Hottest Magazines of the Year: Condé Nast Portfolio, Garden & Gun , Outside’s Go, JPG magazine and 13 other hot launches

November 16, 2007

Once a year min magazine asks me to select my hottest magazine launches of the year for the period of Sept. thru October, including the hottest magazine launch of that period. This year more than 700 titles were introduced to the market place during the aforementioned period. The job was tough, but as is the case every year a choice has to be made and the 17 titles that surfaced to the top are indeed hot in all what that word embodies. Hot in terms of their vision, hot in terms of their voice and hot in terms of their values. They are all vibrant and they all deserve the awards that were presented in New York City at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. In addition to the 15 printed magazines, this year I awarded the first online/offline magazine award (JPG magazine) and the first telemag award (an online only magazine, Automotive Traveler.com) award. I have asked the editors and publishers seven questions about their magazines and the challenges they face in launching a new title in this day and age.
At the event I handed the Hottest Launch Award to Condé Nast Portfolio, and the second place went to Garden & Gun magazine with the third place went to Outside’s Go. After the awards presentation the Hottest Launch Publisher of the year David Carey of CN Portfolio worte me to say that the Hottest Launch Award “provides the ‘soul satisfaction’ that a launch culture simply thrives on.”

Check all the winners and what they have to say about their magazines here.



  1. I was wild about JPG and the strong community values they represented until the great controversy earlier this year (Google “JPG magazine controversy” to read both sides). No matter who forced whomever’s hand on the issue, JPG has been decidedly less community-friendly since the changeover, and I think it’s lost a bit of its soul. Still a good mag and great idea for a mag, but its title of Hottest should have an asterisk beside it.

  2. Hey there Luke, It’s Paul here from JPG and 8020, I’m glad to hear you still think JPG is a mostly good magazine. But I’d be curious to hear why you think we are decidedly less community friendly. I want to make sure we are hearing everyone’s complaints and making the magazine as good as it can be, after all, it belongs to you guys more than us.

  3. Paul – have you done any post-press about your decisions to boot the founders of the magazine? I see you have made a blog post that feels very business speak. I was personally undecided about the decision Derek made when departing, about making such a public statement, very sans business speak. But comparatively, I think most people feel we heard the real story from Derek. There are so many reasons why people were left with bad tastes in their mouth from this. Here are two creatives, came up with a great product, and then booted by corporate. In many ways, this magazine held the spirit of a zine and the corporatization of it also killed a bit of the spirit. This isn’t Think of it like Sassy when Jane left and things just weren’t the same. There was a face to JPG and great spokespeople. It went down very poorly and publicly and its going to be difficult to shake.

    My suggestion – don’t ask for more suggestions, bring back a voice to the publication.

  4. Well said, Wayne. It’s tough to say exactly how the spirit went out of the experience, but it may be a result of the way that “artists booted by corporate” narrative naturally appeals to so many photographer types. We’re just naturally inclined to believe the little guy b/c that’s the story we’re used to hearing. My suggestion an echo of Wayne’s: Just go out and make the best darn community-oriented mag you can. That’s the only thing that will bring the haters around in the long run.

  5. Both of you guys make fair points that a magazine not having a clear viewpoint is a pretty crummy magazine. But the magazines we make should have the viewpoint of the community that creates them, that’s what makes us different than every other magazine. Jane was in a different position from us in terms of marketing, I mean… it had the editor’s name in the title. Our magazines should be able to embrace the diversity of everyone who creates the magazines not just the editor.

    All of this is a pretty interesting conversation; is a magazine only defined by it’s editor or is that changing with the blurring of the lines between consumption and production? We tend to think of editors as more of curators than visionaries, the community sets the tone, and the editor makes sure it is a good experience.

    The best path for us is to make great magazines and be judged by the quality of our work and how we conduct ourselves in the community rather than worry about soap-opera-like drama.

  6. Hi Paul – thanks for taking the time to respond to our comments. I personally appreciate it. And I would like to continue the discussion since there are new points.

    Just to clarify, in no way do I think Jane was a good magazine – lol. I was speaking mainly of Sassy magazine, just a personal favorite that had a magic to it that many magazines will never experience. If we could tap into what made that magazine not just a brand, but a friend to all of its readers, we would be millionaires. I think it is the relationship we all wish to gain through our publications, to have such a strong bond that over a decade after its death, many of its readers still mourn. But what I was getting at was that, in my opinion, Jane, Christina, and other writers had a true connection with its readers.

    From my perspective, JPG had that kind of relationship with its readers. While I think in corporate terms, it was early enough to restructure for the benefit of the book, in today’s society with instant communication, many people were brought into your conference room. And in all honesty, I felt from day one that Derek’s posting about the situation was unprofessional. From my business perspective, Derek still has stake in the magazine. If this was done quietly, the majority of readers and the community would never have noticed. From a readership standpoint, like Luke and I said, we saw corporate come in and push out the founders.

    To comment on your last statement, I don’t know if anyone knows why this situation has lasted as long as it has. I’m just reflecting what I hear in the online community and even though its been many months since this, there’s still chatter. I don’t know if its as easy as just letting it go. I think a better way to state what I wanted to in my last comment, people need a resolution before they can move on. While the magazine has chosen to move on, many of the readers are still left with a sour letter from the former editor.

    Thanks again for discussing this. It’s been an helpful to me to hear more from you about this and hopefully other people will share on this discussion and see where you and the company is coming from on the situation.

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