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Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Receives The Luminaire Award for Best in Communications…

October 21, 2018

(This is a first for the Mr. Magazine™ Blog that can easily be called shameless self promotion, but as I was told in these United States of America, “If it is true, it ain’t bragging…”)

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., is the latest recipient of The Luminaire Award for Best in Communications.

The award was presented by the Idealliance Foundation and the Printing Industries Alliance at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City Oct. 17.

Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at The University of Mississippi received the honor at the Franklin Luminaire Awards ceremonies.

The award has been described as the “Hall of Fame” for the graphic and visual communications industries.

Watch the video introducing the awards and Bo Sacks introducing Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni accepting The Luminaire Award for Best in Communications at the Franklin Luminaire Awards: A celebration of achievement in graphic and visual communications.

Here is the video followed by the lightly edited Bo Sacks’ introduction and Samir Husni’s acceptance speech.

BoSacks Speaks Out: Last night I was privileged to introduce my friend Samir Husni as a recipient of the prestigious The Franklin Luminaire Award. The following is what I said:

There is no friendship more powerful than one based on earned respect. As most of you know, Samir and I spent a decade publicly debating the future of our industry, and I can tell you from personal experience that there has never been a more devoted, knowledgeable, stubborn proponent for the promotion of print than Samir Husni.

His love of print developed from the first Superman comic book he received at age 8 in Lebanon. Did you know his passion for print grew to the point where he was publishing a daily paper from his bedroom in Lebanon?

From that humble beginning he developed into a world-renowned teacher, tutor, consultant and ambassador of print to the globe. He actually created the concept of a Ph.D in magazine journalism because, of course, it didn’t exist before Samir.
Next step was turning his magazine research into a book which turned into many books, which are still published to this day.

There are many awards in our industry, and yet it is unfortunate we only have the infrastructure and ability to recognize a fraction of the many hard-working professionals who make what happens in our industry actually happen. But when we do get the exposure and the appreciation of a job well done, it is usually for meritorious service demanding peer acknowledgement.

The Franklin Luminaire Award recognizes exceptional professionals for their positive contribution and service within the media and visual communications. Over the last 60 years many have earned and rightly deserved this prestigious award. Today Samir gets to join the ranks of past giants in whose eyes he will be welcomed as a Prince of Print and a Titan among his peers. Bravo Samir and a job well done.

Let’s not forget that this evangelist for print media comprehends the broad interplay of print and digital media and, better yet, he is exporting this knowledge not only to us his peers, but to the next generation of media specialists, his journalism students.

Samir has a lifetime of extraordinary and meritorious service to our industry. Indeed, he is and always has been Mr. Magazine.

And here is my lightly edited speech…

Samir Husni: Thank you, Bo. I’m humbled and honored and it’s rare to find me speechless, so thank God they only gave me three minutes. Bo mentioned my humble beginnings in Tripoli, Lebanon. So, not only will you be fooled into thinking the University of Mississippi and this is a Southern accent (Everyone laughs), but it’s from a faraway land called Lebanon.

I bought my first edition of Superman magazine at a very young age and as I was crossing the street, I fell in love with the smell of ink and paper. I felt like the ink, through some kind of osmosis, had transferred into my body and all that I could think about and do was create my own little magazines, using whatever vehicle I had. Whether it was a crayon, a candle to rub the wax onto the paper, and an old newspaper so that I could have pictures in my magazine.

We did not have PageMaker, we did not have computers, and we did not have InDesign. It was all handmade. I would borrow my grandfather’s transistor, the iPod of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and this is what we used all day long. And then I had my own newspaper and I would sit down at the end of the day and read it. I was the editor, the publisher, the designer, and since then I created that concept of the audience of one and I carried it through my long career.

I started collecting every single first edition that came to Lebanon, every new magazine, because I found out that there was no way I would have enough money to buy every magazine that was ever going to be published. My collection became a hobby that ended up being my education. My parents wanted me to be a dentist, because this journalism business wasn’t for anybody who was intellectual or anybody who was going to be dealing with fake news and other stuff.

So, I went to a scientific high school for a scientific education. And in Lebanon, based on your religion, depends on which school you go to. I’m a fourth generation Presbyterian, the minority of minorities in Lebanon, so I went to an American school and studied, of course, English and Arabic. The youth minister at my church, when I was graduating from high school, came to me and said, “Samir, I’m not asking you to disobey your parents and don’t go to dental school, but I’m telling you that you will be disobeying God if you select any other profession other than journalism and magazines. I’ve watched you; you created a magazine for the Sunday School; you created a magazine for the Boy Scouts; you created a magazine for your school, that’s the only thing you know how to do. Go tell your parents that you want to go to journalism school.”

I was terrified. I went to my parents and said, “Dad, Mom, you know what, I want to go to journalism school.” And they said okay. (Everyone laughs) “Okay? This is it, no fight? You sent me through four years of torture studying biology and chemistry and everything else, and now it’s okay?”

So, I took that hobby that became my education, that became my profession and in 1978 my wife and I came to the United States thinking that we were escaping from the Lebanese Civil War and we argued among each other asking what war is going to last five years? Forty-one years later, we’re still in the United States of America and we’re proud Americans. We became citizens of this country and I took my hobby and made it my profession.

I still continue to collect first editions. I have more than 30,000 first editions of magazines, housed in six different warehouses. I pay more for the rent of the warehouses than I do for the mortgage on my house. (Everyone laughs and applauds)

When I was offered the job in 1984 to start this new magazine program at the University of Mississippi that was funded by the Meredith Corporation , I jumped at it. The University of Mississippi took a chance on me, they had no earthly idea about this kid from Lebanon who just graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. And I guess their gamble paid off.

Now, we have the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. I stepped down as the chair of the department in 2009 because I felt that everyone thought digital was going to be our future. And they thought I was the oddball, being so in love with print and starting the Magazine Innovation Center that would amplify the future of print in a digital age. What was the article many read last week? “Print is the new new media.” So, long live print and thank you. (Applause)

To the award committee,  to the Printing Industries Alliance, to the Idealliance Foundation, thank you for believing in me. And to my friends in publishing, printing, the paper companies, marketing and advertising who also believed in me. And last but not least, I want to thank the University of Mississippi for taking a chance on me when they hired me in 1984. And I would definitely like to thank my family, including my wife Marie, who still continues to take a chance on me after 41 years of marriage. (Everyone laughs) Also, Mr. Magazine, Jr., my grandson. All of three of my kids and five grandkids and to everyone who still believes there’s a future for ink on paper. Long live print. Thank you very much. (Everyone applauds).

Thank you one and all. Truly humbled, honored and blessed.

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2 comments

  1. Oh, it’s still bragging, but you do deserve it..


  2. A well deserved honor for someone who has given so much to the publishing/printing community!



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