Archive for April, 2015

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She Has The Whole “Parents” In Her Hands… Parents Latina: A New Addition To The Parents Brand. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Content Officer Dana Points.

April 9, 2015

“People think that print has gone away because they don’t understand what they’re hearing about the decline of newsstand sales. But newsstand is only a small portion of magazines and the idea that, in the case of Parents and American Baby, thousands of them a day are raising their hands and inviting print products into their home, which to me says this is still a really robust area.” Dana Points

parents latina The Parents (as in the magazine and its family of platforms) brand is a phenomenal scope of content that exceeds expectations when it comes to platform and audience. The success and popularity and trustworthiness of the brand are unquestionable and pave the way for a new baby for the ‘Parents’ to love: Parents Latina.

Dana Points is editor-in-chief and content director for the Parents group at Meredith. The passion and knowledge that she brings to the table when it comes to this niche in the publishing marketplace is unequivocal.

I spoke to Dana recently about the new infant over at the Parents hospital and was delighted to learn that this title was a very welcomed addition to the family. The need for a parenting magazine in English for second-generation Hispanics was the selling factor behind this new venture. The hope is to touch readers that Parents and Ser Padres might miss and give that audience a voice and an information outlet to consider.

So, I hope that you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dana Points, content director, Parents Latina, and consider yourself invited to the new baby’s first birthday.

But first, the sound-bites:

Points, Dana Headshot On why she believes publishers are rediscovering print: I don’t know if it’s that publishers are rediscovering print; I mean across the industry I think you are definitely seeing a lot of experimentation and innovation happening, looking for alternate revenue sources because of what’s going on in the larger print ad market.

On the impact print has on readers and advertisers:
We see, not only for the readers, but for the advertisers, that print advertising has a proven impact on consumer behavior and sales, so I think that’s a strong story as well.

On whether she thinks Latina-oriented magazines are a trend and every major publisher will soon be launching one:
I don’t know, because I think this is a very fast-moving market when you look at the pace of the adaptation of the consumer. It could be that for many publishers, the portion of their audience that is Hispanic, reading on their regular titles that they already produce, will grow to match the portion of Hispanics in the population. I don’t know.

On the Hispanic heritage that is thriving in the U.S.: Already 26% of children under age one are in a Hispanic household. So, my audience for American Baby, for example, which we tend to get these women often in their first pregnancy to around five months of age, that’s already a very Hispanic audience.

On the fact that Parents Latina is leading the pack in its market niche and who its real competition is:
I think people would argue to some extent that our competition is from the Hispanic mom’s phone. With the Hispanic consumer there is higher mobile use incidence in that population.

On where she believes the magazine will be a year from now:
I’d like to see our Hispanic readers grow on Parents, as it grows and as the population of moms who are Latina grows, I would like to see the numbers pick up on the main magazine, Parents, the English magazine as well.

On her directives to her editorial team:
In the United States, Mexican heritage is dominant. The directive to my small team that works here on Parents Latina is that we want to speak, in English, to the parenting passions of the new generation of Hispanic moms.

On the biggest stumbling block she’s had to face so far:
I would say in part just the linguistics of working on a magazine that is quarterly. Right now, we’re just in kind of start-up mode from a staffing perspective, so just working out the intricacies of the production schedule, tucking it into the group here when we are already producing 12 issues of Parent, 11 issues of American Baby.

On what it feels like to be the Queen Bee of the entire parenting garden:
I don’t feel like a Queen Bee at all; I feel like there’s a lot of worker bees that are surrounding me at all times and I’m just another worker bee. But I will say it’s really fun.

On whether there will ever be a parenting magazine on teenagers from Meredith: People ask us about teenagers all the time. I think that often readers might graduate from Family Fun to Family Circle. And Family Circle has, under Linda Fears, over the last few years done a considerable amount of coverage of issues that would be of specific concern to parents of teenagers,

On what makes Dana click and tick:
First of all, I love working, and I’ve done this at other points in my career, but I love working on brands that really make a difference in people’s lives; a contact that really makes a difference.

On what keeps her up at night:
Really, not much, which is not to say that I don’t have concerns, but I’ve always been a good sleeper. I think that people are finally getting the straight story about what’s going on in print magazines, but there are still some people who don’t fully understand.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief and Content Director, Parents Latina…

Samir Husni: Why do you think that suddenly publishers are rediscovering print? Meredith just came out with Parents Latina; Bauer has a new title, Simple Grace; National Geographic just came out with History; Rodale is launching Organic Life…

Dana Points: Right. And then you have the examples such as the CNET magazine; all of these digital/verticals that are creating print products and obviously, I know you’ve covered the very successful Allrecipes trajectory.

I don’t know if it’s that publishers are rediscovering print; I mean across the industry I think you are definitely seeing a lot of experimentation and innovation happening, looking for alternate revenue sources because of what’s going on in the larger print ad market.

And I think, in the case of Parents Latina, we really saw a group that no one was talking to directly, which is the English-dominant, largely second-generation Hispanic mom. She is very likely, at this point, to have been born in this country and prefers to read in English versus Spanish. We have a magazine, Ser Padres, that serves our Spanish-dominant customer, and then we have Parents, which is really for anyone who wants to read in English. And we know we have a significant group of Hispanic women who are reading Parents already, but we looked at Parents Latina to sort of fill in the gap between the people who we might be missing with Parents and the people who are reading in Spanish with Ser Padres.

Samir Husni: Without new magazines we don’t have an industry. You have to keep adding new blood, while you are reinventing the established ones. And as you said, no one is talking about print being dead anymore; they’re now saying that print is in decline. I give them five more years and they’ll once again be talking about the power of print.

Dana Points: I think so too. We see, not only for the readers, but for the advertisers, that print advertising has a proven impact on consumer behavior and sales, so I think that’s a strong story as well. And I applaud all that the MPA has done to tell the whole story about magazines and audience and include digital.

Samir Husni: Do you feel there’s a trend in the wind to reach that English-speaking Hispanic market, because as you know, Cosmopolitan launched Cosmo Latina in English and now Meredith has launched Parents Latina; do you think that we’re going to see every major magazine spinning a Latina edition in English?

Dana Points: I don’t know, because I think this is a very fast-moving market when you look at the pace of the adaptation of the consumer. It could be that for many publishers, the portion of their audience that is Hispanic, reading on their regular titles that they already produce, will grow to match the portion of Hispanics in the population. I don’t know. I think in the case of parenthood, it’s a very emotional, personal experience and so we felt that there was a need, and in our research we saw a need, for a product that hit on some of the aspects of parenthood that are unique for this audience.

Samir Husni: As editor-in-chief and content director and as you consider all of the parenting magazines underneath your umbrella; you mentioned a bit about the similarities, but also that there are some unique differences when it comes to content. And according to the most recent census you researched, by 2030 one out of three children born in the U.S. will be of Hispanic heritage.

Dana Points: Yes and already 26% of children under age one are in a Hispanic household. So, my audience for American Baby, for example, which we tend to get these women often in their first pregnancy to around five months of age, that’s already a very Hispanic audience. And we’ve recognized that for really as long as I’ve worked on the brand, which is six years now. We adjusted our photography, for example, in American Baby to reflect more Latina moms on our pages. So, we’ve been incubating and following this audience for a while.

Samir Husni: As the leader of the pack, and I don’t think there is really even any competition for you in this field…

Dana Points: Not really. I think people would argue to some extent that our competition is from the Hispanic mom’s phone. With the Hispanic consumer there is higher mobile use incidence in that population.

We are platform agnostic here at Meredith; we work on everything. But I think that we have seen the fragmentation of where this woman is consuming her information and I will share with you that we have some new data coming on that probably in the next couple of weeks. We are releasing another wave of our Moms and Media survey that we’ve done now for several years and I can tell you that this mom, be she Hispanic or not, is just using so many different sources of information.

So, one of the things that I’ve been very interested in over the last few years is when you have so many different sources of information; what really grabs your attention in an immersive way; what do you focus on, and where do you place your trust?

In the Parents brand, we have this incredibly trusted, 85-plus-year history behind us and this very well-recognized brand and then we have this immersive experience of reading print. When you’re reading print, and I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but when you’re reading print, there’s nothing else that’s going across your screen. If you’re looking at print, there is nothing else popping up on the screen, although, if we could figure out how to make that happen, it might be cool.

Samir Husni: (Laughs).

Dana Points: But anyway, that’s an opportunity to really get to her on a very personal topic at a time when she’s a huge sponge when it comes to information consumption and in a setting that is immersive and visually rich.

Samir Husni: If I’m talking with you a year from now and ask you about the success of Parents Latina; what do you think you’ll tell me?

Dana Points: I would like to be able to tell you that 700,000 was no problem, which I’m sure it will be; we’d like to see it potentially grow and possibly grow in frequency, but there is no plan for that right now; it’s a quarterly.

And then I’d like to also see our Hispanic readers grow on Parents, as it grows and as the population of moms who are Latina grows, I would like to see the numbers pick up on the main magazine, Parents, the English magazine as well. And then of course, build out a presence of Parents Latina on Parents.com, which is very embryonic at this stage of the game.

Samir Husni: I was flipping through the pages of the first issue of Parents Latina and for some reason it took me back in time to 1978 when I first came to the United States and when Parents magazine had its first major reinvention. The magazine just feels so close to the audience.

Dana Points: That’s good. We did a lot of digging into, not only the research that we have on the audience, but also what’s out there in the larger population. I’ll give you an example; one thing we know is that a modern, second-generation female Hispanic, of those who marry, about 40% will marry someone who is not Hispanic. So, this is an issue of blending cultures; people think, oh, here’s a magazine for this population, we’re going to have to talk about being bi-cultural or being Hispanic and “American.”

Well, in the case of this particular reader, it’s actually often tri-cultural. We have a case in the first issue that acknowledges and speaks to that. And you can see a little bit of that also in Grace Bastidas’ editor’s letter in the first issue.

Another area that is more specific to this population is, first of all, how they might handle discipline. Typically, you might have a more traditional approach to discipline, particularly in a first-generation, Spanish-dominant reader. But this is a reader who is maybe a little farther down the spectrum and maybe is wrestling with how she can reconcile the discipline that she grew up with and the discipline that her mother might favor versus what friends who are not Latina are doing.

And then you have nuances like the fact that a family member, particularly the grandmother, is more likely to be a caregiver for this reader, so it’s things like that, hopefully, that are giving you this sense of specificity when it comes to the audience.

Samir Husni: What’s your directive to your editorial team when they are actually reflecting that specificity? It’s my understanding that there several different Hispanic backgrounds, whether they’re from Mexico, Cuba or the Caribbean.

Dana Points: In the United States, Mexican heritage is dominant. The directive to my small team that works here on Parents Latina is that we want to speak, in English, to the parenting passions of the new generation of Hispanic moms, so that means culturally relevant, advice, information, just doing so much of what Parents magazine does; you know, we say: we answer your questions, address your concerns, advocate your causes and celebrate the joys of raising children. That’s the same across both brands; we just want to do it in a way that’s culturally relevant.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face so far and how did you overcome it?

Dana Points: I would say in part just the linguistics of working on a magazine that is quarterly. Right now, we’re just in kind of start-up mode from a staffing perspective, so just working out the intricacies of the production schedule, tucking it into the group here when we are already producing 12 issues of Parent, 11 issues of American Baby; I mean really silly things like we can’t be shipping all of these products simultaneously; we have a good-sized group here working on all the magazines, but from a logistics standpoint, it’s a little bit like creating a calendar from scratch and I’ve had the managing editor of Parents, Michaela Garibaldi, working on that and she’s done a terrific job.

Samir Husni: How does it feel to be the Queen Bee in this whole parenting marketplace? You’re it, in terms of anything that comes to parenting or the brand as a whole.

Dana Points: No pressure.

Samir Husni: No pressure? (Laughs)

Dana Points: (Laughs too) I don’t feel like a Queen Bee at all; I feel like there’s a lot of worker bees that are surrounding me at all times and I’m just another worker bee. But I will say it’s really fun. I’m looking at my wall right now, looking at Family Fun and Parents, American Baby and Parents Latina, and then we also have in this portfolio Ser Padres and there are global specials and lots and lots of great stuff that’s being created and thinking about how all these things fit together is a wonderful, challenging, fun puzzle. I think that is another aspect of what’s challenging about it, not just squeezing it into the production schedule.

My goal is to have magazines that are distinct, in terms of brand identity and appearance. For example, in the case of Parents and Parents Latina, they feel like they’re of the same family. They don’t look the same; you wouldn’t confuse them if they were lying on the table next to each other, but they come from a similar heritage. I always think, and this is not how the reader sees the product, because we have very minimal overlap from an audience standpoint on the various titles, but when we go into a discussion with an advertising partner, I want to see, when you lay all these products on the table that my group works on, I want to see a consistency of quality, great visual design, journalistic chops, and really understanding who the consumer is and speaking to her directly.

Samir Husni: When I put all the magazines next to each other that Meredith has, and when I look at the 100-million-women database the company uses for part of the research; you seem to have all of the babies and parents covered, but there is a gap between Family Fun and Better Homes and Gardens; is there any plan to fill in that gap? To create magazines for when those babies become toddlers or teenagers?

Dana Points: People ask us about teenagers all the time. I think that often readers might graduate from Family Fun to Family Circle. And Family Circle has, under Linda Fears, over the last few years done a considerable amount of coverage of issues that would be of specific concern to parents of teenagers. I think what’s interesting about it is, and I now have a teenager, Samir, at the point that you are the parent of a teenager; on one hand you have a really acute need for help in areas like texting and driving, college admissions and academics and social stuff, but on the other hand you’re also feeling the beginnings of the distance and that’s why I feel like there might not be a product in print that totally revolves around the care and feeding of your teenager. You have kids, right?

Samir Husni: Oh yes, kids and grandkids.

Dana Points: American parents are really involved in their kids’ lives and there’s been a lot of back and forth about that statement. It’s very different from how it might have been a generation or two ago or in other cultures and so if you get really wrapped up in your kids’ lives, there’s a point where you need to make sure that there are other things on your dance card because you can’t live through your kids. So, I think that a product that has diversity, in terms of its coverage is important.

Samir Husni: What makes Dana click and tick? What makes you get out of bed in the morning and look forward to going to work?

Dana Points: First of all, I love working, and I’ve done this at other points in my career, but I love working on brands that really make a difference in people’s lives; a contact that really makes a difference. You hear that a lot and I hear it when people come to interview me; I hear it when people leave our group to go on to other jobs, that they feel like they weren’t just kind of selling space, that they really did have an opportunity to impact people’s happiness, their behavior, by virtue of the fact that they’re consuming our content.

I like the kind of do-good aspect of my job, even as I also like the business part of my job, which is all the stuff we’ve talked about already, thinking about all the brand entities and how they all fit together and how do we do what we need to do on the budgets that we have, strategizing about new projects or PR or redesigns or special sections, things like that.

And then I just love the team that I work with. We have a great group here and in Northampton at Family Fun and in our Spanish-language group as well.

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

Dana Points: Really, not much, which is not to say that I don’t have concerns, but I’ve always been a good sleeper. I think that people are finally getting the straight story about what’s going on in print magazines, but there are still some people who don’t fully understand. Occasionally, I’ll be somewhere and someone will meet me for the first time and say, how’s it going? And they sound worried and I think that there are still too many people who have the perception that print is going away, which I’m talking to some of the youngest customers out there and we are simply not seeing it. These readers do still love their print magazines.

I think what’s happened, most acutely in the last year, in terms of newsstand sales, has tarnished the idea of print a bit. People think that print has gone away because they don’t understand what they’re hearing about the decline of newsstand sales. But newsstand is only a small portion of magazines and the idea that, in the case of Parents and American Baby, thousands of them a day are raising their hands and inviting print products into their home, which to me says this is still a really robust area. That people like to have that magazine hit their mailboxes, be on their coffee tables, be beside their beds at night, etc. So, that perception that print is threatened keeps me up some at night.

And then right now we have a lot of great products and just sort of keeping all those balls in the air and working with the digital team here to make sure that you really have brand evenly across the platforms, which is not to say that we have to do the same thing across platforms because it’s different and the audience can be different. But how do we continue to use digital and social, which is so fragmented and everybody is always on to the shiny new thing; how do we continue to bring new audiences into our brand, whether that be print, digital or whatever.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Get Out Of Your Mind & Step Into The GOOD World…Re-launching A Good Magazine – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Max Schorr, Co-Founder & Will Tacy, General Manager, Good Media…

April 7, 2015

“As we designed the magazine we weren’t thinking, OK – we need to make sure that everything in this magazine is going to work in digital just as well, because that’s not what it’s meant to do. It’s meant to work beautifully as a magazine. And everything that we do on the site is meant to work beautifully in digital. We’re not trying to make sure that we can optimize every effort so that everything is working in both media. I think by doing that, you lessen the quality of both and you don’t let either media do what it can do wonderfully.” Will Tacy

Good_COVER The “Good” movement was born 10 years ago with the ambitious dream of “pushing forward an emerging community of people committed to living like they give a damn.” This statement comes from the minds of the original founders of Good: Max Schorr, Ben Goldhirsh and Casey Caplowe. In 2012, Good shifted its focus to its social network and stopped print production.

Today Good in print has been reborn from its social pixels-only, with a new format and redesign. The mission is the same, to live well and do good, but the journal-type magazine with a quarterly frequency is a brave new attempt to get back into print with the positive gusto the brand has always stood for and believed in.

I spoke with Max Schorr (one of the original co-founders of Good) and Will Tacy (former managing editor of The New York Times.com) and now general manager of Good Media, recently about the innovative design and re-launch of the magazine. It was an informative and affirming conversation about the magazine’s mission and where the two men see the brand heading in the future. Their positivity and assurance of the need for that mission was contagious and emboldened our discussion and the re-launch with the same zeal and impactful appetite.

I hope you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Good Co-Founder, Max Schorr and Good Media General Manager, Will Tacy, because it’s a given you’ll find it a “good” read.

Max Schorr, (right) Co-Founder GOOD and Will Tacy, Good Media General Manager.

Max Schorr, (right) Co-Founder GOOD and Will Tacy, Good Media General Manager.

But first, the sound-bites…

On why Good magazine shifted strategies and came back to print in journal form: Good never actually moved away from print. We took some time to reimagine and redesign the magazine, but there was never a time where we decided that we weren’t going to be in print. We did want to make sure that the magazine was something we felt would really resonate with the audience.

On defining the audience as a global citizen: The one thing I would say is the nature of global citizenship hasn’t really changed from what it was in 2006. It’s still rooted in this idea of people who give a damn; people who have faith that the world can be better and are willing to invest in it and make it better.

On the major stumbling block they anticipate on facing with the re-launch: I think that we have to reintroduce ourselves to the world, but I have faith that the audience that has been there for Good all along is still there and in fact, is bigger than it’s ever been. I also have faith that there is an audience that understands what we’re trying to create: something that’s not disposable and that was very intentional on our part.

On defining the magazine’s mantra of living “the good life,” to live well and do good: We see an increasing amount of people who really feel connected across the whole world and so part of it is creatively engaging the world where you are and finding what it is that brings your purpose alive.

On how Good balances digital and print: As we designed the magazine we weren’t thinking, OK – we need to make sure that everything in this magazine is going to work in digital just as well, because that’s not what it’s meant to do. It’s meant to work beautifully as a magazine. And everything that we do on the site is meant to work beautifully in digital.

On where they see Good Media a year from now: I think that in both the digital realm and in print, you’re going to see Good as an ongoing part of a cultural conversation about what it means to live well and to do good; what our shared values are; what we need to push toward; what progress means; so, Good is going to be a reference point, a sounding board and a source of inspiration for people having that conversation, and also increasingly a source of pertinent and pressing questions.

On how Good has evolved over the last 10 years: We’ve been an independent media company for 10 years and it feels like now we’re sort of ready to go into the world. Maybe we’re graduating college and we’re now armed with a lot of knowledge and really ready to stand on our own in the world, but there are definitely challenges that are ahead and we need to now bring these things that we’ve learned into the world and really thrive and make the contribution that’s possible.

On what motivates Will Tacy and gets him excited about Good: What gets me excited, this opportunity to actually give people inspiration and energy and ideas to let them move forward to unleash their creativity and inspire them. On a personal level, I think that apathy and cynicism are the two things that are going to undermine us as a society, as a people and as sort of a global tribe.

On what motivates Max Schorr and gets him excited about Good: I think what motivates me is seeing how much work remains; we have everything from the warmest temperatures on record to wars to all sorts of hatred to a lot of inequality; so there’s so many vital issues that need attention and just being able to contribute as a part of that is a great honor.

On what Max Schorr’s role is today at Good: I’m helping across the company right now and really focusing on partnerships that can help bring our brand to life and also help other organizations embody the meaning of Good and to realize their purpose and engage people in a smart way.

On anything else they’d like to add: The heritage of Good, being the first company to curate YouTube’s home page, as one of the early players that was providing high-quality media that would also be shared, is now really hitting its stride and we’re growing digitally, while back in a strong way in print, makes for an exciting time.

On what keeps Will up at night: One thing that keeps me up at night, not really in a worried way, but in a my-brain-can’t-turn-off way, is wanting to be sure that we’re executing at the highest level every day on everything. I want us to be excellent all the time.

On what keeps Max up at night: I just want to keep strengthening this business model so that we can support all the great people out there doing this work and be able to have wonderful jobs for people who want to live well and do good and realize their potential to contribute to the world.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Max Schorr and Will Tacy, Good Media…

Good-1 Samir Husni: Congratulations on the re-launch of Good. Tell me, why did you decide to come back to print and shift from the strategy of Good – the magazine, to Good – the journal?

Max Schorr: Good never actually moved away from print. We took some time to reimagine and redesign the magazine, but there was never a time where we decided that we weren’t going to be in print. We did want to make sure that the magazine was something we felt would really resonate with the audience. So, we took our time to be sure we were exactly where we wanted to be with the magazine.

In terms of the change in format and the change in design, it was really a question of what we thought the audience was hungry for. And the recognition that the magazine that was launched 10 years ago was, in many ways, perfect for that time and moment. But today, the media landscape has changed, culture has changed, and the movement that Good launched to embrace and cover has changed. Therefore the magazine needed to change and evolve along with that.

Samir Husni: I just came back from Cape Town, South Africa where I gave a presentation on: if you are still creating a magazine in the way you did before 2007, there is something wrong with that picture.

Max Schorr: (Laughs) Exactly.

Samir Husni: Then along comes Good with a very solid example of the role of the curator versus creator and how to reach an audience. And you’re now calling that audience the global citizen; can you define that audience for me and how you’re trying to reach them through the magazine?

Will Tacy: The one thing I would say is the nature of global citizenship hasn’t really changed from what it was in 2006. It’s still rooted in this idea of people who give a damn; people who have faith that the world can be better and are willing to invest in it and make it better.

One thing I would say that has changed is that sensibility and that movement has moved from being something that would look good on the fridge of common society and common conversation, to something that’s more a part of who we all are.

One of the things that we’re seeing is that global citizenship, which really means being rooted locally, but thinking globally and being global-conscious, is becoming more and more a part of how a larger and larger section of society behaves.

Samir Husni: Will, what do you envision the major stumbling block you’ll have to face with a magazine as good as Good to be, with its very hefty cover price of $14 and its quarterly frequency?

Will Tacy: I think that we have to reintroduce ourselves to the world, but I have faith that the audience that has been there for Good all along is still there and in fact, is bigger than it’s ever been. I also have faith that there is an audience that understands what we’re trying to create: something that’s not disposable and that was very intentional on our part.

A lot of magazines have moved into this realm of being truly disposable. And that’s not a great place to be. To be in a place where a magazine is bought by someone to take with them on a plane and then they leave it there when they get off. So, we wanted to build something that has lasting value that people would want to keep on their coffee table and come back to and continually think about over the course of weeks and months.

But I do think that we have to introduce that to a larger audience; we need to make sure that we’re creating something that is resonant and that people want to make that kind of investment in. And that’s not just in terms of the cover price, but also in the audience’s time. We are building a print product that’s asking people to spend time with it and not just to skim through and read one or two pieces and then set it aside.

Samir Husni: In one of the promotional cards inside the magazine, it reads: Good is from people to meet to ideas to ponder, each issue of our quarterly journal spans the globe, exploring what it means to live the good life today. Tell me in an elevator pitch how you define “good life today?”

Max Schorr: We see an increasing amount of people who really feel connected across the whole world and so part of it is creatively engaging the world where you are and finding what it is that brings your purpose alive; part of it is being present; part of it is doing work that you believe in and part of it is helping to make your community better, and the combination of people doing that locally everywhere, connected all around the world, is a really exciting proposition for us.

Samir Husni: Do you think that meets the definition of a good life?

Max Schorr: You remember our first issue, Samir; it was ___________ (blank) like you give a damn, and we’ve always liked definitions that are open-ended. We don’t try to prescribe to people that there’s one answer for the good life, but we think when people have their own questions come alive in a very real way and they find out how they can contribute locally in their own lives that begins to tell a really great story.

You asked about global citizenship; we actually brought back a Thomas Paine quote from the first issue; my country is the world and my religion is to do good, and that sort of speaks to this idea of a global citizen.

We intentionally used the term “the good life” because part of what we want to do is push against the assumed definition of it; that the good life is a life lived for the common good as much as it is for the personal good and that there’s not a conflict there. There’s not a conflict between doing good and living a good life, in fact, they’re connected; they’re necessary to one another. Just as we say we firmly believe that there’s not a conflict between pragmatism and optimism; the solutions are born from the combination of those two things. We’re intentionally using that term to say it’s time to think more deeply about it and redefine it for our new time.

Samir Husni: Will, you were the managing editor of The New York Times.com and now you’re the general manager for Good Media. Where do you see a balance between, what I call, the seductive, beautiful mistress called “digital” and the old man called “ink on paper?” Since you have been and still are in both worlds; how can you balance digital and print?

Will Tacy: It’s funny, because I never saw a conflict between the two. I’ve always felt that they serve very different purposes; very valuable purposes, but different. And one of the things that I think, in particular a lot of magazines have stumbled on, is trying to figure out how you do the same thing in both, rather than simply embracing the two different media for what they’re wonderful at.

And some of that means that things we used to think were really the province of print, particularly newsweeklies, don’t really work anymore. They’re more effective in digital. And print has a very different purpose. The same audience is going to be incredibly psyched and excited about what you’re producing in print and in digital. As long as you’re meeting them where they are and where they want to be in each of those two media.

For instance, as we designed the magazine we weren’t thinking, OK – we need to make sure that everything in this magazine is going to work in digital just as well, because that’s not what it’s meant to do. It’s meant to work beautifully as a magazine. And everything that we do on the site is meant to work beautifully in digital. We’re not trying to make sure that we can optimize every effort so that everything is working in both media. I think by doing that, you lessen the quality of both and you don’t let either media do what it can do wonderfully.

Samir Husni: Put your futuristic cap on for a minute and tell me where you see Good a year from now.

Will Tacy: I think that in both the digital realm and in print, you’re going to see Good as an ongoing part of a cultural conversation about what it means to live well and to do good; what our shared values are; what we need to push toward; what progress means; so, Good is going to be a reference point, a sounding board and a source of inspiration for people having that conversation, and also increasingly a source of pertinent and pressing questions. Part of what we’re going to increasingly embrace is the idea that as this movement has matured and as it has moved farther and farther into the mainstream, part of our role is to ask the movement tough questions about itself and about ourselves.

I think you’ll see a much larger digital footprint; we’ve already seen our digital audience grow at an almost exponential rate over the last several months. You’ll see Good as a source of more and more content in pure digital streams, social streams and otherwise. And you’ll see Good as a voice in the national and global issues and values conversation.

You’re not going to see us playing in the breaking news game, that’s not somewhere that I think we can add value. You’re not going to see us playing in the “Gotcha’” media game and you’re not going to see us playing in the celebrity media game, but you will absolutely see Good as a contributor to a national conversation about what we all should value and where we all should be pushing.

Samir Husni: Max, this question is for you since you were there 10 years ago when this baby was born, and in the life of a magazine 10 years is an incredible lifespan; where do you see Good now from that infant that was born with a lot of fanfare 10 years ago?

Max Schorr: That’s a great question. We’ve been an independent media company for 10 years and it feels like now we’re sort of ready to go into the world. Maybe we’re graduating college and we’re now armed with a lot of knowledge and really ready to stand on our own in the world, but there are definitely challenges that are ahead and we need to now bring these things that we’ve learned into the world and really thrive and make the contribution that’s possible. The ideals from when we started are alive and well and they’re really what bring us all together as a cohesive team. So, we’re mature, but still hopeful and vibrant.

Samir Husni: I’m talking with two out of the three parents of Good: Will and Max.

Will Tacy: I would say that Max is definitely a parent, but I’m maybe a recently-discovered uncle. (Laughs)

Max Schorr: A wonderful uncle. (Laughs too)

Samir Husni: What happened to Ben (Ben Goldhirsh – one of the original founders)?

Max Schorr: Ben is still very much in the mix. He is currently recharging his batteries in Costa Rica; he visited us a couple of weeks ago and he’s coming through again in couple of weeks. He’s been such a huge part of this entire effort; he’s just recharging now because we’ve all put in a lot of work over the last decade.

Samir Husni: My question to you Will is; what makes you click and tick? What makes you get out of bed in the mornings and say, wow, I’m going to do some good today? No pun intended.

Will Tacy: (Laughs) No, actually, that’s the perfect way of saying it. I really do believe that fundamentally media has a critical role to play in providing people ways to think about our ability to move the world forward and ideas and models to inspire us.

And I think Good has such a wonderful opportunity to be that voice, that rallying, questioning, thoughtful, challenging voice that’s so necessary to begin to connect this larger and larger tribe and to be a sort of antidote to cynicism and apathy.

And that’s what gets me excited, this opportunity to actually give people inspiration and energy and ideas to let them move forward to unleash their creativity and inspire them. On a personal level, I think that apathy and cynicism are the two things that are going to undermine us as a society, as a people and as sort of a global tribe. And the opportunity to everyday try and kick down that door is just wonderful and inspiring.

Professionally, I’ve always loved being in places where you’re inventing and you’re constantly embracing the idea that there are new things we can do in media, there are new opportunities and that the audience is brilliant, hungry and thoughtful. And our job every day is to try and meet them where they are. There are no established rules that can never change and we can always think of ways to do this job better and more thoughtfully.

And to be at Good, where that’s not just accepted, but expected, and where there’s a hunger to continuously improve and to be thoughtful and forward-thinking, is just wonderful. And that’s what excites me every day.

Samir Husni: And Max, I’ll ask you the same question that I asked Will; what makes you get out of bed in the mornings and motivates you to say it’s going to be a good day?

Max Schorr: It’s just been such a great honor to start this magazine and meet people all around our country and all around the world who are putting these ideals into action and who are making changes happen in small ways, in their own lives and in their communities.

It started as a sort of audacious dream; we said that you could live well and do good and when we took the word good and decided to call our company that, people made fun of it. They didn’t understand how pragmatism and idealism could come together, or that doing good could ever be an appealing thing, but now we really see a growing movement of these people and we see it as the predominant sensibility.

And yet, I think what motivates me is seeing how much work remains; we have everything from the warmest temperatures on record to wars to all sorts of hatred to a lot of inequality; so there’s so many vital issues that need attention and just being able to contribute as a part of that is a great honor.

Samir Husni: Max, what’s your role now; I realize you’re one of the co-founders, but besides that; what’s your role at Good?

Max Schorr: I’m helping across the company right now and really focusing on partnerships that can help bring our brand to life and also help other organizations embody the meaning of Good and to realize their purpose and engage people in a smart way. So, I’m spending a lot of time here at Good and I’ve also been invited by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society out of Harvard Law School to study the intersection of social change in new media. So, I’m a student of that and doing research and also looking at how Good can really be the leading platform in moving the world forward.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else either of you would like to add about Good – the magazine, Good – digital, or Good – the global citizen?

Max Schorr: It’s an exciting time, Samir. Will mentioned our digital is really growing exponentially and that’s an important piece. We’ve launched this high-quality print journal for the global citizen and what’s really exciting is there’s a whole buzz in the office right now because we were at several million unique visitors in January, but then in February we were at over 4½ million as verified by Quantcast. And in March, it’s not official yet, but we’ve beat that by a wide margin and so we’re seeing that continued growth.

The heritage of Good, being the first company to curate YouTube’s home page, as one of the early players that was providing high-quality media that would also be shared, is now really hitting its stride and we’re growing digitally, while back in a strong way in print, makes for an exciting time.

Samir Husni: My typical last question and it’s for both of you; what keeps you up at night?

Will Tacy: (Laughs) There are so many things. One thing that keeps me up at night, not really in a worried way, but in a my-brain-can’t-turn-off way, is wanting to be sure that we’re executing at the highest level every day on everything. I want us to be excellent all the time. So, that is super-exciting and it’s what keeps my brain going.

There’s not a lot that keeps me up in terms of worry, concern or fear. What keeps me up is there’s so much to think about and so much to consider and so much great work to do and my brain just can’t turn it off.

Max Schorr: Similar to Will, I just want to do the best work possible, but also it’s been a volatile stretch of time for the media industry. We’ve learned a lot, but we’re still an independent media company and I think we’re still strengthening our business model and our financial position in the world. And we’re really grateful for the wonderful partners that are in this magazine like Apple, Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.

I just want to keep strengthening this business model so that we can support all the great people out there doing this work and be able to have wonderful jobs for people who want to live well and do good and realize their potential to contribute to the world. There’s just a lot of work to do.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: A Healthy First Quarter And Second Quarter Opens With A Bang…

April 5, 2015

The first quarter of 2015 ended with 191 titles – down 19 titles from the 210 titles appearing in the first quarter of 2014. The largest drop were the titles published with the intention to appear at least four times a year on the nation’s newsstands. The total of new magazines with frequency in 2015 was 45 titles compared to 61 titles in 2014. As for the specials and book-a-zines, the numbers almost ran neck-to-neck with 2015 producing 146 titles compared to the 148 titles from 2014. To see each and every magazine launch click here.

The first chart below illustrates the total number of the titles, average cover price, average subscription price, average number of advertising pages, and average number of pages of the new magazines.

The second chart below compares the top 10 categories of the new launches in 2015 to those in 2014.

Chart One:
launches q1

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Chart Two:
categories q 1

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And A strong start for Second Quarter:

parents latinaSGD-1505-covernational geo history

The month of April is still in its infancy, but three major new launches are already on the nation’s newsstands with a fourth one arriving soon. Meredith was the first publisher to introduce the quarterly Parents Latina, National Geographic Society followed with the bimonthly National Geographic History, and Bauer Publishing with the monthly Simple Grace. Rodale is getting ready to launch Organic Life in ten days. A strong start for quarter two of 2015 and a good sign of a healthy and hefty spring ahead… and by the way, did I fail to mention that all these new launches are magazine launches, as in ink on paper launches? I guess March showers are indeed bringing in April flowers!

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Magazines As Influencers. The Social Role of the American Consumer Magazines. A Blast from Mr. Magazine’s™ Past: Dissertation Entries Part 7…

April 3, 2015

Magazines as Influencers
1983

kanye Whether or not magazines have any effect through their role in exerting influence on the public is still debatable, as is the general question of effects of the mass media on the public. Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Merton, two of the pioneering social scientists in this country, asked “What role can be assigned to the mass media by virtue of the fact that they exist?” Their answer was simple and brief: “It is our tentative judgement that the social role played by the very existence of the mass media has been commonly overestimated.” This does not mean that magazine owners, publishers, editors, and critics do not believe that magazines have an effect.

Roland Wolseley argued that magazines exert influence through two established policies: advertising and editorial. An example of the first can be seen in the 1968 issues of Esquire magazine. After the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the magazine adapted a policy of refusing advertising for any kind of guns. Science 83 and four other magazines, including Soldier of Fortune, have the same policy regarding cigarette advertising. On the other hand, decisions regarding the editorial policies of the magazine can be seen through the criteria editors set for their magazines. Page Knapp’s recent purchase of Geo made the news, especially with her argument that the editorial policy of the magazine will be shifted to show the brighter side of life, instead of the brutal and sorrowful side of it.

Esquire_magazine_April_1968 Wolseley considered this influencing role of the magazine as part of its social responsibility as well as its social effect. Although he believed that this role has been accomplished largely “through the magazine content rather than organized action,” Wolseley stressed that three departments have been influential: advertising, editorial, and promotion.

The above information was written in 1983 and is taken from a portion of my dissertation when I was at the University of Missouri-Columbia where I obtained my doctorate in journalism. And while the majority of the material still holds true, things have changed drastically in some areas.

2015

Texas_Monthly_Magazine,_January_2007_cover It’s a given fact that we rely on the media for news and facts that it deems important for us to know. This was true when the first piece of information was ever printed by a magazine or newspaper in ink and it still holds true today. However, a few things have changed. Where most of us trusted the news media and other information outlets implicitly; a few bad seeds have caused us to feel that trust was misplaced. We’re a little more wary and cautious these days.

With as much power as the media holds over public opinions and ideas, to say that magazines do not have a significant influence on society, maybe even more so today than in 1983 with the realms of cyberspace at its fingertips, is not only an understatement, it’s ridiculous.

Let’s compare a few occurrences with those listed in 1983. First, Esquire was mentioned with its 1968 ban on gun advertisements in the magazine due to the tragic assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. By banning weapons ads in the magazine, Esquire was making a statement that couldn’t be ignored and wasn’t.

In January 2007, then Vice-President Dick Cheney was featured on the cover of Texas Monthly holding a smoking shotgun pointed out toward the reader with the cover line: If you don’t buy this magazine, Dick Cheney will shoot you in the face. The magazine was playing off the famous 1973 National Lampoon cover of a hand holding a gun at a dog’s head with a similar cover line and using the Vice-President’s hunting accident where he shot a colleague in the face as the basis for the spoof.

Questions had already been raised regarding the shooting and media’s satirical portrayals could certainly have been said to ‘stir the pot.’ Did it influence anyone’s opinion about the shooting? Maybe no one can say for sure, but it’s a given it opened up a few heated discussions about whether it was in bad taste or good fun.

The second point of interest mentioned in my 1983 dissertation was several magazines’ policies on no cigarette ads. Eliminating teen-smoking and the overall ill effects of tobacco played an important role in how people saw tobacco products then and now, compared to eras like the 1940s and 1950s where everyone smoked and it was considered cool.

diana and kate A computer-generated photo on a 2011 Newsweek cover of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton walking side by side was considered in very bad taste by some people who saw it. The representation showed the women dressed very similarly, with their heads inclined toward each other as if they were talking. The issue was geared toward what would have been Diana’s 50th birthday that year.

The article inside touted author and then-editor, Tina Brown’s take on what Diana’s life might have been like had she lived. At the time, The London Telegraph called the cover photo “ghoulish” and gave Brown the moniker “Newsweek’s grave robber.”

Saying that article and that cover had no influence over public opinion about what people consider a sacrilege would be like saying the 2006 Rolling Stone cover of Kanye West, with a crown of thorns upon his head and obviously depicting Jesus at the time of crucifixion, had no impact on what people deemed appropriate and inappropriate.

Magazines have played many roles over the years when it comes to society and the humans who occupy it, but none more so than that of influencer. In fact, the next time you pick up that bottle of shampoo at the store or decide not to buy that cut of meat because it’s just not healthy for you; odds are it was a magazine ad or article that influenced your decision.

Until next time when Mr. Magazine™ talks about magazines as Informers…

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March New Magazines: A Solid Month For New Titles…

April 2, 2015

The numbers are in for the month of March and they look good. Not as good as March 2014 but as a whole it was a good month for new magazines. Almost two out of every three titles arriving at the newsstands today are either a special issue about a specific topic or a book-a-zine. To see each and every new title arriving to the newsstands for the first time click here.

The first chart below illustrates the total number of the March magazines and how they compare to the previous year. The second chart shows the top ten categories in new launches.

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