Archive for March, 2010


Good Things Are Worth Repeating: What I Told the 2010 CASE Editors Forum

March 27, 2010

On March 24 I spoke at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 2010 Editors Forum in Cambridge, MA. My topic was “What Can Alumni Magazines Learn From the Newsstands?” Associate Editor Dale Keiger of the Johns Hopkins magazine and a blogger on The University Magazine Group’s blog UMagazinology wrote a good summation of my opening talk to the group.
He started the UMmagazinology blog by stating “The 2010 CASE Editors Forum in Boston got off to a fine start yesterday with an opening address by Samir Husni. Husni is the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, and he bills himself as Mr. Magazine.” To read Dale’s entire blog click here, and to read his follow up blog click here.

And here is a tweet from Erica Endicott, Graphic Designer at Emory University in Atlanta, about the aforementioned presentation:

“It’s like a tent revival in here with Samir Husni. People are almost shouting “amen”!”


Best Quote Yet on the Future of Magazines…

March 27, 2010

The legendary George Lois, Esquire’s magazine art director from 1962 to 1972 was asked in The New York Observer (March 22 issue) “What does he think about reading a magazine on the soon-to-be-released iPad?” His answer:

“It’s O.K., I guess. But magazines will never die because there is a visceral feeling of having that thing in your hands and turning the pages. It’s so different on the screen. It’s the difference between looking at a woman and having sex with her.”


Innovation is the 2010 catch word, and Innovations in Magazines is its catch book

March 22, 2010

It seems as if the word innovation is occupying the center stage in anything “magazine-ish” these days. However, a great effort by the London based International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) has resulted in the first ever compilation of examples of “how technology, out-of-the-box thinking and old-fashioned hard work are enabling innovation that is delivering new readers, revenues and relevance to magazines around the world.”

The result is the first ever Innovations in Magazines 2010 World Report, a well illustrated, 100 pages book that brings the reader an up-to-date round-up on what is going on in the world of magazine innovation world-wide. FIPP is not stranger to being on the cutting edge of what is best for the magazine industry world-wide. Chris Llewellyn, President and CEO of FIPP reminds the book readers of FIPP’s mission, “to strengthen links between magazine publishers world-wide in order to exchange knowledge, experience, and ideas.” This book is just one example of what FIPP has done and continue to do to help the periodical industry world-wide.

The range of innovative techniques and methods mentioned in this book brings the reader to a knowledge level that is required for anyone involved in the publishing industry. In fact, it almost leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s all in the book. A swift course at the fraction of the price that it will cost anyone to do all the research needed for this handy up-to-date information. Innovation in Magazines finally nullifies the definition of insanity that has been raging like a wild fire in our industry. It no longer talks about the same things time and time again and expect different results every time. The book does not talk about change or the need to change; it is “change in progress.” Grab it, read it and learn a lot from it.

As the book editors John Wilpers and Juan Señor write, “While many magazines cope with revenue and circulation losses by cutting back and retrenching, many others are countering hard times with hard work, imagination and innovation. This book highlights and celebrates this brilliance.”

A must have brilliance celebration. To order your own copy click here.


Wellington Named AEJMC Magazine Division “Magazine Professional of the Year”

March 18, 2010

First it was the magazine now it is the publisher of the magazine who is receiving the honors of being named by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Magazine Division as the 2010 Magazine Professional of the Year. Ted Spiker, professor of journalism at the University of Florida and current head of the Magazine Division made the announcement this morning. What follows is the Magazine Division’s press release:

Vicki Wellington, publisher of Food Network Magazine, was named the 2010 Magazine Professional of the Year by the AEJMC Magazine Division.

Wellington will accept her award at the annual AEJMC convention in Denver in August. On Thursday, Aug. 5, she will make a featured presentation, “Ensuring a Print Future in a Digital Age.”

In October 2009, Food Network Magazine was named Ad Age’s A-List Launch of the Year. In its launch year, the magazine tripled its rate base to 1.25 million. Food Network Magazine is already one of the 100 best-selling American magazines on the newsstand.

The honor was announced by the Division’s Immediate Past Head Dr. Dane Claussen, who chaired the selection process, and by Prof. Ted Spiker, the Division’s current Head. Dr. Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center, nominated Wellington.

“When you consider what a success Food Network Magazine has been—especially during a challenging time for the media industry—then you can see why Vicki is well-deserving of this honor,” Spiker said. “And we’re thrilled that she’s going to share her vision of the future of magazines with us in Denver.”

Food Network Magazine is launched as a joint venture of Hearst Magazines and the Food Network in October 2008. Wellington had been publisher of CosmoGirl since February 2008. Prior to joining Hearst Magazines, Wellington was the founding associate publisher of domino magazine.


The Magazine Innovation Center: An Update

March 17, 2010

Jim Elliott president of James G. Elliott Co., Inc. recently interviewed me for his firm’s newsletter Ads & Ideas. He introduced the interview with the following:

President’s Letter
With magazine ad sales and circulation numbers taking a hit this year, the chatter on the streets these days is often about the future of magazines. There’s no doubt that the Internet has encroached on magazines’ ad dollars and readership numbers. Everyone knows that some major publications have closed their doors, but there’s no evidence that magazines, as a medium, will go away.
But that doesn’t mean we can be successful at doing what we’ve always done. In fact, maybe we need to ask ourselves, is the weakness in the marketplace a factor of magazines or advertising or the economy? The short answer is all three, and the long answer involves a look at the way magazines use technology, how magazines structure their revenue streams, and what magazines need to do to attract readers and advertisers in complex times.
I had the chance to talk to Dr. Samir Husni, known as “Mr. Magazine” for his long-term work at the University of Mississippi on the tracking of the magazine industry. Recently, he announced the start of his “Magazine Innovation Center,” a non-profit organization to study the future of magazines and print. Here’s what he had to say about magazine content, our industry, its digital competition, and what we, as an industry, should be doing to position magazine publishing as the exciting, powerful and important industry it is.

To read the Jim Elliott’s interview with me click here.


Inside the magazine industry: Here & Now’s Robin Young interveiws Mr. Magazine™

March 10, 2010

Earlier today Here & Now the national radio news show aired an interview with me regarding the status of the magazine industry. Here is the intro from Here & Now web site and you can click on the link below to listen to the entire program.

For years, Samir Husni has been collecting the first editions of new magazines. He says he can go to a newsstand, look at the magazines for sale, and figure out who’s living nearby and what they’re interested in. He’s now a professor at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism; he’s also director of the school’s Magazine Innovation Center. We speak with “Mr. Magazine” about which magazines are dying and which are thriving.

To listen to the show, click here.


Cathie Black: The Magazine World Today is an AND World and Not Either Or

March 9, 2010

The magazine publishing business in no longer in the either or business. “Our world today is an AND world,” the first lady of magazine publishing Cathie Black, President of Hearst Magazines, told the audience attending the morning keynote event of the second day of the Publishing Business Conference and Expo in New York City.

However, that AND world had a funny start as Ms. Black started her presentation. A computer problem delayed the showing (for seconds) of the Power of Print video that Ms. Black wanted to open her remarks with. She was quick to announce to the audience with a big smile on her face, “That is why I believe in the future of print.”
Ms. Black went on to tell the audience, “We had a tough 18 months, however we did not have a consumer problem; we had an advertising problem.” She was quick to add that, “Now things are getting better. Our multi platform business is getting better and all of us talk about all platforms now.” She gave a new definition of the changing role of magazine companies. “A magazine company is now a diversified magazine company. We have become an advertising agency, we are designing ads, we are designing campaigns, creating events, etc,” she informed the audience.

She reflected on the changes taking place in both the physical shape of the magazines and their contents. “We’ve up-sized House Beautiful last year, we did the same with Good Housekeeping and we will do the same with Country Living this coming fall,” she said. “If we are going to charge more for our content, we have to offer an enhanced consumer experience,” Ms. Black said. “At the end of the day, it is all about innovation.”

Innovation does not necessary means that magazine companies are going to be in the device and tablets business. Ms. Black was quick to answer a question about the involvement of Hearst in the creation of a digital device platform. “We do not want to be in the device business,” she answered with no hesitation what so ever. “We need to create experiences based on what the readers want, where they wanted, when they wanted and how much they will pay for it.” The content is going to be different for each of the devices, invented or yet to be invented. “We are moving away from the devices business,” she concluded.

And as for the future, Ms. Black said, “there is no magic bullet, there is no magic answer, we will work with the innovations that comes to the table.” In conclusion, we all know that every thing is changing including the role of editors who are now can be seen “at NBC thinking about a television program, or attending a tech event or workshop, or taking an advertiser to lunch.”

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