Archive for May, 2018

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Taking “Issuu” With The Art Of Digital Storytelling: “Issuu Stories” Is Born…And Digital Publishing & Social Sharing Climbs To New Heights – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Joe Hyrkin, CEO, Issuu…

May 24, 2018

Joe Hyrkin, CEO, issuu, speaking at the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8
Experience April 18, 2018.

“The future is really all about the creator, the publisher, having more and more control. So, they make the publication; they can control which stories they want to share and how; they can control how they use it. If they want they can share just on their own site; they can use it to share on Snapchat or Instagram or elsewhere; it gives them a whole set of tools now to engage the social media platforms more effectively around their whole content.” Joe Hyrkin…

“I think it offers a more comprehensive opportunity for monetization. One of the things that we’ve created in the story generator software that we’re making available as part of this, is the ability for publishers to put different images into the story than were in the original article. They can embed additional kinds of ads in the story than were in the article. It enables them to monetize the content in a more expansive way and it now also enables them to take advantage of these other platforms because they’re able to serve up that content in a format that people are aligned with already, and monetize the content as well.” Joe Hyrkin…

Issuu, the world’s largest digital discovery and publishing platform, announced Issuu Stories, a new mobile-optimized content sharing feature that enables brands and creators to highlight and share specific pages of their digital content on their favorite social channels. Joe Hyrkin is CEO of Issuu and is excited by this brand new feature, as it allows Issuu publishers, particularly ones of media content, magazines and newspapers, to be able to continue their relationship with the publishing platform and turn their content into stories that can be shared in any social experience, such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Reddit. To share a digital publication link through Instagram Stories, users must be an Instagram business user with more than 10,000 followers.

I spoke with Joe recently and we talked about Issuu Stories. The new feature gives users the ability to easily integrate their content on social to deliver beautiful spreads and slick scrolls, and share with GIFs generated on Issuu. Additionally, users can include a shareable link directing readers to sequential or non-sequential pages within their digital publication.

Joe believes Issuu Stories enables a deeper level of engagement by optimizing the way in which creators and brands can share their digital content. It’s an illuminating portal that opens up the possibilities for digital content and blazes that cyber trail that many are trying to machete their way through.

Leave it to Issuu to lead the way.

And now without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joe Hyrkin, CEO, Issuu.

But first the sound-bites:

On Issuu’s new feature called Issuu Stories: We are rolling out Issuu Stories and it’s something that I’m super-excited about because it now enables all Issuu publishers, particularly media content, magazines and newspapers, to be able to continue to use the Issuu system and turn articles into stories that can be shared in any social experience: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

On the restrictions that are in place when using Issuu Stories, such as on Instagram it must be a business account and have at least 10,000 followers: That’s an Instagram restriction. In order to share the story in the format that we’ve created, in order to share the content of a link on Instagram, you need to have more than 10,000 followers. So, it’s a restriction by Instagram and we’re actually going to talk to them about making some changes. I think one of the core reasons that they do that is they want to make sure that if people are sharing content from within the link that it’s high-quality content and it’s curated and there are some set of standards around it. And of course, those folks who are sharing Issuu Stories on Instagram have met a certain criteria of quality because of the publication that they’re creating.

On where he sees the future of magazine media and digital heading as Issuu moves forward: I actually think that this is only serving to drive more consumption of the full magazine. In the past, if you think about even a print-oriented newsstand, the way that magazines got sold was by the cover. The cover drove the vast majority of initial engagement for that whole publication. And now what we’re enabling people to do is engage beneath the covers, so they can use a story on page 37 to drive consumption of the whole publication.

On whether he believes this is a step toward easier monetization of publisher’s publications: I don’t know if I would say easier, but I think it offers a more comprehensive opportunity for monetization. One of the things that we’ve created in the story generator software that we’re making available as part of this, is the ability for publishers to put different images into the story than were in the original article. They can embed additional kinds of ads in the story than were in the article. It enables them to monetize the content in a more expansive way and it now also enables them to take advantage of these other platforms because they’re able to serve up that content in a format that people are aligned with already, and monetize the content as well.

On if Texture is the 800-pound gorilla, is Issuu the 400-pound one: There’s a 100-pound gorilla, absolutely, but what makes the zoo a great experience is being able to see the hundreds of different animals and how people look at the animals and the whole experience that’s available. And you can go into those areas in the zoo that are most interesting to you. You can see a 100-pound gorilla and that’s cool, but what I’m really interested in is the entire penguin exhibit and feeding the penguins and the experience that provides.

On whether he can envision a day when Issuu offers a membership and charges a set amount for all content or they just prefer to leave it up to the individual publishers: We are all about putting power and monetization control into the hands of the publisher, because I think they’re creating amazing stuff and we want them to be able to continue to thrive and build their business. And I think that means having a set of tools for distribution and it means having a set of options around monetization, where they’re not just stuck on a particular monetization format.

On any major hurdle Issuu might have to overcome: One of the hurdles here is publishers that use us have come to rely on a set of tools that they use Issuu for. So, they distribute or they sell a digital version of their magazine; often they will use us for one or two features and they sort of get locked into, this is what we’re going to be using Issuu for. And one of the hurdles that we have is to effectively communicate with them about those, which are all very much a part of the package and part of the foundation of why they’re using us, and then show them the new set of tools that are available to them around creating stories and distributing them.

On Sweet Paul magazine now having a print edition and being on newsstand: Sweet Paul is a great example. They’re a great business and they’re amazing people. I don’t know if you’ve spent much time with them, but they have built a media business essentially from scratch. And they’ve hooked some really high-quality content and their magazine has been in Anthropology and is now sold in Barnes & Noble. And a lot of that has happened, in large part, because when they first launched the magazine, they grew their audience through Issuu. And now they have this whole set of things they do. They have a magazine; they do events; they do video content; they’re advising other magazines. They’ve created this really interesting media business that I think is the wave of the future.

On anything he’d like to add: The other piece around it is, one of the things about all published magazines in particular is, often the story that is richest and most exciting to a particular reader isn’t obvious from either the cover or the way in which the magazine is marketed. And now through Stories it creates an accessibility into this quality content that hasn’t been available at scale or in a digital format before.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joe Hyrkin, CEO Issuu.

Samir Husni: Tell me about this new feature called “Issuu Stories.”

Joe Hyrkin

Joe Hyrkin: We are rolling out Issuu Stories and it’s something that I’m super-excited about because it now enables all Issuu publishers, particularly media content, magazines and newspapers, to be able to continue to use the Issuu system and turn articles into stories that can be shared in any social experience: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

We’ve given publishers a set of tools that we’ve created, where we automatically show the whole flat plan of the publication. And then they can lasso elements of that publication. They can just very quickly click on the images and we identify the elements of text and images, and all of the different pieces of the content, they can click mobile optimize, and it turns it into a vertically-scrolling, mobile-optimized story or article that can be shared in its discreet format anywhere digitally.

And as you scroll and read through the story, as we always do at Issuu, we continue to drive engagement for the full magazine itself, so within the vertical scroll of the story, we have the cover of the publication and you click on that and it takes you to the full digital publication of the magazine itself. So, you can now start to use Issuu to share elements of the magazine, and then use those elements to drive more engagement into the full magazine.

It’s basically a two-pronged approach. First is the software that publishers get access to, which automatically turns each of the articles into stories. And then on the consumer side, they’re able to subscribe to Issuu stories or to curate the most interesting sets of content for them across different categories as well.

Samir Husni: I’ve noticed that you’re limiting it somewhat. For example, people who use Instagram have to have an Instagram business account and more than 10,000 followers. Why are those restrictions in place?

Joe Hyrkin: That’s an Instagram restriction. In order to share the story in the format that we’ve created, in order to share the content of a link on Instagram, you need to have more than 10,000 followers. So, it’s a restriction by Instagram and we’re actually going to talk to them about making some changes. I think one of the core reasons that they do that is they want to make sure that if people are sharing content from within the link that it’s high-quality content and it’s curated and there are some set of standards around it. And of course, those folks who are sharing Issuu Stories on Instagram have met a certain criteria of quality because of the publication that they’re creating.

Samir Husni: What’s the future? You had a platform that offered the entire publication, now you’re offering a story-by-story feature. Where do you see the industry heading, in terms of magazine media and digital?

Joe Hyrkin: I actually think that this is only serving to drive more consumption of the full magazine. In the past, if you think about even a print-oriented newsstand, the way that magazines got sold was by the cover. The cover drove the vast majority of initial engagement for that whole publication. And now what we’re enabling people to do is engage beneath the covers, so they can use a story on page 37 to drive consumption of the whole publication.

If you think about something like The Economist as an example, they always have on their front cover a selection of titles of different stories that are within the magazine. So, they’re sort of calling it out via headlines and putting it on the front cover off the magazine. Our whole focus is on supporting the publisher to make their whole publication accessible and distributable. And now they can take pieces of it, use that to engage their audience and drive them deeper into the magazine. These stories can be shared as unique units, but contained within the structure of the story. It’s not just a link to the magazine, but it’s actually the full cover that drives you deeper into the magazine itself.

And then when we’re doing this, the future is really all about the creator, the publisher, having more and more control. So, they make the publication; they can control which stories they want to share and how; they can control how they use it. If they want they can share just on their own site; they can use it to share on Snapchat or Instagram or elsewhere; it gives them a whole set of tools now to engage the social media platforms more effectively around their whole content.

Samir Husni: Do you think that’s a step toward easier monetization of their publications?

Joe Hyrkin: I don’t know if I would say easier, but I think it offers a more comprehensive opportunity for monetization. One of the things that we’ve created in the story generator software that we’re making available as part of this, is the ability for publishers to put different images into the story than were in the original article. They can embed additional kinds of ads in the story than were in the article. It enables them to monetize the content in a more expansive way and it now also enables them to take advantage of these other platforms because they’re able to serve up that content in a format that people are aligned with already, and monetize the content as well.

They also can use these stories to reconnect with sales, whether it’s digital sales or they certainly could incorporate by a print subscription to the magazine. It gives them a whole new way to communicate with their audience and use this to grow a larger audience.

Samir Husni: If we assume Texture, especially now after being bought by Apple, is the 800-pound gorilla; is Issuu the 400-pound gorilla now?

Joe Hyrkin: (Laughs) I love these analogy conversations. Let’s say we’re the zoo, right?

Samir Husni; (Laughs too).

Joe Hyrkin: There’s a 100-pound gorilla, absolutely, but what makes the zoo a great experience is being able to see the hundreds of different animals and how people look at the animals and the whole experience that’s available. And you can go into those areas in the zoo that are most interesting to you. You can see a 100-pound gorilla and that’s cool, but what I’m really interested in is the entire penguin exhibit and feeding the penguins and the experience that provides.

So, the way I look at the difference here is Texture, particularly within the context of Apple, is about a very specific set of titles that are now going to be, and I don’t know anything more than you do, but they’ve publicly stated it’s now going to be part of a new Apple subscription service that they’re going to create, which in a certain way enables that content to have a larger audience than what was available just being Texture, because now they can connect it to the larger Apple audience. But still a very thin layer of content.

And what we’re doing now is by automating these stories; we will see hundreds of thousands of stories available that are enabling creators to really much more directly connect to people who are interested in what they have to offer.

Samir Husni: Do you envision one day that you will offer an Issuu membership, an all you can eat buffet that you can pay a set amount per month and access everything? Or do you want to leave it up to the individual publishers?

Joe Hyrkin: We are all about putting power and monetization control into the hands of the publisher, because I think they’re creating amazing stuff and we want them to be able to continue to thrive and build their business. And I think that means having a set of tools for distribution and it means having a set of options around monetization, where they’re not just stuck on a particular monetization format.

So, we will continue to offer more ways to distribute and more ways for them to monetize. And as part of Issuu Stories, we are actually rolling out a subscription product where readers can subscribe to receive the curated Issuu Stories that get delivered directly to them. For now, that’s really available because we want to help publishers make and share that content. There may be some monetization element that we layer on top of that, and if we did that it would be in association in some form with the publishers as well.

Samir Husni: What might be a major hurdle that you’ll have to overcome?

Joe Hyrkin: One of the hurdles here is publishers that use us have come to rely on a set of tools that they use Issuu for. So, they distribute or they sell a digital version of their magazine; often they will use us for one or two features and they sort of get locked into, this is what we’re going to be using Issuu for. And one of the hurdles that we have is to effectively communicate with them about those, which are all very much a part of the package and part of the foundation of why they’re using us, and then show them the new set of tools that are available to them around creating stories and distributing them.

I think one of the things that happens is, right now publishers have their own system that they use for creating things like this. They blog or they do this or do that, and ultimately this will save them a tremendous amount of time. It’s a different set of communications for us to share with folks around that. But so far the uptake has been really good and we soft-rolled it out last week, as we were publicly announcing it.

We’re finding that people we’ve shown this to, people like Lonely Planet and Red Bull, on those sort of larger brand sides, Tom Tom Magazine and Escapism and a whole set of others on the emerging brand side, are finding this is exactly what they needed. They had been trying to figure out how they could share the articles without destroying the integrity of the publication they had created and is the focus.

Samir Husni: I noticed that Sweet Paul now has his magazine on the newsstand at Barnes & Noble, a print edition.

Joe Hyrkin: Sweet Paul is a great example. They’re a great business and they’re amazing people. I don’t know if you’ve spent much time with them, but they have built a media business essentially from scratch. And they’ve hooked some really high-quality content and their magazine has been in Anthropology and is now sold in Barnes & Noble.

And a lot of that has happened, in large part, because when they first launched the magazine, they grew their audience through Issuu. And now they have this whole set of things they do. They have a magazine; they do events; they do video content; they’re advising other magazines. They’ve created this really interesting media business that I think is the wave of the future.

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

Joe Hyrkin: The other piece around it is, one of the things about all published magazines in particular is, often the story that is richest and most exciting to a particular reader isn’t obvious from either the cover or the way in which the magazine is marketed. And now through Stories it creates an accessibility into this quality content that hasn’t been available at scale or in a digital format before.

There’s this great magazine, Soul Food, and Roy Choi, who is one of the inventors of the food truck movement; there’s a great article about him buried in the middle of this magazine, and now they can use Issuu Stories to direct readers into that particular body of content that wasn’t available before, and then use that to drive more and more engagement.

I think the key here is this unleashing of access that hasn’t been available before in a way that expands engagement with the whole publication.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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2018 Print Advertising Is In Decline, But Advertisers Not Moving to Digital… Todd Krizelman, CEO Of MediaRadar, Responds To A Mr. Magazine™ Question. A Mr. Magazine™ Exclusive.

May 21, 2018

“You asked what happened to the 20,400 print advertisers who stopped buying print?” Todd Krizelman, CEO, MediaRadar, writes, the results are definitely surprising!

Of the 87,943 advertisers that stopped placing in print in 2018, 7,467 (8%) instead ran a digital campaign in 2018 during the same time period. 92% of the 87,943 stopped buying all together.

Todd Krizelman, CEO of Media Radar, presenting to the students of the magazine program at The University of Mississippi at the Magazine Making in New York City, May 15.

I had the pleasure to visit (with 16 students) with Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar, earlier in the week. During Todd’s presentation he mentioned that 20,400 print advertisers stopped buying print in the first four months of 2018. So, I asked him the common sense question that any journalist should ask when faced with a statistic like that. Todd graciously offered to follow-up on my question, “which turned out to be a riddle.” His quote, not mine.

There is a decline in print advertising in 2018, but very few of the brands who stopped placing ads in print moved to digital (which is so often the assumption). The following analysis reveals the surprising shifts in ad spend at the start of the year.

Based on MediaRadar analysis, there were 172,155 advertisers in print in Jan-Apr 2017 and 151,825 in the same period 2018, a decrease of 13%, or 20,330 advertisers. The 20,330 is the net decline, not the number of companies however that stopped buying year-over-year in this period. There were in fact 87,943 brands that stopped buying altogether in print.

That 87,943 brands stopped buying is not surprising (more on this shortly), but the net decline of 20,330 is a concern. Posted below is what we discovered.

i. Normal Advertiser Churn:
In most years we observe that only about half of advertisers buy again in the following year. This at first seems surprising, but it’s not unexpected. Here’s why:

1. Perishable Advertisers. Many advertisers have a short shelf life. For example: movie advertisers do not renew their campaigns. Real estate brokers and developers too buy 1x for each property.

2. Changing Product Lines. Many companies introduce new products each year, only advertising their new models. Technology companies are a great example. Their products have a short shelf-life and so the same product rarely renews. In local markets restaurants and bars tend to only spend when they launch.

ii. Unexpected Advertiser Churn:

This past year there were two categories of advertisers that were disproportionately impacted. Retail and real estate advertising were both down sharply. The two categories represent a big piece of print advertising especially. There were ~8,000 retailers that went out of business in 2017, more than any other year in history (Source: Fung Global Retail & Technology/ Credit Suisse), and the single worst year since 2008, when the market last collapsed. Many casually assign the decline in retail to the rise of firms like Amazon. Additionally, with rising interest rates, mortgage refinancing is crashing (down 40% last year, and expected to decline again 26%k) and new home buying is in decline. Just Friday morning, May 18, the WSJ wrote about the topic “The Era of Low Mortgage Rates Is Over”.

iii. The Takeaway
Of the 87,943 advertisers that stopped placing in print in 2018, 7,467 (8%) instead ran a digital campaign in 2018 during the same time period. 92% of the 87,943 stopped buying all together.

Of the 7,467 brands buying digital in 2018, 3,228 of them were new to digital (they didn’t run digital campaigns Jan-Apr 2017). This means that just 3.6% actively moved their business from print to digital this year.

While this analysis disproves that advertisers are moving in droves to digital, it does raise a question about the quality of the overall market for advertising. Bottom line is that a disproportionate number of companies sat out the market at the start of this year.

Methodology Notes:

How the 20,330 decline is calculated: There were 67,806 that were new to print in the first four months of 2018 and 87,943 that did not return in the same period. The difference between the companies stopping and starting is the 20,330 advertisers. (87,943 – 67,806 = 20,330)

MediaRadar analysis compared Jan-Apr 2017 vs. Jan-Apr 2018.

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TYPE Magazine Presents A Conference That Looks At The Visual Side Of Rolling Stone & The People Who Contributed To That Legacy – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Roger Black, Editor In Chief, TYPE Magazine…

May 21, 2018

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

“What I want to ask everyone (at the conference) is what they learned. What was the point? What is the value that we can impart? If you had a young designer today, what would you say to them? Or a young photography editor, what are the main guidelines? What is the meaning of Rolling Stone? What is the end result of all of this? And try to push that into not just an oral history, but actual analysis. And that’ll be fun to do. Andy Cowles, who was one of the designers who shook things up, who burned the brush, he is going to try and talk about how the brand was built and what that means now. And for the new owner, that may be what he paid for, the brand. What can you do with that?” Roger Black…

May 25, 2018 at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York, TYPE magazine will present “The Art of Rolling Stone,” exploring the impact art directors, illustrators, photographers, and visual creatives have had on the 50-year-old magazine.

Roger Black is editor in chief of TYPE and a typographer and designer in his own right. The stories and ‘lessons learned’ from the visual leaders of the magazine is the ultimate goal of this conference.

“And I want to get them to tell some of their funny stories, because they all have hilarious anecdotes,” Roger told me when I spoke to him recently. Each time I speak with Roger Black, I feel energized and learn something new with every conversation. This interview was no different. As a former art director for Rolling Stone, the magazine holds a special place in Roger’s heart as he told me during the interview, and he gives the musical icon total credit for putting him on the national map when it comes to design.

The conference, which will be held on May 25, 2018 at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in NYC, will pay tribute to the people who created a design legacy, from Rolling Stone’s first art director to its current one—plus photo editors and photographers who’ve immortalized a whole culture. As the magazine is at a turning point in its 50-year history, what better time to explore the impact of the visual aspects and ask the questions that deserve to be answered: what have we learned from something as influential and connective with its readers as Rolling Stone? And what’s next for the five-decades-old publication?

So, I hope you enjoy this very informative conversation with a man as knowledgeable about design and the magazine industry as a whole, as I have ever spoken with, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Roger Black.

And for more info on “The Art of Rolling Stone” conference, please visit TYPE magazine’s website here: http://www.typemag.org/home/the-art-of-rolling-stone

But first the sound-bites:

On the conference TYPE magazine is presenting on Rolling Stone magazine: We really hear a lot more about Hunter Thompson and the writers than we do about Mike Salisbury or Fred Woodward. We started talking about doing this a few years ago, but by the time we got it organized it was 2018. (Laughs) Essentially, it’s a non-profit event. We have a nice bit of support from Rolling Stone, they’ve been very friendly about it. But at the same time, we’re really taking stock of what has Rolling Stone done on the visual side and who are the people who did that. So, to some degree they’re very proud of that and happy with the legacy, but they’re preoccupied with trying to figure out what to do next. So, at that level, it’s probably a good idea that we do this, because I don’t know when it would get done again.

On whether he can think of anyone other than Jann Wenner or Hugh Hefner who had 50-plus years as editor in chief at the same magazine: William Shawn, although he was not editor in chief of The New Yorker the whole time. He was there for 50 years, a ridiculously long time and he was an old man when he retired, but in some respects, it wasn’t his magazine, it was Harold Ross’s magazine; he inherited the mantle, so it isn’t quite the same.

On whether the move from the west coast to the east coast for Rolling Stone had an impact on the design or the brand: It’s difficult for me to sort out how much of it was because of New York and how much of it was because of the change in the business, because if you remember, that move coincided with the magazine’s heyday. That was a time when it was filled with ads and had everyone’s attention. It was very important at that moment. It was also past the 10-year mark and it was beginning to institutionalize; it was beginning to settle into patterns. If you look at, say, Fortune magazine, it was very experimental and very interesting from a design point of view in the early days. But then by the 50s it became almost formulaic, and I think Rolling Stone was settling into a formula, into its formula. Three features and one of them would be rock and roll, one would be personality and one would be politics, the front of the book and the back of the book. And a certain number of pages.

On bringing all of these art directors together at the conference and if he thinks it will be a “Clash of the Titans” or they’ll check their egos at the door: One thing that I’m trying to do, and we’ll see how successful I am, is to get everybody to focus, not so much on their portfolios, because with people like Fred Woodward, we know his portfolio. And we don’t need to see the history of Annie Leibovitz’s photographs again. It’s like going to a Picasso show, okay that’s the Blue Period, I get it. (Laughs) I want to get them to tell some of their funny stories, because they all have hilarious anecdotes. But I really want to find out what they learned.

On the collective art of print magazines: Yes, and that’s the fun part too, I think. We do have one session on the team at Rolling Stone, and none of the top art directors are there, but all of the people who are on the panel have gone on to become art directors. We’ve had more people who have become art directors from the 70s than anything else. Some of them went into advertising, there is Rich Silverstein in San Francisco, but there are people like Mick Stevens, The New Yorker cartoonist, he was a paste-up artist.

On why he’s always had a soft spot for Rolling Stone, even though he’s worked on many magazines: Well, I owe a lot to Rolling Stone. It taught me, because I never went to design school. I had already done some newspapers, tabloids. I had been the art director of a weekly in L.A. and then I had done some freelance work. I recently found the first issues of Cycle News that I did in 1973 or 1974. (Laughs) And they looked pretty good. And that was before Rolling Stone. So, I had learned a few things along the way, but Rolling Stone was a much more challenging environment. I had a year before I had to be the art director, so that was great training. And Jann had to be the most, he is a completely compulsive lunatic, but he’s a genius. He would come up with something in a split second that would electrify you and you’d have to move as fast as you could to keep up with him. And that was a wonderful experience.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Roger Black, editor in chief, TYPE magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me about the conference that Type magazine is presenting about Rolling Stone.

Roger Black: Rolling Stone magazine is at a turning point and at a very interesting moment in its history. There was quite a lot of attention with the HBO special, and there was a very beautiful book put out, but very little about how the magazine was designed and how that visual style developed over the years and the people who contributed to that.

The book about the Rolling Stone covers is in its third edition, and this edition is called “Rolling Stone 50 Years of Covers,” and Jann (Wenner) has a nice introduction to that, where he gives due credit to the designers and the art directors and tells a few anecdotes about that.

But other than that, we really hear a lot more about Hunter Thompson and the writers than we do about Mike Salisbury or Fred Woodward. We started talking about doing this a few years ago, but by the time we got it organized it was 2018. (Laughs) Essentially, it’s a non-profit event. We have a nice bit of support from Rolling Stone, they’ve been very friendly about it.

But at the same time, we’re really taking stock of what has Rolling Stone done on the visual side and who are the people who did that. So, to some degree they’re very proud of that and happy with the legacy, but they’re preoccupied with trying to figure out what to do next. So, at that level, it’s probably a good idea that we do this, because I don’t know when it would get done again.

Samir Husni: When you really think about it, we had two magazines; we had Rolling Stone and Playboy, with the longest-serving editors; from the beginning of Playboy in 1953, Hugh Hefner was editor in chief, and the beginning of 1967, it was the same thing with Jann Wenner. When you look at the magazine industry as a whole, can you think of any other icons who lasted 50 years-plus?

Roger Black: William Shawn, although he was not editor in chief of The New Yorker the whole time. He was there for 50 years, a ridiculously long time and he was an old man when he retired, but in some respects, it wasn’t his magazine, it was Harold Ross’s magazine; he inherited the mantle, so it isn’t quite the same.

At Playboy there was someone else, Art Paul, who just passed. Art Paul did the magazine, when we were at Esquire or something, you’d look at Art Paul a little bit like you would look at Hugh Hefner; he did the magazine very sleek, with a love of chrome and velvet. And it was a little too rich and too polished for the kind of AIGA wisdom of what design is supposed to be. And it was much more eclectic; it wasn’t a powerhouse, modern design, despite the fact that he was in Chicago. It was much more fun. (Laughs)

A little later in the sixties, we saw people like William Holbert, the art director of Look, adapt that modern style in a much warmer way than say, the Germans had done it. But still, what Art Paul was doing was a little more like what Rolling Stone was doing, he was trying to create his own voice or the voice of the magazine, that had its own rich personality. It was what we call today “branding.” (Laughs) And incredibly successful. The paid circulation of Playboy was what, two million at one point? I don’t remember. But it was huge.

Samir Husni: Seven million at one point.

Roger Black: Seven million? There you go. And it wasn’t a discounted magazine either. Now, Rolling Stone never got to those kinds of numbers, but it held over a million for quite a few years; I’m not sure where it is now.

But it was the same kind of thing. Instead of being one art director, there was a series of art directors who all had a different take on the same voice. And I think Jann gets an enormous amount of the credit for pushing that and for also shaking it up from time to time. I don’t think he would be particularly surprised or disheartened by the changes that are very likely to be made today.

There are two things that we’re going to talk about at this conference with this group, and we do have the photography editors too, all of them, and that I’d say has more continuity than the art directors, but I’ll get to that in a minute. In the graphic design, in the format of the magazine, it started in a very restrained, very classical type of typographical style. I’ve said that it was trying to look like it was the entertainment section of The Times of London. (Laughs) Not even the Sunday Times. It was very sober.

And all of this was pushed back against the why of the illegible underground press, because right in San Francisco, you had all of the wonderful underground comic artists and illustrators. That whole underground look, which was rampant in the mid-sixties, by the time Jann got going, and actually in a way, it was inspired by what Warren Hinckle was doing at Ramparts, because Jann went to work at the Sunday Ramparts. All of this period is very nicely told in Joe Hagan’s book, “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine,” which came out last year. The book’s account of the first 10 years is fun and interesting. How do they do this?

Actually, Steve Heller asked me recently in an interview for Print Mag, did we think Rolling Stone was going to be a long, enduring publication when it was in its first 10 years? And actually, by the time I arrived, which was year eight, I was so young that it didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t already a fixture. It seemed like it was a permanent institution. And your attitude is quite different about that from the hard travel underground, which I also knew from the 70s. There was a staff; there was machinery; everyone had fancy typewriters and we had a budget for editorial. So, we didn’t really think it was anything but something that was going to last a long time. We were building for success and we were building for a continuing style and idea that could be carried on.

And a lot of that has to do with the relationship a magazine has with its readers. I mentioned William Shawn; The New Yorker under keyed a fairly big visual change, but it still looks very much like The New Yorker. The cover idea, the style of illustration may have changed from time to time, but it’s still The New Yorker. You see a painting someplace or another picture and you say, that could be a New Yorker cover. And that’s an amazing thing.

Rolling Stone had that silly rock song, “Cover of the Rolling Stone” about it very early. It had already become a thing, a visual icon that people recognized. So, the first art director struggled with that and started this fairly straightforward, kind of an antidote, to the crazy underground that was unreliable and not very long-lived. Rolling Stone was setting itself up as the arbiter of the style and the culture and the politics. It was trying to give itself authority. And that was something that the underground was pushing against; they were pushing against authority.

So, that was a very interesting thought. For the first five years Jann worked with this fellow, John Williams, the first art director, and who is coming to our conference and who is never mentioned, someone Jann didn’t even know was still around. He’s been in San Francisco the whole time and he’s done very well and is in great shape. He’s done well as a designer, but he went away from publications. He’ll be at the conference and talk about those early days.

Robert Kingsbury, who is still alive, but unable to attend, was the second designer and actually Jann’s brother-in-law. The magazine started getting a little bit of money and hiring named illustrators and then Annie Leibovitz joined the staff. And all of that started the change. And he’s the one who first had Ralph Steadman in the magazine. He was an amazing guy. He was not part of the community of art directors; he was a sculptor and an artist that Jann pressed into service because he didn’t have much money. And he wanted to help. He was a very nice guy. Later, he did a lot of the book.

Then Jann turned to Mike Salisbury, who was a record company art director, fairly big-time and had done Surfer and Surfing magazines. He was a very lively and funny guy, kind of impetuous. It was difficult to have Jann and him in the same room at the same time. (Laughs)

He didn’t last that long, and then Tony Lane came in from a record company in the Bay area that had had some big hits. He was also a really polished art director with a big Rolodex, as we used to have in those days, filled with illustrators and photographers’ names. And he made a lot of amazing assignments. His typography was also superb. But he was also an extremely volatile customer, he and Jann were great friends for a while, then fell out.

I had been hired as the assistant and I came in and was there for about four years. I was the art director for almost three years and then my assistant, Mary Shanahan, took over. So, at that point, we had a certain kind of brand-building era. That was the first 10 years. Five art directors, Mary came in after the 10-year mark, she came in 1978. She went on to do GQ and French Vogue, and then Town & Country, not exactly the same kind of magazines, but she was very good, and the only female art director we’ve had at Rolling Stone for 50 years.

And at that point, when she left, Jann said, clear to the next, getting all so self-referential. And then he brought in Derek Ungless, a Brit, he had been Robert Priest’s cohort on “Weekend in Toronto.” And he took the Oxford rules off; he took the borders off the pages. (Laughs) So, that set up the cycle. Then Fred Woodward came in and he restored it all, put the Oxford rules back, and he was there for a long time. I think about 12 years.

Then another Brit came in and burned off the brush again. (Laughs) And then my friend, Amid Capeci, who is no longer alive and was a wonderful art director, came in and started doing the restoration, and Joe Hutchinson put the typefaces all back. And if you look at the last 10 years of the magazine, it’s very much Rolling Stone-looking. So, the obvious next step would be a big change, but we’ll see. It’s been reformed, has had a whole lot of brand-building, and has had a revival or shall we say, been reformed; radical change again and then revival. It’s very interesting to look at its 50-year history.

Samir Husni: It would make a nice case study, in terms of a conversation about brand-building and change.

Roger Black: Yes, and the amazing thing is people say that Rolling Stone isn’t what it used to be, but nothing is what it used to be. The culture is totally different and it has changed several times since. People say the magazine business is in convulsion and we haven’t figured out what we’re doing, and I think that’s fair. But if you talk to people in the music business, it’s morphing constantly They’re struggling to come up with new business models all of the time.

And the same thing with movies. Every two years, I’d say, there is a Variety or Hollywood Reporter headline that says, the studio system as we know it has collapsed. (Laughs) It’s all changing. And I don’t know what business doesn’t do that. But with the case of the long-form motion picture industry, with the kind of consolidation they’ve done and those huge franchises they’ve built, they’ve figured out how to make money, so there is a business model there.

Not so much with magazines. I believe that’s the real problem and that’s the second part of what we’re going to talk about at this conference, what do we do; how do we recreate the magazine experience in the digital era? And how do we do it digitally? I will be the first to admit that I have not succeeded in figuring out digital formats for magazines that have the same compelling feeling, the same attraction, the same experience where you sit down with a good print magazine and you enjoy it. And then you get to a finish; you feel like you’ve completed it and you put it down.

And that’s not true with the websites or the apps. They’re never finished. And it’s a very tangential and short experience. You dive in and read part of an article and you’re gone. You don’t even know where the article came from some of the time.

Samir Husni: Maybe that’s something that’s good. Maybe we should reconsider and say that if it’s not ink on paper, it’s not a magazine. You can call it anything you want, but it’s not a magazine.

Roger Black: Yes, I agree. It isn’t a magazine. I think that the apps, some of the news apps, particularly Financial Times and to some degree, The New York Times; the Financial Times actually still has an edition concept, you can look at live news or the edition, which is interesting. I guess the Brits are a little more conservative than we are. I can spend time in the morning with The New York Times’ app, I can spend 20 minutes without changing it, but the tendency nowadays is to immediately go to the Washington Post or the Financial Times or the L.A. Times or The Guardian; all have the same reading experience. Maybe some of us used to get five daily papers every morning, I remember at one time I got three at least. And I used to read The Wall Street Journal too.

So, there was some of that, but with a magazine, Esquire and The Atlantic, and at one moment in time, New York Magazine, there have been quite a few where you felt like when you needed something to do, you could just sit down and read the magazine. And that experience, the edition experience is unique.

Samir Husni: I’ve always had this question in the back of my mind, was there a difference in culture, design-wise, for Rolling Stone when it moved to the east coast from the west coast? Did that impact the design or the brand, or was it looked at as just a different location?

Roger Black: It’s difficult for me to sort out how much of it was because of New York and how much of it was because of the change in the business, because if you remember, that move coincided with the magazine’s heyday. That was a time when it was filled with ads and had everyone’s attention. It was very important at that moment. It was also past the 10-year mark and it was beginning to institutionalize; it was beginning to settle into patterns. If you look at, say, Fortune magazine, it was very experimental and very interesting from a design point of view in the early days. But then by the 50s it became almost formulaic, and I think Rolling Stone was settling into a formula, into its formula. Three features and one of them would be rock and roll, one would be personality and one would be politics, the front of the book and the back of the book. And a certain number of pages.

Now, from a design point of view, that was the year that the new design appeared, which was really a consolidation of what we had been working on for the last couple of years. There were particular typefaces and that morphed frequently, but it was still very recognizable and it’s still recognizable, if you look at the news section in the front of Rolling Stone, there’s a resemblance to what it did 40 years ago.

However, we did have access to a much bigger pool of talent visually. Annie (Leibovitz), at that time, was beginning to pull away from the magazine. She took a year’s leave and went off with the Rolling Stones band. And we had to find people who could do that kind of work. And Jann loved the kind of social side, so he got Richard Avedon to do that big issue, “The Family.” And he got Avedon’s old buddy, Hiro, the famous still-life photographer; he hired him and pretty much made his own assignment to cover the space shuttle series that Ed Zuckerman wrote. He took that picture that you later saw everywhere, it was a clothing rack with spacesuits hanging on it, so it was like ready-to-wear spacesuits, which was a symbol of the shuttle. Famous picture, and that was something that Annie never would have taken. She didn’t think that way.

We began to see a lot of other photography. We would send photojournalists like Nancy Moran to Panama with Jan Morris, things like that. So, it became much more big-time. Anybody would answer the phone. And that was a change from when I started in 1975; you’d call somebody in New York from San Francisco and they’d say, I don’t know, what are you going to pay? (Laughs) By 1977, you’d call New York and they’d seen all of the publicity and parties; we had an architectural review in The New York Times of our office, it was becoming very big-time, so you’d call somebody up then and they’d say yes before they heard any of the details. That was a big difference.

The other thing is, one of the big upsides of the early days of Rolling Stone was that it took a lot of risks and it wasn’t afraid of failure. It was actually part of the culture, sort of like a Silicon Valley culture, where you aim high and sometimes you fall flat on your face. But because we had a limited budget, we would just go ahead and print it. (Laughs) And by the time we got to New York, we started to understand that there was a kind of bottom, a threshold that we had to get over. We couldn’t print failures, we had to have a certain level of sophistication at the bottom. And that’s a difference.

So, if you look back at Mike Salisbury’s or my early magazines, there were things that seemed like a good idea at the time, and then two months later we’d ask, what were we thinking? (Laughs) And that also allowed the most extraordinarily wonderful layouts to appear.

And Jann was doing the same thing, his interest in space was very interesting. It was almost like he had become an Arthur C. Clarke fan. What was Rolling Stone covering space for? We did an astronomy piece called “The Odyssey and The Ecstasy” about Mars. And I did the “2001” look for that, very elegant and minimal. And that was a great layout. In a more formatted magazine, you would have to use all of the same typefaces for all of the stories, which is sort of the pattern today, but we were able to create things that were very individual.

Rolling Stone was big enough that you had a kind of “Rolling Stone World or Universe,” it was like a theme park. And you could have quite a lot of variety within that and you were still New York and Rolling Stone. Today, in publishing and in the media, particularly in digital media, the theme park is the whole Internet, it isn’t one brand. And so individual brands have to strive for consistency. I’ve heard designers criticize The New York Times for using different fonts in their magazine, so you’re going through the website and sort of randomly, you come up on a magazine article and because you’re not holding the magazine, people say that it doesn’t go with the brand. Give me a break, come on, why does everything have to be exactly the same? (Laughs)

And I think that was beginning to be lost in New York. It became more institutionalized, more establishment, more self-conscious. But nevertheless, look at what Fred Woodward did in his era. That was some of the most wonderful layouts in 20th century magazines. And that was quite a few years later.

Samir Husni: You are bringing all of these people together on May 25th. Is it going to be the Clash of the Titans? Are they going to check their egos outside the door before they come in? (Laughs)

Roger Black: (Laughs too). One thing that I’m trying to do, and we’ll see how successful I am, is to get everybody to focus, not so much on their portfolios, because with people like Fred Woodward, we know his portfolio. And we don’t need to see the history of Annie Leibovitz’s photographs again. It’s like going to a Picasso show, okay that’s the Blue Period, I get it. (Laughs) I want to get them to tell some of their funny stories, because they all have hilarious anecdotes. But I really want to find out what they learned.

We also have the three big photo editors. They were big in the industry, Karen Mullarkey, who I brought in. And then Laurie Kratochvil, who I had known from the 70s, and was photo editor for 15 years or so. And she hired Jodi Peckman, who has been there ever since. So, there is a 40-year span of photo editors that are going to be there too.

And what I want to ask everyone is what they learned. What was the point? What is the value that we can impart? If you had a young designer today, what would you say to them? Or a young photography editor, what are the main guidelines? What is the meaning of Rolling Stone? What is the end result of all of this? And try to push that into not just an oral history, but actual analysis. And that’ll be fun to do. Andy Cowles, who was one of the designers who shook things up, who burned the brush, he is going to try and talk about how the brand was built and what that means now. And for the new owner, that may be what he paid for, the brand. What can you do with that?

Samir Husni: As you talk about the integration of the design, the photography, the writers, you name it; don’t you think that’s what differentiates the creation of a magazine from any website? Anybody who thinks they can create a blog and they can have some magazine online, with the same person doing the writing and the editing, while you rarely find in the history of magazines, any of them done by one person. It’s always that collective art.

Roger Black: Yes, and that’s the fun part too, I think. We do have one session on the team at Rolling Stone, and none of the top art directors are there, but all of the people who are on the panel have gone on to become art directors. We’ve had more people who have become art directors from the 70s than anything else. Some of them went into advertising, there is Rich Silverstein in San Francisco, but there are people like Mick Stevens, The New Yorker cartoonist, he was a paste-up artist.

At the time they were there, they were part of a team. It was the hippie radical culture, a lot of people were doing the whole women’s movement that’s going on now; what was it like then, did women have equal pay and were they treated equally? Near as I can tell, we never even asked that question. If somebody was an art director, they all got the same pay. It wasn’t much, we weren’t paid a lot, but there was never any thought that you would pay a woman less. That didn’t make any sense.

In fact, we probably got better women at each grade because they were scrambling. They were willing to work for less. But I think if you look at the editorial department, it was all women. Harriet Fier, who just died this year, was a managing editor during that time. Sarah Lazin, who has gone on to become a fairly big-time book agent and Marianne Partridge were there. There was an enormous group of very great, very talented and wonderful editors who were all women. And that was interesting to me in the current context. It was the interaction between the team, now sometimes we had huge fights between editors and art directors, mostly over space. Jann actually agreed at one time that in the feature well, we do the following allocation, 50/50 solid text and everything else. So, art and white space, whatever you want to do with it. (Laughs)

But it was on the average of an issue, it wasn’t every article. So, we could have one very texty piece. But the idea of what the headlines were; how the actual picture worked within the sequence of the story, or the way the captions, how much spacing for captions; that was all done in a collaborative effort. And it was quite fun; it was a really great group.

We had moved on in that generation, the first 10 years of Rolling Stone, even though there were people like Mike or Tony, who were already fairly big-time art directors before they got there, unlike me, who nobody had ever heard of. There was never a feeling of the great master, there was none of that. We didn’t hand down sketches as art directors to a staff who implemented them. We sat down as a team and decided what would be best to do and who should do it.

By the time I got there, it wasn’t one art director designing everything, everybody in the art department, all of the designers anyway, contributed. They did layouts; they did covers. The job of the art director was to corral that group and get them to work together harder.

There is a fellow who will be at the conference on the team panel, Vincent Winter, who lived in Paris and is mostly a photographer now; we worked together subsequently on many projects. He had this brilliant idea of the way the typography should work at that moment in time, which was use modern construction, modern architecture, and use old-style typefaces. And it gave an enormous charge to the magazine. It became much more electric than previously. He went in and worked with Robert Priest at Esquire. In that early 80s period, Esquire got really exciting under Robert Priest. And I credit Vincent, maybe in the same way that we worked together, it was like he would challenge me and I would challenge him. And that created something that might have been better than you could create on your own.

And that was the wonderful thing about it. And I feel like they had that same camaraderie among the writers. It was an amazing group.

Samir Husni: You’ve worked on so many magazines, but from talking to you many times, I’ve always felt that you have a soft spot for Rolling Stone. Why?

Roger Black: Well, I owe a lot to Rolling Stone. It taught me, because I never went to design school. I had already done some newspapers, tabloids. I had been the art director of a weekly in L.A. and then I had done some freelance work. I recently found the first issues of Cycle News that I did in 1973 or 1974. (Laughs) And they looked pretty good. And that was before Rolling Stone. So, I had learned a few things along the way, but Rolling Stone was a much more challenging environment. I had a year before I had to be the art director, so that was great training. And Jann had to be the most, he is a completely compulsive lunatic, but he’s a genius. He would come up with something in a split second that would electrify you and you’d have to move as fast as you could to keep up with him. And that was a wonderful experience.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some great editors. Terry McDonell, who did Smart and then we did Esquire together, that was really fun. He is going to be a moderator at this thing, so that’ll be nice. And of course, Abe Rosenthal at The New York Times, there is no greater New York Times editor in its history. And I got to be his art director and that was pretty amazing.

Before Rolling Stone, as I said, no one had ever heard of me. I had never done anything nationally, and then I was. And it was huge success. And we won all of the awards. That was a great moment in my life. For many, many years, I tried to push back and people would say he’s the guy who did Rolling Stone and I would say that I had done other things. (Laughs) But still, it was very important to me and it was a great moment in time, so I’m happy to use that as the center of my resume. (Laughs again)

I think there’s a whole other conversation, which we touched on, which is that experience online. I did this thing called Tree Saver, which was a web app for turning pages. And we never had a matching business model, so we could never really make that idea work. We did quite a few of them, but they never made us a business success from it.

The same thing with the PDF magazines that Condé Nast got so excited about. And I remember at the time being skeptical. I’m working on my own book and I found a quote that said, “The iPad is not a magic pony.” That’s something that I said in a trade paper.

But there are people at Condé Nast and elsewhere who thought that they had solved the digital magazine problem. Just take the PDF’s and cast them into that format and that’s it. We ended up with Texture, which I think Apple bought. But Texture itself promotes individual articles for their magazines. And it’s not even a really good experience. It certainly doesn’t work on an iPhone. It’s okay. I subscribe to Texture. I can read The New Yorker on Texture if I don’t have my copy. And that’s good, I like that. I can go to The New Yorker app too, it’s very convenient. There are things that I don’t subscribe to, that I don’t get in there.

So, how can we work on this experience? If we can find a business model, I think we can recreate some of these. There are some things working. I’m doing TYPE magazine, for example, which is now in its second issue. It’s very much for love and not money. But we’re getting support and it’s kind of a tripod of members, advertisers and patrons holding it up.

Then there’s the billionaire magazine, Alta, which is quite good. And if we can find a benefactor, maybe we can hold on long enough until we can find an actual business model. I keep finding people who love the printed magazine.

That’s the conversation: how do we keep it going? Whether it’s things that you can create online, and as you pointed out, that’s not a magazine, but what could it be?

Samir Husni: Thank you.

h1

It’s A Mag Mag Mag World & Mag Culture Is Bringing It To New York City: The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jeremy Leslie, Owner & Curator, Mag Culture…

May 15, 2018

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

“I always say that I lived through the promise of the iPad and the tablet, and there are one or two cases where it still has a valid role to play; for certain publications it’s very useful. But essentially, I sat through lots of technology meetings where I just always felt in my heart of hearts, if somebody walked in with this new technology called “magazine” and put it down in front of them, everybody would say “Yes!” (Laughs)” Jeremy Leslie…

Jeremy Leslie is an author, a creative director, a designer, blogger, and owner of the London-based, brick and mortar shop, Mag Culture. Jeremy has 30 years of experience in magazine making. He has been art director for weeklies and monthlies and spent the nineties developing magazines for clients as diverse as BSkyB, Nike, Virgin Atlantic and Waitrose. He has written four books about editorial design and launched Mag Culture as a blog in 2006, adding the design studio in 2010, and shop in 2016. He is a man who believes in print and in the beauty and power of magazines.

Since 2013, Jeremy has hosted ModMag, an annual event in London, which brings together a group of magazine-making talent from the U.K., the United States and across Europe. It is organized and moderated by Jeremy himself and this year he is bringing the highly successful conference to New York.

I spoke with Jeremy via Skype recently and we talked about the ModMag event which will be held on May 30th at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. This is the first time ever the event is being brought to the states, even though Jeremy said he’d been thinking about an NYC gathering for quite some time. For the two weeks leading up to ModMag, there will be a preview of the event as Mag Culture is launching, in collaboration with Vitsoe, a British furniture company, a pop-up venture that will bring about 100 magazines from Jeremy’s London shop to a temporary shop in Manhattan, allowing people to meet and greet local magazine-makers and commentators.

It should prove to be a very successful event and one that Jeremy hopes will be repeated many years to come in New York. So, I hope that you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ conversation with a man who is as Print Proud as yours truly, but remains Digitally Smart as well, recognizing how important technology is in today’s magazine and business world.

And now, Jeremy Leslie.

But first the sound-bites:

On his take of the state of magazine media in 2018: I think there is this sort of curious paradox of the situation where, on the one hand, there are very major business challenges for the industry, and yet at the same time, it’s a hugely creative and innovative time for the industry. That would be my underlying story of where we are. Because of the business challenges the creative side of the industry has stepped up and has the opportunity to try things in a way that they haven’t had for quite some time. So, you see lots of experiments, lots of self-publishing; lots of projects where, frankly, the financial and business aspect is set aside and they’re concentrating on making lovely things, which is healthy for the industry, in terms of being inspirational.

On his definition of the word content today: I think, certainly, everything we do at Mag Culture is editorially considered, so in a sense, even the shop and the conference, all of these things are carefully planned and curated, if you like, so there’s an editorial point of view applied to that. So, it is all content, but it’s content in the best sense. It’s not just stuff that we’re pouring in; it’s the best content. We need a better word.

On what continues his belief in the power of print: I’ve always had a fundamental belief in it, but what encourages me to continue that deep belief is the wave after wave of new magazines with fantastic ideas and fantastic values; just the good stuff that’s being made is what continues to inspire and excite me. After quite a few years of work, we have established ourselves, and Mag Culture, as a lightening conductor for people who are doing interesting work in the magazine area. And it keeps coming; we don’t have to search for it.

On why he thinks magazines are continuously being made and shared all over the world: I think there are multiple reasons. Essentially, I believe there’s a difference between what people expect and what actually happens. And I think what many people in our industry expected and many foresaw, and they were wrong, was that digital would completely overtake print. One of the reasons that I started moving into the events and conferences was that I was tired of going to conferences, and yours is an exception to this, I was tired of going to publishing conferences and being faced with tech geeks telling me that everything was going to be on the robot plan. And I have my phone; I live on it; I need it; I wouldn’t be able to run my business without it. I’m not in denial about its role and its importance, but the idea that would sweep everything before it away and destroy print was always absurd in my view. And I think that’s now beginning to be established as the case.

On his most pleasant surprise since taking Mag Culture worldwide: The most pleasant surprise is the thing that contradicted perhaps what many people’s expectations were. And that is both here in London and when I travel, when I’m speaking at someone else’s conference or doing something myself abroad, the people you meet who are interested in and who are making magazines or who are interested in buying the magazines, are everyone. They’re not just art students or hipsters; they’re not a single type of person, they’re young people and old people and middle people, women and men; people of different backgrounds; it’s just a universal thing. People love it when they get the chance to see it.

On having an actual physical store where he sells magazines: One of the great things about having a physical space and having a shop that’s in the same space as my studio, is that I’m here all of the time, even though I’m not in the store all of the time. I get to meet a lot of people who come by to drop off their magazines themselves, so I get to meet a lot of the people making the magazines and I find out what their orientation and their reason for doing it is, and that’s always interesting.

On what has been the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face: The hardest part of the whole business remains the fact that one magazine is really easy to pick up and enjoy, and that’s part of the joy of the magazine, they’re made for your hands. But as soon as you put 20 of them in a box, they’re very difficult to handle. (Laughs) So, the biggest stumbling block is the distribution and logistics around the business. I think a lot of the young publishers making independent magazines are being very intelligent about how they are reinventing the making of magazines. And I think on our end, myself and other people are looking at how the retail side of it works.

On the genesis of the ModMag conference idea and why he decided to bring it New York later this month: We did the first ModMag, it was called The Modern Magazine then, which was named for my book of the same name. So, that was in 2013, and we’ve done five of them now. I published my book, The Modern magazine, and I wanted to mark its publication, so I planned maybe an evening with a panel discussion. And that developed very quickly and it became a whole day, because the book contained interviews with various leading lights in the industry, and when I spoke to some of them about how they might be involved, it quickly became clear that everybody wanted to be involved. So, we did the whole day event. And that was mainly to launch the book. But it was successful enough that everybody said that I had to do it again the following year. And we did. And now we’ve done five years and it has grown and moved to a bigger venue. I came to realize that there are two big publishing cities in the English language publishing world and one is my city, London, and the other is New York. I had had the ambition to launch New York for some time. And it suddenly happened very fast.

On what he would hope to say about the New York conference a month from now after it’s over: We’ve done five in London, so I would like to think – I mean, it is the first time and I realize it’s an unknown quantity for a lot of people who might be thinking about attending, but what I would hope to be able to tell you in June, say to you is that the response was good enough that we’re going to do it again next year. That’s what I hope.

On whether in five years he believes that we’ll still be celebrating the power of print: I believe so. I think as an industry we have to be honest with ourselves and accept that we got to the stage where there were too many magazines. There were just too many magazines, too many, too often, too alike, too familiar. I think we’re optimistic about the near future, in terms of we’ll see a return to better quality, better made things, there might be less magazines, but the magazines that remain will be better made and better produced, less wasteful of resources, and more desirable and will have a far deeper relationship with their readers.

On anything he’d like to add: Yes, just one thing I’d like to highlight. The ModMag takes place all day on May 30th, but in the two weeks running up to that, we have a collaboration with our friends at Vitsoe, where we are bringing about 100 of our magazines from the London shop and we’ll have a shop in Manhattan. And we’re calling this collaboration “Mag, Mag, Mag.” And alongside the shop we will have a program of smaller events, which will be free for people to come in and meet one or two people from local magazines, some of the local independents, and some local commentators. So, there’s a two week run up to the event. And that starts on the 15th of May and ends on the 29th.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: To clear my mind I swim regularly, watch soccer and read. But true unwinding means with my wife Lesley, our sons are home from University, and we’ re playing cards and working our way through a bottle of wine.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: That I love magazines.

On what keeps him up at night: (Laughs) Managing the cash flow. It actually does; the economics of the magazine shop are very complicated. It’s very worrisome.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jeremy Leslie, owner and editor of Mag Culture.

Samir Husni: You’re much more than just a creative director; give me the Jeremy Leslie state of magazine media in 2018 from your point of view.

Jeremy Leslie: I think there is this sort of curious paradox of the situation where, on the one hand, there are very major business challenges for the industry, and yet at the same time, it’s a hugely creative and innovative time for the industry. That would be my underlying story of where we are. Because of the business challenges the creative side of the industry has stepped up and has the opportunity to try things in a way that they haven’t had for quite some time. So, you see lots of experiments, lots of self-publishing; lots of projects where, frankly, the financial and business aspect is set aside and they’re concentrating on making lovely things, which is healthy for the industry, in terms of being inspirational.

In that last statement, I talked about the business challenges that face the magazine industry, but it’s not just the magazine industry, it’s actually the publishing and content industry as a whole that faces one fundamental challenge, and that is will people pay for content, that’s the challenge. And I think we’re beginning to see now that people are willing to pay.

The content wants to be free, that was always the idea behind the Internet. The information, the content wants to be free and it will be free, but it might not be very good content that’s free. So, people are beginning to realize and are getting used to the idea of subscribing and paying for a Netflix or The New York Times, The New Yorker, and other subscription vehicles. And this will filter down.

The overall business and finance of publishing and making things online or in print will never be even, it will always go up and down, up and down, but I think we’re about to see an up, as quality sees through and people begin to realize and accept that they need to pay if they want good stuff.

Samir Husni: As I talk with magazine editors, publishers and designers, even the definition of the word content has changed. How do you define content? Here you are, someone who’s sole job in the beginning was as a creative director, then you became a watcher of the industry; and then you opened a shop; Mag Culture is all over the place. Is that still content? Is the brick and mortar store; your commentary on the industry; the conferences that you’re doing; is that still considered content in this day and age?

Jeremy Leslie: I think it is, yes. I use the word content all of the time, and I’ve just repeated it about 20 times in my last sentence. But I’m not comfortable with the word. I think the word content is slightly dismissive and slightly undervalues it by its very nature. It sort of implies that there’s a space that needs to be filled and you pour it in, or shovel it in, that’s my issue with the word content, but I’m not sure we have a better word as of yet.

I think, certainly, everything we do at Mag Culture is editorially considered, so in a sense, even the shop and the conference, all of these things are carefully planned and curated, if you like, so there’s an editorial point of view applied to that. So, it is all content, but it’s content in the best sense. It’s not just stuff that we’re pouring in; it’s the best content. We need a better word.

Samir Husni: You have been a driving force, even through the shop, of bringing in all of these new talents, bringing in all of these new magazines. What continues your belief in the power of print in this digital age?

Jeremy Leslie: I’ve always had a fundamental belief in it, but what encourages me to continue that deep belief is the wave after wave of new magazines with fantastic ideas and fantastic values; just the good stuff that’s being made is what continues to inspire and excite me. After quite a few years of work, we have established ourselves, and Mag Culture, as a lightening conductor for people who are doing interesting work in the magazine area. And it keeps coming; we don’t have to search for it.

There’s all sorts of great magazines being made and interesting digital projects, exciting things going on, not just here in London, not just in your country, New York, the big cities, but from all over the world. There are people who really love and want to make magazines and want to share them. It’s an international phenomenon.

Samir Husni: Why do you think that’s happening?

Jeremy Leslie: I think there are multiple reasons. Essentially, I believe there’s a difference between what people expect and what actually happens. And I think what many people in our industry expected and many foresaw, and they were wrong, was that digital would completely overtake print. One of the reasons that I started moving into the events and conferences was that I was tired of going to conferences, and yours is an exception to this, I was tired of going to publishing conferences and being faced with tech geeks telling me that everything was going to be on the robot plan. And I have my phone; I live on it; I need it; I wouldn’t be able to run my business without it. I’m not in denial about its role and its importance, but the idea that would sweep everything before it away and destroy print was always absurd in my view. And I think that’s now beginning to be established as the case.

Of course, some areas are very affected by the free access online to mobile content. News and immediate headlines, things like that, print can’t compete on that level. But I think people are beginning to realize that there’s a place for both. That you can be waiting for a train and have your phone and then when you actually get in and sit down you can have the magazine. You use both. And I think people are realizing that sometimes they want to get away from screens, they want time away from the big screens we’re looking at now or the little screens that we have in our pocket. They want to get away from that and have an uninterrupted run at some content that they’re enjoying, some reading, some great articles, some great pictures. And just lose themselves and rest in a way that you can’t with digital screens.

Samir Husni: What has been the most pleasant surprise that you’ve had since you opened the shop, since you took Mag Culture, sort of worldwide, in terms of conferences and events?

Jeremy Leslie: The most pleasant surprise is the thing that contradicted perhaps what many people’s expectations were. And that is both here in London and when I travel, when I’m speaking at someone else’s conference or doing something myself abroad, the people you meet who are interested in and who are making magazines or who are interested in buying the magazines, are everyone. They’re not just art students or hipsters; they’re not a single type of person, they’re young people and old people and middle people, women and men; people of different backgrounds; it’s just a universal thing. People love it when they get the chance to see it.

Samir Husni: Having a physical store, do you ever watch people coming into your store? Do you ever ask them why did you buy this magazine or that magazine? Or do you just watch?

Jeremy Leslie: I just sort of watch. One of the great things about having a physical space and having a shop that’s in the same space as my studio, is that I’m here all of the time, even though I’m not in the store all of the time. I get to meet a lot of people who come by to drop off their magazines themselves, so I get to meet a lot of the people making the magazines and I find out what their orientation and their reason for doing it is, and that’s always interesting.

And then watching people. People come in and get the idea behind the shop, that it’s a space that shows off the magazines with as much care as the magazines show themselves off. So, it’s peaceful and gallery-like and people are encouraged to come in and browse and look and sit down. There are chairs, people can sit down and read, make a decision in their own time. And that’s my favorite thing, that people come in and spend an hour looking at everything. And then they’ll go and pick three or four magazines and you know that they’ve really thought with care and have decided that they really want those particular magazines.

Samir Husni: Especially with the cover prices.

Jeremy Leslie: These are not cheap magazines, these are things that you’re buying to enjoy and value and appreciate for time.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Jeremy Leslie: The hardest part of the whole business remains the fact that one magazine is really easy to pick up and enjoy, and that’s part of the joy of the magazine, they’re made for your hands. But as soon as you put 20 of them in a box, they’re very difficult to handle. (Laughs) So, the biggest stumbling block is the distribution and logistics around the business. I think a lot of the young publishers making independent magazines are being very intelligent about how they are reinventing the making of magazines. And I think on our end, myself and other people are looking at how the retail side of it works.

And we work with some very able and enthusiastic and optimistic people on the distribution side, but that distribution side is the hardest part of the business and it remains really difficult. It’s very slow and cumbersome, and it’s a broken part of the industry that somebody needs to take a really good look at. In Europe it’s bad, but I suspect in America it’s even worse, because of the scale of the country.

Samir Husni: One of your solutions was doing the physical shop. The other solution is you started the ModMag conferences. Tell me about the genesis of that idea and why you decided to bring it to New York later in May?

Jeremy Leslie: We did the first ModMag, it was called The Modern Magazine then, which was named for my book of the same name. So, that was in 2013, and we’ve done five of them now. I published my book, The Modern magazine, and I wanted to mark its publication, so I planned maybe an evening with a panel discussion. And that developed very quickly and it became a whole day, because the book contained interviews with various leading lights in the industry, and when I spoke to some of them about how they might be involved, it quickly became clear that everybody wanted to be involved. So, we did the whole day event. And that was mainly to launch the book.

But it was successful enough that everybody said that I had to do it again the following year. And we did. And now we’ve done five years and it has grown and moved to a bigger venue. It has become established as a “thing.” And as I mentioned earlier, it was also partially in reaction to so many conferences where everybody stood up and said forget about print and make everything mobile.

So, whilst we’re celebrating and promoting the idea of print, at every event we make sure that we have someone involved in digital as well, because I always like to be very clear about this, I couldn’t run my business, none of these magazines that we’re supporting could run their business, without the Internet. It’s integral to any new business, any startup business. You have to have a web presence and be using social media, these are all absolutely vital parts of the magazine process.

From the very first ModMag day, we had Richard Turley, British designer and much-awarded former creative director at Bloomberg Businessweek in New York, backstage. He came over to speak. Each year, we’ve had an American speaker, and I came to realize that there are two big publishing cities in the English language publishing world and one is my city, London, and the other is New York. I had had the ambition to launch New York for some time. And it suddenly happened very fast. I was talking to a couple of people and I have worked in New York before and I have quite a few contacts there. And I’ve been involved with judging SPD (Society of Publication Designers) awards and the like. I’ve spoken at your conference, and I’m aware from our figures that our second biggest audience beyond London and the U.K. is New York on the website.

So, it suddenly fell into place that we had the opportunity to work with Parsons School of Design and then AIGA (the professional association for design), their New York Chapter was very keen to support, so the three of us came together to collaborate on doing ModMag. And kind of do the same with New York speakers, with one or two from other countries to maintain that international aspect.

Samir Husni: What’s your expectations? If you and I are talking again in June and I ask you about the New York ModMag event, what would you hope to tell me then?

Jeremy Leslie: We’ve done five in London, so I would like to think – I mean, it is the first time and I realize it’s an unknown quantity for a lot of people who might be thinking about attending, but what I would hope to be able to tell you in June, say to you is that the response was good enough that we’re going to do it again next year. That’s what I hope.

One of the things that always works well and happens in London every year is that we get a lot of people who work in the industry in the audience and we have our guest speakers, and during the day everyone mixes, it’s a very social and open; it’s very much a celebration of the industry you work in. So, I want people to go away feeling inspired and saying “do it again.” (Laughs)

Samir Husni: As you look from your position, seeing that you’re not only an author, you’re also a creative director, designer, shop owner, conference leader, what do you see in your crystal ball? If you and I are sitting and talking five years from now, are we going to be celebrating and burying everything the naysayers believed about print, that it’s dead?

Jeremy Leslie: I believe so. I think as an industry we have to be honest with ourselves and accept that we got to the stage where there were too many magazines. There were just too many magazines, too many, too often, too alike, too familiar.

There was a very interesting piece on the Nieman Lab website recently, talking about how the 1960s, 1970s huge, appetite-led revolution in newspapers was really a small phase in history, and in that period and for those who lived through it, it felt like that was how it had always been. But it had not always been like that. The industry is forever shifting and changing and adapting to new technology, by which I don’t mean digital technology, better and faster printing; all the way back to the beginning of magazines, it’s all been about what technology is available for their production. With the introduction of the half-tone, and the introduction of color, etc.; all of these things have shifted the way the business and the industry works.

And so it will always be. It will always have to react to everything else that’s around it. So, it can’t always be up at the top, a huge, booming business. We’ve come off the back of a huge boon at the end of the previous century and now I think we’re just sort of bottoming out, coming out. I think we’re optimistic about the near future, in terms of we’ll see a return to better quality, better made things, there might be less magazines, but the magazines that remain will be better made and better produced, less wasteful of resources, and more desirable and will have a far deeper relationship with their readers.

Samir Husni: I remind people all of the time that paper is a good technology. With all of the tablets, everybody wanted to be like paper, and I wondered why do they want to create something like something I already have. (Laughs)

Jeremy Leslie: Exactly. We know our hearts are in exactly the same place and it’s what you just articulated. I always say that I lived through the promise of the iPad and the tablet, and there are one or two cases where it still has a valid role to play; for certain publications it’s very useful. But essentially, I sat through lots of technology meetings where I just always felt in my heart of hearts, if somebody walked in with this new technology called “magazine” and put it down in front of them, everybody would say “Yes!” (Laughs)

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

Jeremy Leslie: Yes, just one thing I’d like to highlight. The ModMag takes place all day on May 30th, but in the two weeks running up to that, we have a collaboration with our friends at Vitsoe, where we are bringing about 100 of our magazines from the London shop and we’ll have a shop in Manhattan. And we’re calling this collaboration “Mag, Mag, Mag.” And alongside the shop we will have a program of smaller events, which will be free for people to come in and meet one or two people from local magazines, some of the local independents, and some local commentators. So, there’s a two week run up to the event. And that starts on the 15th of May and ends on the 29th. And then on the 30th of May we have the conference.

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

Jeremy Leslie: To clear my mind I swim regularly, watch soccer and read. But true unwinding means with my wife Lesley, our sons are home from University, and we’ re playing cards and working our way through a bottle of wine.

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

Jeremy Leslie: That I love magazines.

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

Jeremy Leslie: (Laughs) Managing the cash flow. It actually does; the economics of the magazine shop are very complicated. It’s very worrisome.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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“Integrated, Not Complicated” With Daren Mazzucca, Vice President/Publisher, Martha Stewart Living, Meredith – Mr. Magazine™ Presents Highlights From The ACT 8 Experience…

May 14, 2018

Daren Mazzucca, Vice President/Publisher, Martha Stewart Living, Meredith, speaking at the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience, April 19, 2018.

Daren Mazzucca took the ACT 8 Experience stage on the third day of the conference, April 19, and gave those of us in the audience his interpretation of the word ACT, which Mr. Magazine™ defines as “Amplify, Clarify and Testify” the power of print. Daren took his ACT presentation and conformed it to the things that he and his team do on a daily basis at Meredith to market Martha Stewart’s highly successful brand.

• “Amplify” – turning moments into momentum.
• “Clarify” – defining who you are.
• “Testify” – results and success.

Daren’s marketing strategy of the Martha Stewart brand includes the firm belief that advertisers want to do business with people they like and trust, people who can “amplify,” take those special moments and turn them into motivational momentum. Staying true and authentic is powerful, “clarifying” who you are, and not trying to convince marketers that you’re something that you’re not is vital when you “testify,” talk about the results. Clients want to hear about successful results and know that their dollars are being converted into whatever they need to reach that audience.

Today, we are selling everything; cross platform is the only phrase that applies. And that was another important point, which was spot on with ACT 8’s theme of Print Proud Digital Smart, the fact that magazines and magazine media have to be integrated, but that does not mean complicated. From social media to websites, print to events, this integration takes on many roles, but it does not have to be stressful, worrisome, or complicated. Daren showed us that integration is simply a part of the service to clients: what are the advertisers’ needs, what are the brand’s unique benefits to the client, and how does your brand translate that into a media win?

Integrated, not complicated. Mr. Magazine™ couldn’t have said it better himself. In fact, Daren Mazzucca brought his marketing skills onto that ACT 8 stage and in an energetic, no-nonsense presentation showed us that the strategy of print and all things digital does not have to cause frown lines between your brows or knots in your stomach. It’s simply the way things have to be done today in order to produce spectacularly successful results for those clients that keep your brand strong.

To hear Daren Mazzucca’s entire presentation, please click the link below:

To relive all the presentations of the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience go to http://www.mrmagazine.me and search for ACT 8.

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“Your Brain on Digital” With Joe Hyrkin, CEO, issuu – Mr. Magazine™ Presents Highlights From The ACT 8 Experience…

May 10, 2018

Joe Hyrkin, CEO, issuu, speaking at the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8
Experience April 18, 2018.

A double rainbow. CEO of issuu, Joe Hyrkin, took the stage on day two of the ACT 8 Experience, showcasing a colorful double rainbow up on the big screen behind him. It was an absolutely spot on analogy of the fact that many of us, while cognizant of the things that are directly in our path, are oblivious to those spectacular moments and opportunities that sometimes present themselves in a different direction than our immediate focus is zeroed in on.

Joe runs issuu, which is a massive digital publishing platform that has over 40 million publications globally. These publications use issuu to get their content shared digitally to millions of visitors across the world. As Joe shared in his presentation, publishing is thriving today more than ever before, with magnificent titles being created and offered daily. “There is more content being created, shared and read in 2018 than ever before in the history of humanity,” he stated. And his thoughts on the future were just as positive and informed.

Joe presented our brains on digital, versus our brains on print, and asked us to consider the digital double rainbows that are offered to us through digital creation, distribution and monetization. He said over the next five years, there would be three billion + human beings digitally connected for the first time.

The world of publishing has come into its own. We have brilliantly done print magazines, and as Joe showed us, we have digital avenues, such as issuu, that use innovation, technology and engagement to connect us to the cyber spectrum of magazines.

Print Proud Digital Smart is not just a logo of the ACT 8 Experience, it’s the bottom line in the world of magazines and magazine media.

To hear Joe Hyrkin’s entire presentation, please click the link below:

To relive all the presentations of the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience go to http://www.mrmagazine.me and search for ACT 8.

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Magazine Media: A Global View Researched And Documented – From the United States and Beyond… Mr. Magazine™ Presents Highlights From Linda Thomas Brooks and James Hewes’ Presentations At The ACT 8 Experience…

May 7, 2018

President and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, Linda Thomas Brooks and President and CEO of FIPP – The Network for Global Media, United Kingdom, James Hewes, were two of the keynote speakers on the opening evening of the ACT 8 Experience, April 17, 2018. The gala was a glittering event filled with good food, great conversation, and amazing overtures about the positivity of print and digital together, putting their adversarial roles toward each other to bed once and for all.

Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO, MPA: The Association of Magazine Media, speaking at the ACT 8 Experience April 17, 2018.

Linda’s presentation began with a conversation about the power of magazine media. Linda came to her job as president and CEO of MPA after having been immersed in digital media for about 15 years, so as she eloquently put it, she knows what digital does well. But she also knows what magazines do well. And she totally understands what the two can do together, because as Linda put it that opening evening, “Magazine media lives in multiple formats.”

Her stellar presentation continued as she talked about how magazine media builds brands and sells product in a safe and transparent environment with demonstrable results and more rigor to prove it than anyone else. Trustworthy information is of paramount importance today to marketers and to consumers. Linda presented, from research done by the Edelman Trust Study, that customers are beginning to differentiate between platforms and media brands, showing consumer trust in platforms going down and their trust in journalism going up. Consumers are really thinking about where they’re getting the information that they’re using in their lives.

Her discussion was both eye-opening and well-received as industry leaders, journalism and marketing students, and academics gathered in the beautiful ballroom at the Inn at Ole Miss and listened to one of the first Print Proud Digital Smart moments of the ACT 8 Experience.

To hear Linda Thomas Brooks’ entire presentation, please click the link below.

James Hewes, President and CEO, FIPP: The Network for Global Media, United Kingdom, speaking at the ACT 8 Experience April 17, 2018.

James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP, the network for global media, took the stage that same evening right after Linda Thomas Brooks. FIPP is an organization that empowers its members to build market-leading international businesses through intelligence, solutions and partnerships. Its members include: Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Elle, Wired and many, many others. James opened his presentation on 8 Industry Trends with a powerful statement about the magazine media industry’s diversity and vibrancy.

The 8 Industry Trends that FIPP’s research has uncovered and that James discussed are both interesting and developmentally important as they represent current industry challenges across the board:

1. Talent & Culture
2. The Elephant in the Room (referring to social media, platform specific marketing & content, and the renewed importance of the Google algorithm)
3. Print Matters
4. The State of Advertising
5. Subscriptions and Reader Revenue
6. The Power of Platforms & Platform-Focused Content
7. Blockchain – Betamax or VHS? (a discussion on the pros and cons of this emerging technology)
8. The Coming AI Revolution (artificial intelligence and looking at its potential)

To listen to James Hewes talk about these 8 Industry Trends in depth with wisdom and well-placed humor brought those of us in the audience much food for thought. (pun intended, as we dined on our delicious meal). James humanized these complex topics and left us with a hopeful curiosity that was exceeded only by an immense hope for the future and the technologies to come.

To hear James Hewes’ entire presentation, please click the link below.

To relive all the presentations of the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience go to http://www.mrmagazine.me and search for ACT 8.

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