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New Magazines Are Here To Stay: Mr. Magazine’s Study Shows An Increase In Survival Rates Of Magazine Launches 2006 – 2015.

August 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 11.16.03 AMSurvival rates of new magazines are on the up.  More magazines are remaining in business after ten years of publishing despite all the news of doom and gloom some try to project.

Almost two out of every ten new magazines launched ten years ago are still in business today.  That rate of survival has been the domain of magazines launched four years ago.  The survival rate after four years is now at three out of ten titles remain in business.

The chart below looks at all the new magazine launched since 2006 until the end of 2015 with an intended frequency of four times or more (needless to say I have them all and they all fit my definition of what is a magazine, yes, you guessed it, ink on paper…)

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s

New Magazine Launches and Survival Rates 2006 – 2015*

__________________________________________________________

Year                            Total                  Total                  Survival

Launched                   Launches           Survived            Percentage

 2006:                           332                     57                       17.17%    

2007:                           245                    56                       22.86%

2008:                           195                    38                       19.49%

2009:                           197                     37                       18.78%

2010:                           190                     56                       29.47%

2011:                           176                     51                       28.98%

2012:                           237                     71                       29.96%

2013:                           195                     61                       31.28%

2014:                           232                     83                       35.78%

2015:                           236                     106                     44.92%

____________________________________________________

Total:                          2235                   616                     27.57%

*Source: Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s Guide to New Magazines and Mr. Magazine’s Launch Monitor.

Numbers above represent magazines that were launched since 2006 with an intended frequency of 4 times or more.  The survival numbers reflect those magazines that are still being published as of August 15, 2016.

 

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Prevention Magazine’s New Editor In Chief Brings Her Own “Healthy” Focus To The Recently Reimagined Legacy Brand – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Barbara O’Dair, Editor In Chief, Prevention Magazine

August 16, 2016

COVER_HI

“These days we have to think of ourselves as a brand editor, which includes all kinds of digital products, books, events and experiences for the readers, in addition to the print publication. I don’t think print is going out any time soon, that might be a minority opinion, but I believe it has a strong place in our culture and among readers. But, I’m also glad that we have other platforms to work on and build.” Barbara O’Dair

Barbara O’Dair knows a thing or two about magazines. From Reader’s Digest to MORE; from US to Teen People; Barbara has worked at some of the top magazines in the country and has brought her talents and skills along with her to make a strong impact on each title.

Today, Barbara has taken over the reins of Prevention as editor in chief, and has a clear vision for a legacy brand that has recently switched directions as an ad-free model, which Barbara agrees, offers more freedoms than the title may have ever had. And she’s determined to use those freedoms wisely and extensively.

I spoke with Barbara recently and we talked about this ad-free liberation the new Prevention offers both the reader and the magazine; the new direction that she’s taking with the title, and the overall focus of hard-health that she is implementing.

The September issue, on sale today, will reflect many of those O’Dair-influences she talks about in the interview, the renaming of sections of the book, the energetic new feel, and the experts that have been added to the already prestigious list of doctors and other notables that are a mainstay of Prevention.

It was an exciting and informative discussion that gives you the sense that while a title can be legacy and a trusted product that many people rely on; it can also rejuvenate with new birth, new focus and a new captain at the wheel.

And now, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Barbara O’Dair, Editor In Chief, Prevention magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

BODair_2On how, under her leadership, she plans to make the new Prevention magazine different from the other healthy lifestyle titles: Any magazine can have a claim to healthier and happier; we do. We have 66 years of that under our belt and I think it’s in keeping with what Preventions’ mission has always been, and I’m going to turn that up even more.

On how editing a magazine with no advertising is different from editing one that does: It’s so much fun. I’m really enjoying it. I open the magazine when it comes back from the printer and it’s just great story after great story, with gorgeous visuals and it feels very rich to me. I think that we have all kinds of freedoms now that we might not have had before.

On how she feels the role of an editor has changed today when it comes to print: These days we have to think of ourselves as a brand editor, which includes all kinds of digital products, books, events and experiences for the readers, in addition to the print publication. I don’t think print is going out any time soon, that might be a minority opinion, but I believe it has a strong place in our culture and among readers. But, I’m also glad that we have other platforms to work on and build.

On the shopping experience, Prevention Picks: It’s part of the idea of being a brand editor, where I pull in a number of platforms that include our shopping experience, which is shopprevention.com. And we’ve been very careful to curate products for that service to our readers. As much as possible, we choose sustainable, organic products, high-quality; we have guidelines that steer us in the right direction, in terms of what we include in our shopping experience.

On how she differentiates Prevention from other health magazines out there: I actually don’t know of another pure health magazine out there. I know fitness magazines and food magazines, and even websites that are devoted to health, such as everyday health or more condition-related health, but I don’t know any product that brings it all together.

On her focus when it comes to the magazine’s covers: Nothing is a sure bet. I think we’re still looking for just the right approach to the covers. We have had great success in the past with our gorgeous food covers, but we don’t want to be limited to that, so we do test models regularly and I mean models as in people, not as in test runs. So, we’re certainly open to that.

On how her role at Prevention is different from anything else that she’s done: That’s a really good question. To me it feels like the culmination of many different strands of what I’ve pursued in the past, and I have to say that I look an awful lot at Reader’s Digest and MORE about our Prevention reader. Primarily, women of a certain age; however, we do have some male readers and we have younger readers, and I’m sure we’ll attract more with our new direction. But the core readership is someone that I feel I totally understand. And that comes partly from working at Reader’s Digest and MORE in the past, and also having an orientation toward that reader.

On whether the September issue, her first as editor, will have a noticeable change from past issues: That’s a great question. I plan to evolve it, but I’m also interested in establishing a few different things for the reader right away. One is to make the connection outward to them; I feel that with Prevention in the recent past, and with many magazines, it’s a one-way conversation. And it’s really important to me to hear back and for Prevention readers to feel like that they’re part of a community and that their voices are being heard. And then, just a certain level of energy and dynamism that I’d like to think are within the pages. I renamed some of the book’s sections, which I’m evolving slowly toward more hard health, but I wanted it to look really energetic. And so the opener is a great brain image and it’s about how oral storytelling activates the entire brain in ways that nothing else does. So, it’s maybe a slightly different approach to this new section and I renamed it “Pulse.” I’d like to think it gives it more of an edge, more appeal and more urgency.

On whether she feels the magazine now has its finger on the “Pulse” of the reader: (Laughs) Yes, I think that’s it. Pulse is a nice play on words, and it has two definitions; it’s a verb and a noun. And I just liked that idea of a beating heart to begin the magazine. It lays out what you’re going to find in a deeper, longer form as you go along in the magazine.

 On how she stays happier and healthier: I try to eat right, but just as an aside, I was worried about coming to Prevention, because I thought I might have to be perfect. (Laughs) My healthy practices… (Laughs again) So, I started thinking, what sport can I add into my style or would I ever be able to eat a potato chip again? And what I found was that at Prevention, we take our readers and we give them information about how to improve and maintain their health, but we’re really speaking to the everyday person who wants to be healthier, but who is not necessarily a fanatic. They’re looking to learn more.

On how Prevention is an “experience” for the reader: I totally agree that experience is the key word here. I think the idea that Prevention is a community plays into that. I’m striving for that with the emotional connection with the readers that I talked about, and with the overture to the readers to engage themselves with the magazine. I feel that’s experiential on the most basic level. And they usually respond to that.

On anything else that she’d like to add: You’ve seen only the beginning and we have really wonderful projects that are on the table now, going forward into 2017. I think they will be lots of fun and very engaging. I’m not at liberty to go into detail at the moment, but just in terms of what we can see in the September issue, adding some experts, and I would include our humorists among experts, because the humor column has run in the two issues before September. But we’re making a commitment to that, because we feel the magazine can afford to be fun in places too. We really need that, and then the addition of a sexuality expert, along with our standby, Doctor Weil and Doctor Low Dog.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly in the evening at her home: The house is a very busy place, because we have four teenagers and they have lots of people in their lives, so there are a lot of ins and outs, comings and goings, and they’re all very creative, energetic people. Some of the time I’m sending them off, so I can have a little peace and quiet, and anything from weeding my flower garden, to surfing the web, to watching just a couple of TV shows that I consider my mainstays, but I’m not a huge TV watcher.

On what keeps her up at night: As I did mention I’m a night owl. (Laughs) So, I keep myself up at night. But seriously, I and my team have been given an incredible gift here with our new direction and new parameters. And I’m very excited about that. I want it to succeed and I guess I run through different scenarios in my mind, whether it’s about a certain writer or a project that I want to do. I’m not really fretting very much; I’m just thinking, so it’s a creative effort.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Barbara O’Dair, Editor In Chief, Prevention magazine.

COVER_HISamir Husni: In your first editorial in the magazine, you wrote, “When we are healthier, we are happier.” It seems every editor that I speak to these days; the phrase du jour is “healthier and happier.” Can you talk about how the new Prevention, under your leadership, is going to make us “healthier and happier?”

Barbara O’Dair: Yes, any magazine can have a claim to healthier and happier; we do. We have 66 years of that under our belt and I think it’s in keeping with what Preventions’ mission has always been, and I’m going to turn that up even more.

I’m folding in all kinds of stores that gladden the notion of heart health, I would say. And much of it is psychology, sexuality and alternative healing. And that helps to round out the picture for ordinary people who want to know how to improve their health. I think all of that contributes to a healthier, happier life.

Samir Husni: If I’m correct, this is the first time that you’ve worked on a magazine that has no advertising?

Barbara O’Dair: Yes, it is.

Samir Husni: How is this different from editing a magazine with advertising?

Barbara O’Dair: It’s so much fun. I’m really enjoying it. I open the magazine when it comes back from the printer and it’s just great story after great story, with gorgeous visuals and it feels very rich to me. I think that we have all kinds of freedoms now that we might not have had before. We can pay more attention to what the readers want, rather than other sources in the market. And that is really exciting. I love to hear from the readers and I love to work for them. And that’s opened up a whole new avenue in editing and putting the mix together for the magazine.

Samir Husni: I know that you’re overseeing not only the print edition, but the online and digital as well. Being in this business for as long as you have; how do you feel the role of editor has changed today when it comes to print?

Barbara O’Dair: These days we have to think of ourselves as a brand editor, which includes all kinds of digital products, books, events and experiences for the readers, in addition to the print publication. I don’t think print is going out any time soon, that might be a minority opinion, but I believe it has a strong place in our culture and among readers. But, I’m also glad that we have other platforms to work on and build.

And we are actually working on a project right now that is not quite in place, but will be a special for the print readers online, so that’s an exciting prospect.

 Samir Husni: One thing that I noticed you’ve added in this September issue that wasn’t in previous issues is the “Prevention Picks.”

Barbara O’Dair: Yes.

Samir Husni: Can you tell me a bit more about that, because “Prevention Picks” directs you to a website that’s part of Prevention; one that allows you to shop and buy merchandise. Can you tell me more about it?

Barbara O’Dair: It’s actually not new, but I think we’ve called it out more prominently in this issue. It’s part of the idea of being a brand editor, where I pull in a number of platforms that include our shopping experience, which is shopprevention.com. And we’ve been very careful to curate products for that service to our readers. As much as possible, we choose sustainable, organic products, high-quality; we have guidelines that steer us in the right direction, in terms of what we include in our shopping experience. We’re pretty active curators and I think that extends the mission of Prevention, being healthy and accessible.

Samir Husni: If someone stopped you on the street and you introduced yourself as the editor in chief of Prevention and they responded with, oh, it’s another health magazine. How do you differentiate to them that Prevention is not just another health magazine?

Barbara O’Dair: I actually don’t know of another pure health magazine out there. I know fitness magazines and food magazines, and even websites that are devoted to health, such as everyday health or more condition-related health, but I don’t know any product that brings it all together.

As I mentioned before, we have expanded the idea of health, but I’m very much interested in putting health at the front and center of the magazine experience here. We may have wandered from that in the past, and we really provide a unique service to our readers by covering that territory in a serious way. We also try to have fun with it too.

But for the most part, I really want health to be the driving force, and the nutrition, fitness, psychology and other things that round out the idea of health come as part and parcel of that, but I really want the magazine to focus on health.

And to further answer your question, I look at Prevention as having three very strong functions: one is to be a leader in its field and our inclusion of experts all throughout the book is one good example of how we’re a leader. We’re also a guide through the thickets of massive amounts of health information out there online. I think we have become a trusted brand over the years and we’re the authority on so many things that readers know when they come to us they’re getting the real deal, and hopefully surprising stories that they won’t read anywhere else.

And last, I look at Prevention as a coach, and that’s on a more micro level, whether it’s a fitness routine or a recipe, or a way to make some organic product; maybe a mouthwash. So, we offer that kind of service to our readers too. At the very nitty-gritty, they can take care of their everyday health needs. But then we have the bigger picture as well, whether it’s public health or a controversial subject in medicine; I think we’re covering it all.

Prevention 2Samir Husni: With the July issue, and I know that was before you took over the reins, they tested a model on the cover and food. But August and September is food and food; is that a new trend in covers that you will be focusing on? Or will it depend on the content of that particular issue of the magazine?

Barbara O’Dair: Nothing is a sure bet. I think we’re still looking for just the right approach to the covers. We have had great success in the past with our gorgeous food covers, but we don’t want to be limited to that, so we do test models regularly and I mean models as in people, not as in test runs. So, we’re certainly open to that.

There was a time at Prevention where models were on the cover almost exclusively, and then we kind of went with the food route. And now with some new direction, we’re open to trying different things to find out what works from the readers and feedback. So far we’ve gotten incredibly good feedback from readers, it’s a little too soon to tell numbers, but in terms of letters and word on the street, people seem to be excited by the magazine, which is very gratifying. As far as the covers go, I think we’re still open to trying different things.

Samir Husni: Your career in magazines has been extensive and diverse; you’ve edited at US magazine, Teen People, MORE, just a variety of different types of magazines where you’ve had to handle a variety of subjects and topics; how would you define your role now at Prevention and how is it different than anything else you’ve done?

Barbara O’Dair: That’s a really good question. To me it feels like the culmination of many different strands of what I’ve pursued in the past, and I have to say that I look an awful lot at Reader’s Digest and MORE about our Prevention reader.

Primarily, women of a certain age; however, we do have some male readers and we have younger readers, and I’m sure we’ll attract more with our new direction. But the core readership is someone that I feel I totally understand. And that comes partly from working at Reader’s Digest and MORE in the past, and also having an orientation toward that reader, choosing things for her and really trying to make that emotional connection to her really matters to me a lot. And when you have that, you have some measure of success secured, because that’s what people remember. They might read something very useful and that they could apply to their everyday lives, but they come back when there’s that emotional connection.

And I think I’ve learned that through the years at various jobs. When we’ve had that with readers and when we haven’t had that with readers. I know how important it is. And I feel that’s what I can offer.

Not to mention the size of the magazine, which I’m familiar with. I’m used to figuring out how to get the most bang out of the buck when the pages are small, so we have to be very creative, in terms of being thorough in our coverage. But it’s a fun challenge to me. I think it’s great to be this size, because it’s literally something you can put in your back pocket or your purse and carry with you. In that way, it really fulfills its mission as a guide.

Samir Husni: How do you differentiate between the September issue, which is the one that you edited, and the previous issues? Is the reader going to see a major difference; will we see Barbara’s influence dramatically in the September edition?

Barbara O’Dair: That’s a great question. I plan to evolve it, but I’m also interested in establishing a few different things for the reader right away. One is to make the connection outward to them; I feel that with Prevention in the recent past, and with many magazines, it’s a one-way conversation. And it’s really important to me to hear back and for Prevention readers to feel like that they’re part of a community and that their voices are being heard.

I think you’ll see more real women in the pages and an example of that might be the metabolism story, down to weight loss, which is a story about yo-yo dieting. I made sure that we brought in real women’s stories and their pictures. And that may not be as typical of the recent Prevention, but it’s very important to me. I think readers need to see themselves reflected in the pages.

And then, just a certain level of energy and dynamism that I’d like to think are within the pages. I renamed some of the book’s sections, which I’m evolving slowly toward more hard health, but I wanted it to look really energetic. And so the opener is a great brain image and it’s about how oral storytelling activates the entire brain in ways that nothing else does. So, it’s maybe a slightly different approach to this new section and I renamed it “Pulse.” I’d like to think it gives it more of an edge, more appeal and more urgency.

It’s very hard to place any kind of news in a monthly publication, but I think it’s our mandate to surprise and delight readers, so we try to find those stories that are buried or that we can do a second take on, or stories that are just entertaining. There is so much fascinating material and I really want to bring that to the surface in the magazine.

PV0716_COVERSamir Husni: So, rather than being on the edge; you now have your finger on the “Pulse” of health?

Barbara O’Dair: (Laughs) Yes, I think that’s it. Pulse is a nice play on words, and it has two definitions; it’s a verb and a noun. And I just liked that idea of a beating heart to begin the magazine. It lays out what you’re going to find in a deeper, longer form as you go along in the magazine.

And back to my other point about making a connection with the readers, I did reinstitute a “Letters” page, which we hadn’t had in quite a while. And we have this back page that you can pull out, it’s perforated. It’s a coloring page. And we’ve asked readers to submit their artwork and we’ll publish it if we think it’s great.

There are also a couple of other places in the magazine that I’ve added call-outs to the readers for their stories, opinions and recommendations. So that is another thing that differentiates the magazine now.

Samir Husni: How does Barbara stay “happy and healthy?”

Barbara O’Dair: I try to eat right, but just as an aside, I was worried about coming to Prevention, because I thought I might have to be perfect. (Laughs) My healthy practices… (Laughs again) So, I started thinking, what sport can I add into my style or would I ever be able to eat a potato chip again? And what I found was that at Prevention, we take our readers and we give them information about how to improve and maintain their health, but we’re really speaking to the everyday person who wants to be healthier, but who is not necessarily a fanatic. They’re looking to learn more.

So, I would put myself in that category. There have been times in my life where I’ve been deeply into nutrition and/or fitness. And I’m bringing that back into my life now. I’ve been weight turning for a while; I have this amazing Russian trainer, who used to be on a national Russian volleyball team, so he comes to my house and we do workouts two or three times a week and that I care about a lot.

And I try to get downstairs to the organic cafeteria for lunch. I don’t always do it, but that’s a goal. And just also finding a way to incorporate different kinds of experiences into my life, whether it’s travel or friends; when you work really hard it’s easy to let certain things go and it’s really important for me to have a balanced life. And I think that does lead to happiness of a sort. We’re always striving for balance, but I think I’m getting better at it as I get older.

Samir Husni: One thing that I always tell my students is that print magazines are much more than content; they’re an experience. One: do you agree with that? Two: How is the print edition of Prevention an experience?

Barbara O’Dair: I totally agree that experience is the key word here. I think the idea that Prevention is a community plays into that. I’m striving for that with the emotional connection with the readers that I talked about, and with the overture to the readers to engage themselves with the magazine. I feel that’s experiential on the most basic level. And they usually respond to that.

Beyond that, I think it’s just being associated with Prevention. We have very loyal readers. And we have a mandate to produce premium content at this point, and that would include events and experiences that go beyond the pages of the magazine. So, there are things like that in the works. And being a subscriber and a reader, there is definitely an experience, because you’re drenching yourself in this healthy lifestyle material. And I think it really moves the needle for people and they’re largely affected by it.

For me, it’s great to know that we can really have an impact, not just on people’s lives, but maybe in a larger sense, in terms of public policy. If we’re doing deeper, investigative pieces, which I plan to do, maybe we’ll affect something politically and have an impact on culture in that way, and socially. But, for the most part, we’re looking at helping our readers to find their peace and their joy, and their good health.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Barbara O’Dair: You’ve seen only the beginning and we have really wonderful projects that are on the table now, going forward into 2017. I think they will be lots of fun and very engaging. I’m not at liberty to go into detail at the moment, but just in terms of what we can see in the September issue, adding some experts, and I would include our humorists among experts, because the humor column has run in the two issues before September. But we’re making a commitment to that, because we feel the magazine can afford to be fun in places too. We really need that, and then the addition of a sexuality expert, along with our standby, Doctor Weil and Doctor Low Dog.

We’re also bringing in a brain science column, written by different experts, and that I’m very excited about, because there are all kinds of rich material in neuroscience these days. And we can tie it to things that our readers are concerned about in an everyday way. So, it’s the addition of some experts that I feel is going to be really exciting and you’ll see that in the September issue and also in subsequent issues. There’ll be more.

And we’ll be doing deeper reads, survey pieces for a deeper dive into a subject or a health topic; a medical topic or a social topic. We have certain freedoms now and I really want to use them. I’m excited about that.

Samir Husni: If I show up unexpectedly one evening at your home, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine, reading your iPad, watching TV, or something else?

Barbara O’Dair: The house is a very busy place, because we have four teenagers and they have lots of people in their lives, so there are a lot of ins and outs, comings and goings, and they’re all very creative, energetic people. Some of the time I’m sending them off, so I can have a little peace and quiet, and anything from weeding my flower garden, to surfing the web, to watching just a couple of TV shows that I consider my mainstays, but I’m not a huge TV watcher.

But mostly, I think it’s communing with my husband, because I keep long hours and I work late, and I’m also a night owl, so I work late at home sometimes. I think it’s important to keep the family relationships going.

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

Barbara O’Dair: As I did mention I’m a night owl. (Laughs) So, I keep myself up at night. But seriously, I and my team have been given an incredible gift here with our new direction and new parameters. And I’m very excited about that. I want it to succeed and I guess I run through different scenarios in my mind, whether it’s about a certain writer or a project that I want to do. I’m not really fretting very much; I’m just thinking, so it’s a creative effort. It’s pretty energizing, so that’s why I stay up late, as opposed to worrying, at least, for now.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

 

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Hola! Made In USA Magazine: The Passion & The Legacy Continues Through The Third Generation – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Eduardo Sánchez Pérez, Editor-In-Chief, ¡Hola! and Hello Magazines. An Encore Presentation

August 15, 2016

Hola! Made In USA magazine just hit the newsstands in the United States and in honor of this new edition to the wonderful world of print, here is an encore  Mr. Magazine™ interview from February, 2016 with ¡Hola!’s Editor In Chief, Eduardo Sánchez Pérez. 

August 2016 issue of ¡Hola! that hit U.S. newsstands.

August 2016 issue of ¡Hola! that hit U.S. newsstands.

“I don’t envision a day when we will have no print editions. I don’t know if ¡Hola! will be forever, but a magazine with beautiful pictures and positive stories will always be there. You cannot give the same product in digital. With a print magazine, you can buy it, collect it, and share it with someone. And you have that ownership feeling that this magazine is yours. Also the flow of the content into the magazine is important. We always start with beautiful houses or beautiful people at home; this is a product that needs some physical connection, it’s real and tangible, so paper is the best way to present it.” Eduardo Sánchez Pérez

From Spain with love…

HOLA-2 A magazine born from a beautiful love story that’s all about family, tradition and legacy; ¡Hola! was founded in Barcelona in 1944 by Antonio Sánchez Gómez and his wife, Mercedes Junco Calderón. The two had a dream of creating a small magazine that could entertain readers and show them the beauty of life through great stories and breathtaking photographs.

As the magazine grew over the years, their son Eduardo Sánchez Junco, joined the family business, along with his wife, Mamen Pérez Villota and the values of family, respect and honor were woven deeply into the ¡Hola! brand.

Today, ¡Hola! and Hello magazines are still family owned and ran by the children of Eduardo Sánchez Junco and Mamen Pérez Villota, along with Eduardo’s 95-year-old mother, who still does layouts and works for the magazine.

Their youngest child, Eduardo Sánchez Pérez is Editor-In-Chief of ¡Hola! and Hello and oversees, along with his sisters, the “small” magazine that has grown into a readership of 20 million according to Eduardo, and is translated into 11 different languages.

Hello III-15 I spoke with Eduardo on a recent trip to Spain and we talked about the special ingredients that have made both magazines so successful. As Eduardo’s father called it: the “Espuma de la vida” or the froth of life that both ¡Hola! and Hello are committed to bringing their readers each week. We also talked about all of the expansions and growth the brand has seen over the years and its possible print birth in the United States. It was a moving and inspiring conversation with a man who appreciates the traditions of his family’s past, while keeping his eyes firmly on the future.

So, I hope you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with Eduardo Sánchez Pérez, Editor-In-Chief, ¡Hola! and Hello magazines as he shows us that the family who publishes together definitely stays together through many generations.

But first the sound-bites:

EIC On the legacy of ¡Hola! and Hello: If you ask someone in Spain about ¡Hola!, people who know the business, they would say that ¡Hola! is Eduardo Sánchez Junco, my father. They would say my father. My father had three children and I am the youngest of the three. I have two sisters; Mamen is the oldest; and my other sister is called Mercedes. Although Mamen, the oldest, is the one that is more involved with me in the magazine and she’s the editor of the Mexican edition, while Mercedes is more involved in different parts of the business.

On how the company has managed to maintain its familial structure over the years and not become traded and have shares and shareholders: That’s probably because we’re a third generation and what we’ve seen over the years. My father was the only son of my grandparents. My grandfather was very much focused on journalism; he worked at a newspaper first and then he had the idea to create ¡Hola! in 1944 in Barcelona. So then my father continued the tradition in the 1980s doing all of the same things my grandfather had done and continuing the secret of this business, which is what he described as “being in the kitchen.” We have the restaurant and so we have to do the cooking, so we put together the ingredients.

On the ingredients that go into ¡Hola! to make it different from all the other celebrity magazines out there: (Laughs) It’s difficult to know exactly, but probably every cook would say a lot of love and a lot of charm. (Laughs again) It’s true that we have to do things thinking in the long-term. We never make any editorial decision based on the short-term, so it’s focusing very much on what ¡Hola! or Hello means. I sometimes feel like I’m just continuing a heritage that I received. And I will one day pass it to my children. At least, we hope someone from the family continues it. We follow what my grandfather called “Espuma de la vida” which is our brand name. We call it “Espuma de la vida,” a froth of life, but basically we do content that is normally positive, more than negative.

On the fact that his father was able to buy pictures of Lady Diana topless and then buried them in the archives so they would never be published: Yes, that was really exceptional. But my father was very exceptional. He had this intuition to move quickly when making decisions. And that’s probably one reason he was so successful. It never took him very long to make any decision about anything of great importance such as that, or any important piece of news. He always said that was an advantage, that he was the owner and the editor, which put him in another position when it came to important decisions about the company. But yes, he made the quick decision to buy and destroy the pictures. Nowadays, it would seem difficult that this could be repeated. And also Lady Diana was someone our readers loved and sometimes there is that special relationship between readers and personalities. And we consider our readers as part of our family. And of course, my family was shocked when Lady Diana died.

cover after fundraisingfamily with royal familyOn the decision to launch Hello magazine in the U.K.: My sisters were staying in London in the 80s and we went a couple of times to visit them, I think in the summertime. And my father always told me wherever I went for holiday or in the summer, I was in this business, so if there was a kiosk nearby, go and see what was out there. My father and I went to Harrod’s and there was a kiosk there and we looked for ¡Hola! and it was there buried in the same place as all of the other magazines and newspapers. Then we saw two English ladies come into Harrod’s for tea and they bought ¡Hola! magazine in Spanish, sat down in the restaurant and began chatting with the magazine in their hands, without speaking Spanish. Suddenly, my father realized that there wasn’t anything in the market with Lady Diana on the cover the way ¡Hola! had; we had her on the cover all of the time.

On the expansion of ¡Hola! or Hello almost globally: The expansion of ¡Hola! magazine probably started with ¡Hola! Spain in the 60s by going to Latin America. Well, actually, it probably started with my grandfather. Latin America has always liked ¡Hola! very much. There’s always been, and there still is, this connection between Latin America and Spain. We feel very much that we are united; we’re connected by the language and also by our way of life and we just have many things in common. ¡Hola! has always been very welcomed in all of the American countries, including the Hispanic speaking Americas.

On how he decides which country gets which magazine: ¡Hola! or Hello and how decisions such as those are made: We try to analyze a country and its market. That’s why it’s so important to have local partnerships, local people who can understand everything better. We’re publishing in 11 or 12 different languages right now. We reach more than 20 million readers. It’s quite a challenge, of course, but the principles are the same; we’re deeply respectful of the personalities and the local traditions and also the readers who are going to buy it.

On whether his grandmother, who started the magazine with her husband and who is 95 now, ever expect the magazine to be worldwide: (Laughs) No, of course not. In the beginning they had the idea to launch this small magazine. In a country like Spain in the 40s, it was after the War, their expectations were to create a small business for maybe 10 years or so. That’s why my grandfather asked my father to go to university to study something else other than journalism. Not because he didn’t love journalism, but because he thought ¡Hola! magazine would only last several years. No one ever thought it would grow as big as it is right now.

On his mother and father returning to school and his dad getting a degree in journalism after a law was passed in Spain requiring one to be an editor of a magazine: Yes, I remember when I was younger going with my mother and father to the university to see if they passed their exams. He went for four or five years to the university at the same time that he was editing the magazine. I know he enjoyed it and he liked it very much. It was probably a good thing because you always learn when you go to the university. So, that’s true. My mother and my father went.

On what motivates him to get out of bed in the morning: I feel very lucky because it’s always different every week. And it’s very exciting every week. Every week you have to find the right story for the cover and find the right people to talk with. Every week you find interesting people and their stories that you can share with your readers. And sometimes you receive a story so beautiful that the feeling is it’s the right content and it’s an exciting thing. And we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’re making a product that our readers like. There are some weeks better than others, of course, but then another week comes and it’s great. With the weekly, I have a little time to relax and make decisions with my small team, along with my main family members.

On whether he can ever envision a day when ¡Hola! and Hello are digital only: No, I don’t envision a day when we will have no print editions. I don’t know if ¡Hola! will be forever, but a magazine with beautiful pictures and positive stories will always be there. You cannot give the same product in digital. With a print magazine, you can buy it, collect it, and share it with someone. And you have that ownership feeling that this magazine is yours. Also the flow of the content into the magazine is important. We always start with beautiful houses or beautiful people at home; this is a product that needs some physical connection, it’s real and tangible, so paper is the best way to present it.

On whether the magazine is coming to the United States soon: We are starting with the website right now, hola.com-usa. We will have a team that will be working with both the website and then the magazine too. For example, on two occasions we have published a big scoop on hola.com-usa first, such as Paulina Rubio being pregnant. The scoop was to be in all of our magazines, but we decided to put it on our American website first. So the American print edition is an absolute priority.

On anything else he’d like to add: People have to feel it’s their magazine; it’s not international. It’s the magazine of their country. It doesn’t matter the ownership, because the spirit of the magazine is done for British people by British people.

On what keeps him up at night: What’s probably most difficult is, one of the brand values of ¡Hola! and Hello is when we publish a story or any piece of news, we’re very sure about the content. We’re very sure that we’re not wrong. You have to be very sure about the content. To be correct every week and not to fail in any small thing and continue to be the magazine that’s reliable and truthful; that’s probably my main worry.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Eduardo Sánchez Pérez, Editor-In-Chief, ¡Hola! and Hello.

With Eduardo Sánchez Pérez at the magazine's offices in Madrid.

With Eduardo Sánchez Pérez at the magazine’s offices in Madrid.

Samir Husni: In this world of corporate ownership it’s rare to see a grandson continuing the traditions of his grandfather and also his dad. Your grandfather started the magazine in Barcelona, moved it to Madrid, and now it’s almost worldwide. Everywhere you go there’s an ¡Hola! or Hello magazine, and it’s still in the family.

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: If you ask someone in Spain about ¡Hola!, people who know the business, they would say that ¡Hola! is Eduardo Sánchez Junco, my father. They would say my father. My father had three children and I am the youngest of the three. I have two sisters; Mamen is the oldest; and my other sister is called Mercedes. Although Mamen, the oldest, is the one that is more involved with me in the magazine and she’s the editor of the Mexican edition, while Mercedes is more involved in different parts of the business.

Samir Husni: No one thinks of ¡Hola! as a family business because it’s worldwide. Everywhere you go; the Middle East, Canada, the Philippines, Thailand; just everywhere there is either an ¡Hola! or a Hello. How have you been able to maintain that family ownership and not become Wall Street traded or another company-traded with shares and shareholders?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: That’s probably because we’re a third generation and what we’ve seen over the years. My father was the only son of my grandparents. My grandfather was very much focused on journalism; he worked at a newspaper first and then he had the idea to create ¡Hola! in 1944 in Barcelona.

So then my father continued the tradition in the 1980s doing all of the same things my grandfather had done and continuing the secret of this business, which is what he described as “being in the kitchen.” We have the restaurant and so we have to do the cooking, so we put together the ingredients. And we do the meal every day. (Laughs) Well, every week in this case. And we serve it as if we were the owners of a restaurant. We feel the contact with our readers and our audience and our clients as strongly as if they were a part of our house or our family. We’ve always believed that that is the differentiation and the value of all of our business We’ve always been in control of the editorial line of the magazines and the little touch of the ¡Hola! family point of view. We always want that touch to be behind the product. And as the third generation, we are very much involved in this right now.

active at 95 I’m the editor of ¡Hola!, the magazine of Spain, and editor-in-chief of Hello magazine and trying to oversee all of the operations, my sister is co-editor of ¡Hola! and also editor in Mexico and we also have some other members of the family like my aunt; my uncle (General Manager of ¡Hola, Javier Junco Aguado) and my mother and my grandmother who is still around and a part of things. My grandmother, Mercedes Junco Calderon, is 95-years-old, but she still continues to do one magazine, this one. She is the founder and she makes the selections and deals with all of the productions of these different articles and different photo shoots. So this DNA; this business, is a big part of our family. We believe if we lose this family contact with the business, it would not be the same.

That’s one reason when we started being more international, our partners have to always think like and see that the original family owners are still involved when making decisions. So, when we go to a country, sometimes we own it; we buy the operation from the family. Sometimes we license the brand, but we always sustain control of the editorial line of the ¡Hola! family in Spain.

And we hope the spirit continues like this. And it’s not that we control every page of every magazine in the world, but we try, with everyone doing ¡Hola! magazine from every part of the world, to think what the ¡Hola! family would do in each case. And if there’s any doubt, they ask me; they ask Madrid and we share opinions about other experiences and we make sure to put the brand in the hands of some of our favorite partners in every country. Plus, the feeling that our partners have that they’re in good hands when we share this kind of market is very important to us.

Samir Husni: Let me go with you to the kitchen; what are the ingredients of that recipe that you serve every week and how is it different than all of the other celebrity magazines; all of the other weeklies that are out there? What’s your grandfather’s secret recipe that you continue using?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: (Laughs) It’s difficult to know exactly, but probably every cook would say a lot of love and a lot of charm. (Laughs again) It’s true that we have to do things thinking in the long-term. We never make any editorial decision based on the short-term, so it’s focusing very much on what ¡Hola! or Hello means.

illustradted issue I sometimes feel like I’m just continuing a heritage that I received. And I will one day pass it to my children. At least, we hope someone from the family continues it. We follow what my grandfather called “Espuma de la vida” which is our brand name. We call it “Espuma de la vida,” a froth of life, but basically we do content that is normally positive, more than negative. It’s glamorous and it’s happiness; it celebrates life. When you open the magazine, you forget about your worries and you know that you are in a comfortable environment. You’re not going to find anything inside the magazine that is going to increase your daily worries.

I would say that that’s the main part. There’s nothing in the short-term that’s worth changing the editorial line of the magazine that we’ve had for all of these years. But basically the ingredients are to get exclusive content of the personal life or the human interest of famous people. And not only celebrities, but personalities. We normally don’t call it celebrities; we prefer to say personalities or relevant people.

As another ingredient; it’s never-before-seen pictures of a certain event, or exclusive pictures of an event. So, when you have all of these things, you have our main menu. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: One of the examples I heard that reflects that menu or those ingredients was that your father was able to buy the pictures of Lady Diana topless and he buried them in the archives so that they would never be published. Do you think that you could find a publisher today or an editor today who would go to that extreme to buy a scoop and bury it, rather than publishing it? And did that happen after the launch of the magazine in the U.K.? And I’d like for you to tell me the story again of how Lady Diana was influential through her pictures of publishing the magazine in the U.K.

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: Yes, that was really exceptional. But my father was very exceptional. He had this intuition to move quickly when making decisions. And that’s probably one reason he was so successful. It never took him very long to make any decision about anything of great importance such as that, or any important piece of news. He always said that was an advantage, that he was the owner and the editor, which put him in another position when it came to important decisions about the company.

I wasn’t involved really in the decision, but he always said that he had the opportunity to protect someone who was the main reason we were launching in the U.K. from bad pictures. And the main reason that we were so successful in the U.K. Lady Diana had given us hundreds of covers. And the fact that he had this opportunity was the unusual thing. Normally, these photographers prefer to do bigger business by spreading that content all over the world.

But he had the opportunity at that moment and he made the decision quickly and of course it was very personal to him. And the decision was based only on his appreciation of the image of someone who had done so much for him, without her knowing that she had done anything at all. But Hello could express its gratitude by doing this. It was preferable that those pictures were never published.

But yes, he made the quick decision to buy and destroy the pictures. Nowadays, it would seem difficult that this could be repeated. And also Lady Diana was someone our readers loved and sometimes there is that special relationship between readers and personalities. And we consider our readers as part of our family. And of course, my family was shocked when Lady Diana died.
People really get involved in this business, as you know; you’re passionate about it. And our readers feel these personalities are a part of their lives and that’s how we want to produce the product; with respect to these personalities and respect to the readers. We want to respect personalities because they deserve respect, but also because we put ourselves as readers too, as buyers even. And they deserve the respect and the attention, so we want to make every page of the magazine special. And maybe that’s one of the reasons we have these special relationships with the stories that we approach.

Samir Husni: Going back to Lady Diana; you told me the story of how the decision was made to launch the British edition of Hello. Can you recall that story?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: My sisters were staying in London in the 80s and we went a couple of times to visit them, I think in the summertime. And my father always told me wherever I went for holiday or in the summer, I was in this business, so if there was a kiosk nearby, go and see what was out there. My father and I went to Harrod’s and there was a kiosk there and we looked for ¡Hola! and it was there buried in the same place as all of the other magazines and newspapers. Then we saw two English ladies come into Harrod’s for tea and they bought ¡Hola! magazine in Spanish, sat down in the restaurant and began chatting with the magazine in their hands, without speaking Spanish.

Suddenly, my father realized that there wasn’t anything in the market with Lady Diana on the cover the way ¡Hola! had; we had her on the cover all of the time. Whenever we had a doubt about ¡Hola!’s cover, we would put Lady Diana or Caroline of Monaco on the cover. As far as what we had been told, the English press was in a big crisis in the 80s. In general, the U.K. was in an economic crisis.

So, the market was a bit stagnant, not many new magazines were being launched. So it was another great decision of my father’s after studying the market somewhat, that even though the environment wasn’t very good to launch a magazine, he was certain that he could bring something new to the market as ¡Hola! and Hello magazine had done with our different approach to the news and beautiful pictures.

Samir Husni: And the rest of the story is history. ¡Hola! or Hello are almost everywhere.

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: The expansion of ¡Hola! magazine probably started with ¡Hola! Spain in the 60s by going to Latin America. Well, actually, it probably started with my grandfather. Latin America has always liked ¡Hola! very much. There’s always been, and there still is, this connection between Latin America and Spain. We feel very much that we are united; we’re connected by the language and also by our way of life and we just have many things in common.

¡Hola! has always been very welcomed in all of the American countries, including the Hispanic speaking Americas. So, the magazine has always put a lot of attention on international stories. Spain in the 60s; we used to put a lot of American stars on the covers. For example, I remember when the three astronauts went to the moon; we covered that so ¡Hola! has always had the idea of being a very international magazine. We believe it doesn’t always matter who, but what or how.

I remember my father, who didn’t speak English, when he started Hello in the U.K. and began working with the British team and was trying to explain what Hello was all about. And it was probably one of the biggest success stories of the British press for a magazine. And it was just by sharing stories more than names. It’s the human interest stories basically and putting all of the ingredients together which has given the magazine such success.

International stories have always been a part of our magazine, so after the success of the British edition, we went to Mexico, where we’re quite successful right now. Then we started finding certain partners in other countries. And in the beginning it was more of an adventure, an unknown field.
For example, what would happen if we started a magazine in a certain county? Russia and Turkey were the first two countries where we went into a partnership with another country and the result was fantastic and we found great people who understood the essence of the brand and how to take care of it. We found out that the Hello and ¡Hola! brand was more flexible than we believed at the beginning. And now we are in 35 different countries.

Of course, you need to find the right partner and you need the right team; a team that you can explain the way you want the product to be done and they instinctively know.

Samir Husni: I’ve heard a lot of stories, such as when you launched Hello in Thailand, with the Royal Family on the cover. You had an issue with where to put the logo because you can’t put anything above the Royal Family. And I saw one of the copies in the hallway when I first came into the building and it had the logo on the bottom of the page. How sensitive do you have to be to all of the cultural issues with Hello in the Middle East or Thailand or the Philippines? And also, how do you decide which country gets Hello as the name or ¡Hola!? I noticed the Philippine edition is ¡Hola!, although it’s in English. How do you make those decisions?

Thai coverEduardo Sánchez Pérez: We try to analyze a country and its market. That’s why it’s so important to have local partnerships, local people who can understand everything better. We’re publishing in 11 or 12 different languages right now. We reach more than 20 million readers. It’s quite a challenge, of course, but the principles are the same; we’re deeply respectful of the personalities and the local traditions and also the readers who are going to buy it.

It’s true that royal families are very important to us. Royalties, in our opinion, are an asset for a country and that joins the different values and makes royal families try and be good examples for society. They are our ambassadors and are the essence of traditions of the countries they are born to and also people who are working for the benefits of the society.

And being the first family, they have to attend to guests when they come to the country, so they show others much hospitality. They’re a mixture of glamour, high society and aristocracy, which is something that people like to read about. ¡Hola! and Hello take the reader to places they don’t normally have access to. So it’s important that we show how it is to be a part of the glitz and glamour and the parties. So, the royal families are an important part of our magazine and our product.

Yet, this was something that we didn’t really know about when we started in Thailand. That was something that the local editor of the magazine was very clear about, that nothing goes above the Royal Family, such as a logo, and there was no problem then. We were honored by the princess of Thailand, who was the first cover of the magazine. It was a very important thing for us and we are very grateful to the Royal Family that they would give us this consideration.

Actually, the first cover of Hello magazine was Princess Anne; it was an exclusive interview with Princess Anne inside the royal palace.

Samir Husni: Did you ever have a discussion with your grandmother, who is 95 now; did she ever expect that this little magazine that she and her husband created would grow to such magnitude? And it’s my understanding that he was the journalist and she was the designer?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: Yes, that’s right.

Samir Husni: Did she, in her wildest dreams, ever expect ¡Hola! and Hello to be this worldwide publication?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: (Laughs) No, of course not. In the beginning they had the idea to launch this small magazine. In a country like Spain in the 40s, it was after the War, their expectations were to create a small business for maybe 10 years or so. That’s why my grandfather asked my father to go to university to study something else other than journalism. Not because he didn’t love journalism, but because he thought ¡Hola! magazine would only last several years. No one ever thought it would grow as big as it is right now.

It’s a very beautiful story. My grandmother said she became a journalist for love; she was in love with my grandfather and she wanted to spend more time with him. And he thought it was a great idea. So he left his job at the newspaper and they began to work together from their home. And that’s how it all began. They worked at a very small table in a small room. They were a couple in love and making a magazine that they believed would entertain people. The magazine was created to entertain and to take readers to places they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. And to take the best of life and put it into a magazine and into pictures.

frist pic coverAn interesting anecdote is, those first five covers of the magazine have illustrations, because at that time prestigious magazines had illustrations on the covers and not pictures. The magazine was more or less about the society of Spain, but also you’ll read about Hollywood actors and some very interesting stories. But the cover was always a glamourous illustration, done by a very well-known illustrator, and of glamourous events. The first cover is the seaside in Barcelona; another cover was about going to the theatre; another one is horseracing at a country club; and it was done weekly. We’ve always been weekly since 1944. We have always been ready for our readers every week.

So, after five covers, they had to cut to reduce costs and my grandfather was very concerned about losing the illustration, they were very expensive. He thought there was nothing else to cut, he had analyzed everything and he would have to stop doing the illustrations and put a picture on the cover instead. So he went to the cinemas, because the cinemas were the first clients of ¡Hola! and also he had a good relationship with the owners of the cinemas in Barcelona. So he went to see his friends and asked what the next film they were showing would be. And it was a Clark Gable film, so he put a picture of Clark Gable on the cover. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: And he discovered by accident, all because he wanted to reduce costs, what people really liked; to have pictures of celebrities on the covers. Why did he choose Hollywood actors; well first, because he had always wanted to include film reviews and talk about Hollywood celebrities in the magazine. But also because the only way you can have access to good quality pictures was to ask the cinemas to give you pictures they received from Hollywood. They would receive the films plus pictures to promote the film. It was an easy way to find high resolution pictures of Hollywood actors.

It’s interesting, my grandfather wrote a little bit about the story of the magazine when we published issue 2,000. And he talked about the phrase “Espuma de la vida,” which is what’s at the top of the glass of say, champagne, for example. The froth of life is at the top of the glass of champagne, which he related with happiness, with a glamorous life. He said business and economics; these things were heavy and made people think too much. That kind of heavy news goes to the bottom of the glass; what’s at the top? That’s ours; our news.

That’s why we don’t talk about politics or economics or anything like that. That’s why ¡Hola! and Hello are read by a large number of different kinds of people. And we hope that they all find something inside to help them forget about their problems and something that makes them feel better. And at the same time, they can talk and share the magazine with others and maybe find solutions to their own problems by reading how others have done it. Reading about family sagas, such as Lady Diana and now seeing Prince William; people have that feeling of involvement or of a relationship with the family.

Samir Husni: As fate would have it, your dad studied engineering and then there was a law in Spain that you have to have a degree in journalism to be an editor of a magazine. So, it’s my understanding that he went back with your mother to school to study journalism.

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: Yes, I remember when I was younger going with my mother and father to the university to see if they passed their exams. He went for four or five years to the university at the same time that he was editing the magazine. I know he enjoyed it and he liked it very much. It was probably a good thing because you always learn when you go to the university. So, that’s true. My mother and my father went. A little bit more of their love story. My young parents doing what they needed to do. And my mother saying of course she would go, she could spend more time with her husband. My mother was originally involved in the magazine, so she went because she wanted to help my father.

Samir Husni: And did they advise you and say don’t go to school for journalism, there’s no future in it; go for something else? Or did you go to school for journalism too?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: I went to the Journalism University here in Madrid. I have two degrees basically, journalism and business and administration. So, I have a little bit of both. My father always said to me he would trade his degree to speak English. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: English or another language. He spoke French, but he felt very bad that he couldn’t communicate his thoughts to the English-speaking people. Fortunately, he always had a good team of people who spoke both Spanish and English around him.

We live in the house where my grandparents lived when they left Barcelona and came to Madrid. They bought two floors of a house, the basement and the first floor where they put the office and they lived on the second floor.

Another example, my father said we were like farmers; they have a house underneath their house. (Laughs) It’s more or less the same. We live on the second floor and the cow is in the basement.
I don’t think it’s still there, but my grandfather had a small connection from the house to the office, a way to go in without going through the main entrance, because many times my grandfather and father would go to work in pajamas. (Laughs) And I remember my father would receive visitors anytime. The office was so small that he didn’t have a proper meeting room, so where I used to study and watch TV was his meeting room. So, I’d come home from school and go to watch TV and there might be someone famous standing there with him.

And that carried over to the magazine; you’re in my house, you’re part of my family. We used to say that ¡Hola! magazine should be something that you could leave on the table and not be afraid for your children to read. It’s a family magazine. You won’t find anything inside that would be bad for them, family-friendly, but very interesting.

a letter and KingAnd it’s not always positive, sometimes it’s a sad story, but what you get at the end, even if it’s sad, is a positive message. And the pictures are always beautiful. And it was a family unit, my grandparent and my parents would discuss why they did this or that in the magazine. And you learned a lot from these conversations. We’re bigger now, but we’re still in the same building and we still have lunch with my grandmother almost every day. And now we explain to her why we’ve done this or that. We all still try to share opinions. We feel more like journalists and publishers than businesspeople.

And also designers in a way; the design of ¡Hola! is another secret or another ingredient, which is big pictures and finding those big pictures from the right selection of pictures and giving them the right space and the right number of pages. We never begin a story thinking about how many pages we want to use. We just let our imagination flow. But if we have to cut, we always do more first and then cut. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Through osmosis or something, magazines are in you. You’ve seen it from your grandfather; your father; your grandmother; your mother; what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Is it tradition, because your entire family has done it all of your life or there is something that excites you every morning and causes you to look forward to going to the office?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: I feel very lucky because it’s always different every week. And it’s very exciting every week. Every week you have to find the right story for the cover and find the right people to talk with. Every week you find interesting people and their stories that you can share with your readers. And sometimes you receive a story so beautiful that the feeling is it’s the right content and it’s an exciting thing. And we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’re making a product that our readers like. There are some weeks better than others, of course, but then another week comes and it’s great. With the weekly, I have a little time to relax and make decisions with my small team, along with my main family members.

As we’re improving and increasing the size, it’s very important that we keep professionalism a top priority. To have a professional team is very important. That’s something that we’ve been building on in the last years. Knowing that our business must have an important technology element, art, and we actually have more people working on the website now than in the magazines. So, there are many changes that we know we have to face and we’ll face them in a very professional way, while trying to continue with the family ownership. And keeping the family in on the editorial line and in every piece of print that we publish; I believe that we’re building a very professional team. And internationally we are competitive.

Samir Husni: Can you ever envision a day when there is no print component to ¡Hola! or Hello?

Hello Arabia II-10Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: No, I don’t envision a day when we will have no print editions. I don’t know if ¡Hola! will be forever, but a magazine with beautiful pictures and positive stories will always be there. You cannot give the same product in digital. With a print magazine, you can buy it, collect it, and share it with someone. And you have that ownership feeling that this magazine is yours. Also the flow of the content into the magazine is important. We always start with beautiful houses or beautiful people at home; this is a product that needs some physical connection, it’s real and tangible, so paper is the best way to present it.

Of course, there are technological advances that are really interesting and can be really beautiful. We were awarded by Apple the best newsstand application. We’re doing videos and we’re also including QR codes for watching videos. There is a lot of interaction that you can have with your readers by using the telephone and the magazine at the same time.

And I’m completely sure that magazines like ¡Hola! are necessary for a society. A healthy society will always have an ¡Hola! or Hello magazine.

Samir Husni: Are you bringing the magazine to the United States soon?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: We are starting with the website right now, hola.com-usa. We will have a team that will be working with both the website and then the magazine too. For example, on two occasions we have published a big scoop on hola.com-usa first, such as Paulina Rubio being pregnant. The scoop was to be in all of our magazines, but we decided to put it on our American website first. So the American print edition is an absolute priority. We don’t have a partner there, we’re going by ourselves. We already have some readership in the U.S. with ¡Hola! Spain in California. And at the same time we’re building a beautiful website with reliable information. Thankfully, we have learned a lot about digital from our Spanish readers and in the summertime we hope to establish the magazine. But for now we’re starting with the website.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: People have to feel it’s their magazine; it’s not international. It’s the magazine of their country. It doesn’t matter the ownership, because the spirit of the magazine is done for British people by British people. It’s a British product. Everywhere we go; the product is about the people and their stories.

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

Eduardo Sánchez Pérez: What’s probably most difficult is, one of the brand values of ¡Hola! and Hello is when we publish a story or any piece of news, we’re very sure about the content. We’re very sure that we’re not wrong. You have to be very sure about the content. To be correct every week and not to fail in any small thing and continue to be the magazine that’s reliable and truthful; that’s probably my main worry.

Plus, of course, to continue to have this relationship with our readers; the relationship of community and knowledge of what they like.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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From My Vault Of Classic “New” Magazines – The Business Week And The New Yorker. Part 2.

August 12, 2016
A Mr. Magazine™ Musing
 I am going to go ahead and open my classic “new” magazines’ vault and start reporting on some words of wisdom editors, publishers, marketers and circulation folks used to write to introduce their new magazines, their readers, and their advertisers.
Consider this an informative journey down memory lane, for there is much we can learn from these masters; things we can either repeat or avoid in today’s marketplace.
In part two of this “classic new magazines” musings, I look at the first issues of  THE BUSINESS WEEK, September 7, 1929 and THE NEW YORKER, February 21, 1925.  Notice the importance of the word “THE” in both titles.
The Business WeekThe Business Week:  No. 1
Mission statement:
Malcolm Muir, President of McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. wrote in the first issue:
“THE BUSINESS WEEK herewith makes its first appearance — on a great plan, with a high ambition. Its ambition is to become indispensable — no less — to the business man of America.  Its plan, we trust, shows forth in its pages.”
“Swiftly, intelligently, tersely, it tells the week’s business news, and the news of business. The distinction is not fine-spun. Business news impinges upon business from outside — news of the tariff, of the reparations settlement, of crops. New of business originates within business — news of developments in management technic, of improved production process, and (outstanding these days) of changes in marketing methods.”
Curation at its best:
“The whole story of the week is set forth in compact limits, a study in the fine art of saving the reader’s time. Nothing irrelevant is included; nothing really important is omitted.”
Strong editorials and opinions:
“You will find THE BUSINESS WEEK always has a point of view, and usually a strong opinion. Both of which it does not hesitate to express.
You may find a little humor somewhere, if you look sharp.
And all the way through, we hope, you will discover it is possible to write sanely and intelligently of business without being pompous or ponderous.
We hope you will miss those vague but solemn generalities about business that pass so often for deep wisdom.”
The New YorkerThe New Yorker: Vol. 1, No. 1
A who’s who:
Advisory editors: Ralph Barton, Marc Connelly, Rea Irvin, George S. Kaufman, Alice Duer Miller, Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott
A good starting point:
“One of the first things you do in starting a magazine, after you have got the notion to do it and, as our advertising friends say, sold your associates on the idea, is to rent an office and the next thing you do is get a telephone.”
Mission statement:
“THE NEW YORKER starts with a declaration of serious purpose but with a concomitant declaration that it will not be too serous in executing it. It hopes to reflect metropolitan life, to keep up with events and affairs of the day, to be gay, humorous, satirical but to be more than a jester.”
“It will publish facts that it will have to go behind the scenes to get, but it will not deal in scandal nor sensation for the  sake of sensation.”
The audience:
“It will conscientiously to keep its readers informed of what is going on in the fields in which they are most interested. It has announced that it is not edited for the old lady in  Dubuque. By this it means that it is not of that group of publications engaged in tapping the Great Buying Power of the North American steppe region by trading mirrors and colored beads in the form of our best brands of hokum.”
Until next time, read, learn and laugh… All the best.
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From My Vault Of Classic “New” Magazines – Real Needs And TIME. Part 1.

August 10, 2016
A Mr. Magazine™ Musing
Starting today, I am going to go ahead and open my classic “new” magazines’ vault and start reporting on some words of wisdom editors, publishers, marketers and circulation folks used to write to introduce their new magazines, their readers, and their advertisers.
Consider this an informative journey down memory lane, for there is much we can learn from these masters; things we can either repeat or avoid in today’s marketplace.

My first two magazines are Real Needs from 1916 and TIME from 1923. Enjoy.

Real NeedsReal Needs: A Magazine of Co-Ordination Vol. 1, Number 1, March 2016

Edited by Charles A. Lindbergh

Magazines are permanent

“The first number of this Magazine, though published in December, bears the date of March. That is because it is to be a permanent publication, and it will take until March to do the organizing.”

Magazines are real information providers

“As the Magazine is published mainly for the purpose of furnishing information that is usually kept from the public, and which should be known by everybody, I ask those who believe in the work to aid in giving it circulation. After reading a copy, unless you desire to preserve it, hand it to someone else to read.”

Magazine’s Ad/Ed ratio

“This magazine will be published in the form of a small book, suitable to carry in a coat side pocket… Only 16 pages can be allowed for advertising out of 192 pages in each issue, so better get the space early.

TIMETIME: The Weekly News-Magazine Vol. 1, No. 1 March 3, 1923

From the Masthead:

TIME, the Weekly News-Paper. Editors – Briton Hadden and Henry R. Luce.

The Magazine’s Audience

Roy E. Larsen, Circulation Manager of the magazine reports in the first issue:

“Time The Weekly News-Magazine

  • the man who wants the fact
  • the man who wants to do his own thinking after he has the facts
  • the busy man

Is there such a man?”

“The response to the announcement of the News-Magazine idea has supplied the answer. Such a man exists.”

Audience Psychographics and Demographics Circ. 1923

“Who is he? Is he merely a distinguished citizen? Is he necessarily President of a great university? or an Ambassador? or a Magnate? or a Bishop? or a Member of the United States Senate? As a matter of fact the man was found in Ohio, among the lesser nobility. It is also discovered in flight to Florida. His twin-likeness was tracked down in Boston, and the postmaster reported his alias – in Chicago.”

“He must live somewhere! Of that there is no possible doubt, no possible probable shadow of doubt, no possible doubt whatever. Furthermore, he is not as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel, nor as extinct as the Dodo.”

Until next time, stay tuned!

 

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Family Circle Refines & Redesigns With Consumer-Driven Focus That Brings The Magazine A New Logo, Refreshed Layouts And Bolder Fonts & Photography – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Linda Fears, VP & Editor In Chief, Family Circle Magazine

August 9, 2016

image002-2“For us, there’s the trust factor in being a magazine that’s so established, and there’s a lot to be said for having that trust. You don’t necessarily trust what you find online. They may be good ideas, but you don’t know where they came from; have they been tested and vetted. So, we give them that. And that’s not just in Family Circle; that’s in any good magazine. It’s a compliment. With all of the websites that have come up in the past 10 years and all of the social media that’s cropped up in that time frame, good magazines have been able to hold their ground because they do offer curated content, which I think is really important.” Linda Fears

“A long time ago people thought that with TV, radio was going to die, and then with the Internet, TV was going to die. I think that people just assume that the next new thing is just going to completely take over and that’s never the case, except maybe with DVR’s. (Laughs) I think that it’s unfair to assume that people aren’t going to read print anymore. I have three kids and my two older ones are in their twenties and they both read magazines still. They practically don’t watch any TV, except for Netflix on their laptops. But they do read magazines.” Linda Fears

“My oldest son is 25 and had started reading books on his iPad, then one day he discovered that he didn’t like reading on a screen anymore. He really missed holding a book and having the satisfaction of closing it after he was finished. And I just thought that was really interesting. And for our audience, they do like the tactile feel of a magazine. Not to say that they don’t read online content, of course they do. But when you have a magazine that’s very visual and has a lot of content that people want to keep and share with friends or family, it’s not easy to do that in a digital form.” Linda Fears

 The September issue of Family Circle will have a new look and a more energetic feel about it, as the magazine celebrates a redesign that introduces a new logo, refreshed layouts, new fonts and bolder photography.

Linda Fears Headshot_August 2016_jpgVP and editor in chief, Linda Fears said that, “The new Family Circle focuses on the needs of leading millennial moms who are raising Generation Z—women who are influencers inside the home and out. We’re always striving to cultivate their passions for everything from cooking, healthy living and home decorating, to style and community involvement—all while guiding them through the ups and downs of family life.”

I spoke with Linda recently and we talked about how she “cultivates the audience’s passions” and stands behind the legacy brand that reaches 16 million readers every month with a stalwart passion of her own. Linda recognizes that her audience is some of the busiest women out there and that Family Circle has the honored responsibility of trying to help them navigate their respective journeys in an easier way.

The September issue marks the largest edition they’ve done in two years and also features major advertisers such as Allergan, Coca-Cola, Maybelline New York, Waverly, Aveeno, Kraft and Olay, among others.

While the look is fresh and new, Linda said that it’s still the same Family Circle, offering women engaging content, candid advice and the peace of mind to raise a happy, healthy family.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a woman who’s been bringing people into the “Family Circle” for over a decade, Linda Fears, VP & Editor In Chief, Family Circle magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On what Family Circle is today versus years ago: Well, it’s certainly not the same magazine it was 84 years ago; however, what we started as, which was a food and recipe circular; what remains today is our history of food editorial and our audience’s love of our food, so that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. But pretty much everything else has changed.

On whether she feels in today’s digital climate an editor has to be the ultimate curator for their audience: Obviously print magazines can’t turn into a Pinterest or an Instagram. I believe that editors need to be aware of what’s going on online and in social media, but for their product, which is print magazines, we are the ultimate curators. When women are as busy as my audience is, they don’t have time to search for anything and everything that may be of interest to them. My staff and I are responsible for knowing the kind of content that she’s looking for and giving her a well-edited version of that content that is inspiring and informative.

On whether her job is easier or harder today than it was before the digital explosion: It’s not easier or harder; I think it’s different. It’s become necessary for all of my editors to be very aware of a lot more potential content that’s out there. To pay attention to what our audience is looking at and reacting to. And make sure that our content stays fresh and current.

On how she cultivates the passion of the audience: First, you have to know what they’re passion points are. For example, take food; we know that we have a very food-focused audience that has always, since the beginning of Family Circle, looked to us for our food content and frankly, for our expertise in food. So, luckily for us, everyone is obsessed with food these days. You can barely go online without seeing people posting photos of what they ate in a restaurant the night before or what they made for lunch that day.

On whether she feels a bigger responsibility to make Family Circle that calming role in today’s chaotic world while also cultivating the audience’s passion: Amidst all of what you said is going on, it makes our audience, who are raising children, even more focused on how to raise happy, healthy kids. Do I feel a bigger responsibility? I don’t think so; I just think we have to keep doing what we do best and stay focused on her and her life stage. And how to help her be the best mom she can. And that includes every area of the magazine that we offer up.

On the biggest stumbling block that she’s had to face and how she overcame it: There have been some different challenges over the years that I wouldn’t necessarily call stumbling blocks, but just challenges. We’ve had to confront the rise of content online and figure out how we were going to deal with that in our own way. And I also think that newsstand has been a problem for everybody, and it’s gotten to the point where there is so much competition for people’s attention in stores in a way that there never used to be. People are shopping less often, so the foot traffic in stores is less than it used to be.

family circle1 image002-2On the new redesigned logo: Thank you for noticing. We did update the logo. Our logo was designed about 35 years ago, but it’s not a proper typeface, it’s a font that whoever selected it condensed onto the front of the magazine. It always bothered me because the letters were distorted and it looked like a big block. But it’s tricky changing your logo with MRI and everything else that could potentially affect your audience and recognition of the brand.

On why she thinks it took so long for magazine industry leaders to realize that it isn’t print or digital, it’s both: Honestly, I don’t know. A long time ago people thought that with TV, radio was going to die, and then with the Internet, TV was going to die. I think that people just assume that the next new thing is just going to completely take over and that’s never the case, except maybe with DVR’s. (Laughs)

On anything else that she’d like to add: We’re introducing a couple of new columns in the new issue in areas that we received a lot of positive feedback from with our research. One is “Social Circle,” which is going to help our readers connect to the largest social media communities through snapshots of popular polls and pins that we’ve shared on our channels, upcoming photo campaigns like contests we’re planning. It’s kind of a landing page for if we’re doing a Facebook poll and we want to reveal the results or if something is particularly trending on Instagram that we want to share.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly to her home one evening: Cooking. I cook dinner every night. I’m passionate about cooking; I love it. I just renovated part of my home and that included my kitchen. So, it’s a lot more fun than it used to be. (Laughs)

On what keeps her up at night: Lately, it’s my third child leaving for college. (Laughs) As far as my job, it really doesn’t keep me up at night. I feel like we’re in such a good place right now. We didn’t redesign because there was anything broken. We didn’t feel that we were in trouble in any way or that there was something that needed to be fixed.

 

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Linda Fears, VP & Editor In Chief, Family Circle magazine.

Samir Husni: Family Circle has a very good history. It was one of two magazines that were sold on the nation’s supermarkets and it was one of the largest newsstand titles out there, but things have changed somewhat. Briefly, take me through that journey; what’s Family Circle today as opposed to what it used to be. Or is Family Circle still the same magazine it was then?

Linda Fears: Well, it’s certainly not the same magazine it was 84 years ago; however, what we started as, which was a food and recipe circular; what remains today is our history of food editorial and our audience’s love of our food, so that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. But pretty much everything else has changed.

I’ve been here just over ten years now and every other year I have had my art department do a redesign of the magazine. Not a total architectural redesign, but primarily refreshing fonts and layouts, because I feel like these days women are so used to viewing content online and are influenced by the very modern advertising around them that if you don’t keep up with design, your magazine will look old very quickly, so every other year we refresh it.

This year what I decided to do was to go a bit beyond just redesigning, I wanted to really understand the leading millennial mom, so it’s moms who are turning 37, who on average have children who are about 10 or 11-years-old. And I mean on average because the average age for having a baby is still 26. Some moms are having babies older, but on average these moms have kids who are in middle school, so I wanted to really try to understand what kind of content they were consuming and where they were finding it; how different are they from moms even five years ago?

So, we did months and months of consumer research as we were building on our strong readership and circulation; we’re working as hard as ever to help our 16 million readers, which frankly, I think are the busiest women in America, because when you’re raising kids and you’re working, it’s the busiest time of your life.

We did all of this research with women 35-45 and we really got a lot of amazing information about them. What was most meaningful to us was that they still love reading magazines. That’s not to say, obviously, that’s the only place they get content from. They love Pinterest, Facebook; they love Instagram, but they really do love magazines. And they look to magazines as a place where they can get information and kind of a break from a really busy lifestyle. And we were very happy to hear that.

We actually had them do an exercise before they joined the focus group and it was to create their perfect Pinterest board of an ideal magazine. We encouraged them to look anywhere and everywhere online and they pinned a lot of content that was interesting to them and a lot of visuals that they were attracted to. So, with all of that information, and there were a lot of similarities among these Pinterest boards, which was great, I actually went outside and hired an outside designer to do this redesign.

And I think the result of it is just spot-on. I’m really confident that readers will be drawn to these much more energetic layouts; the visuals are sophisticated, and we’ve added more conversational voice, which we hope will amplify the content off of the page and onto social media.

So, what hasn’t changed are the types of content that we know these women are drawn to, including food, health, for her and the whole family; she’s very interested in home and DIY, beauty and fashion; those things haven’t changed much, and then of course, raising kids who are tweens and teens. We feel with this new redesign that we’re presenting these ideas in a way that’s very natural and serviceable and really focused on making her every day more enjoyable and less stressful.

image002-2Samir Husni: Ten years ago the web was just really getting started and everybody in the industry was struggling and trying to find the right direction to go in. And then everyone placed all their bets on the tablet; it was a chaotic time for magazine media. How did your job as an editor change during those 10 years; do you feel like you have to curate more in the print edition than before, so that when your busy readers sit down for that “me” time to relax with a glass of wine and their Family Circle, their content is primed and ready for them?

Linda Fears: And you’re right about that glass of wine, because all of these ladies love wine, that’s another thing that we found out. (Laughs) But yes, I think that you’re exactly right. Obviously print magazines can’t turn into a Pinterest or an Instagram. I believe that editors need to be aware of what’s going on online and in social media, but for their product, which is print magazines, we are the ultimate curators. When women are as busy as my audience is, they don’t have time to search for anything and everything that may be of interest to them. My staff and I are responsible for knowing the kind of content that she’s looking for and giving her a well-edited version of that content that is inspiring and informative.

A lot of these women told us that they’re not that attracted to websites anymore; they’ve kind of gone beyond that and like some of their social media better. They’ll Google things if they have a specific question, but they use Facebook to keep up with their friends and they get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and from the photo pins. Some of them even do look to Pinterest for ideas in all walks of life.

But for us, there’s the trust factor in being a magazine that’s so established, and there’s a lot to be said for having that trust. You don’t necessarily trust what you find online. They may be good ideas, but you don’t know where they came from; have they been tested and vetted. So, we give them that. And that’s not just in Family Circle; that’s in any good magazine.

It’s a compliment. With all of the websites that have come up in the past 10 years and all of the social media that’s cropped up in that time frame, good magazines have been able to hold their ground because they do offer curated content, which I think is really important.

Samir Husni: And has that made your job easier or harder over the last 10 years?

Linda Fears: It’s not easier or harder; I think it’s different. It’s become necessary for all of my editors to be very aware of a lot more potential content that’s out there. To pay attention to what our audience is looking at and reacting to. And make sure that our content stays fresh and current.

So, I don’t think it’s harder; I just think it’s different. Frankly, it’s more fun. To have competing attention for content drives us to be a little more clever at times in coming up with ways to present our content in an inspiring and useful way.

It was important to us to get the information from these leading millennials; from these women who are attracted to the Family Circle brand. And also because the kids they’re raising now are not millennials anymore, they’re Generation Z. And Gen Z are kids between, roughly, 6 and 19 or 20. So, we really wanted to find out what has changed with this new generation of kids; are parents worried about different things than they were even three or four years ago. That came into play as well when we were thinking about what to do with this redesign. I don’t think my job is harder these days; you just need to be on top of your audience, because things change so much more rapidly than they used to.

Another thing that we’re doing because we are cognizant that our audience is finding content elsewhere, not instead of reading a magazine, but in addition; we are including more bloggers onto our pages from Pinterest and Instagram, and from people who have their own blogs, so in September you’ll find a few of those in our Home, Health and Food sections. Obviously, we’re still going to be using experts, but we are adding some social media stars to the mix.

Samir Husni: One of the things that caught my attention in the press release about the redesign was your quote: “you’re always striving to cultivate the passion of the audience.” How do you do that; how do you cultivate the passion of the audience?

Linda Fears: First, you have to know what they’re passion points are. For example, take food; we know that we have a very food-focused audience that has always, since the beginning of Family Circle, looked to us for our food content and frankly, for our expertise in food. So, luckily for us, everyone is obsessed with food these days. You can barely go online without seeing people posting photos of what they ate in a restaurant the night before or what they made for lunch that day.

Tapping into that passion with this redesign has caused us to really focus on our food photography and hire some new food photographers. And we’re focusing a bit more on our food photography being more naturally lit, sort of straddling that fine line between looking perfect and too messy. We want people to look at our food photography and be inspired to make the recipes that we create and feel like they can. Not be intimidated by something that looks like it was created by a chef or something that was created by one of their kids. This is a happy medium. So, that’s one example of tapping into their passions.

We also know that our readers are passionate about their homes. So, there’s a lot these days that are capturing people’s attention. In addition to magazines that focus only on the home, there’s HGTV and it has become very popular. So, it’s our being aware of what’s most important to our audience and they want a comfortable home and they also want a home that they can do some DIY in and tap a project for themselves. We have an entire DIY piece in the September issue on using paint to upgrade inexpensive pieces of furniture to make them look more expensive, so that sort of thing. We really do understand what they’re looking for and it’s our job to take it one step further.

Samir Husni: In the midst of everything that’s taking place in our country, from politics to crime to terrorism; do you feel you have a larger responsibility now for the magazine to offer this, so to speak, comfort food to the audience? Do you play a calming role while you’re also cultivating their passion?

Linda Fears: Amidst all of what you said is going on, it makes our audience, who are raising children, even more focused on how to raise happy, healthy kids. Do I feel a bigger responsibility? I don’t think so; I just think we have to keep doing what we do best and stay focused on her and her life stage. And how to help her be the best mom she can. And that includes every area of the magazine that we offer up.

Obviously, we’re not going to be competing with CNN; we’re not going to cover breaking news with a monthly magazine. But as a respite from all of that, it is a responsibility that we take very seriously, but we know that her number one responsibility and focus is her family. And those are the areas that we focus on.

Samir Husni: Over the last 10 years that you’ve been at Family Circle, what has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?

Linda Fears: There have been some different challenges over the years that I wouldn’t necessarily call stumbling blocks, but just challenges. We’ve had to confront the rise of content online and figure out how we were going to deal with that in our own way. And I also think that newsstand has been a problem for everybody, and it’s gotten to the point where there is so much competition for people’s attention in stores in a way that there never used to be. People are shopping less often, so the foot traffic in stores is less than it used to be.

It’s our job to figure out how to constantly present ourselves to women in new and different ways. We’re actually doing a test on our next mailings. One of the things that we asked the focus group was to tell us about a piece of mail that they received and didn’t immediately throw into the garbage, something unsolicited that attracted their attention, whether it was a brochure or a pamphlet. The women in the Chicago focus group, which we did in person; we also did a series of focus groups online as well, but the Chicago group brought in mail to us and they ranged from department store pieces to mail from much smaller home stores, and we noticed that what they liked about those pieces of mail were that they were very graphic and they had a lot of photography; they weren’t chocked full of a lot of pushy sales words. They were more upscale-looking and they were simple. A lot of them were hard stock fold overs. So we decided to change around our mailing for new subscribers and we’ll see what happens and if they’re attracted to this.

You can’t rely, at least books the size of mine, which we used to have a gigantic newsstand presence; you have to figure out other ways to attract readers. That’s a challenge as well, but we’re still holding our own on newsstand; the only women’s magazine that outsells us at this point is Cosmo. But we sell better than all food magazines, all parenting magazines and all shelter magazines; so, as bad as things are we’re still outselling our competition.

Samir Husni: I noticed that with the new redesigned logo; it feels friendlier.

Linda Fears: Thank you for noticing. We did update the logo. Our logo was designed about 35 years ago, but it’s not a proper typeface, it’s a font that whoever selected it condensed onto the front of the magazine. It always bothered me because the letters were distorted and it looked like a big block. But it’s tricky changing your logo with MRI and everything else that could potentially affect your audience and recognition of the brand.

What we did this time was to find a font that was familiar enough to the one we had, except it is more modern and it is friendlier and I think it’s even a little more feminine than the other one. The font is called circular, which is ironic. (Laughs) We selected it on purpose. (Laughs again) You’ll notice the difference in that the C’s are rounder; the R and the M doesn’t have that square tail on them; the A is different, but it’s actually close enough to what we had that our internal research department didn’t really feel that it was necessary to test because they didn’t think that we would get enough of a read. I think people will notice and think that it looks better, but it’s still totally recognizable as Family Circle.

Samir Husni: And then was it on purpose that you had seven words that started with a capital C on the cover lines of the September issue?

Linda Fears: That was not on purpose. (Laughs) I didn’t even realize that. The fact that we know our readers love cleaning tips and they love learning how to be more organized and to clear clutter; it was a coincidence.

This is actually our biggest issue in two years, which is really exciting and there are a lot of major advertisers in this issue.

Samir Husni: Why do you think it took the magazine media world, the editors and publishers, so long to discover that it’s not print or digital, it’s both?

Linda Fears: Honestly, I don’t know. A long time ago people thought that with TV, radio was going to die, and then with the Internet, TV was going to die. I think that people just assume that the next new thing is just going to completely take over and that’s never the case, except maybe with DVR’s. (Laughs)

But I don’t know why it took so long, except I think that it’s unfair to assume that people aren’t going to read print anymore. I have three kids and my two older ones are in their twenties and they both read magazines still. They practically don’t watch any TV, except for Netflix on their laptops. But they do read magazines.

My oldest son is 25 and had started reading books on his iPad, then one day he discovered that he didn’t like reading on a screen anymore. He really missed holding a book and having the satisfaction of closing it after he was finished. And I just thought that was really interesting. And for our audience, they do like the tactile feel of a magazine. Not to say that they don’t read online content, of course they do. But when you have a magazine that’s very visual and has a lot of content that people want to keep and share with friends or family, it’s not easy to do that in a digital form. And we know our readers keep the magazine and share it.

Unfortunately, we sometimes have to wait until the shine wears off on whatever is new and different out there for people to figure out how it’s going to fit into their lives and what they will continue using and what they will give up. And I don’t think magazines will ever go away. There is just something really lovely about sitting down with a magazine and potentially ripping out pages that you want to save. And I think advertisers have found that they’re not getting that return on their investments online, so all of that is being rethought as well.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Linda Fears: We’re introducing a couple of new columns in the new issue in areas that we received a lot of positive feedback from with our research. One is “Social Circle,” which is going to help our readers connect to the largest social media communities through snapshots of popular polls and pins that we’ve shared on our channels, upcoming photo campaigns like contests we’re planning. It’s kind of a landing page for if we’re doing a Facebook poll and we want to reveal the results or if something is particularly trending on Instagram that we want to share.

We’re also adding a new column called “Creative Spaces,” because we know so many women in our audience work either part-time or full-time in their home, or they just like to have a place in their house that is just for them. So, we’re looking for the most creative spaces and photographing them, and interviewing the women who created them to help our audience create something in their home that works for them. I’m excited about these two new additions and I think people will really like them.

Another thing is that we’re enhancing our 360-approach to wellness. And even though we have always done women’s health and children’s health; family health, whether that’s a spouse or elder care, and also incorporated psychology and relationships within those pages, for this issue and going forward, we’re looking to some popular bloggers to infuse the content with a little more energy. We went to Instagram for September, to some of the biggest Instagram fitness stars and shared a move from each of them. So, that’s fun.

I think that readers will recognize that we are including content from a lot of places that they’re looking at and also traditional expertise within our pages. And as we were talking about before, family is forever; people are always going to have family and be raising children. We are the experts in providing content for healthy families and happy, healthy kids.

When we started our column “Modern Life” two years ago, it was in an effort to be inclusive of all kinds of modern families and you will see that going forward. In this issue we were actually able to, since it was a big book, have three pages on our “Modern Life” and we have two moms raising their teenaged daughter. We’ve done families with transgendered kids and families who are single-by-choice; we’ve done adopted families, step families; a couple who moved back in with one of their parents; couples that work at home together; farm families. There’s just an endless supply of American families out there that could be featured. And I think we’re unique in that. To be a family lifestyle book that really showcases every sort of family that you would encounter. We feel very confident that readers are going to like it, so we’ll see.

And I think our September cover is a really good preview of what’s inside because you’ll see a lot of the new fonts on the cover; we have the giant word ‘sweet’ on the cover. We’re not going to do that every issue, we’re going to do the giant word when it makes sense to. We have a lot more colors on the cover and we have foods shot in more natural light and looking more natural.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine, reading on your iPad, watching television, or something else?

Linda Fears: Cooking. I cook dinner every night. I’m passionate about cooking; I love it. I just renovated part of my home and that included my kitchen. So, it’s a lot more fun than it used to be. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: And do you use your Family Circle recipes or do you reach out to your cousins, some of the other Meredith titles?

Linda Fears: I don’t exclusively use Family Circle recipes, but I do use a lot of them. I know how well they turn out and that they’re triple-tested. But no; I use a lot of recipes from other Meredith titles, and beyond Meredith. I like to experiment and I like trying different ethnicities. I really cook anything and everything. But I use a lot of Family Circle recipes. In fact, I make some of them so often I don’t even have to look at the recipe anymore.

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

Linda Fears: Lately, it’s my third child leaving for college. (Laughs) As far as my job, it really doesn’t keep me up at night. I feel like we’re in such a good place right now. We didn’t redesign because there was anything broken. We didn’t feel that we were in trouble in any way or that there was something that needed to be fixed.

I think that even though every time I’ve had the group redesign, I’ve loved it; I feel like this is the best one that we’ve done so far. And I love that it’s based on good research. So, my work doesn’t keep me up at night, my kids do. (Laughs again)

No matter what you do, if you’re a parent, your kids come first. It’s what you worry about and what you put a lot of your energy into. I think understanding what that life stage is really like helps me be a better editor, particularly since the majority of women work these days. It’s challenging. And I think it’s our job at Family Circle to help make their lives easier in any way we can.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

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The Old Farmer’s Almanac At 225 Years: Still Useful With A Pleasant Degree Of Humor, And A Fresh New Look – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Sherin Pierce, Publisher, The Old Farmer’s Almanac

August 4, 2016

old-farmers-almanac-2017“It’s been the kind of product that’s been passed down from generation to generation and print was how it was passed along. And I think that’s been essential to the longevity of the product, because you have the history of the product in print going back to 1792, those original editions. And there’s something so tangible about a product when you can feel it in your hands and look at the date and see an edition from the 1800s or the very first edition, and you’re holding it in your hands. So, print has been the most essential element in keeping this product alive.” Sherin Pierce

 

When readers pick up the 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the subtle changes and nuances that have been implemented with the new, polished design. As the Old Farmer’s Almanac, North America’s oldest continuously published periodical, celebrates its 225th edition, the time-honored publication also extols a few updates that have given it a fresher, sharper focus and look.

Sherin Pierce has been publisher of the Old Farmer’s Almanac since 1994 and is very familiar with the beloved publication, more so than just about anyone else. I spoke with Sherin recently and we talked about the reasons for the enhancement and polishing that brought about this revitalization. With their digital footprint growing daily, Sherin said they felt that the time had come to set up the visual presence for the next 225 years. The challenge was to do that without being disloyal to the brand’s legacy look and feel. As Sherin put it, “Why fix something that isn’t broken?” That’s why a “fixing” wasn’t called for, just a bit of refurbishing. After all, how many other publishers can say they work for a publication that’s celebrating such a milestone as a 225th anniversary? How about, no one else?

And now, without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a woman whose magazine definitely doesn’t look its age, no matter the couple of centuries or so that it has been around, Sherin Pierce, Publisher, the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

But first the sound-bites:

sherinOn what keeps the print edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac going after 225 years of continuous publishing: The simple answer is the incredible love and affection that people have for the Old Farmer’s Almanac and that love started in its print form. Of course, that’s how the Almanac began back in 1792 and it developed a reputation of being credible and trustworthy, and something that people welcomed into their families and homes.

On whether she can think of any other product that has stood the test of time the way the Old Farmer’s Almanac has: Maybe some food products, such as Baker’s Cocoa. They were some of our first advertisers in the Almanac. And Arm & Hammer, which is also in the Almanac, however it’s morphed into being more of an ingredient in laundry detergent and toothpaste rather than baking soda. I think the difference is that these products may have lasted as long; they’ve stood the test of time, some molasses brands and baked beans and things like that. But how much do people hold them with real affection? I think that’s part of the charm of the Almanac. People really have a great reservoir of love and respect for the product as well.

On the magazine’s recent redesign: We called it polishing the brand because we didn’t change anything; we took that cover engraving and illustrated it again. The font was something that we had developed as a custom font for the Almanac, and that was one of the most dramatic changes, but if you look at the 2016 Almanac versus the new one, you’ll see that it just brings everything into a sharper focus.

 On making it fresher, rather than a complete redesign: If it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it, so we enhanced it rather than a complete redesign. It’s such a recognizable cover and you don’t want to do anything to damage that, but you want to, again, enhance certain elements that may have faded a bit over the past decades.

 On the tagline, useful, but with a pleasant degree of humor: That was from Robert B. Thomas and he wanted to make sure that all of the intimation that we had was useful, whether we talked about the weather, the planets, stars, food; whether it was anecdotes or pleasantries, gardening, just whatever we talked about had to be useful information. But at the same time we wanted to have a pleasant way of presenting that information, so it wasn’t like lecturing people.

On the biggest stumbling block that she’s had to face and how she overcame it: Well, because the Almanac is sold at retail and it just dominates so many markets, I think one of the biggest challenges was the whole change in traditional newsstand. With the Almanac we have bookstore distribution and we have direct sales distribution into all of the hardware chains, so we had amortized our risks, but still the newsstand was the major source of distribution for the Almanac.

On the fact that the Old Farmer’s Almanac trademark of the hole in the upper left-hand corner of the magazine can’t be recreated online: (Laughs too). No, but you know what, we have the ‘hole’ story and we tell it online, but it’s not the same. See, that’s why when people said that print was dead, we always knew that for the Almanac to survive, we had to have print. We just had to. People need that and they want to see it.

On anything else that she’d like to add: When we looked at the Almanac this year, part of the reason that we wanted to look at the brand again was because the online presence and the social media presence has been growing by leaps and bounds. Our Facebook is at 1.4 million; Instagram is about 70,000; Pinterest and Twitter; all the ways in which we’re communicating on a daily basis and finding new people to come to the Almanac brand. We wanted to make sure that whether it was online, social media or print, every time someone accessed us they knew they were coming to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. We wanted to make that very clear, visually and in tone and voice.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly to her home one evening: I’m on my road bike cycling. And then when I get home I go to a Zumba class or a yoga class. After being behind a desk all day, I cycle to work as well, in the summertime, not in the wintertime; I’m doing something very physical and active. I exercise and then I come back and garden. And at the end of the day I usually read.

On what keeps her up at night: What keeps me up at night are deadlines that may be missed. Also, I sometimes wonder why we can’t be more decent and civilized to one another. We’re all in competition as publishers, but we’re civil to one another. And I wish the way we all work together professionally could carry over into our daily lives. The divisiveness and the rhetoric that we’re hearing now are very upsetting and it’s hard to imagine that our lives are so governed by negativity.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Sherin Pierce Publisher, the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Samir Husni: Congratulations on reaching such a milestone, the 225th edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Sherin Pierce: Thank you.

farmers-almanac_0Samir Husni: After 225 years of continuous publishing and in this digital age, and I know that you’ve expanded and are everywhere, from the web to mobile, but what keeps the print magazine going after all of this time?

Sherin Pierce: The simple answer is the incredible love and affection that people have for the Old Farmer’s Almanac and that love started in its print form. Of course, that’s how the Almanac began back in 1792 and it developed a reputation of being credible and trustworthy, and something that people welcomed into their families and homes.

So, it’s been the kind of product that’s been passed down from generation to generation and print was how it was passed along. And I think that’s been essential to the longevity of the product, because you have the history of the product in print going back to 1792, those original editions. And there’s something so tangible about a product when you can feel it in your hands and look at the date and see an edition from the 1800s or the very first edition, and you’re holding it in your hands. So, print has been the most essential element in keeping this product alive.

It has morphed into other platforms, but it really all started with print. And that’s something that we understand and respect. For many of our readers who still want the Almanac in print, we’re always going to have a copy for them in print as well as our other platforms.

Samir Husni: For a magazine historian like me, the Almanac started just 51 years after the very first magazine was ever published in the United States; can you think of any other product that has lasted through thick and thin like the Almanac has? That’s still as fresh as it was 225 years ago?

Sherin Pierce: Maybe some food products, such as Baker’s Cocoa. They were some of our first advertisers in the Almanac. And Arm & Hammer, which is also in the Almanac, however it’s morphed into being more of an ingredient in laundry detergent and toothpaste rather than baking soda.

I think the difference is that these products may have lasted as long; they’ve stood the test of time, some molasses brands and baked beans and things like that. But how much do people hold them with real affection? I think that’s part of the charm of the Almanac. People really have a great reservoir of love and respect for the product as well. So, besides the longevity, we also have that going for us.

Samir Husni: You’re in a unique position; you’re the only publisher that I know of that can go to someone in the industry and say, we’ve been publishing this magazine for 225 years, especially this year with the redesign and everything that you’ve done. What’s different now with the redesign?

Sherin Pierce: When we looked at the cover of the Almanac, we looked at just polishing it a bit. It’s like when you have your reading glasses on and they’re a little foggy, you clean them and then you look at something and you see everything with clearer, fresher eyes.

We called it polishing the brand because we didn’t change anything; we took that cover engraving and illustrated it again. The font was something that we developed as a custom font for the Almanac, and that was one of the most dramatic changes, but if you look at the 2016 Almanac versus the new one, you’ll see that it just brings everything into a sharper focus. It’s still the familiar yellow cover; it’s still the familiar engraving; the four seasons; Ben Franklin and the founder, Robert B. Thomas, look like real people. And you can actually see the engraving of the four seasons. Everything has just come to life and in a sharper focus.

It looks very much the same, but just polished. And it’s just so much clearer and so much more eye-catching. It’s something that we needed to do; we really needed to polish the magazine a little. Developing that font was essential because we use that font now across all of the products that we do and online and on Facebook, so that’s the recognizable font of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’ll be across all print, social media and online as well.

Samir Husni: When I saw the new redesigned cover, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh it looks, but I didn’t feel I was looking at a stranger; that this wasn’t my old friend, the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Sherin Pierce: That was part of the challenge. If it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it, so we enhanced it rather than a complete redesign. It’s such a recognizable cover and you don’t want to do anything to damage that, but you want to, again, enhance certain elements that may have faded a bit over the past decades, and just bring it into sharper focus, so that when people look at it they can still see the same Old Farmer’s Almanac, but with a clearer, fresher look.

And I think we achieved the pleasant surprise that we wanted. We didn’t want it to be unrecognizable; we just wanted people to feel that there was something a bit different about it that they couldn’t really put their finger on, but that there was something fresher about it.

Samir Husni: The tagline: useful, but with a pleasant degree of humor…

Sherin Pierce: That was from Robert B. Thomas and he wanted to make sure that all of the intimation that we had was useful, whether we talked about the weather, the planets, stars, food; whether it was anecdotes or pleasantries, gardening, just whatever we talked about had to be useful information. But at the same time we wanted to have a pleasant way of presenting that information, so it wasn’t like lecturing people.

We wanted to have a pleasant degree of humor, permeate everything we do with that humor. We don’t take ourselves seriously, but we take our work very seriously. So, we want people to feel good about getting the information from the Almanac, because humor is so essential in life. If the information is just dour and straightforward facts, people aren’t going to come back to the magazine time and again to get this information. Let’s be honest, you can find this information anywhere if you search long and hard, but we curate it in a way that’s useful and we add a special tongue-in-cheek sense of humor in everything that we present. So, it makes people feel good. They have the information and they enjoyed the entire process of getting it.

And whether we do it online or in print, it’s a touchstone for us. Anytime that you have a touchstone that you can go back to and ask whether something really lives up to what the founder wanted 225 years ago; I think that’s remarkable. Everything we do is governed by those few words: useful, but with a pleasant degree of humor.

Samir Husni: You’ve been the publisher since 1994 and you’ve seen a lot of changes; what has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face over the years and how did you overcome it?

Sherin Pierce: Well, because the Almanac is sold at retail and it just dominates so many markets, I think one of the biggest challenges was the whole change in traditional newsstand. With the Almanac we have bookstore distribution and we have direct sales distribution into all of the hardware chains, so we had amortized our risks, but still the newsstand was the major source of distribution for the Almanac.

And when the newsstand began to implode in the 1990s, with The Anderson News grabbing the chains and you start seeing all of these mega wholesaler groups forming, the demise of the small wholesaler, the smaller stores that sold the Almanac, all the small mom-and-pop stores that the smaller wholesalers could send copies to; when they became these big wholesaler groups, all they were interested in were the big chains. That’s all they could service, and losing all of those tens of thousands of smaller towns and the smaller wholesalers, it hurt us.

And so many of our customers in those C and D counties, there are no major chains, this is what they depended on, the smaller wholesaler service these smaller towns. That was a big challenge for us, to have to figure out with people losing the ability to buy the Almanac locally, how could we get it to them? So, we did start marketing the Almanac more aggressively and began shipping it to people. So, that was one way we overcame that whole thing.

And we went online in 1996; almanac.com was established 20 years ago. And we learned very quickly how to take the Almanac and not just put the whole issue online for free. We took elements of the Almanac and built our website to reflect all of the different sections of the Almanac. So, you could get a sense and a feel and an up-to-the-moment look at the Almanac, but the print was still the annual publication and it was different from what you got online. And we also developed a way to sell the Almanac as an online publication as well.

So, I think that transition, especially when everyone kept saying that print was dead; we never gave up on print, but that transition showed that we could coexist. Print and online could coexist; there’s no reason one has to die for the other one to live. We developed our E-book versions for Kindle and iPad; we kept our page-turner version on almanac.com, but we continued in print as well.

We went from a high in the 1990s in print of about 6.3 million and now we’re holding at 3 million. And most of that is due to the challenges of distribution on the newsstand. With the number of wholesalers you can’t put more copies out there, the capacity just isn’t there. And that was one of the challenges that we had to face. As wholesalers get bigger and bigger, the demands get greater. And for an annual publication, we have to have everything working perfectly because we have one chance every year. We have one chance and we have to get it right, so all of the planning and printing and distribution; it all has to come to fruition and it has to work. We have several redistributions, obviously, but everything depends on that one opportunity to get the job done correctly.

The average newsstand sale is not 26%; we’re regularly in the high 30’s and even though we look back nostalgically at the days when we were in the 40’s and even 50’s, it’s still pretty good, given the amount of copies that we put out. Every year we begin with zero orders and we have to build that whole print order year after year. Nobody ever gives you anything; you have to fight for it. Every year you have to plan and think about what you need to do and that’s going to be the ongoing challenge. Also with scan-based trading and Pass Through RDA, every year more and more pressures are put on publishers who sell at retail. There is a lot of pressure and again, it’s constant evaluations. Those are the challenges that are going to be ongoing.

The good news is in certain chains, like the specialty accounts, such as Lowe’s, Tractor Supply and Home Depot, we do very well. When you’re selling in the 70% in those places, it offsets some of the other issues you have on the newsstand.

Samir Husni: I know you’ve recreated a lot on digital and online, but what do you do with that trademark of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the hole in the upper left-hand corner? You can never create that in digital, can you? Nobody is going to drill a hole in their computer to make that. (Laughs)

Sherin Pierce: (Laughs too). No, but you know what, we have the ‘hole’ story and we tell it online, but it’s not the same. See, that’s why when people said that print was dead, we always knew that for the Almanac to survive, we had to have print. We just had to. People need that and they want to see it. We have several versions of the Almanac; our hardcover version doesn’t have the hole, but it’s a collector’s edition. It’s sold with the one hundred year or two hundred year and the current Almanac, so we do the reprints of those. For instance, in 2017 we’ll reprint the 1817 and the 1917 editions. It comes as a package. So, you’ve got 200 years of Almanac publishing. So, that’s a collector’s edition.

People want that familiar hole; the more things change, the more people want some things to remain the same. It’s that kind of stability in this ever-changing world. You’re bombarded with so much and then there’s this little yellow book that stands for simpler times. And it’s still so relevant.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Sherin Pierce: When we looked at the Almanac this year, part of the reason that we wanted to look at the brand again was because the online presence and the social media presence has been growing by leaps and bounds. Our Facebook is at 1.4 million; Instagram is about 70,000; Pinterest and Twitter; all the ways in which we’re communicating on a daily basis and finding new people to come to the Almanac brand. We wanted to make sure that whether it was online, social media or print, every time someone accessed us they knew they were coming to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. We wanted to make that very clear, visually and in tone and voice.

And I have to say, we’re not owned by a big, mighty conglomerate; we’re a small and independent publishing company, but we have really talented, hardworking people. Everyone has a focus and a great commitment to what they do. And with those words of advice from our founder and such a committed staff; a hardworking, smart and talented staff, I think we can really keep this brand and give it all the accolades that it needs for 225 years, and then also position it for the future as well. I won’t be here for the next 225 years, but that’s OK; we’ll leave it in a good situation so that someone else can take it forward. Honestly, it takes a village. (Laughs)

And whether it was what happened inside this building or outside, it’s the people who helped us with the redesign, illustrator Steven Noble, Sam Berlow and David Berlow of The Font Bureau, Ben Scott and Lainey Fink at Bluerock Design, and all the other people who helped, it really took a village. Everyone wanted to be a part of keeping this historical legacy going. I’m very lucky to have the support system that I have.

 Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly to your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine, reading your iPad, watching television, or something else?

Sherin Pierce: I’m on my road bike cycling. And then when I get home I go to a Zumba class or a yoga class. After being behind a desk all day, I cycle to work as well, in the summertime, not in the wintertime; I’m doing something very physical and active. I exercise and then I come back and garden. And at the end of the day I usually read. I read the paper that I’ve read for the last 30 years, the Wall Street Journal. I might watch some TV; I love comedies and I love watching some of the political shows as well, so I will watch a little TV. But it’s really a variety of things. More or less, as I get to the end of the day, I switch off the electronics and unwind with print.

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

Sherin Pierce: What keeps me up at night are deadlines that may be missed. Also, I sometimes wonder why we can’t be more decent and civilized to one another. We’re all in competition as publishers, but we’re civil to one another. And I wish the way we all work together professionally could carry over into our daily lives. The divisiveness and the rhetoric that we’re hearing now are very upsetting and it’s hard to imagine that our lives are so governed by negativity.

I’m an optimistic person and I’m always trying to see how I can do things better and how I can learn. I’m very curious; I love to learn. I love history and I try to look at it as examples of the mistakes that have been made and I try not to repeat them.

I hope that in some small way the work we do makes people’s lives better and brings them to a place of a bit more peace and tranquility. When you’re looking at the things that are the most essential, you can look at the sky and the beautiful moon every month and understand more about nature and figure out who we are in the context of nature. It’s a time of a little introspection. And to take away from some of the anger and angst that seems to govern our lives every day.

I just hope that the Almanac can bring that because that’s what I hope for people. I would like to make the anger and violence disappear and try to introduce a level of tranquility into their lives. And I think we do that with the little yellow book. And that’s what I hope to accomplish. I have kids and I want this world to be a place where they can flourish and live in safety and harmony. That’s what I hope for.

And unfortunately, I think the web has given people an opportunity to be so anonymous in a way, there’s no face-to-face, the things that are said online when you read some of the comments; it’s horrifying. If you were face-to-face with someone, you would never say that. Behind that wall of anonymity, people say whatever they want. We have to have filters and to think about the impact of what we’re saying.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

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