culture in a very tangible way for generations. They have accurately taken the pulse of both the population and the culture like no other media could have done. And there is no better way to gauge such culture than by tracking the slew of new magazines arriving at the marketplace. New titles record, reflect and note every trend or innovation people become fascinated with.

Dating back to the French during the Enlightenment written literature has been a reflection of society as the medium for politics and the arts. Ideas and concepts pre-existed due to the exposure of literature and the way in which it was written and conveyed. Literature shaped society then by widening knowledge, philosophies, criticisms and parodies. The more creative the prose, the more minds were molded within the society. Politics could be influenced too, along with the basic foundations of the culture.

And today’s literature, in the form of new magazines and the present populace are no exception. The trends of the 21st century are certainly being echoed back as precisely as a “Hello” reverberates across a canyon and comes back to the voice that initiated it.

When I first started documenting new magazine launches in the early 80s of the last century, more new magazines were being published devoted to sex and other erotic topics. As we moved into the 90s media celebrities and music started to take prominence due to the impact of cable television and the specialized networks that it ushered in.

As we entered the 21st Century, September 11, 2001 happened and the home became once more the palace of the American people. Crafts, needlework, hobbies became the largest segment of new magazines, dethroning sex, music and media personalities. The more we cocooned the more titles moved in that direction including food, the leader of such categories for the last four years.

One of the trending topics today is fitness and health, along with eating organically and smartly. And as we look at the new launches that have been born in the first trimester of 2014, we see that movement clearly in some of the titles in print.

dr-oz-the-good-lifeNFM_Spring_Issue_Cover

From Naked Food magazine, the title of which has absolutely nothing to do with anything or anybody being without clothes (it’s an acronym for New American Kind & Enlightened Diet) and is strictly concerned with eating foods that have not been tainted and are not toxic with genetically-modified organisms, to Dr. Oz The Good Life; the magazine’s mirror definitely resonates with what’s important in today’s culture.

The two magazines mentioned above are included in the 84 new launches with frequency. So far, 2014 has surpassed 2013’s first trimester by 11 new titles. Frequency numbers for that period were at 73 and the titles trending then were just as resonant with the times as they are one year later.

cake-whiskey-2

From a business magazine dedicated to women with the intriguing title, Cake & Whiskey, where businesswomen and entrepreneurs gather in groups to eat cake & whiskey and discuss their profitability or start-ups, to an epicurean delight called One True Vine; the magazines from a year ago remain vibrant and relevant today.

wolfdinosaur2

Today, oversized and sophisticated is also part and parcel of what’s piquing the public’s interest. A new magazine called Dinosaur, which focuses on people over 50, is sleek and extremely fetching and perfect for the coffee table (another trending experience people are enjoying) and a beautiful photography showcase, Wolf magazine, would look perfect lying right beside it.

The fascination with whatever tickles our fancy is never lost on our print counterparts we call magazines. Nothing is as perceptive and relevant to our wants and desires as ink on paper.

magazine specials new(Chart by Madisen Theobald)

Special issues and bookazines also breathe life into what we exhale as important. The niche marketing of these types of publications is vital in today’s marketing. There have been 187 specials and bookazines in this first trimester.

simply-sweet-best-cupcakes-and-moretastes-of-home-13x9

Epicurean delights led the way in the specials with titles such as Simply Sweet’s – Best Cupcakes & More, Taste of Home’s 13×9 Pan With A Plan and Bisquick’s Breakfast and Brunch, with many more to tantalize and tease your taste buds.

From remembering D-Day to a multitude of specials focusing on Jesus and the Greatest Story Ever Told, the topics and titles are diversified and definitely reflective of what’s important to readers today.

The numbers for last year’s Specials and bookazines were slightly higher, with 201 gracing newsstands in 2013’s first trimester.

life-pope-francis-299soap-opera-digest-general-hospital-turns-50life-icons-willie-nelson

Special interest topics lead the way with everything eclectic, from Willie Nelson, Pope Francis and the celebration of 50 years of General Hospital, to flower and vegetable gardening; specials and bookazines were riding high on the niche wave and very successfully too.

As the world continues to spin on its axis and babies continue to be born; the way American culture sees itself will also continue to be reflected by the magazine reader’s demands. For every publication that rolls off of the printer’s press, there will be a living, breathing human being somewhere who can relate to it.

So the next time you buy a magazine or pull one out of your mailbox, be sure you hold it up in front of your face first and as you smile at its cover, don’t be surprised when you see the same smile staring back at you…

Happy reading!

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Just Like Print: This Dinosaur Isn’t Extinct. The Mr. Magazine™ Conversation With Steven Gdula, Publisher And Editor Of Dinosaur Magazine…

April 16, 2014

It’s Alive And Kicking And Showing Its Stuff In A New Ink On Paper Magazine That Targets Those Of Us Fifty And Older – Which By The Way – Is A Generation More Relevant And Active Than Ever Before

“… The three main themes behind the name. The idea of print being exciting or going extinct, the idea that there’s this diminished cultural relevance that gets put on people that are a certain age, and the idea that the magazine itself is large.”… Steven Gdula, Publisher and Editor of Dinosaur Magazine…

dinosaur2 Big, bold and vibrant – three words that describe the new magazine Dinosaur to a T. The oversized beauty is amazing to say the least. Targeting an audience of 50 year-olds and over, the premier issue focuses on Baltimore and each subsequent emergence afterward will feature a different city.

Steven Gdula Steven Gdula, Publisher and Editor of the magazine, is as exuberant about his new egg hatching as a proud “Dinosaur” parent would be. Behind the name lives the idea that sometimes people of a certain age get pigeon-holed or stereotyped with certain monikers, dinosaur being one of them.

That being said, this magazine proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that being a “dinosaur” isn’t a bad thing at all.

And now sit back and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Steven Gdula, Publisher and Editor of Dinosaur magazine.

But first the sound-bites…


On part of the reasoning behind a three-page magazine introduction…

And we hoped that it wouldn’t be too indulgent, but we found it necessary in this climate with so many publications unfortunately folding that we needed to make our case for the direction of the magazine.

On the three themes to the magazine…
The idea of print being exciting or going extinct, the idea that there’s this diminished cultural relevance that gets put on people that are a certain age, and the idea that the magazine itself is large.

On the city of Baltimore, which is featured in issue No. 1…
There has always been something percolating there, something sort of rumbling just beneath the surface. And in the last 10 years it’s just now started to get its due. And it’s exciting to witness.

On the Eureka moment for Dinosaur…
Once my domestic partner, Lon Chapman, and I had the conversation where we had the Eureka moment of when he was encouraging me to re-launch this small culture zine that I had in the 90s, and I said…well, of course…the line that came out of my mouth, “What would I call it now? Dinosaur?” And that was our Eureka moment.

On the biggest stumbling block to launching the magazine…
The biggest stumbling block: getting advertisers to commit to something that while they trust you and understand your vision, until they can see it and hold it in their hands it’s outside their realm.

On the most pleasant surprise in regard to launching Dinosaur…
I think the reception, we knew that we had created something beautiful and we knew we had created something that people in our demographic would relate to. I didn’t anticipate just how strong the reactions were going to be. And it’s been humbling and just overwhelming.

On what keeps Steven Gdula up at night…

I worry about keeping this venture going, because I have asked people who I’ve worked with, as I said previously, for decades now, I’ve asked people to come along and be a part of this with us and I don’t want to let them down.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Steven Gdula, publisher and editor of Dinosaur magazine.


Samir Husni: Out of the 200-plus new magazines that are published with a regular frequency, usually only about five or 10 of them jump out at me and tell me I need to talk to this person. With yours, I came back last night from New York and the first thing I told my assistant is that I’m going to try to do an interview with Steven. Anybody who is willing to take three pages to write an editorial, introducing a new magazine, to me is a person who knows what he is doing…

Steven Gdula: Thank you very much. And we hoped that it wouldn’t be too indulgent, but we found it necessary in this climate with so many publications unfortunately folding that we needed to make our case for the direction of the magazine.

We wanted to show the necessity in our opinion for this type of publication right now in the marketplace and just to give people enough background so that when the reader would dive into that editorial they would feel hopefully an immediate sense of belonging and an immediate sense of identification and know that, yes, we were speaking to hopefully a position that they were finding themselves in at this point in their lives as well.

SH: What’s behind the name of the magazine, Dinosaur?

SG: It was certainly a Eureka-type moment based upon having, I think, a good sense of humor about myself and where I am at this point in my life. There are also so many other factors considering print is seen by some as part of the media that is going extinct.

The idea that the magazine itself was supersized and larger and would occupy a pretty good chunk of real estate on a coffee table or on a nightstand or wherever it was being displayed in a home.

And also the idea that there is a diminished cultural and creative relevance that gets attached to certain people of a certain age. I think that having been writing about the entertainment industry for a good portion of my freelance journalism career, I encountered people from time to time who were just 45 years of age addressing the issue of how much time they had left to be considered relevant with their output.

And that really stayed with me, especially as I was approaching 50 and the idea that you are a dinosaur and that what you are doing is no longer relevant and you are no longer contributing something of worth whether it be your creative output or whether it just be your opinion.

I’m reading right now Joe Orton’s diaries and I found it interesting that his partner was referred to by many in their social circles and their artistic circles as a middle-aged non entity. And I think at that time I think he was only in his mid to late 30s I believe.

That struck me because it would’ve been something that ended up in that editorial for the first issue of Dinosaur had I encountered before. And also, the South American writer, Jorge Luis Borges, who in one of his stories referred to someone as being middle aged and they were at the point in their life where their features were rendered infinitely vague.

And I was thinking about all these negative things that people are saying and people have said about the demographic that I’m now a part of. That was not my experience and that was not the experience of the people around me. And as we started talking about pulling this all together what was striking to me was how many of the artists that inspired me when I was growing up and when I was cutting my teeth and forming my own aesthetic, how many of those people were still active.

And the one person that I think that I mentioned in the editorial, specifically David Bowie, coming out after 10 years of supposed retirement with some work that stands up to some of his most brilliant moments in his career and he was 66 years old.

So I think that pretty much touches upon the three main themes behind the name. The idea of print being exciting or going extinct, the idea that there’s this diminished cultural relevance that gets put on people that are a certain age, and the idea that the magazine itself is large.

SH: You’ve crisscrossed the country. You fell in love with Baltimore, then D.C., now San Francisco. There’s sort of homage to Baltimore in the first issue. How are you trying in this magazine to connect the culture to the towns, to the audience?

SG: That’s a really good question and I hadn’t really thought about it. I was thinking ahead of the other cities that we’re featuring. Issue No. 2 will feature Detroit. Issue No. 3 will be Harlem. Issue 4 is Pittsburgh.

So I think that as far as particular relevance with Baltimore, it’s a place that’s been overlooked and just recently is starting to get its due in the media. People are seeing it as its own city and its own culture. Whether that has something to do with the Ravens and their success as well as an influx of new money that’s coming into the city in the form of the Four Seasons and Michael Mina has two wonderful new restaurants.

The food scene there has been developing I would say in the past five to seven years and has been very exciting to see, but there’s always been this vibrant, creative community with bands that some of which have now gone on to major label success and to great touring success. I’m thinking of especially Beach House.

There has always been something percolating there, something sort of rumbling just beneath the surface. And in the last 10 years it’s just now started to get its due. And it’s exciting to witness.

I have many good friends. My art director/partner in this endeavor — he and his wife are also our web team. I’ve known him since I moved to the city. Baltimore is a great place to be as funky, as creative, as unrestricted in your forms of expression as you want to be. I think that tying that into the culture of the first issue, we were looking at, “well what are some of the things that are overlooked that are now starting to be seen as valuable?” Of course people in our demographic feel this way.

And Baltimore just seems like a nice destination to include because visually it’s interesting, artistically it is as well. There’s a lot going on and I hesitate to use the word renaissance because I think that gets used to the point where it’s just no longer effective, it’s lost its meaning.

dinosaur2 SH: Having just mentioned that, I wanted to go back to that moment of conception, when the idea just cemented in your mind, did you go to Joe and say, “Let’s do this?” Who came up with this? All these things that you’ve just described about Baltimore are also in the magazine… I mean the magazine is very artistic, beautiful, the design, the size of the pictures, the whole package. It is indeed a coffee table magazine that demands pick me up, look at me. How does that come into being? Was it you and Joe sitting down and talking? Was it only the two of you or was there a whole bunch of folks that discussed this?

SG: Once my domestic partner, Lon Chapman, and I had the conversation where we had the Eureka moment of when he was encouraging me to re-launch this small culture zine that I had in the 90s, and I said…well of course…the line that came out of my mouth, “What would I call it now? Dinosaur?” And that was our Eureka moment.

I sat with that idea for a few days and realized that one of the things that I always missed was the gorgeous coffee table-sized magazines that were a part of my formative years. And I knew that there were other people out there that missed them as well.

Joe was somebody that I had known from that same circle of writers and artists who were getting up and doing open-mike poetry readings, that’s how Joe and I met. And I knew of his work as a graphic designer and as an artist and we had kind of had conversations over the years where we knew that we had the same aesthetic, well similar aesthetics and definitely an appreciation for visuals that pushed the boundaries a little bit, either literally on the page or I should say pushed the boundaries of what people expected from visual presentation in a magazine.

Joe and I both did small chap books, poetry books back in the 90s. So I knew immediately as I started to conceptualize that he was the person that I wanted to work with on this.

I sent him an email knowing he was extremely busy but I just said do you think that this is doable. I know that we both like large format art and music magazines and culture magazines and he wrote back immediately and said the short answer is yes.

Because we also realized that there was nothing on bookshelves, on the magazine shelves that was appealing to us the way the magazines that we grew up with had appealed to us. We also realized that a lot of our interests were still the same.

So in this ongoing conversation as we laid this idea out in our heads we were talking about the need for beautiful photographic spreads, interesting typography, and I had even said at one point that I loved the Arena, the Face, Vanity Fair in the 80s was spectacular, Interview magazine even Ray Gun magazine into the 90s. They were the types of magazines that I would leave open on the kitchen counter or on the coffee table because the visuals were so inspiring.

And Joe immediately knew what I was referring to and agreed. And we missed the idea of holding those things in our hands. You can pull up a beautiful image on your iPad and there are certainly gorgeous, gorgeous apps out there for various magazines, you can pull that image up on your iPad, you can pull that up on your computer screen. It’s not the same experience of having that tactile sensation of the glossy magazine. Joe is the one who really wanted to push for a certain weight for the paper.

We were in agreement as far as how everything should look and Joe took it one step forward and said this needs to have some heft. And the pages themselves need for practical reason because they have ink on them that we don’t want bleeding through, just so when the pages turn the idea is reinforced that this is something of substance, this is something of significance, the magazine itself, the image on the page, the words on the page.

And we knew some great photographers. I had worked with a couple of people before in Baltimore and some out here on the West Coast and I knew people that would be able to carry this out. Joe’s eye for framing is, he’s just incredibly gifted in that regard. He sees things that other people don’t see. And that’s why, again, why he was the perfect person to pair up with for this project.

SH: What was the major stumbling block in the road to launch the first issue?

SG: Only one? The fact that Joe’s extremely busy; he has a consulting business for user experience. And he and his wife also have a web company. So he was extremely busy. I was calling, I’m going to use the word favors, but I don’t want that to be misunderstood because everybody had been paid. And that was another thing that we wanted to do.

We felt that too many careers had been devalued by the web with writing just being posted and reposted and reposted. And in many cases, writers and photographers were being asked to work for free.

So it was very important to us that everybody was paid a fair wage for what they were doing and a competitive wage. But so when I say I called in favors, I reached out to people that I have worked with in a number of fields over the last 25 years. And a lot of them have a full time job and are actively engaged in some sort of side project as well. So time was an issue.

We had no trouble getting people to understand the mission statement and the direction, so that was easy. More than anything else it was a matter of commitment of time because people were stretched a little thin — like most creative people now, if they don’t have one full-time job then they have several freelance gigs that they piece together. So, that was certainly an issue.

And another thing was, it’s difficult to see the idea of the magazine without something to show people. So we went through a period of shopping around the brand and asking people to commit to advertising. That was the biggest stumbling block: getting advertisers to commit to something that while they trust you and understand your vision, until they can see it and hold it in their hands it’s outside their realm. So that was difficult. When we had people say yes, we will place an ad with you; in some cases they didn’t have an advertising budget in place for a while so we actually had to create their ads for them.

SH: So what was the most pleasant surprise?

SG: Reception. Emails like yours. The way people pick it up and immediately send an email to one of us, it’s been slow getting traction on Twitter and our Facebook presence isn’t even over a 1,000 yet. But I think that the reception, we knew that we had created something beautiful and we knew we had created something that people in our demographic would relate to. I didn’t anticipate just how strong the reactions were going to be. And it’s been humbling and just overwhelming.

SH: Steven, my last question to you is what keeps you up at night?

SG: What keeps me up at night? That’s a great question. And I limit my caffeine intake after a certain point in the day because of that.

I worry about keeping this venture going because I have asked people who I’ve worked with, as I said previously, for decades now, I’ve asked people to come along and be a part of this with us and I don’t want to let them down. And that is a source of some tossing and turning and more than one night glancing over and seeing 3:30 a.m. on the digital clock.

Because you know, it is a risk as I know you are fully aware. It is a risk and I’m asking people to take time that they could devote to something else to work on this project with us. And their commitment has humbled me. And I also want to prove that there is a need for this type of publication that targets this demographic. And we’re seeing it already. I just want to make sure that it lives up to the expectations that we have for it.

SH: Thank you.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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