Archive for September, 2011


Behind Every MASK, There is a Great Woman: The Story of MASK The Magazine. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Kimberly Cabral

September 28, 2011

First it was the organization, next came the printed magazine. Next will be the movement that will take Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids (MASK) to every family, every school and every neighborhood with the aim “to educate both parents and children about the issues facing our youth today and to empower children to make safe, healthy choices.” That is the mission of MASK The Magazine and the mission of the woman behind the MASK Kimberly Cabral.

When I saw the first issue of MASK The Magazine, I was hooked. I was fascinated by the concept and puzzled about who, in their right mind, would start a magazine with such a mission. No sex, no celebrities, no chocolate recipes, no diets, just pure Engagement, Education and Empowerment. I had to get in touch with the woman behind the three Es of MASK The Magazine. I knew this magazine is much more than a business plan. It is a labor of love, and it shows.

I reached out to Kimberly with a host of questions, somehow, more about the organization behind the magazine, the movement, the passion rather than just the magazine. I felt the need to unMASK the woman behind the MASK. What I discovered, was exactly like I guessed, a labor of love that is manifested on every single page of the magazine, the web, and the organization. Kimberly Cabral is on a mission and she is not leaving any MASK undone until every child is able to “make safe, healthy choices.”

In a typical Mr. Magazine™ Interviews, here are the sound-bites first, followed by the entire interview with Kimberly Cabral:

On the reason for MASK, the organization
: At MASK we believe that educating kids is great, but in order to make a real impact, the whole family unit/community should be informed and be able to reinforce the messages.

On launching a print magazine
: Many people, myself included, see value in the hard copy of books and magazines because they can keep them and refer back to them when needed.

On the ultimate goal of MASK: If the MASK organization or MASK The Magazine can engage, educate and empower families, then we are one step closer to changing statistics.

On the intended audience of MASK: The goal of MASK The Magazine is to reach families! Specifically, families with children entering school to those who are reaching adulthood.

On what makes Kimberly click
: I love being part of something that is making a difference, and it is surreal to be doing something you feel that you were born to do.

And now for the complete interview with the founder of MASK, the organization and the magazine:

Samir Husni: MASK, the magazine came after MASK the organization… What is the story of MASK the organization?

Kimberly Cabral: The idea for MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids) came about four years ago during a car ride with my son, who would soon be entering middle school. The conversation I had with him that day opened my eyes to the realities our kids face, as early as elementary school. As a result of that conversation, I started gathering information, and I was alarmed to discover while there are great awareness/prevention programs out there, they didn’t start educating until middle school and high school. I thought, “Why are they waiting to start then, when the behaviors start in the elementary years?” From there, I approached three friends who also shared the same concerns as I did. We decided to develop a program that began in the entry level of school and would educate as they grow. We partnered with and were trained by experts in the various fields, and we began conducting meetings on a variety of topics of concern, including the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, bullying, Internet safety and self-esteem.

SH: Why did you decide to launch a print magazine in this digital age? Is there a future for print?

KC: At MASK we believe that educating kids is great, but in order to make a real impact, the whole family unit/community should be informed and be able to reinforce the messages. We soon realized that, although our meetings were informative and well-received, we live in a time-deprived society, and many people don’t have time to schedule another commitment. I feel so passionately that the information we provide can be life-saving, so in order to reach a larger audience, we launched MASK The Magazine.

Although MASK The Magazine is also available digitally, I believe there will always be those who prefer print in this digital age. Many people, myself included, see value in the hard copy of books and magazines because they can keep them and refer back to them when needed. The generational gap that has existed over decades seems to be even wider today as a result of technology. There are a still a large number of families who don’t use the Internet, or are not well educated about it. We want this publication to be available to all.

SH: It seems to me that you are more than passionate about this subject matter. What is in it for Kimberly to be doing this?

KC: As a mother of a blended family of five, I know how important it is to keep up with the latest trends and influences in our children’s lives. I was a stay-at-home mom, living in a safe neighborhood, with time to devote to my children and volunteer at their schools. Once I became aware of what was really going on, it became my passion to inform others and help open the lines of communication between parents and their children. Growing up, I could have been the poster child for someone who easily could have “gone the wrong way” based on the choices I had in life and the decisions I could have made, but didn’t. I had my full share of deficiencies and challenges growing up. Luckily I had people who made a difference in my life: a high school Spanish teacher who took the time to listen, and a CHP Officer who took me under his wing after my uncle (his colleague) died. Looking back, I was given a gift, and as I see it now, I feel that I have been fortunate to find my “life’s purpose.” I am driven by the desire to help in any way that I can, and as an organization to help bridge that generational gap between families and communities. If the MASK organization or MASK The Magazine can engage, educate and empower families, then we are one step closer to changing statistics.

SH: You are trying to reach such a general audience, from parents of young children to those with college kids… do you think this is possible in this day and age?

KC: The goal of MASK The Magazine is to reach families! Specifically, families with children entering school to those who are reaching adulthood. I recently was able to interview our student writers of MASK The Magazine (Our S.A.T. section, list). In talking to them, I was invited into their world, and they confirmed to me what deep down I have believed to be true: kids want to be understood, they need our guidance as parents, and they want to matter and be heard. We have only published three issues so far, and not only do we have the “buy in” from parents, we are getting positive feedback from the kids/students themselves.

SH: What are some of the methods you are using to spread the word about MASK, both the organization and the magazine?

KC: In addition to spreading the word about MASK through our school awareness presentations, we also use social media to get the word out, including our website (, blogs, facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We are partnering with like-minded businesses and organizations. We send press releases to media outlets, conduct television interviews, attend events, and generally “pound the pavement” to inform as many people as possible about our organization.

SH: What are your expectations for MASK, both the organization and the magazine?

KC: We have received magazine subscriptions from across the United States and internationally, which is thrilling. Currently in development is MASK’s National Student Awareness Kit which will be made available to any individual school that requests it. The kit will include prevention material, videos, reinforcement strategies, and all information needed for educators to self-teach MASK’s educational programs.

SH: Lastly, what makes Kimberly get up from bed in the morning? What makes you tick and click every day?

KC: I love being a mom! I love my kids and I love kids in general. Every time I see a new baby, in the back of my mind I think “one more”. I love being part of something that is making a difference, and it is surreal to be doing something you feel that you were born to do.

SH: Thank you.

To learn more about MASK click here and be sure to check MASK’s MASKer Aide Gala, Friday Oct. 21, 2011 in Scottsdale, AZ.


Numbers are UP for new magazine launches in Third Quarter 2011

September 26, 2011

At least 219 new titles have appeared on the nation’s stands for the first time in the third quarter of 2011. That is an increase of 33 titles than the 186 new titles that appeared on the stands for the first time in the third quarter of 2010 and 8 more than the 211 titles that appeared for the first time in the third quarter of 2009.

From the 219 titles, 47 magazines had the intention to publish at least four times a year, leaving the majority of the titles to either an annual frequency or a the ever-so-popular book-a-zines. Those 47 new magazines represent an increase of five titles over the same period of 2011.

The total number of new magazines introduced so far this year stands at 657 titles with 151 of them published with a frequency of four or more times a year.

With few of the leading major magazine publishers re-entering the field of new magazine launches, and if I may add, the ones in ink on paper, 2011 is shaping to be a good year for the new magazine titles arriving at the stands, in spite of all the doom and gloom surrounding the closings of bookstores and the shrinking spaces at retail.

The legendary John Mack Carter used to tell me every time I saw him, “New magazines are the lifeblood of our industry and the newsstands are the acid test of any new magazine.” Amen to that.


SUCCESS Magazine is Gender Neutral, But No One Said Its Covers Can’t Be Gender Specific

September 23, 2011

How do you define Success? Well, the folks at Success Media, publishers of SUCCESS magazine since 2007 have their own definition of the word that identifies a legendary magazine founded in 1897 by Orison Swett Marden. Darren Hardy, the magazine current publisher and editorial director writes in the current issue of SUCCESS, “A successful person, by our definition, is one who has achieved five pillars of excellence: business, well-being, relationships, wealth and contribution.” Fair enough, a very gender neutral definition reflecting the tag line of the magazine, “What Achievers Read.”

However, the reason I am writing this blog is not the definition of success, but rather the way Success Media is approaching the issue of gender in a newsstand test of the magazine’s cover. As I was shopping for magazines (what else) at a Barnes & Nobel in Memphis, TN I saw a cover of SUCCESS different than the one I had at home. So far, so good. Nothing out of the ordinary. Most magazines have split covers and I am used to that and try to collect every cover I can put my hands on. The surprise was as I continued scanning and gathering my magazines to buy, I found the other cover of SUCCESS at the same newsstands, but in a different section. The green cover was at the women’s section and the blue cover was at the business section.

Flipping through the pages of the magazine I found the following note with a picture of the green cover in both copies: “If you see SUCCESS on the newsstand twice, you’re not seeing double. Look for our limited edition cover in the women’s interest section of Barnes & Noble.”

But to find both covers at Barnes & Noble get me thinking? A plan or a mistake? Why two covers and why the note sending you to the women’s interest section? Although I hate to oversimplify, but I feel that the green cover is designed with women in mind (thus the note to go to the women’s section of the stands) and the blue cover is designed with men in mind. The gender neutrality is over. How do I know? Just check the image of Dr. Oz, the cover lines or the absence of some cover lines in the green cover and the addition of “For You” to the name of the magazine. Also note the major change in the lead cover line, the blue cover offers Dr. Oz’s “11 Steps to Living Large and Living Longer,” while the green cover offers Dr. Oz’s “Rx for Looking Younger and Living Longer.” (click on the covers above to enlarge).

A new way of testing covers? Yes indeed. However here are few questions that one can’t but ask. Is business gender neutral? Is success gender neutral? Do “achievers” identify themselves as women or men first, and successful persons second? Or is it vice versa?

A whole lot of questions and only the folks at Success Media will know the answers once the results of the test are in… stay tuned and weigh in your comments. In the meantime enjoy this gender neutral blog.


Something to hold and own for everyone and every taste: That’s what new magazines offer readers of print in a digital age

September 21, 2011

To paraphrase the old saying, “one magazine is worth a 1,000 blogs.” So, without further ado, here are some new magazines making their first debut to the nation’s newsstand this month. Some are brand new, some were never distributed on the stands before. In either case, those titles from major, minor and somewhere in-between publishers, show the vitality and variety of the new magazine titles. There is a new magazine for every taste, every gender, every race, every (you fill in the blank)…

Here is a sample of those magazines with direct quotes from the pages of each one of the titles. Enjoy, visit a newsstand and buy one or two of those magazines, or one of the many other titles you will find and discover. Contrary to rumors, there are plenty of ink on paper magazines out there. Check them out.

“Welcome to the launch issue of The Social Media Monthly, the first print (yes, print) magazine devoted to the exploration and review of social media.”

“We are proud to introduce – and welcome you to- Exploring History. Just as National Geographic has been revealing the wonders of the world to readers for more than a century, this magazine will dig deep to unlock the mysteries of time, from the dawn of civilization to the modern era.”

Bitayavon Magazine is a compilation of loads of exciting and mouthwatering recipes and tips for the kosher cook.”

“You’ll notice that we’ve now placed an emphasis on the Intelligent Collector part of the cover title. We believe this more succinctly tells readers what we’re all about.”

“The team at Overland Journal started a new adventure, one quite different from the typical border crossings and desert travel we had enjoyed as travelers – we started a magazine.”

“Vegas is a city for those who want it all, and Vegas/Rated is the window onto this world. From cover to cover, Vegas/Rated brings the city beyond its borders and tells the new story of one of America’s most iconic destinations.”

“Welcome! Strawberry Shortcake magazine is packed with all your berry best pals! This issue is full of stories, coloring, puzzles, fun facts, and MORE!”

“What better way to kick off the summer than with our first TQ Magazine Bikini Issue. Our talented team of photographers, writers and graphic designers were thrilled with the idea of a bikini issue. After countless hours of collaboration, we are truly impressed with our final product.”

Uptown Professional is the new national, cutting-edge magazine for Urban Professionals with 5 or more years experience in corporate America. Covering relevant topics for African American, Hispanic, Asian, Women and GLBT professionals.”

“We want you to see firsthand just how good our crossword magazines are.” The new series of magazines under the 97 cents Value Series from Dell offers a variety of monthly titles such as Tip-Top Easy Crosswords and Take-a-Break Easy Crosswords.


Do You Have What It Takes To Innovate? 24 Media Leaders Will Show You How at the ACT 2 Experience Oct. 26 – 28

September 15, 2011

An unprecedented gathering of some of the biggest names in the magazine and media industry will descend on Oxford, Mississippi on Oct. 26, 27 and 28 to share with an audience of industry professionals and journalism students their perspectives on the future of the printed word in a digital age.

The second ACT (Amplify, Clarify and Testify) Experience, hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, promises to be the most intimate, innovative experience to date, with seminars conducted by media CEOs, presidents, publishers, printers, marketing and advertising gurus, circulation experts, editors in chief, creative directors, software developers, brand renovators and futurists. It all makes for two-and-a-half days of great testimonials on the status of the magazine industry today, tomorrow and in the years to come. You are invited to have a center stage seat with the 24 speakers as we “think and do” the future of the printed word in a digital age.

The agenda is set and registration is still open for the remaining few seats from the 100 reserved for media professionals attending the ACT 2 Experience. Check the agenda here and register here.

Any questions, feel free to email me at

Join us for two and a half days of Magazines, Music and Mississippi. Register now.


The Insane American Magazine Business Model is Back with a Vengeance!

September 12, 2011

What if I tell you that over the weekend I ordered 201 (Two hundred and one, I had to spell it out so folks won’t think it is a typo) issues of 18 different magazines published by Hearst Magazines and paid less than 45 cents an issue? A total of $90 dollars guaranteed me an entire-year- subscription to all but one magazine from the Hearst Magazines stable of magazines. The one exception, missing from the list, is one of the few major success stories of a new magazine launch in the last five years: Food Network magazine. This is insanity at its best. A year of Cosmo, the number one selling magazine on the newsstands for $5.00. Same can be said about the remaining 17 magazines offered at this “pre-holiday price for one week only!”

And Hearst is not alone. Condé Nast is offering its print magazine subscribers free access to its digital Apps. on your tablet. Condé Nast magazine subscribers are reminded the minute they pick up their magazines from the mailbox that “You’re missing out! Your print subscription includes access to (insert magazine name)’s iPad version- at no extra cost.” Great and thank you. However, I have a problem now because I bought a new iPad and every time I try to access the free Apps, I am reminded that I have an account already and what I know is free, I have to buy. I tried emailing customer service to solve this problem and all what I receive back is details on how to enter my account number and sign in. I even deleted the Apps from my older iPad and still to no avail.

Well that is not the end of the story. I also received emails from Condé Nast asking me to renew my subscriptions to Wired and Vanity Fair. The offers give you the opportunity to give a one year’s free subscription to a friend, receive a gift and renew your own for one low price. What is going on? I recall the early years of Wired when the price of a subscription used to be higher than the cost of buying the magazine on the newsstands and there was no “bill me later.”

As an outsider watching our industry struggle to stay afloat, I plea with my friends at the aforementioned magazine companies and the rest of the magazine industry to stop committing suicide and later wonder why did we die. The business of counting customers have departed this planet on Sept. 2008. Let us get back to the business of customers who count. The Audit Bureau of Circulation must go back to counting subscriptions that count and not just counting. A penny paid for a subscription should not count as a paid subscription. Remember when paid subscriptions used to be at least half of the basic subscription price. Those were the days my friend and they have to come back. I know that is only one of the many problems surrounding the advertising driven business model, but we have to start somewhere. It is never too late.


Ten Years Later… American Photo Pays a Photographic Tribute to 9/11/01

September 11, 2011

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01 American Photo magazine released an App. reliving those horrifying moments that followed the attacks of Sept. 11 from the photographers’ own stories. The App. is free and can be downloaded here. The magazine is asking readers/viewers to donate to a list of charities listed on the opening page of the App. It is worth every penny. Check it out and join the rest of the nation as we remember the victims of Sept. 11 and their families.

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