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Make: The Magazine That Created A Movement Of People Who Think, Articulate & Brainstorm About The Many Disciplines Of Technology – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Dale Dougherty, Founder & CEO, Maker Media…

January 17, 2019

“I think one of the things that I believed at the time I started Make was that I could do a more visual magazine in print than I could do online. And online sites, every page looks almost the same. And I think the idea of focusing and then developing that attention of someone is something that magazines are particularly good at.” Dale Dougherty…

“I think a good publishing company is a franchise that can last multiple generations. And many have. That’s kind of been my goal; how do I keep it going? I think we’ve had a lot of initial growth in the magazine to get where we are, we’re at about 100,000 circulation. And it’s kind of stable there. But I think it would be really hard to do that as just a digital website, in terms of having a business model behind it. I think there are a lot of reasons why the web and the Internet are important and we use it, but it doesn’t really give you a business model today. And I hope we can, overtime, migrate some of this and make it work, but the feedback we get from people is actually that they like the tangible product.” Dale Dougherty…

 

Curiosity, ideas, and people. Three ingredients in Dale Dougherty’s business plan for a successful company, which includes a magazine, events and an entire movement of creators. Dale is a man who had the idea that bringing communities of people together to talk technologies and DIY projects would be a fantastic way to engage and connect. He wasn’t wrong. Maker Faire is one of the largest celebrations of invention, creativity, curiosity and hands-on learning that is inspiring the future and showcasing the best in global makers. And the print magazine is the cornerstone and foundation for all things “Maker.”

I spoke with Dale recently and we talked about his awesome ideas involving creativity and hands-on educational experience. And the word experience is key to Dale, because in all things “Maker,” it’s about the experience. From the children who get involved to the adults who bring their own brand of learning to the table, Make Magazine and Maker Faire is a brand that encourages and promotes the people’s ideas. It’s all about the engagement.

Enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Maker Media as he takes you on this magnificent journey of excitement into the world of technology and creativity.

But first the sound-bites:

On why in this digital age he focused his brand on making things with your hands:Probably the biggest reason is that people do it. It’s counter to a lot of what we’re told, but people use their hands. They actually like it and they find it rewarding, compelling and satisfying. And actually, a pathway into understanding technology is to play with it and to use it and to take it apart and put it back together, make it do things that it wasn’t intended to do. And I think people have always done this, whether it’s technology and computers or steam engines and mechanical things.

On how he began in 2005:I had developed a series of books called “Hacks” at O’Reilly Media and it was largely how people would, from a software perspective, hack software to make it do what they wanted it to do, getting information from different sites and creating something. And usually it was fun and kind of playful, and they were doing projects. And one of the books in that series was about an early digital recorder and they were taking it apart and they were replacing it, and they were updating it and putting in a new hard drive. And it just opened the door a little bit to the kinds of things we do on our computer, making modifications, customizations and personalization. And we’re going to expect to do it across our entire world.

On how he put the whole concept of Make and the Makers together:I think it evolved, meaning first of all, it was finding real people doing stuff. One time I said to Tim O’Reilly, who ran O’Reilly Media, that I thought it was Martha Stewart for geeks. (Laughs) Tim and I, in our work, had always heard of discovered community, like technical communities specifically. These are open-source developers or people that were building some of the infrastructure for the Internet. And just getting to know who they were, what they did, what motivated them, and how they became who they were, was very informative.

On the Maker Faire and whether it was a stroke of genius:I don’t think it was a stroke of genius by any means, there’s always a lucky part of things you do. You find the right people to help you do things and those things actually work out. But the simple conception was that I wanted to find a way to feature makers and their work and make it possible for people to talk to them. I didn’t know if it would work, but I thought it was still worth trying.

On the biggest challenge he’s had to face:I think one of the biggest challenges is paddling upstream, that nobody believes in magazines and nobody believes in events. And getting the capital to do what we’re doing and making money off of what we’re doing is always a struggle, but I think we’ve achieved this certain level of stability and consistency. I heard someone on a podcast recently talking about someone in the media having to get over the idea that it’s a technology company and it’s going to get that kind of return in the market. And I think that’s kind of right. A technology company might come into existence and be gone in six months, because it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

On what happened with the magazine called Craft that he tried to produce:We did about two and a half years of Craft and I think a couple of things happened. One is at the time I started Make there was an emerging Indie craft movement, which I found really fascinating. And we feature that at Maker Faires. It was certainly more of a female audience and what was fascinating to me was these were largely women who did not learn crafting from their mom or parents, but they learned from each other and they learned it in an urban setting, taking classes or in other places. I thought we could start with Craft and then end up in a similar place to Make, in terms of how technology was transforming crafting and how crafting itself was a technology.But in 2008, I was faced with a choice and I just didn’t have any capital to fund growing both magazines, so I just needed to consolidate. It was during the recession and I just had to make a choice.

On anything he’d like to add:Going back to that experience, I think one of the things is there is a particular experience of a magazine. If you watch a movie, you’re not trying to text and do a bunch of other things, and I think with most of our online media, we’re in an environment of distraction, not focus. And yet, unlike a book, which is sort of a single narrative, a magazine is richer and takes you in a different direction, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. As you mentioned earlier, the experience itself of a magazine is still something that is going to stay with us.

On the biggest misconception he thinks people have about him:That’s interesting. I’m very passionate about what I do and sometimes I think that can get played against you. This passionate business person – people will say, well, you should just be looking at the numbers or you should just look at the business, and I guess my goal has been to find a way to make this business work and find a way to serve this audience, because there’s something really valuable here. And sometimes, I think that gets played back as well, you should just focus on the business.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him:The message of our Maker Faire is that we’re not just consumers, we’re also producers. We can create things and that’s actually such a human thing, we don’t want to lose it.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home:I do live in wine country on the weekends, I have a small winery, but you might find me doing that. But I’m getting a little too old to drink that much wine. Reading is probably my biggest interest. I do enjoy sports and other things too, all of the teams, but I think the origins of what I do in Make is in curiosity. How do I learn about things? How do I learn about what people do? I find reading is the greatest way to do that.

On what keeps him up at night:To some degree, it’s just running as a business, balancing the social value. Some people think we’re non-profit, and we’re not. So, figuring out how to make this a sustainable business. In the long run, I’ve kept it going 15 years. I want to make sure somehow I can set it up so it continues after my life and because of the value to society and the need for this.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dale Dougherty,  founder and CEO of Maker Media.

Samir Husni: You’ve been in the “Making” business since 2005, 13-plus years, producing Make Magazine. Tell me in this digital age, why are you doing something that requires handwork, or combines their brains and their hands at the same time, to focus your brand on?

Dale Dougherty: Probably the biggest reason is that people do it. It’s counter to a lot of what we’re told, but people use their hands. They actually like it and they find it rewarding, compelling and satisfying. And actually, a pathway into understanding technology is to play with it and to use it and to take it apart and put it back together, make it do things that it wasn’t intended to do. And I think people have always done this, whether it’s technology and computers or steam engines and mechanical things.

Samir Husni: If you could go back to 2005 and tell me what got you into this?

Dale Dougherty: I had developed a series of books called “Hacks” at O’Reilly Media and it was largely how people would, from a software perspective, hack software to make it do what they wanted it to do, getting information from different sites and creating something. And usually it was fun and kind of playful, and they were doing projects. And one of the books in that series was about an early digital recorder and they were taking it apart and they were replacing it, and they were updating it and putting in a new hard drive. And it just opened the door a little bit to the kinds of things we do on our computer, making modifications, customizations and personalization. And we’re going to expect to do it across our entire world.

And the applications of the future won’t be just on a screen, they’ll be really all around us, because chips and other things will be in stuff and data and sensors and things will be available to us, so how do we think more broadly about that. How do we do that for our home or our car, or just fun things in our lives that we want to do. The idea in some ways, was as I started to do a book series, I thought this is actually hard to fit into book-length chunks, but it actually might make a magazine. So, the original idea was Hacks as a magazine title, but then my kids kind of pushed back on that, they didn’t get the hacking thing very much.

And stepping back, I have to say an important point in doing the research was that I actually saw people doing this and that’s where it came from. The “Hack” series was finding out what people were doing and having them tell how they did it. So, I’ve always been interested in how-to information and the sharing of that. And what fascinated me as I looked back at magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, really back to 1918, 1930s, 1940s, up to Popular Electronics in the ‘70s, it had very much that kind of spirit of how-I-do-stuff. And I really liked that, so in this consumer society that we live in people don’t believe they can do stuff as much. And products are created that sort of keep them out rather than let them in.

And it’s just a hunch in a way that there were people out there who knew how to do this stuff and if I could find them and share what they were doing with others, we might create more people who could do stuff.

Samir Husni: It seems to me that the whole concept of Make and the Makers is based on a three-legged stool of creativity, community and innovation. How did you put that concept together?

Dale Dougherty: I think it evolved, meaning first of all, it was finding real people doing stuff. One time I said to Tim O’Reilly, who ran O’Reilly Media, that I thought it was Martha Stewart for geeks. (Laughs) Tim and I, in our work, had always heard of discovered community, like technical communities specifically. These are open-source developers or people that were building some of the infrastructure for the Internet. And just getting to know who they were, what they did, what motivated them, and how they became who they were, was very informative.

I’m not an engineer, I was an English major in college and I was self-taught in computing and all that. But I knew how they thought and I knew in some ways how they worked. And as I came up with the idea, I would just find more people doing it. And so I was really trying to capture that. And what we’re probably known for now more than the magazine is Maker Faire, which we started a year afterward. And that was just sort of on the recognition that I was moving a lot of people to the magazine and I thought that these were really interesting people and talking to them, their eyes light up and their enthusiastic, and they care tons about what they’re doing. And we don’t get to meet them in any other way; they’re not on TV, they’re not in the newspaper. So, I wanted to really connect with them.

And I wondered if I could combine an art fair, science fair, craft fair and even a county fair, and bring those people together and just ask them to share their projects with other people. And let people talk to them. And I figured we’d see if it worked.

We had a pretty good turnout our first year, about 15,000 people, which is larger in scale than most craft fairs and art fairs and science fairs. And it really just gave me a sense that people are really hungry for this and it was fresh and creative.

And going back to the innovation thing, the question is how do you create innovators; where do they come from? What is it they do before they’re innovators and are recognized as innovators? And I think our traditional answer is they went to school and learned to become innovators. And that’s actually not true. I think they practiced innovation in ways that they didn’t call it that. And it was very much in the spirit of play, like how do I fix something or take something apart? Or how do I combine two things that aren’t supposed to work together?

So, when I started the magazine, I was pretty serious that I wanted it to be about play, not about productivity or how do you make things to make a living. That was a possibility that I was open to, but it seemed that all of this occurred just because people enjoyed doing it. Just the way that some people like to cook and some people like woodworking. And that sort of gave me the identity for the magazine. This is a magazine full of projects, using technology in ways that might be unusual or cool. It wasn’t about fixing your toilet, but it was about what YOU could do, not about what someone else was doing.

If you look at the development over the years of a Popular Science and a Popular Mechanics, in their origins they weren’t trying to be very practical magazines about things that people did, like building a birdhouse or your own two-car garage. It all sort of began with the phrase: this might seem like an unusual project, but it’s something that you can do. I thought it was like an invitation to do stuff, so I wanted the magazine to be primarily about these projects that whether you did them or not, you learned how to do things that you might want to do.

Samir Husni: Most magazines today, it takes them maybe five years, ten years, some magazines 100 years, to be in the event business. But you did it sort of right out of the gate, a year later, after you did the magazine, four issues in you created the Maker Faire. Was it a walk in a rose garden for you or a stroke of genius?

Dale Dougherty: (Laughs) I don’t think it was a stroke of genius by any means, there’s always a lucky part of things you do. You find the right people to help you do things and those things actually work out. But the simple conception was that I wanted to find a way to feature makers and their work and make it possible for people to talk to them. I didn’t know if it would work, but I thought it was still worth trying.

A lot of what actually fascinated me about Make and Maker Faire was that it was kind of running in an almost diagonal direction compared to where the tech industry was going with Facebook and apps. I was thinking that one of the reasons for producing the magazine is it’s tangible and I really thought that people would collect it because I had come across people’s collections of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. In fact, for maybe the first 10 years I produced Make Magazine in a format that was identical, the digest format, that was identical to those early magazines. And it was really intended to be that, because there was something collectible about that format. And I thought nobody knows what website you read and what you find on it, but let me put these things on your desk or in your home or out on the table and people will find them and start talking about  them.

I actually think the key thing, especially in events, is that you learn from what you do. I think too much sometimes goes into planning and trying to make it perfect and to know everything. And one of the things that we’ve learned over the years is that we’ve determined in this that we wanted a family event. I think the magazine was targeted for males, probably 35 and up, maybe not targeted, but that’s kind of where the audience is. But we wanted a family event and we wanted kids there and to make it fun and enjoyable, so that whether you were into this or not, you could still get exposed to it and that worked.

Over the years, it’s been remarkable how many kids are there. It has almost become an educational event, because parents are coming and bringing their kids, saying I want them exposed to this. This is something they don’t see in their world, they don’t see at school. And these are creative, clever people who have original ideas that they make real.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest challenge in your journey, in this last 13 years, if you could pinpoint to one major challenge that you’ve faced and how you overcame it?

Dale Dougherty: I think one of the biggest challenges is paddling upstream, that nobody believes in magazines and nobody believes in events. And getting the capital to do what we’re doing and making money off of what we’re doing is always a struggle, but I think we’ve achieved this certain level of stability and consistency. I heard someone on a podcast recently talking about someone in the media having to get over the idea that it’s a technology company and it’s going to get that kind of return in the market. And I think that’s kind of right. A technology company might come into existence and be gone in six months, because it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

But I think a good publishing company is a franchise that can last multiple generations. And many have. That’s kind of been my goal; how do I keep it going? I think we’ve had a lot of initial growth in the magazine to get where we are, we’re at about 100,000 circulation. And it’s kind of stable there. But I think it would be really hard to do that as just a digital website, in terms of having a business model behind it. I think there are a lot of reasons why the web and the Internet are important and we use it, but it doesn’t really give you a business model today. And I hope we can, overtime, migrate some of this and make it work, but the feedback we get from people is actually that they like the tangible product.

I had this one note from a reader and he said that he waited for the magazine to come and he started clearing out his garage and arranging for it, and the day it came he sat in his chair and he spent two or three hours on the magazine. He said he was filled with dozens of ideas of things that he wanted to do over that next month or two. (Laughs) And I thought, that’s exactly what I wanted. The magazine becomes an experience, like a movie, but more than being an end of itself, it’s a launching unit encouraging you to do things yourself. And that’s where the real is. You don’t need cooking magazines unless you cook. The idea is you become a better cook, you try out new things. And culturally I was trying to create that environment around technology and just the idea of making.

 Samir Husni: I teach that as journalists we have to be more than content providers, we have to be experience makers. And Make is a great example of that.

Dale Dougherty: I think experience is still the primary currency here and as much so as the experience that goes on in the person’s head, and in a sense, what they do with their body and do things in the world as a result. And I think that’s why Maker Faire made sense to me.

One of the interesting challenges that I had early on is when we did our first Faire in New York, we ran a couple in Austin and then we started in New York, but I was getting a lot of requests from people asking why I didn’t do one in Seattle or one in Boston, and then eventually Tokyo and other places. We just didn’t have the ability to do it and so we ended up writing a playbook, meaning guidelines on what Maker Faire is and how to produce it. It wasn’t so much on just the event, but more this is a community event, so you need the community to engage; you need to discover the community of makers and have them be a part of this event, otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

And so we began licensing the Faire in a pretty lightweight manner, to community groups, science centers and some businesses. And in the last couple of years we’ve had about 200 Maker Faires per year in 44 countries. We have a producer network of people that we work with and talk to, but they’re kind of run independently as well.

Samir Husni: You tried to duplicate the same thing that you have done with Make with a magazine called Craft, what happened there?

Dale Dougherty: Yes, we did about two and a half years of Craft and I think a couple of things happened. One is at the time I started Make there was an emerging Indie craft movement, which I found really fascinating. And we feature that at Maker Faires. It was certainly more of a female audience and what was fascinating to me was these were largely women who did not learn crafting from their mom or parents, but they learned from each other and they learned it in an urban setting, taking classes or in other places.

I thought we could start with Craft and then end up in a similar place to Make, in terms of how technology was transforming crafting and how crafting itself was a technology. Thinking about things like wearable computing today, involving textiles and electronics. But in 2008, I was faced with a choice and I just didn’t have any capital to fund growing both magazines, so I just needed to consolidate. It was during the recession and I just had to make a choice.

And I think it also possibly points to something I had to realize, in our heart we weren’t magazine publishers, we were really community organizers and other things. And I kind of think of it as an association model; you exist because this group of people values what you do, and how do you serve them? It isn’t just through magazines, it’s also through events and maybe through other kinds of things like workshops or other ways to learn to do things. And that’s generally from where we evolved. I can’t imagine doing a magazine on another subject today, partly because it’s hard.

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

Dale Dougherty: Going back to that experience, I think one of the things is there is a particular experience of a magazine. If you watch a movie, you’re not trying to text and do a bunch of other things, and I think with most of our online media, we’re in an environment of distraction, not focus. And yet, unlike a book, which is sort of a single narrative, a magazine is richer and takes you in a different direction, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. As you mentioned earlier, the experience itself of a magazine is still something that is going to stay with us.

I think one of the things that I believed at the time I started Make was that I could do a more visual magazine in print than I could do online. And online sites, every page looks almost the same. And I think the idea of focusing and then developing that attention of someone is something that magazines are particularly good at.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception you think people have about you?

Dale Dougherty: That’s interesting. I’m very passionate about what I do and sometimes I think that can get played against you. This passionate business person – people will say, well, you should just be looking at the numbers or you should just look at the business, and I guess my goal has been to find a way to make this business work and find a way to serve this audience, because there’s something really valuable here. And sometimes, I think that gets played back as well, you should just focus on the business.

I think a lot of what we’ve done really well with a small team over the years is we have actually stimulated out of a magazine. We’ve created a movement of people that work independently of us, but we’ve created something – this sort of association where people in their hearts belong to something meaningful to them. And they want their kids to belong to it and it helps to shape and define their lives.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Dale Dougherty: The message of our Maker Faire is that we’re not just consumers, we’re also producers. We can create things and that’s actually such a human thing, we don’t want to lose it.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Dale Dougherty: (Laughs) I do live in wine country on the weekends, I have a small winery, but you might find me doing that. But I’m getting a little too old to drink that much wine. Reading is probably my biggest interest. I do enjoy sports and other things too, all of the teams, but I think the origins of what I do in Make is in curiosity. How do I learn about things? How do I learn about what people do? I find reading is the greatest way to do that.

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

Dale Dougherty: To some degree, it’s just running as a business, balancing the social value. Some people think we’re non-profit, and we’re not. So, figuring out how to make this a sustainable business. In the long run, I’ve kept it going 15 years. I want to make sure somehow I can set it up so it continues after my life and because of the value to society and the need for this.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

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Linda Thomas Brooks To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: Magazines Are A Shortcut To All Knowledge… The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With The President and CEO Of The MPA – The Association Of Magazine Media, On 100 Years Of MPA Excellence & The Upcoming American Magazine Media Conference In New York City On February 5, 2019…

January 13, 2019

“What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.” Linda Thomas Brooks…

On February 5, 2019 at the beautiful Henry R. Luce Auditorium in New York City, 300 of the most influential people in the magazine media industry, including presidents and CEOs, top publishers, notable editors,  advertisers and working press, representing the decision makers from both publishing and content, will gather together to explore the power and influence of magazine brands and to celebrate magazine media’s long-standing, trusted relationship to both consumers and marketers.

The year 2019 also designates the 100thanniversary of the MPA – The Association of Magazine Media and Mr. Magazine™ (circa 1919) will step through the portals of time to discuss some of the top titles being published during that exceptional year of magazines. Just as today, there were ups and downs during that year, but magazines were on hand, reflecting society’s interests and issues, and of course, Mr. Magazine’s™ 100-year-old counterpart was there too, tabulating and buying every first edition he could get his hands on.

I spoke with MPA’s President and CEO, Linda Thomas Brooks recently about the American Magazine Media Conference and her upcoming third anniversary (January 15) at the helm of the MPA. Linda is excited and jubilant about the MPA’s marvelous past and about where the association is headed into the future. From Magazine Media 360° to the MPA’s Social Media Report which tracks social media performance, Linda is proud of the accomplishments the MPA has realized before and during her almost three year tenure.

And with the Kelly Awards ceremony and the Top 13 Hottest Launches of 2018, presented by today’s Mr. Magazine™, the February 5 event is chocked full of more fun, excitement and knowledge than can be believed.

Mr. Magazine™ hopes to see you there! And Mr. Magazine™ 1919 certainly invites you to attend as well, before it’s too late and he has to return to the magazines of the past.

So now, please enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media (with comments by Susan Russ, as well).

But first the sound-bites:

On the upcoming 100thanniversary of the MPA and why she thinks magazines and magazine media have lasted so long: I have 100 reasons, but you don’t need 100 reasons. What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.

On whether the upcoming conference is time to dwell on the past, on what a great 100 years it has been, or look forward to the next 100 years and the future: All of the above, of course. I think we need to own this amazing history that we have, but obviously looking forward is a big part of that. All of these brands have amazing plans, they’ve already made amazing transitions in their business and how they look at things. So, we’re going to celebrate all of that.

On how she feels the MPA is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago: I haven’t been around for too many of those 100 years (Laughs), but what’s interesting is the issues that were at the forefront 100 years ago are still relevant: dealing with how magazines get into consumers’ hands, and the postal, etc., but our role now is so much broader. When the MPA was started magazines had one format, one life, they were printed magazines. And now our magazines are print, digital, mobile, social and video content and they’re so robust and so dynamic. And why we’re relevant is because we have to stay on top of that, whether that’s things like measurement, like our social media engagement report where we try to put some metrics to it, or helping to advocate for issues that are important in the digital landscape, whether that’s privacy or any of the data issues.

On the points of differentiation between magazine media and the rest of the mass media that’s out there, especially in this day and age: It’s funny somebody else asked me if I had to say the one word that was going to be important in 2019 and I said it would be credibility and that was sort of my word because again, the digital media ecosystem, it’s a really interesting place; you can get lost for a long, long time in the content that’s out there. Some of it’s really good and some of it’s entertaining and some of it’s really horrible and some of it is downright evil. And not just the content, that’s not even getting into the data collection and the data uses. So, the credibility that magazine brands have, the care that they put into the content that they produce, again, across formats, is a really important distinction.

On whether she thinks people should take the conference as a whole package or should they make sure they don’t miss one certain topic: Well, they absolutely must be at my remarks, of course. (Laughs) No, seriously, I think it is the whole package because we’re addressing so many different issues across the day. Some of it talks about the print legacy, some of it talks about the way people are transforming across formats and using things like Instagram; some of them are business side people, some are editors. So, I think they’re all important, but if you look at them in isolation, you’re going to miss the bigger picture, which is how will those pieces come together.

On the longevity of magazine brands and magazine media and why we don’t celebrate them more: We’re going to. And it’s great that you’ve been helping us sort of figure out the trajectory and the path. A publisher asked me recently, they were doing an internal sales meeting and he was looking for some fun facts, and I gave him some of those to say that we really need to own this. It’s funny, I think the industry, and not just the magazine industry, but the broader media marketing industry sort of shied away from the word legacy like it was a bad thing. And I talk to people about that all of the time and ask them: isn’t a legacy what we all want? We want to leave professional legacies; we want to leave personal legacies for our children and our grandchildren, for the people who work for us.

On any other plans for celebration this year of the MPA’s 100thanniversary: I’m not sure about another special event, but hopefully we’ll be celebrating all year in the way that we talk about the business and the things that we highlight and through the facts and amazing background pieces that you’re uncovering. Part of what the MPA does is help our members come to grips with business issues and we spend all year working really, really hard internally with our members. And so I think looking for some additional opportunities to not only do the hard work, but even if it’s just a moment or two of celebration or the reflection of just looking back on what we’ve accomplished, I think that’s a really important thing.

On approaching her own third year anniversary with the MPA and whether she would liken it to a walk in a rose garden or similar to the marathons that Michael Clinton likes to run: Every day is a walk in the park. It’s funny, Michael and I have gotten comments about it, and I haven’t done as many marathons as he has, but I’m a runner too and I’ve done a number of them. In a lot of ways, I do liken this job to a marathon, because you know, in every job you have good days and you have bad days, you have challenges that didn’t exist, you have things that crop up that you have to deal with, and we always try to remember and to take the long view.

On the one thing she is most proud of accomplishing in those three years: Number one is really sort of focusing on new analytics that help explain the complexity of the magazine ecosystem, so Magazine Media 360, which actually preceded me, I can’t take credit for it, but I think we’ve enhanced and made that better, made it bigger and easier for people to use, and to really help explain how our magazine brands come to life across channels.

On anything she would like to add: Obviously, we’re really excited about the people who are going to be on the stage and sharing their perspective, but the cool thing about this conference too is just the interaction between all of the attendees. So, you’ve been coming long enough and you probably remember that we did that strolling lunch last year, and the impetus for that was our attendees, our members love talking to one another. They don’t want to sit still in one spot, they want to keep the conversations going.

On this being the first time the conference is being held at a magazine publisher’s instead of a hotel or conference venue: As far as we know, yes. Susan has a few more years than me, but we’re both relatively new, but yes, as far as we know this is the first time. And we’re really lucky. Meredith’s facility is so fantastically beautiful and we know that they get a lot of calls for that space, from inside and outside the industry. It’s just an incredible space and we’re really lucky that they’re willing to allow the industry to use it and for people to gather there, because it’s going to be fantastic.

And now for the lightly edited interview with Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO, MPA: The Association of Magazine Media:

Samir Husni: On February 5, 2019 during the American Magazine Media Conference, the MPA will be celebrating its centennial. Why do you think magazines and magazine media have lasted so long?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I have 100 reasons, but you don’t need 100 reasons. What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.

Somebody put hours and hours of work into collecting and editing and curating this amazing set of information that I can just pick up on a whim and gain from all of their knowledge and perspective. That continues to be a very valuable package for consumers. I could go on the Internet and find all of that stuff, but Holy Cow, I don’t have time to do all of that. I have a day job.

Samir Husni: As you look forward to the conference in less than three weeks, are you going to dwell on the past, on what a great 100 years it has been, or you’re looking forward to the next 100 years and the future?

Linda Thomas Brooks: All of the above, of course. I think we need to own this amazing history that we have, but obviously looking forward is a big part of that. All of these brands have amazing plans, they’ve already made amazing transitions in their business and how they look at things. So, we’re going to celebrate all of that.

SamirHusni: How do you feel that the MPA is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I haven’t been around for too many of those 100 years (Laughs), but what’s interesting is the issues that were at the forefront 100 years ago are still relevant: dealing with how magazines get into consumers’ hands, and the postal, etc., but our role now is so much broader.

When the MPA was started magazines had one format, one life, they were printed magazines. And now our magazines are print, digital, mobile, social and video content and they’re so robust and so dynamic. And why we’re relevant is because we have to stay on top of that, whether that’s things like measurement, like our social media engagement report where we try to put some metrics to it, or helping to advocate for issues that are important in the digital landscape, whether that’s privacy or any of the data issues. So, we have a much bigger job now that magazines themselves are much more diverse businesses.

Samir Husni: I noticed some key words for the conference this year, such as trust and credibility. What do you feel are the points of differentiation between magazine media and the rest of the mass media that’s out there, especially in this day and age?

Linda Thomas Brooks: It’s funny somebody else asked me if I had to say the one word that was going to be important in 2019 and I said it would be credibility and that was sort of my word because again, the digital media ecosystem, it’s a really interesting place; you can get lost for a long, long time in the content that’s out there. Some of it’s really good and some of it’s entertaining and some of it’s really horrible and some of it is downright evil. And not just the content, that’s not even getting into the data collection and the data uses.

So, the credibility that magazine brands have, the care that they put into the content that they produce, again, across formats, is a really important distinction. And I think both consumers and marketers are starting to figure that out because there’s a lot of stuff out there that is unhealthy for a brand, unhealthy for a person to read or consume; unhealthy for our society.

Samir Husni: Needless to say, the conference is the largest gathering of magazine and magazine media makers in the country. If you were to point to one session, would it be the C-suite insights, the sales and marketing leadership, the business transformation; I mean, do you think people should take the conference as a whole package or should they make sure they don’t miss one certain topic? In other words, you might miss this, but definitely don’t miss that.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Well, they absolutely must be at my remarks, of course. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Linda Thomas Brooks: No, seriously, I think it is the whole package because we’re addressing so many different issues across the day. Some of it talks about the print legacy, some of it talks about the way people are transforming across formats and using things like Instagram; some of them are business side people, some are editors. So, I think they’re all important, but if you look at them in isolation, you’re going to miss the bigger picture, which is how will those pieces come together.

Samir Husni: As I look back at some of the history of magazines, I’ve been researching magazines from 1919 and also looking at the charter of the MPA and the folks who founded it, there are more than 55 magazine titles, brands, that are still being published today and more than 100 advertising brands that are still in business today. Can you think of any other entity that has survived through thick and thin, good and bad, the way magazines have? And why don’t we celebrate magazines even more?

Linda Thomas Brooks: We’re going to. And it’s great that you’ve been helping us sort of figure out the trajectory and the path. A publisher asked me recently, they were doing an internal sales meeting and he was looking for some fun facts, and I gave him some of those to say that we really need to own this. It’s funny, I think the industry, and not just the magazine industry, but the broader media marketing industry sort of shied away from the word legacy like it was a bad thing. And I talk to people about that all of the time and ask them: isn’t a legacy what we all want? We want to leave professional legacies; we want to leave personal legacies for our children and our grandchildren, for the people who work for us.

So, I think the fact that these magazine brands have this unbelievable legacy, and by the way, many of them were the earliest adopters on new ways to bring their brands to life too. And I think that is something that we need to celebrate more than we do.

Samir Husni: I know that the AMMC is going to be the beginning of the celebration for the MPA’s centennial, but what other plans do you have this year to celebrate such a milestone?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I’m not sure about another special event, but hopefully we’ll be celebrating all year in the way that we talk about the business and the things that we highlight and through the facts and amazing background pieces that you’re uncovering. Part of what the MPA does is help our members come to grips with business issues and we spend all year working really, really hard internally with our members. And so I think looking for some additional opportunities to not only do the hard work, but even if it’s just a moment or two of celebration or the reflection of just looking back on what we’ve accomplished, I think that’s a really important thing.

And sometimes just like in your everyday life, you have work to do and errands to run and you forget to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. And so we’re going to try and incorporate those moments all year.

Samir Husni: Talking about celebration, you’re approaching your own third anniversary at the MPA. Tell me, do you feel this journey at the MPA has been a celebration for you, a walk in a rose garden, or maybe one of those marathons that Michael Clinton likes to run?

Linda Thomas Brooks: (Laughs) Every day is a walk in the park. It’s funny, Michael and I have gotten comments about it, and I haven’t done as many marathons as he has, but I’m a runner too and I’ve done a number of them. In a lot of ways, I do liken this job to a marathon, because you know, in every job you have good days and you have bad days, you have challenges that didn’t exist, you have things that crop up that you have to deal with, and we always try to remember and to take the long view.

And to say that there are hard things that we need to help remember, there are issues on which we need to advocate, but always remembering why we’re doing it, which is that these brands matter. They matter to marketers and to consumers and to the world at large. And we want to make sure that we help those brands perpetuate themselves. I don’t want to live in a world where all media is crowdsourced. I want our brands to be around to inform and engage people and to bring people together on the basis of facts and culture and inspiration, and enlighten people. Those are all really important societal elements, beyond just advertising and marketing.

Samir Husni: If you look back at your three years so far with the MPA, and someone cornered you and asked you to name one thing you are most proud of, what would it be?

Linda Thomas Brooks: (Laughs) Can I have two?

Samir Husni: (Laughs too) Okay, the art of the deal, go ahead.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Number one is really sort of focusing on new analytics that help explain the complexity of the magazine ecosystem, so Magazine Media 360, which actually preceded me, I can’t take credit for it, but I think we’ve enhanced and made that better, made it bigger and easier for people to use, and to really help explain how our magazine brands come to life across channels.

And then related to that, the social media engagement tool is just another example and we have more tools in the works to help quantitatively explain the benefits of magazine media content. So, I’m really proud of that because it changed from just sort of an esoteric conversation to something that we can really point to the data and say: look, you don’t have to believe me, here are the comparable data facts that really prove the value of magazine brands.

And then also I think related to that is the focus again on quality content and helping to explain to people what goes into a magazine. Why is that such a beautiful thing? What’s behind it? And I know you’ve seen it, we did the first one at your conference, the Bubble Charts, where we deconstructed edits to show people what goes into it. We’ve done a number of those and some other exhibits and conversations like that.

I think for a while, as an industry, we forgot to explain to people why what we do is different than somebody just sitting down and opening their laptop and sharing their perspective. And so focusing again on the content and the quality of the content, and the process; what is the editorial process and what goes into it? I think that’s a really important element and another thing that I’m really proud of.

Susan Russ: And I would add conversations. Linda has conversations literally all day, every day. And I think that has really moved the deal in many, many areas, whether it be among the board, among our members, the people who are out on the street every day, and the marketers and the advertisers. So, there is a lot of really good, healthy conversation.

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

Susan Russ: I’ll just say that we obviously want everyone to attend the conference, but the agenda is really packed with star-studded magazine media luminaries. We have editors in chief from all over the spectrum of types and size, new magazines and older magazines, and I can’t remember any conference that has had such representation from so many leaders that are doing this business every single day.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Obviously, we’re really excited about the people who are going to be on the stage and sharing their perspective, but the cool thing about this conference too is just the interaction between all of the attendees. So, you’ve been coming long enough and you probably remember that we did that strolling lunch last year, and the impetus for that was our attendees, our members love talking to one another. They don’t want to sit still in one spot, they want to keep the conversations going.

So, we’re doing a similar thing this year at lunchtime, so that people have real food and don’t starve, but also have the chance to talk with one another. It’s not that they don’t know each other, but it’s hard for people to work in time for that in their day jobs. So, having that time to share and celebrate, to give one another some ribbing, just whatever it is, is really cool.

Then the awards at the end, including the recognition that you help us with, but also the Kelly’s and the people that we’re honoring from the industry. Again, I think just taking a few minutes to celebrate what is good and the work that gets done in our business.

Samir Husni: Isn’t this the first time that the event actually takes place at a magazine publisher’s and not at a hotel or a conference venue?

Linda Thomas Brooks: As far as we know, yes. Susan has a few more years than me, but we’re both relatively new, but yes, as far as we know this is the first time. And we’re really lucky. Meredith’s facility is so fantastically beautiful and we know that they get a lot of calls for that space, from inside and outside the industry. It’s just an incredible space and we’re really lucky that they’re willing to allow the industry to use it and for people to gather there, because it’s going to be fantastic.

And also I think it’s a cultural shift. I think for many, for a lot of years in the business people were sort of very competitive; a publisher from one house didn’t necessarily want to be at the other guy’s house, and I think that’s all changed now. People are still competitive in the marketplace, of course, but their very collegial and I think that they understand that there are many aspects of the business in which it helps to collaborate.

Samir Husni: And that sends a great message as far as the MPA’s centennial, because when the association was formed, all of these competitors, all of these 19 competitors, came together to help the membership and to help promote the business, rather than to promote their individual titles. It was more of a collective force, all working together from all of the aspects of the industry. And 100 years later, almost the same thing is happening.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Yes, here we are again.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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The 13 Hottest Magazine Launches Of 2018 — Mr. Magazine™ Teams Up With The MPA: The Association of Magazine Media To Present “The Launch Of The Year” At The American Magazine Media Conference Feb. 5, 2019…

January 7, 2019

As 2018 slipped through the portals of time and high-fived 2019 as they passed each other in the hallway of new magazines, we acknowledge that 2018 was a fantastic year for magazines and feel certain that 2019 will see just as much success. It is with that in mind that we are honored to once again celebrate those new titles that were born this past year. This time “The Launch of the Year” is being selected from all of the new magazines that were started from January 2018 through December 2018.

To honor and celebrate those new magazines, Mr. Magazine™ and MPA: The Association of Magazine Media will come together to pay tribute to “The Launch of the Year” during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City on February 5, 2019.

There were 191 new magazine titles that arrived on the scene with the intent to publish on a regular frequency in 2018, and you can add to that another 600+ bookazines and specials that are not included in this selection. You can view all the new titles with frequency at the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor here.

The criteria for the selection process is as follows:

  • We must have actual physical copies of them.
  • The number one criteria point is the audience’s reaction to that magazine. How did the overall marketplace react and how did its intended audience respond to it? And just as important; how did the industry behave toward it? These questions are the first thing I ask upon selection of “The Launch of the Year.”
  • Major industry leaders’ launching new print magazines certainly is something that must be recognized because it speaks of the power of the medium. These people aren’t in the business of wasting dollars on something that has no value. In the past there have been new offerings from publishing giants such as Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith and the southern-born Hoffman Media. For companies as distinguished and successful as these to create and bring new titles into this digital world signifies the good health and power of print.
  • And then there are the entrepreneurs, with their vision and determination to launch their magazine no matter the cost to their wallets and their emotions; they are no less amazing. Some of the best titles we’ve seen in a long time have been from relatively unknown publishers who are not without experience, just without the stolid names that audiences know so well.
  • The criteria for selection is based on factors that include creativity and audience reaction first and foremost, and then industry trends and as always, those rogue wildcards out there that just won’t be denied and seem to make some of the best magazines around.
  • Also, something has to grab our attention to be selected as “The Launch of the Year,” based on the comparative analysis.

Top 13 Launches for 2018 (in alphabetical order)

  1. Compulsive
  2. Ember
  3. Fleishigs
  4. Good Company
  5. Hungry Girl
  6. Jez
  7. Jugular
  8. Kitchen Toke
  9. L’Officiel USA
  10. Outboard
  11. Retro Fan
  12. Western Hunting Journal
  13. Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Compulsive

Are you interested in exploring captivating, compelling conversations? Then welcome to Compulsive Magazine. According to the title’s tagline, captivating and compelling is exactly how they create a comfortable space for their readers to enjoy the magazine. From beauty to health, inspirational articles to fashion and style, Compulsive is enthusiastic, passionate, and irresistible. And Mr. Magazine™ says welcome to the Top 13!

Ember

Born from a collaboration between the folks at Paper and a growing marijuana dispensary chain in Los Angeles called MedMen, Ember is one of the latest cannabis and cannabis culture magazines to hit newsstands. With the goal of destigmatizing and bringing marijuana into the everyday culture more and more, the magazine is a heady dose of all things cannabis, with ads that are as informative and compelling as the articles. Mr. Magazine™ thinks Ember burns brightly among the other weed-based titles and enjoyed the read “highly.” (Joking, of course).

 

Fleishigs

The word Fleishig means meat, pure and simple. From beef to poultry and the fat in between, kosher culinary culture involves keeping certain foods, such as meat, away from other certain foods, such as Milchigs, or dairy. Hence, a new food magazine all about the meat-centric point of view, without diluting the content away from the main vein: the meat. From the team behind Bitayavon and Joy of Kosher, this new kosher food magazine is brilliant. Recipes abound and the articles are as rich as the protein-filled subject matter. What a refreshing change of pace and an awesome way to explore the kosher lifestyle or enrich it!

Good Company

Inspired by the success of her latest book, “In the Company of Women” (now a New York Times Best Seller), Grace Bonney’s new print magazine, Good Company, provides motivation, inspiration, practical advice, and a vital sense of connection and community for women and non-binary creatives at every stage of their lives. Each issue of Good Company focuses on one overarching theme, including Change, Fear, Community, Mentors, and much more. It’s a magazine, but more than that, it’s a conversation and one that beckons you (the reader) to jump right into. And if you do – there’s no doubt you’ll be in Good Company!

Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the Hungry Girl and she is this new magazine published through a partnership with the Meredith Corp. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Hungry Girl brand. She is the founder of http://www.hungry-girl.com, the free daily email service that entertains and informs hungry people everywhere. Complementing her brand nicely is this great new print magazine that adds another dimension to her digital platforms. It’s exciting and intriguing and inspires all of us to realize that just because we’re “hungry” doesn’t mean we can’t make smart food choices and determine creative ways to eat the foods that we love and still fit into our pants!

Jez

Jez is a new quarterly magazine, which highlights what’s new and best in fashion, beauty, culture and entertainment, but also has a special focus on philanthropy. In fact, the magazine’s tagline is fashion, culture, philanthropy. Founder and editor in chief, Ezequiel De La Rosa, has been a designer, store owner, makeup artist, photographer (which he still is, photographing many of the images between the covers of the magazine) and now a magazine creator. The magazine is artistic, beautiful,  and has that strong entrepreneurial spirit that makes it stand out above many of its peers. Welcome to the finals, Jez!

Jugular

An antidote for boredom, indeed. This new title’s tagline is certainly one that fits as the oversized, brilliantly-done magazine was born out of the desire to tell real and uncontaminated stories filtered through one of the keywords of the 21st century: DESIGN, To hold this new publication in one’s hands is to understand the meaning of the phrase: tactile experience. It’s an unbelievably exciting project that was born out of the passion of people who wanted to go deeper into the story, deeper into the design, and hit that “jugular” where the blood flows passionately between the brain and heart. And it definitely affects the main arterial flow of emotions.

Kitchen Toke

Kitchen Toke is the first magazine about cooking with cannabis. It focuses on exploring and understanding cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, covering cooking and entertaining seasonally with cannabis along with the chefs and individuals who are advancing marijuana in food and health. It’s a fantastic magazine whose founder and president, Joline Rivera, said has recipes and stories that help people to understand all of the misinformation that’s out there about the plant, causing unnecessary and misplaced fear for many people when it comes to using it in food or at all. An amazing offering from the cannabis world that seems to be exploding!

L’Officiel USA

A European title that now lives in the USA too, this big, bold magazine aims to merge the century-long traditions of its predecessor with a modern approach. L’Officiel, the 96-year-old French luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine owned by the Jalou family offers fashion, beauty, music, film, literature, culture, lifestyle, wellness, politics and more with an emphasis on telling stories that matter. And its American counterpart is glorious  and marks a new chapter for L’Officiel. Welcome to America!

Outboard

A new magazine dedicated to outboards, this title offers the immediate rush of a speedboat. It’s sleek, shiny and as addictive as the adrenaline that flows through one’s body as you skim the surface of some smooth waters at the clipped speed of sound! The photos are bold and splashed across print pages that feel like the salty silk of the ocean beneath your fingers. Outboard is a new title that Mr. Magazine™ can’t wait to see more of!

Retro Fan

Retro Fan magazine, published by TwoMorrows Publishing, is an ultimate handbook for all things retro and fun. From tattoos in bubble gum packs to your favorite Saturday morning cartoons, this magazine takes you back to the past with an exuberance that is reminiscent of childhood. It’s filled with things that still play an important part in many of our lives: The Andy Griffith Show, Star Trek (how many of us grew up on Captain Kirk and Spock), articles, such as one with Lou Ferrigno (TV’s Hulk), and fun sitcom quotes, along with much, much more. Mr. Magazine™ was so excited to discover this title that he had to include in our 2018 Baker’s Dozen!

Western Hunting Journal

A magazine produced by a team who are self-proclaimed passionate hunters dedicated to publishing the best information for hunters in the West with in-depth gear reviews, world-class hunts, expert shooting advice, industry news, and hunting information that is relevant to hunters who chase big game, waterfowl and upland gamebirds. It features excellent photography, great writing and smart design. And Mr. Magazine™ for one says welcome to this passionate and bold hunting experience!

Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Jo Packham believes we all have a story to tell and she also believes it is her job to give a venue to those ideas; hence, the four titles that she created and formerly published (three of them anyway) with Stampington & Company by her side. But no longer is she affiliated with the giant crafting publisher. Today, she is following through with her own vision, through her partnership with Disticor, and has decided there is more to tell than just “where,” we also need to know “what.” And for the beauty, content, and magnificent design of these magazines, Mr. Magazine™ has included all four of the titles (counted as one entry) into this Baker’s Dozen of fantastic new publications. 2018 was a great year for Jo Packham! Welcome to the fold!

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Michael Clinton To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: 2019 Will Be The Flight Back Year To Quality, Quality Brands, Quality Environment, Safe Environments, And Obviously, Our Magazine Brands Represent That. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

January 2, 2019

The Real Influencers Of The Marketplace : The Brands Themselves 

“I think credibility is a real issue right now because there was that moment in time where influencers were viewed as an important platform. Well, I think the market has learned that many people who set themselves up as influencers really are not influencers. They’re just people trying to set up a business and when you’re coming through the Cosmo lens or the Elle lens or the Good Housekeeping lens, that’s influence.” Michael Clinton…

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 Michael Clinton is a confirmed believer in the trust factor of magazines and magazine brands. In fact, according to Michael, it’s all about the brands; everything. The brands are the trust factor and that spans the entire multiplatform existence of each and every Hearst product, from the legacy titles, such as House Beautiful and Town & Country, to the latest mega-success stories, such as Pioneer Woman and Airbnb, the brands are the key to consumer trust and creditability, from print product to pixel.

I spoke with Michael recently and we talked about the trust factor of the brands and the legacy titles of Hearst that continue to grow audience and gain new readers, even after 100 years of service to the consumers. Michael said that evolvement is a big reason that Hearst products continue to flourish and grow, and that innovation has always been a part of their magazines’ DNA and will continue to be so. From the year of “Data,” which is what Michael said 2019 will be, with data working for companies in a much larger way, to “Content with Purpose,” Hearst’s new editorial mission, innovation and evolution are key.

This first Mr. Magazine™ interview of 2019 was such an eye-opening and interesting way to start the magazine New Year off. Michael Clinton is optimistic, but totally aware of the challenges that the latest “shiny new thing” of 2019 could bring to the world of magazines and magazine media. However, the passion and strong faith that he has for and in the Hearst brands is palpable and always uppermost in his mind as you will tell immediately from our conversation.

And now without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

But first the sound-bites:

On his predictions for 2019 where magazine media is concerned:I think one thing that we’re seeing is a flight back to quality, quality brands, quality environment, safe environments, first-party environments, and obviously, our magazine brands represent that. And I think there is a lot of concern about context and I think a lot of CMOs are really beginning to step back and rethink things and I believe that plays well for magazine brands. So, I would say that’s one.

On how Hearst keeps growing audiences with its numerous legacy titles, many of which are over 100-years-old:What has to happen with the print magazine is that it obviously has to evolve with the culture. And so, it has to represent what is happening in the culture at any given point in time. If you go back to Town & Country in the 1980s; the eighties had a very different affluent market than today’s affluent market. So, you have to reflect the contemporary times and you have to move the reader along as well. I think it’s the magic of our editors who are constantly evolving the product.

On how he conveys that message of evolvement to advertisers:It’s all in the product; you walk them through the product and show them how the product is evolving and how the product will evolve. Brands want to align themselves with contemporary messaging. And they’re doing the same thing, they’re always taking their brand message and their brand packaging and they’re evolving it and they’re changing it, and they’re changing their message points based on the culture at the time to make it relevant for both their existing customer and new customer. So, I think they’re always looking for the environments in which we can pro-message together.

On print advertising and whether that same trust factor carries over into all of the platforms:First of all, it’s all about the brands, right? The brand is the trust factor. So, if I’m a Cosmopolitan reader, I have the trust factor in print, in digital, in social, on Snapchat, because I trust the brand. And that gets into the context discussion. I think that if you’re seeing something that is on Cosmo.com, you know that it’s been produced by professional editors; it’s authoritative; it’s been vetted properly; as opposed to some pure play digital site or some influence, it has a real credibility.

On how print can be used in today’s digital age to its own best advantage:That’s a great question. Hearst today is the dominant player in the fashion/luxury market; with our brands we produce more content in that space, in print, digital and in social. So, we now dominate. That’s been an evolution and we’re proud of that position we have now with the global luxury brands. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve really believed in the production values of all of our luxury books: Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, Town & Country; they’re all oversized; they’re a luxe presentation. The amount of time, energy, and money that is put into beautiful photography and amazing representation of the luxury market; well, the editorial grit behind all of that really allows us to have those great connections with the consumer.

On whether his job today has become more difficult or easier than it was 10 years ago:I would say that it’s become more complex. What is exciting is that our brands now live in many different places. So, 10 years ago, you were basically selling a print platform, right? Today you’re selling a print platform, a web platform, a video platform, a social media platform, and an experiential platform. So, where the excitement lies is in the fact that the brands have been unleashed and we now have consumers interacting with our brands in so many different places, knitting all of that together to create a community  and that’s what’s really exciting.

On what he feels is a big challenge facing the industry today:I would say two things to that. One is there is within the buy-side of the world, there is oftentimes, the chase for the shiny, new thing. And the shiny new thing is not necessarily what’s going to move the consumer to action. So, the pessimism I would have is the lack of appreciation for the broader view of the media world, the media mix. There needs to be more of an investment in educating and training on the buy-side for what all of the different mediums represent. So, that’s one.

On what he thinks will be the “buzzword” or important one word that will define 2019 as the year of what:It’s the year of data. It’s the year of really putting our data to work in a much bigger way and so that data is both print data and digital data. And we’re doing lots of work on the data front, not just for our own content creation, and Troy (Young) may have touched on this, but our new editorial mission is what we call “Content With Purpose,” and when I say content with purpose it doesn’t necessarily mean socially conscious, although that could be a part of it. But it’s content that we know through our data that our readers really respond to.

On any new titles that may be coming in 2019:Possibly. But first let me say that Pioneer Woman has been a huge success for us, it just broke half a million rate base, as you may know. Airbnb will move to six times frequency in 2019 and it will have a rapid circulation growth. So, that’s good. We’re always looking at new products, both print and digital. There’s nothing that’s eminent, but we always have something in the kitchen. Nothing eminent now.

On the biggest misconception he thinks people have about him:That I’m a New York Mets fan. (Laughs) I’m actually a Yankees fan, but that’s beside the point. I do have a reputation of being a bit of a workaholic, but I would argue that I have an extremely well-balanced life. And you have to nurture both sides. While I work hard, I also have lots of interests outside work.

On whether he ever feels as though he’s running in a magazine marathon:That’s a great question and I would just make the response that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. When you take the long-term view, like in marathon running, you always have stamina and you always have a good Zen-like view of the future, because it is a long play.

On what he hopes is the first thing that comes into people’s minds when they hear the name Michael Clinton: That he respects all people, that he believes in service to people, so as you may know, I have a foundation that some friends and I started eight years ago called Circle of Generosity and it is our commitment to have service to others. And I think that’s just a really important part of how we should live our lives.

On how he decides what to retweet:I think it’s about the optimism of our business. And you’re self-included. I think it’s important to get the positive news out there about our business and about our industry and about media. As you know, parts of the media are under siege these days, and I think what we do is an incredibly important service. And while our magazine company is not in the news business, it’s really important what we do, because we inform people and educate them and entertain them. And so the Retweets are something that are either positive about the business or something that’s really innovative and unique that one of our brands is doing or that I see in the marketplace that is an innovative idea in terms of how you can use magazine brands.

On what keeps him up at night:I’m a good sleeper, but the only thing that keeps me up is when my puppy jumps on my head in the middle of the night. (Laughs)

 

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

Samir Husni: Michael, put your fortunetelling hat on for a moment if you would, and tell me your three major predictions for what is going to happen in magazine media in 2019.

Michael Clinton: I think one thing that we’re seeing is a flight back to quality, quality brands, quality environment, safe environments, first-party environments, and obviously, our magazine brands represent that. And I think there is a lot of concern about context and I think a lot of CMOs are really beginning to step back and rethink things and I believe that plays well for magazine brands. So, I would say that’s one.

The second thing that I would add to that is, the addiction of too much bottom of the funnel performance-based media has sent shockwaves through a lot of brands, which have begun to see meaningful erosion of their brand equity or consideration. And we’re seeing, if you will, a rebalance of the media mix. And with that is an appreciation for all of the things that magazines represent, print magazines in particular, in terms of brand equity. And I think that race to the bottom has eroded a lot of brand equity, so I would say that’s the second.

And then on the third, I would say that the magazine brands’ digital platforms have a very special sauce to them, because we have very engaged users who are around our subject areas, so whether it’s fashion, beauty, or home, high levels of engagement, high levels of first-party engagement, safe environments, all of this is kind of connecting back to number one. And also in the world of content and context, that plays really well for us.

So, we continue to see huge growth on our digital platforms. I think you know that Cosmopolitan is at 38 million uniques. We just launched Oprahmag.com, and within two or three weeks we’re at 1.3 million uniques. Obviously, what Oprah and Oprahmag.com represents has great connection with consumers. So, I think all of these things bode well for both our print platforms and our digital platforms.

Samir Husni: I have been looking at and researching magazines from 1919 for the MPA’s 100thanniversary, and quite a few of the titles are from Hearst and are still being published today, 100 years later, whether it’s House Beautiful or Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar or Popular Mechanics. You publish more legacy magazines than any other media company. Tell me, how do you keep growing audiences with these legacy magazines? You just shared that Cosmopolitan had 38 million uniques, yet it’s a title that’s over 100-years-old. How do you do that?

Michael Clinton: What has to happen with the print magazine is that it obviously has to evolve with the culture. And so, it has to represent what is happening in the culture at any given point in time. If you go back to Town & Country in the 1980s; the eighties had a very different affluent market than today’s affluent market. So, you have to reflect the contemporary times and you have to move the reader along as well. I think it’s the magic of our editors who are constantly evolving the product.

I believe the sign of a great magazine is when you go to a particular magazine and you pick up an issue from two years ago, forget 100 years ago, just two years ago and you say: wow, that magazine was very different then than it is today, because the editors are constantly evolving the content, the relevance, the stories, and that’s what keeps it modern and fresh. And I think we have lots of great examples of that in the house.

Samir Husni: When you work with the other customer, the advertiser, how do you convey that message of evolvement to them?

Michael Clinton: It’s all in the product; you walk them through the product and show them how the product is evolving and how the product will evolve. Brands want to align themselves with contemporary messaging. And they’re doing the same thing, they’re always taking their brand message and their brand packaging and they’re evolving it and they’re changing it, and they’re changing their message points based on the culture at the time to make it relevant for both their existing customer and new customer. So, I think they’re always looking for the environments in which we can pro-message together.

It’s really the high-touch selling. I think one of the things is that print has always been a high-client touchpoint medium, and so, while we obviously work with our agency partners, clients have always been very, very interested in the print medium. So, there’s a lot of that high-touch human contact that goes with selling the print medium.

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Samir Husni: One of the points that I’ve noticed when looking at the legacy magazines from 100 years ago is there was always that guarantee that all of the advertising in the magazine was true and honest, guaranteed, there was a certain trust factor. Today, if I see that trust factor in print, can I take that promise with me to the digital? Or is it based on the brand?

Michael Clinton: First of all, it’s all about the brands, right? The brand is the trust factor. So, if I’m a Cosmopolitan reader, I have the trust factor in print, in digital, in social, on Snapchat, because I trust the brand. And that gets into the context discussion. I think that if you’re seeing something that is on Cosmo.com, you know that it’s been produced by professional editors; it’s authoritative; it’s been vetted properly; as opposed to some pure play digital site or some influence, it has a real credibility.

And I think credibility is a real issue right now because there was that moment in time where influencers were viewed as an important platform. Well, I think the market has learned that many people who set themselves up as influencers really are not influencers. They’re just people trying to set up a business and when you’re coming through the Cosmo lens or the Elle lens or the Good Housekeeping lens, that’s influence.

Samir Husni: How can you use print to its own best advantage in this digital age?

Michael Clinton: That’s a great question. Hearst today is the dominant player in the fashion/luxury market; with our brands we produce more content in that space, in print, digital and in social. So, we now dominate. That’s been an evolution and we’re proud of that position we have now with the global luxury brands. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve really believed in the production values of all of our luxury books: Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, Town & Country; they’re all oversized; they’re a luxe presentation. The amount of time, energy, and money that is put into beautiful photography and amazing representation of the luxury market; well, the editorial grit behind all of that really allows us to have those great connections with the consumer.

A lot of it is production value and execution by the editors. And then of course, that rolls into the digital platforms as well. One of our fastest growing sites this year has been Harper’s Bazaar. I don’t have a stat in front of me, but Harper’s Bazaar, its luxe presentation in print and its digital execution has helped to drive huge digital growth for us this year.

So, when you look at the production values that those brands have on their websites and also on their social media, it also reflects that. And don’t forget, there are global brands and also don’t forget that we have, aside from global print brands, we now have the capability to work with our luxury partners globally across Elle.com globally or Bazaar.com globally. And that’s a big differentiator for us. So, we’re doing a lot of business with global luxury brands that want that kind of global footprint .

I would use those as a few examples, but we’re really proud of the fact that we’re now the leading fashion/luxury publisher in the world.

Samir Husni: If you reflect back 10 years ago at the dawn of digital, the Smartphone, the iPad, etc., has your job today, looking toward the future, has it become easier or more difficult?

Michael Clinton: I would say that it’s become more complex. What is exciting is that our brands now live in many different places. So, 10 years ago, you were basically selling a print platform, right? Today you’re selling a print platform, a web platform, a video platform, a social media platform, and an experiential platform. So, where the excitement lies is in the fact that the brands have been unleashed and we now have consumers interacting with our brands in so many different places, knitting all of that together to create a community  and that’s what’s really exciting.

So, today you have the women’s health community. And the women’s health community has exponentially grown because the user and the reader live in lots of different places. And that’s been very exciting for magazine brands because we were never able to live in multiplatform the way we do today.

But with that comes complexity, because the different platforms require different content; you get different analytics; you get different measurements, and so you have to knit all of that together for the marketing partner, but that’s the fun of it today.

Samir Husni: Someone reading this interview might say that you’re the eternal optimist, but what is something that you’re afraid is going to be a big challenge as the industry moves forward?

Michael Clinton: I would say two things to that. One is there is within the buy-side of the world, there is oftentimes, the chase for the shiny, new thing. And the shiny new thing is not necessarily what’s going to move the consumer to action. So, the pessimism I would have is the lack of appreciation for the broader view of the media world, the media mix. There needs to be more of an investment in educating and training on the buy-side for what all of the different mediums represent. So, that’s one.

And I think that leads to a lack of an appreciation for what the magazine media represents on all of its platforms. So, that’s our day-to-day job, to make sure we’re out there telling that story. So I think that’s the biggest, sort of pessimistic view that I would have.

But fortunately, we have a great team at Hearst and that’s what they do all day long  and they change perceptions and they put together great programs that have great metrics and great numbers. So, the proof is always in the pudding.

Samir Husni: For the last several years when I speak with people they’re always saying this is the year of “voice,” or this is the year for “video;” is there one word for 2019? It will be the year of…?

Michael Clinton: It’s the year of data. It’s the year of really putting our data to work in a much bigger way and so that data is both print data and digital data. And we’re doing lots of work on the data front, not just for our own content creation, and Troy (Young) may have touched on this, but our new editorial mission is what we call “Content With Purpose,” and when I say content with purpose it doesn’t necessarily mean socially conscious, although that could be a part of it. But it’s content that we know through our data that our readers really respond to.

A great example of that is that we know that the Good Housekeeping reader is passionate about the television show “This Is Us.” They watch it live; it is an appointment viewing for them; they’re passionate about that show. So, how did that express itself then in the content that we created. Creating content that had purpose for the Good Housekeeping reader is that there might be stories or covers about the “This Is Us” cast, because we know there is a high level of interest.

So, how do you take your data, connect it to content creation, and then connect that content creation and that data to advertiser partnerships for both advertising and ecommerce. Data-informed content, data-informed advertising partnerships, that’s what we’re really excited about for 2019.

Samir Husni: In 2018, you didn’t launch any new magazines, what with all of the changes that were taking place. Anything up and coming for 2019? Will we see any new titles based on partnerships or just from scratch?

Michael Clinton: Possibly. But first let me say that Pioneer Woman has been a huge success for us, it just broke half a million rate base, as you may know. Airbnb will move to six times frequency in 2019 and it will have a rapid circulation growth. So, that’s good. We’re always looking at new products, both print and digital. There’s nothing that’s eminent, but we always have something in the kitchen. Nothing eminent now.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception you think people have about you?

Michael Clinton: That I’m a New York Mets fan. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too.)

Michael Clinton: I’m actually a Yankees fan, but that’s beside the point. I do have a reputation of being a bit of a workaholic, but I would argue that I have an extremely well-balanced life. And you have to nurture both sides. While I work hard, I also have lots of interests outside work.

Samir Husni: What was the latest marathon that you ran?

Michael Clinton: Albuquerque.

Samir Husni: How many marathons have you ran so far?

Michael Clinton: 15. And the next one will be in Anchorage in June.

Samir Husni: If you were to rank them, which one would be the number one, the one in the Artic, or where?

Michael Clinton: I would have to say Antarctica because it was such a surreal experience and it was my seventh continent and there are less than 1,000 people in the world who have run all seven continents, so I feel like I’m part of a very special club.

Samir Husni: Do you compare your work with magazines to your marathons? Do you feel as though you’re running in a magazine marathon?

Michael Clinton: That’s a great question and I would just make the response that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. When you take the long-term view, like in marathon running, you always have stamina and you always have a good Zen-like view of the future, because it is a long play.

Samir Husni: When people hear the name Michael Clinton, what do you hope is the first thing that comes into their minds?

Michael Clinton: That he respects all people, that he believes in service to people, so as you may know, I have a foundation that some friends and I started eight years ago called Circle of Generosity and it is our commitment to have service to others. And I think that’s just a really important part of how we should live our lives.

Samir Husni: How do you decide what to Retweet, because every now and then I see you Retweeting something.

Michael Clinton: I think it’s about the optimism of our business. And you’re self-included. I think it’s important to get the positive news out there about our business and about our industry and about media. As you know, parts of the media are under siege these days, and I think what we do is an incredibly important service. And while our magazine company is not in the news business, it’s really important what we do, because we inform people and educate them and entertain them. And so the Retweets are something that are either positive about the business or something that’s really innovative and unique that one of our brands is doing or that I see in the marketplace that is an innovative idea in terms of how you can use magazine brands.

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

Michael Clinton: I’m a good sleeper, but the only thing that keeps me up is when my puppy jumps on my head in the middle of the night. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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The 2019 Mr. Magazine™ Manifesto: “Quotes of Wisdom.” A 2018 Rearview Mirror Look.

December 31, 2018

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” Mark Caine…

It’s a brand new year and Mr. Magazine™ for one is excited and focused on all of the good things 2019 can and will bring to magazines and magazine media. And for anyone who may not know or remember where Mr. Magazine™ stands when it comes to the ONLY definition of a magazine: if it isn’t ink on paper, it’s not a magazine, but the magazine is only one platform of the brand that the magazine is named after. Can I get an amen? And if we’re all being honest and looking beyond the PC-ness of today’s thought processes, we know it’s true that relying on digital-only to bring in the bucks in today’s media environment would not only be dangerous, but very presumptuous as well. In today’s world, it is Mr. Magazine’s™ staunch opinion that unless you have a valid footprint in both realms of publishing, the success rate of any publication is slim indeed. It would occupy this entire space if I were to list the publications that said they were quitting their print business and were no longer in business, or became just a figment of what used to be both, in terms of audience reach and revenue.

But in this year’s manifesto, I decided that instead of waxing poetic on what my take on this world we call magazines and magazine media is, I would instead let you learn from the experts, the leaders and visionaries of the publishing industry itself. I have had the honor and the pleasure of interviewing many of those said dignitaries throughout 2018 and their wisdom and thoughts cannot be taken lightly, they must be reiterated and studied so that the industry that we all love so much can thrive and move forward into this new year of 2019.

And it is with this in mind, that I give to you 18 of the best and most eloquent quotes that Mr. Magazine™ had the privilege of garnering from the sources themselves over the course of the last 12 months. These quotes come from publishing CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, editors in chief, publishers, and a few mavericks who believed in their entrepreneurial dreams. And while the opening quote from above by analyst and strategist, Mark Caine, is not one given directly to Mr. Magazine™, the 18 below most definitely are. But it is with Mr. Caine’s mentality that I present to you this manifesto and tidbits of industry wisdom from the experts.

For if magazines and magazine media had succumbed to the environment that each had found itself in several years ago; if the industry had refused to innovate and trail blaze new paths to success; if digital and print had not realized the amniotic fluid of ink and pixels that they were both destined to share from the beginning of the creative cyber revolution, the chances that Mr. Magazine™ would be here today talking about all of this would be very slight.

So, without further ado, here are 18 quotes from 18 of the most prominent and visionary leaders of the publishing, digital, and magazine media industry.  The titles used are those they had when interviewed in 2018 and the quotes are in alphabetical order.

And Happy New Year to all!

 

Michael Biggerstaff – Owner/CEO, Nxtbook Media:

“We look at publishing like a three-legged stool, you have websites, you have print, and you have digital. And they should all support each other. And one shouldn’t be shortchanged or you’re going to have a rocky stool. We look at that as an opportunity from a print standpoint to support the print product and the website. And the website can support print and digital, but we also look at it like you need to be providing something different in a digital edition. You don’t have the constraints that you do in print.” Michael Biggerstaff, Owner/CEO, Nxtbook Media…

Roger Black – Editor in Chief, Type Magazine:

“I believe that’s the real problem and that’s the second part of what we’re going to talk about at this conference, what do we do; how do we recreate the magazine experience in the digital era? And how do we do it digitally? I will be the first to admit that I have not succeeded in figuring out digital formats for magazines that have the same compelling feeling, the same attraction, the same experience where you sit down with a good print magazine and you enjoy it. And then you get to a finish; you feel like you’ve completed it and you put it down. And that’s not true with the websites or the apps. They’re never finished. And it’s a very tangential and short experience. You dive in and read part of an article and you’re gone. You don’t even know where the article came from some of the time.” Roger Black, Editor in Chief, Type Magazine…

 Agnes Chapski – President, NewBeauty Magazine:

“It’s a huge population and a very affluent audience. They actually have more spendable income and more money. In the beauty space, it’s completely underserved, so when you think about it, to me, it’s an amazing opportunity to speak to women who are hungry to have this kind of information. No one is really intelligently speaking to them, so that is a strong business reason.” Agnes Chapski, President, NewBeauty Magazine…(On Why Baby Boomers & Gen Xer’s Are So Important To NewBeauty)…

 Steve George – Vice President – Content, Kalmbach Media:

“Coming back to some fundamentals that we who love magazines have been talking about for years. I think there’s a physical, tangible reality to magazines that you don’t get online. There’s a durability there in a print product and to a certain extent, there’s a promise that the time and effort that would go into creating and editing and vetting that content in a more durable form, whereas I think online, and we’re seeing this, it’s a voracious beast, where you have to constantly be cranking out new content.” Steve George, Vice President – Content, Kalmbach Media…

William R. Hearst III – Editor & Publisher, Alta Journal of Alta California:

“I wanted to deal with things that last a little bit longer. I was thinking about the people that I know: writers, photographers, editors; these are people who often write books, that take some time to write something. I was less interested in immediacy; I wanted things that had a lasting quality.” William R. Hearst III, Editor and Publisher, Alta Journal of Alta California. …

 James Hewes – CEO, FIPP:

“I think it’s going to be a pretty good year, actually. It’s funny you know, ever since I took this job I’ve been hearing more and more people telling me about the resurgence of print magazines and how print magazines are coming back as a medium, and I think 2018 might be the year when you start to see some signs of that filtering through into the numbers, because, obviously, the numbers that are released by the publishing companies have been pretty bad in 2017.” James Hewes, CEO, FIPP…

Brian Hart Hoffman – President & Chief Creative Officer, Hoffman Media:

“We want to continue making our print-brand publications better and brandier. And updated in line with what people expect and where we see revenue success today…” Brian Hart Hoffman, President & Chief Creative Officer…

 JJ Hornblass – President & CEO, Royal Media:

“An organization has to have a core competency, several actually. So, what is the core competency that we’ve developed? There are a few, but one of the central core competencies is that we’re in constant change mode. So, in fact, if I looked at what we’ve done since 2010 when we made that acquisition to now, probably if I was 10 years before that, all of these things were going on, but now it’s kind of par for the course. And we’re trying to continue to change. So, the walk in the rose garden, is just one that has many twists and turns, but if you know that they’re coming then it’s not so surprising.” JJ Hornblass – President and CEO, Royal Media…

Chuck Howell – Vice President of Strategic Sourcing, Newsstand and Production Operations, Meredith Corporation:

“I don’t think it will be Newsstands 101. I think it needs to be educating the buyers. It’s the readership that’s looking for that content at newsstand that will ultimately carry the message. We just need to make sure that we stay viable at the front end long enough for that message to be had, because to your point, I think the younger buyers out there who don’t have an intrinsic knowledge of what the magazine brings and that lean-back experience, they traditionally get their information and their news off the Internet, but the buyers aren’t necessarily there yet. Eventually, that will evolve.” Chuck Howell (on educating buyers on the importance of magazines and that lean-back experience)…

Joe Hyrkin – CEO, Issuu:

“The reason we’re doing it is because, one – it’s near and dear to our hearts, of course. And at the end of the day we believe strongly that it’s through the telling of stories in a high quality, curated, published way that people are really able to share their passions, to share the area’s ideas and content that moves them, and there’s a huge audience to connect with around that.”Joe Hyrkin, CEO, Issuu…(On why Issuu held the Generators Summit on December 4, 2018.)…

Steven Kotok – CEO, Bauer Media Group USA:

“The women’s service readers definitely like the experience of buying something in print. As much as they love the product and as proud of the product as we are, the buying experience is a big part of it as well. We’re growing our subscriptions, but the physical act of making the purchase from the supermarket and giving yourself a treat after a long day, that is part of the pleasure of these products. Even if some of the information is available online, it’s that retail experience that ultimately excites our consumers.”Steven Kotok, CEO, Bauer Media Group USA…

Jeremy Leslie – Owner & Curator, Mag Culture:

“I’ve always had a fundamental belief in it (print), but what encourages me to continue that deep belief is the wave after wave of new magazines with fantastic ideas and fantastic values; just the good stuff that’s being made is what continues to inspire and excite me.” Jeremy Leslie, Owner & Curator, Mag Culture…

Simon Leslie – Joint CEO & Cofounder, Ink Travel Media:

“We support print because print works. People still love that ephemeral moment of picking up the magazine and flipping through it; that lean-back experience rather than lean-forward. Sometimes it’s nice to get off the screen and have that moment to yourself.” Simon Leslie, Joint CEO & Cofounder, Ink Travel Media…

Sandra Long – Publisher & Editor in Chief, Rosa Magazine:

“I am partial to print magazines, I still think there is a market for them. And when we had women pick it up, the look and feel of Rosa resonated with people and to be able to turn that page was important. Women still buy magazines, whether it’s fashion or, as we hope, political, they’re still buying magazines. I was firm that it had to be print. We will transition to do a little bit online, just to be able to feed that marketplace. But we’ll do print as long as they are supporting it.”…Sandra Long, Publisher & Editor in Chief, Rosa Magazine…

Adam Moss – Editor in Chief, New York Magazine:

“The cover is no longer really to sell magazines on newsstand. As newsstands have become so much less important to all of us, the cover has a different function. It is basically the brand statement of what we make. It declares what we think is important or interesting; it declares our voice. Also, it’s an amazing document for the purposes of social media. Social media takes your cover and distributes it all over the place and it becomes an advertisement for the magazine that’s actually more important than it was originally meant to be when it was to stimulate newsstand sales.” Adam Moss, Editor in Chief, New York Magazine.…

 Doug Olson –President, Meredith Magazines:

“We’ve made a pretty big bet that magazines are not going out of style with our acquisition of the Time Inc. portfolio of brands. We continue to be very excited about the future of these brands in all platforms, whether it’s in print or digital or social. Allrecipes is a perfect example of one of the brands that we took from digital and turned it into print, so obviously it has a very large footprint in digital, but the print continues to grow.” Doug Olson, President, Meredith Magazines…

Vicci Rose – Vice Presdent & Chief Revenue Officer, Us Weekly:

“I’m a great fan of digital and I’m a big supporter. Us Weekly has a very sizeable print footprint with just under two million copies, 1,968,000 per week is our most recent AAM (Alliance For Audited Media) statement for the six months ending December 2017, so of course, we’re big believers in print. And I am incredulous with the number of conversations that I have with agencies and clients in acknowledging that their own research with media-mix modeling, etc. will point to a strong ROI, but it’s not in fashion, so the industry is often plagued with people who are concerned for their jobs because they’re not forward-thinking enough.” Vicci Rose, Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer, US Weekly…

Troy Young – President, Hearst Magazines:

“I would say that in all mediums we have to serve the customers and understand how we are serving those customers. And I call that content with purpose. And I think we just have to be incredibly mindful, whenever we’re delivering a magazine into someone’s home or we are engaging that consumer on YouTube, why we’re there and how we make someone’s life better. Print is heavily edited and curated and it’s like a celebration or an event that happens once a month. And there’s something really wonderful about that. And it’s a lean-back experience that I think gives a consumer a break from the intensity of the digital world. And I think increasingly that people are going to look for that. So, print plays a really important role in saying this is important and this has a place in culture, and take a moment to think and read about this and consume it. And I think our magazines are going to play an important role in how we do that for a long, long time.” Troy Young, President, Hearst Magazines… (On the role of print today)…

 

 

 

 

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A Happy And Prosperous New 2019 Magazine Year…

December 27, 2018

To all my friends and colleagues in the magazine and magazine media industry, I wish you a very happy and prosperous new magazine year.  May all your plans come to fruition in the coming year and may the magazine and magazine media industries continue to be the most trusted media ever.  Magazine Media. Better. Believe It.

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Jugular Magazine: “An Antidote For Boredom” Where The Passionate Connection Between The Brain & The Heart Can Flow – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Max Zambelli, Co-Founder & Co-Editor In Chief, Jugular Magazine…

December 18, 2018

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

 With our idea, the paper for us was unbelievably magical. If you’re doing something on paper, I have an opportunity for you to touch and discover my magazine page by page. Today, there is every resource available, from Instagram to all things digital, but for us, for the message we want to give, it would be impossible on anything other than paper. Paper is expensive, but we believe that this is the way for us.” Max Zambelli (On why they chose print for Jugular in this digital age)…

 Jugular Magazine is an editorial project, a flat screen “Manifesto,” a mammoth idea characterized by a special and innovative layout. Co-founder and Co-Editor in Chief Max Zambelli said Jugular was born out of the desire to tell real and uncontaminated stories filtered through one of the keywords of the 21st century: DESIGN. Design as the perfect balance between shape, content and substance; where products and experiences merge to convey harmony, beauty, curiosity and emotions at sight, at touch and to the soul.

I spoke with Max recently via Skype from Milan, Italy,  and we talked about this beautiful project that was born out of the passion of people who wanted to go deeper into the story, deeper into the design, and hit that “jugular” where the blood flows passionately between the brain and heart. And just speaking with Max, I could hear his passion for this project, that by the way, already has a death date of 09/15/2023. Unique certainly, as the magazine is. Max said the death date is to remind them to always be different and to remember that the moment now is all that’s important. Be different, be unique and do it now, in the moment. And being a photographer himself, Max feels the creativeness of each image and story that goes into the magazine.

So, I hope that you enjoy this very passionate look into the Jugular and that you feel that flow of uniqueness that runs between mind and heart that touches deeply into each story and image that the magazine brings to its pages. And as a photographer first and an editor second, Max brings total beauty to those depths. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Max Zambelli, co-founder and co-editor in chief, Jugular Magazine.

 But first the sound-bites:

On the concept of Jugular:The Jugular concept arrived because of two people meeting, Lucia Braggion, an interior photographer and Maurizio Marchiori, who comes more from the business side, so two people with a completely different mindset, completely different thinking, with one, more on the production of the image, and Maurizio more on the marketing side. We met in New York, even though we’re both from Italy, and we started talking about why today’s editors are so commercial and they become so poor about ideas. Maybe the new generations of magazines they became very specialized and you can find a fantastic magazine maybe for a skateboarder or a surfer, but specialty in the arts, in design, in architecture; we want Jugular to go a little bit deeper.

On why they have already decided to close the magazine in five years:We want to be very clear and very respectful for the people in Jugular, because the world changes so fast and we’re thinking in five years that maybe the project will be perfect for this period. In five years, maybe I can close my eyes, and I can send to you in the mail or walk in the city and maybe advertising can be on my body and maybe I can make a choice without even using the computer. So, how can I say, especially for our clients, for the people reading, we want to do something interesting now.

On why they chose print as the best vehicle for Jugular:With our idea, the paper for us was unbelievably magical. If you’re doing something on paper, I have an opportunity for you to touch and discover my magazine page by page. Today, there is every resource available, from Instagram to all things digital, but for us, for the message we want to give, it would be impossible on anything other than paper. Paper is expensive, but we believe that this is the way for us.

On the biggest challenge they faced when starting Jugular:To make something completely different. I can do a beautiful story about the City because it’s so beautiful and full of energy, and I can use 40 artists to capture the beauty, and then send it to a magazine. And then someone will be glad to buy it and you can read and see it between one advertising page and another. But we want to give to every artist good space to explain what they do. All the artists we worked with were so surprised, no one magazine gives that space. They all wanted copies to send to everyone, agents, everyone. So, doing this is the real challenge.

On creating an interactive print magazine:I tried to explain, even when people ask why did you create this magazine, and I tell them that I love being the editor, that I want them to relax with the magazine, dedicate one hour to themselves maybe every two or three days to enjoy and go deeper and see all of the stories and enjoy the touch of the paper, the different paper we use. So, it’s something that you dedicate to yourself that you will enjoy. Like spending one hour in the spa.

On anything he’d like to add:What the younger people are thinking about Jugular, they’re saying that in this moment of Facebook, Instagram, or whatever, in all of this, even the Internet, it’s very difficult in this fast moment to give a message. So, what we try to do with Jugular is whatever is the age, young or old, we try to do a product where you will enjoy and discover. The feeling about touching something nice, reading something good, it can be food for your eyes.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him:This has already happened, because people are surprised about me when they say, you do a magazine? Why? And I say, why? Because unfortunately, at a certain point I was so boring and I put so much energy to a client of mine because I am a photographer and I was working with a magazine on some interiors. And my work is not just to take a picture, my work is my gift to that brand, that magazine. Something more that only Max can do, can give that magazine. And if that magazine treats me like every photographer is the same photographer, it fails my job, my job would be done.

On what keeps him up at night:I have just one word: passion. The passion for my work; the passion I have for Jugular, because through Jugular I am a different photographer. I have changed completely. Four years ago, I was just a commercial photographer. And I was working to make money. Now I am a different photographer and especially during this period, I think I make very good quality. And  a very high quality picture is not easy. And the image in this moment has to be very strong. And sometimes I can’t sleep because of this and I am always looking for something new and something right for Jugular.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Max Zambelli, co-founder and co-editor in chief, Jugular Magazine.

Samir Husni: Congratulations on this mammoth magazine. I had to pay extra weight coming back from New York after buying it on the newsstand. (Laughs)

Max Zambelli: I am so sorry. (Laughs too)

Samir Husni: But it is a gorgeous idea. Everyone who knows me knows that I always say that we were born to die, and you have put those words into action by actually giving the death date of this magazine: 09/15/2023, which is five years from now. So, tell me about the concept of Jugular.

Max Zambelli: The Jugular concept arrived because of two people meeting,one,an interior photographer, and then Maurizio Marchiori, who comes more from the business side, so two people with a completely different mindset, completely different thinking, with one, more on the production of the image, and Maurizio more on the marketing side. We met in New York, even though we’re both from Italy, and we started talking about why today’s editors are so commercial and they become so poor about ideas. Maybe the new generations of magazines they became very specialized and you can find a fantastic magazine maybe for a skateboarder or a surfer, but specialty in the arts, in design, in architecture; we want Jugular to go a little bit deeper.

We couldn’t find a very exclusive eye-level, quality magazine, because most of the time the very famous, if you will, people – I’ll give you an example, if you’re thinking about décor or if you’re thinking about ideas, they miss a little bit because they want to be a bit more facial, they want to be a bit more architectural, they want to be everything, but they lose their way. So, what we are doing when we think of doing something completely different, the phrase “an antidote to boredom” can be a little bit spoiled, as though we are the best and the rest are nothing, but it’s not that. We have a very big respect for all of the magazines, but we’re thinking again in this space, put the human being in the middle of the project, this was our first thought, because in this digital moment we are so fast and so furious, a lot of people don’t have time to discover a store or catch things at the end, such as in the music business, now they have discovered the LP because of the sound. Maybe to some this is old, but it’s not a question of being old, it’s that it’s more deep, deepening the concept.

So, with Jugular, the first value we would like to bring is to be very deep, to dedicate to every artist we are going to have the good space to evolve all of the art and what it does, because for us we get emotional. And an editor would like to transmit that emotion to our topic and maybe people will discover the magazine and they will open it. That’s why even the word “Jugular” is the very important vein that connects the brain to the heart, and you have a very big emotion. Your heart pumps very hard and the jugular vein carries that blood. It’s not just a question of passion, but it’s a connection of the brain and the heart. We call the magazine Jugular because we want to give to that passion to our readers.

To be a magazine right now, you have to be a bit ignorant, but curious. Because you can get everything new in your life, but the attitude today is for the magazine to explain its heart, explain its concept. And being an editor for me is to listen to people. I am a born photographer who will die a photographer, maybe I won’t die an editor, (Laughs) but every time I begin a job – a lot of photographers get started because they have a creativity, their own style; I don’t carry my own style because if I have to do a job or a story and I have to get the best of you, first of all, I have to listen to you. What is your concept; what is your idea; why do this when I should do that? And Jugular has that base.

First of all, it has the passion to put on the paper and we’re a very high quality, high level of print. It’s not just a good visual thing, but a concept, because when we’re looking around, so many times we say, every six months we come out and maybe we are to give an idea  of the name of the story we put inside, but on the other hand, we have the feeling, all of the people working for Jugular, they came together and they’re all under a beautiful umbrella called Jugular, because they are unique. We respect the arts. We don’t want to take someone and change them into a Jugular artist. Jugular became Jugular because of the respect of four different people who are involved in Jugular. It’s a feeling. We are in this moment, 2018, we are the mirror of whatever moment we are in.

Samir Husni: Why are you stopping after five years? Why are you exciting me so much with this new magazine (Laughs) and then telling me at the same time that your death date is already known?

Max Zambelli: We want to be very clear and very respectful for the people in Jugular, because the world changes so fast and we’re thinking in five years that maybe the project will be perfect for this period. In five years, maybe I can close my eyes, and I can send to you in the mail or walk in the city and maybe advertising can be on my body and maybe I can make a choice without even using the computer. So, how can I say, especially for our clients, for the people reading, we want to do something interesting now.

All the big companies maybe 20 years ago their project was due in five years, maybe three years ago it was three years, now the project is one year. It’s all short, so even for us. We want to give the best on this five years, do the best project that we can do, so we can be a collectible book, because in 10 years you may see another Jugular and you will enjoy it again. We try to do a unique magazine in the world. And we’re trying to find our way, and our way is very clear. We started a year and a half ago and we came out after some very deep thinking about what we wanted to be. The first number is out now. But in the number two, we have already changed completely because Jugular changes when it meets people. We go so much deeper into the story of the people. And we change our ideas.

From the beginning I said that a magazine has to be like a volcano, because our magma can find people globally, can incorporate this idea, this mindset, and Jugular can become bigger and more beautiful. This is our idea. And the people who read Jugular will open it up and say wow. And maybe someone will say I have a friend, a story that will be perfect for Jugular. I want all people to find something in Jugular that’s interesting. This is our goal, so that’s why we’re so different.

I was at a college in London recently, and I’m Italian, and my English is so-so, as you can tell. (Laughs) I was thinking about our community with Jugular, and a professor after seeing the magazine told me, it’s not correct to say community, because community means a bunch of people who are all the same. And Jugular is not that, because Jugular contains a very elaborate and talented group of people, but completely different. So, for us right now that was the best compliment for us. Under the Jugular umbrella, they can survive and they can stay completely different artists, architects, designers or whatever and Jugular can make a very high-level magazine with these different people. They can speak different languages and have very different thinking. And that is a very big compliment for us.

Samir Husni: In this digital age, why did you decide that print would be the best vehicle for Jugular?

Max Zambelli: With our idea, the paper for us was unbelievably magical. If you’re doing something on paper, I have an opportunity for you to touch and discover my magazine page by page. Today, there is every resource available, from Instagram to all things digital, but for us, for the message we want to give, it would be impossible on anything other than paper. Paper is expensive, but we believe that this is the way for us.

Samir Husni: What was the biggest challenge that you and your partner faced when starting Jugular and how did you overcome it?

Max Zambelli: To make something completely different. I can do a beautiful story about the City because it’s so beautiful and full of energy, and I can use 40 artists to capture the beauty, and then send it to a magazine. And then someone will be glad to buy it and you can read and see it between one advertising page and another. But we want to give to every artist good space to explain what they do. All the artists we worked with were so surprised, no one magazine gives that space. They all wanted copies to send to everyone, agents, everyone. So, doing this is the real challenge.

And we love it when the artists we put in the magazine are discovered by readers, it’s one of the best compliments we get to hear people in Miami say they saw the magazine in New York and maybe the shop they saw it in has three to five copies and they sold out in just one month. This is the best compliment that could be given to us.

Samir Husni: You’ve managed to create an interactive printed magazine, you can’t just sit down and read it, you have to get involved with the pages.

Max Zambelli: Yes, I tried to explain, even when people ask why did you create this magazine, and I tell them that I love being the editor, that I want them to relax with the magazine, dedicate one hour to themselves maybe every two or three days to enjoy and go deeper and see all of the stories and enjoy the touch of the paper, the different paper we use. So, it’s something that you dedicate to yourself that you will enjoy. Like spending one hour in the spa.

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

Max Zambelli: What the younger people are thinking about Jugular, they’re saying that in this moment of Facebook, Instagram, or whatever, in all of this, even the Internet, it’s very difficult in this fast moment to give a message. So, what we try to do with Jugular is whatever is the age, young or old, we try to do a product where you will enjoy and discover. The feeling about touching something nice, reading something good, it can be food for your eyes.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Max Zambelli: This has already happened, because people are surprised about me when they say, you do a magazine? Why? And I say, why? Because unfortunately, at a certain point I was so boring and I put so much energy to a client of mine because I am a photographer and I was working with a magazine on some interiors. And my work is not just to take a picture, my work is my gift to that brand, that magazine. Something more that only Max can do, can give that magazine. And if that magazine treats me like every photographer is the same photographer, it fails my job, my job would be done.

I believe in creativity. You have to do it for money, because you have to survive and pay your bills, but it’s completely different if you have a dream and you get the money through your dream. Jugular is a valuable product because I am doing it with my heart and with my passion and that is unique. And being an editor is completely different. I was just saying that in the last year and a half I did so many things, I learned about marketing and selling advertising and presenting a concept. Being an editor is something completely different.

I can tell you a story about when I received the first copy of Jugular in my hand, the printer gave it to me and I opened it up and I saw every single page and after I had finished, I went into the corner and cried for five minutes because of the attention to detail, and I had been so stressed and so tired because it had been an unbelievable amount of work. And after five minutes I started thinking, okay now I have the product, what was I going to do next, because if you print only 3,000 copies, the world is so big and even if you say it’s a very special project, how can Jugular be in this world? So, we started thinking we would do a communication platform with this. So, it’s not just a good product, but it has to be a good platform for communication, because without that we cannot survive. It’s just too small of a project. I want people to enjoy Jugular and to have more and more people under our umbrella.

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

Max Zambelli: I have just one word: passion. The passion for my work; the passion I have for Jugular, because through Jugular I am a different photographer. I have changed completely. Four years ago, I was just a commercial photographer. And I was working to make money. Now I am a different photographer and especially during this period, I think I make very good quality. And  a very high quality picture is not easy. And the image in this moment has to be very strong. And sometimes I can’t sleep because of this and I am always looking for something new and something right for Jugular.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

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