Archive for the ‘A Mr. Magazine™ Musing’ Category

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It’s A Birthday, It’s An Anniversary, Magazine Celebrations Are Aplenty… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

February 10, 2021

Celebrating an anniversary or birthday in print is far different than celebrating one on television or online. How do you celebrate the 50th anniversary of a TV show? You may do a special TV program, one of those “now you see it, now you don’t” reflections on past episodes. How do you celebrate the 10th anniversary of a website or an E-newsletter? Good question. Maybe with a podcast or special advertisements or even some birthday swag for loyal customers. 

But when it comes to a magazine’s anniversary or birthday (keeping in mind my definition of a magazine, “if it is not ink on paper, it is not a magazine,” that celebration is reflected in the pages of the magazine. It’s a physical celebration that you can feel and touch. It’s an edition you can collect and show off; one that reverberates long after the actual date of the anniversary issue.

Since my last post about the life’s blood of the magazine industry, the new launches, I thought it would be fun to celebrate some milestones within the world of print magazines. Have you ever asked yourself why we celebrate our birthdays every year? I believe it’s reaffirmation that we are still above ground; still among the living. 

And it’s the same for magazines that are celebrating these days. Some of them are still living 200 years later like The Saturday Evening Post, some are celebrating a 175-year anniversary, such as Town & Country and Scientific American (which celebrated its 175th last year), and then a few just celebrated one year like Different Leaf, so regardless of the celebration, whether one year or 200 years, it’s a frozen moment in time that only print can capture and that stays with you as a reminder no matter the circumstances. It’s there to nudge you in the ribs with laughter or to simply say life is good and magazines are going strong. Either way, ink on paper is still a viable and relevant way to communicate with an audience. 

And as you open the pages of those celebratory magazines, it’s as though you are opening a birthday card or an anniversary wish. And during this pandemic that we all find ourselves  coping with, celebrating a healthy and happy birthday or anniversary is much-needed. 

So take a look at some of the magazines I picked up this week that are celebrating milestones in their printed lives. I guarantee you’ll smile and recall a few memories you’ve shared with some of these titles. Along with the beautiful covers you see, there is also a quote or two from some of the editors and publishers as they offer up these anniversary issues. And as is the habit with magazines, there is a special connection with the reader in the editors’ words, that engagement that beckons you to sit a while and relax. Get away from the screen and all the notifications that live in the digital world and just enjoy a respite in time and all the extra things these commemorative issues offer. And remember, whether it’s 200 years or 63 years, every year counts when a magazine celebrates a happy and healthy anniversary. So enjoy and…

Welcome to the party!!

Archie – Celebrating 80 years

“For Archie’s 80th anniversary, we welcome back an Archie tradition in 2021… The Editor’s Notebook! This special feature is your monthly go-to spot to learn about cool behind-the-scenes info, enjoy great art, get sneak peeks at upcoming projects, read special interviews with the talent that make the stories you love, and even have a chance to meet super fans showcasing their Archie collections!” Mike Pellerito, Editor…

Sporting Classics – Celebrating 40 years

“It is hard to believe, but 2020 represented the end of our third decade of publishing Sporting Classics. It was a decade of challenge that became even more challenging as it sputtered into history. But Sporting Classics has done better than survive, done better than most small publishers. And as the giant hands of the universe’s timepiece TikTok us into 2021, it it with great pride that we celebrate our 40th anniversary and look forward to the next 40.” Duncan Grant, Publisher…

Tea Time – Celebrating its 100th issue

“As you picked up this issue, I hope you noticed something a little different about it. I hinted in our previous issue that there would be a “huge surprise” coming in this one. Not only is this our 100th regular issue, but it also has 100 pages. That isn’t just to celebrate our centennial issue, though it certainly is serendipitous.” Lorna Reeves, Editor…

Town & Country – Celebrating 175 years 

“There are many things I miss about our offices on the 27th floor of Hearst Tower, and the T&C archive closet is high on the list. There, in bound volumes of varying condition, is the history of Town & Country, almost all of the 175 years of it. This issue is the first in a big anniversary year for us, and if we were back at the tower we would all be combing through those black-and-white photographs, studying how we wrote about the Spanish flu pandemic a century ago, marveling at those outrageously wonderful cover lines from the 1960s, looking for people we know in the wedding announcements.” Stellene Volandes, Editor in Chief…

The Saturday Evening Post – Celebrating 200 years

“The Long and Winding Road. The Post celebrates its 200th birthday this year. When I mentioned that fact to a young person I know, he gasped, “That’s like, really old, man!” As the most recent editor in this long history, I often feel equally amazed and honored to be part of this legacy. Over two centuries, the Post morphed from a four-page weekly newspaper into a full-color magazine, ultimately gaining a readership of six million at its peak, and becoming one of America’s most popular and successful magazines ever published.” Steven Slon, Editorial Director and Associate Publisher…  

And now in alphabetical order – the complete list:

Archie – Celebrating 80 years

Atlanta – Celebrating 60 years

Different Leaf – Celebrating 1 year

Dogster – Celebrating 50 years

Kingdom – Celebrating its 50th issue

Marvel – Celebrating 80 years

Maui – Celebrating 25 years

Owl – Celebrating 45 years

Rock & Gem – Celebrating 50 years

Simply Pets – Celebrating 4 years

SkyNews – Celebrating 25 years

Sport Rocketry – Celebrating 63 years

Sporting Classics – Celebrating 40 years

Star Wars Insider – Celebrating its 200th issue

Tea Time – Celebrating its 100th issue

The Humanist – Celebrating 80 years

The Saturday Evening Post – Celebrating 200 years

Town & Country – Celebrating 175 years 

Vintage Guitar – Celebrating 35 years

Watch – Celebrating 15 years

These magnificent magazines with their longevity and relevance really drive home the point of how powerful print is when it comes to stamina and engagement with the reader. Celebrating these milestones is no small feat in this age of digital and instantaneous information. These are milestone commemorations, with many of the titles having been handed down through the generations. 

And in this time of quarantines and social distancing and mask-wearing, the comfort these printed magazines can bring can’t be lost on any of us. 

Until the next time…

See you at the newsstands…

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In A Digital World, Magazine Covers Still Carry Tremendous Weight. My Column From Poynter.

February 7, 2021

From Vice President Kamala Harris’ Vogue photos to former first lady Melania Trump’s invisibility, the impact of magazine covers remains significant. 

The following column appeared on The Poynter Institute website on Feb 1, 2021. Click here to see the original column.

Magazine covers from Vogue, Time and Der Spiegel that have captured the public’s attention, despite the shift to a digital-first media world.

Magazine covers are in the news again. Vogue’s cover of Vice President Kamala Harris is just the latest to capture widespread audience attention. It won’t be the last. The power of the magazine cover in print has always been significant.

The editors I speak with regularly say that when politicians or celebrities are interviewed, they never fail to ask if they’re cover material. They don’t care about being featured on the web, on social media, on an app, on in any kind of digital space. All they care about is whether they will be on the cover of the printed magazine.

High-profile people, it’s clear, know the power of the magazine cover.

The publisher of People en Español, Monique Manso, recently told me that the promise of a print cover was key to getting access to important people. “It’s the print piece that makes them want to give that exclusive,” she said.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Armando Correa, described a celebrity exclusive where the person’s child would be photographed publicly for the first time, but being on the printed cover of the magazine was a precondition.

But as I told Scarlet Fu on Bloomberg’s Quicktake, the decision of what goes on the cover is still the editor’s prerogative, though the audience may not like it.

Vogue’s choice of cover photos for its February 2021 edition, with Harris wearing jeans and sneakers, was met by a tsunami of comments on social media accusing the magazine of “whitewashing” the vice president and showing disrespect for her by publishing such a casual, informal image.

In my interview with Fu, she asked why Vogue didn’t do a split cover — publishing different covers for the same issue — with the vice president. (Her question came before Vogue announced it would print a limited edition split cover featuring another photo that they had previously slated only for digital.)

Split covers are not a novel idea. I have a collection of magazines dating back to 1963 with split covers. They were used to test different names, images, cover lines — you name it. In other cases, magazines produced multiple covers as collectible items. For example, TV Guide issued collectors’ covers celebrating Star Trek’s 35th anniversary.

In its heyday, Redbook would have different covers — one for subscribers and one for the newsstands. For the newsstand edition, people would get a cover line with the word “sex” in it. For subscribers, that word would be changed to “love.” Same cover line, but different wording.

A newsstand edition of Redbook, left, and a subscriber edition, right.

Men’s Health often did the same, highlighting sex and secrets for building abs on the single-copy sales covers.

A newsstand edition of Men’s Health, left, and a subscriber edition, right.

The thinking in both cases was that the word “sex” would grab the attention of the newsstand buyers and lead them to pick up the magazine. That extra emphasis is not needed for subscribers, who already have a relationship with the magazines.

And the trend continues today. InStyle magazine is a perfect example. Look at its February issue — subscribers get one cover with minimal cover line treatment, a title that you can barely see, and a full-body shot of actress and director Regina King. Newsstands get another cover with a very large and bold cover line and a large, close-up shot of King.

A newsstand edition of InStyle, left, and a subscriber edition, right.

In January, InStyle featured former President Barack Obama on the subscriber cover, while the newsstand featured actress Jodie Comer.

A newsstand edition of InStyle, left, and a subscriber edition, right.

But a new question may be emerging. Does there have to be another cover to tame the social media beast?

Look at former first lady Melania Trump, who certainly knows the power of the magazine cover as she was a professional model for many years. From Vogue to British GQ, Trump graced the covers of many top fashion magazines. But as first lady, she had no such exposure. In her four years in the White House not once did she pose for a cover. Many other first ladies were offered that cover privilege: Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, to name two, but not Trump.

Were editors making a political statement by ignoring her? Or were they afraid of the social media pushback the audience isn’t shy to dole out?

The magazine cover is still a powerful tool. Just look at the Jan. 25 cover of The New Yorker, or the January cover of New York magazine.

Recent covers from The New Yorker, left, and New York Magazine, right.

Or compare the cover of Time magazine and its editorial statements. When they chose former President Donald Trump as Person of the Year in 2016, the cover line read “President of the Divided States of America.” Yet when they chose President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris as the Person of the Year 2020, the cover line read “Changing America’s Story.”

Time Person of the Year covers featuring President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, left, the 2020 selection, and former President Donald Trump, right, the 2016 selection.

One wonders, is the country less divided today than it was four years ago?

Social media is now a battering ram that can force editors to change their minds and produce covers to placate those on social platforms. My question is, are those people commenting on social media actually customers of the magazine?

There is a danger that the power of editing may be surrendered to masses that are not reflective of the magazine audience at all. When everybody is an editor, nobody is an editor.

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Publishing Is Believing And I Do Believe… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

February 4, 2021

New Magazines:  The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry

At Least 4,730 New Magazines Launched In The Last 20 Years…

In any industry or profession, without new birth, products, ideas, or people, there is no growth. If you’re not growing, if you’re not introducing new blood to the mix of what you have, you’re dying incrementally. And the lifecycle and growth of magazines aren’t any different than any other lifecycle. Yes, magazines come and magazines go, but just because one magazine folds it doesn’t mean the entire print medium is dying. 

And while in the last 20 years the number of consumer magazines in this country aimed at the general public has remained steady, averaging at around 7,000 titles, it should be noted that in those same 20 years we had at least 4,730 new magazines coming into the marketplace. And the reason I say at least, is because those were the ones that I was actually able to buy and collect ink on papers copies from.  My definition was and is still is, “if it is not ink on paper, it is not a magazine.” And if I don’t have a physical copy of the magazine, it does not get added to the data on new magazines.  There has always been an influx of new print hitting mailboxes and newsstands nationwide, ranging from a yearly high of 450+ to a low of 60 due to the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

Those new titles are the life’s blood of the magazine industry. And even if 70 percent of those magazines have died, which is the survival average of new magazines after four years of publishing, the remaining provide a good chuck of the magazines in the marketplace. 

Why am I talking about new magazines and the need to launch new titles aimed at different audiences? Mainly because people have been asking me about it, many have called and interviewed me about whether there is still room today for new magazines? My answer is there’s always room. To me, magazine publishing is like the digital sphere. There is no end for digital and there is no end for ideas and launching new magazines.

What does it take to launch a new magazine and what are some of the steps to make sure it’s successful? 

The most important aspect, based on my research, is that you have to find an audience. That’s number one. An audience who is willing and capable to pay the price of the magazine and the advertised goods in the magazine. The average cover price of a new magazine is inching toward the $10.00 figure. You have to be in the business of selling relevant, engaging content to an audience who one, can afford the price of your magazine and two, can benefit from what’s inside that magazine.  The old business model of selling the audience to an advertiser to make money is slowly but surely heading to the history books.  You must be in the business of selling content and creating experiences with the audience.

Nobody needs a magazine. Magazines are like chocolate. Nobody needs chocolate but once you start eating it you get addicted to it and you want more. Same thing with magazines. You have to create this relationship. And number two, you have to provide me with something different. Something unique. If I can Google a question and find its answer, it doesn’t belong in your magazine.

So the process of starting a new magazine begins with an idea. The very first thing you need to do if an idea comes to your mind is put it in writing. Ideas come by the dozen and are worth a dime. It’s the execution of the idea that sets it apart. So once you get the idea, once you boil it down to a very specific one sentence “this is what the magazine is going to be all about,” find the means and ways to reach that audience. Because the best ideas in the world, if they don’t have an audience, they are never going to go anywhere.

And believe in yourself. The sky is not the limit. No, you are the limit! Believe in yourself because everyone is going to tell you “this will never work.”  And all the successful magazines in history were published based on ideas that folks were told their ideas would never work or no one would ever buy them.

For the last 20 years, new magazines have continued coming into the world just like their predecessors before them. For a glimpse at how the numbers fell in any given year, here is a chart that myself and my team put together of new launches that have frequency from 2001 until 2020.

As you can see, the numbers have been strong (stronger in some years), but even in 2020 with a pandemic raging, we had 60 new magazines to hit newsstands. Nothing short of amazing.

And many of these from the last twenty years are still going strong as you can see from the different titles scattered in this blog. 

And these are just some of the titles still engaging the audiences with excellent experience making and good content providing. The longevity of these magazines prove they still have viable, relevant, necessary and sufficient content that audiences want.

So what are you waiting for?  Start putting your ideas on paper and let the fun begin.  Magazine publishing, as one friend from The Netherlands once told me, “is believing.”  And I do believe.  

Do I hear an amen or two…

© 2021 Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.
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Magazines 2020 Celebrating Blackness… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

January 16, 2021
As the country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, the Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media, The University of Mississippi, finalized the wall poster of the magazines of the second half of 2020 celebrating Black subjects. In the last six months alone, mainstream magazines have featured at least five times more covers with Black subjects than in the last century combined. The poster will be available shortly to be mailed to those who request it from the Magazine Innovation Center. Details will appear on the Center’s website. The magazines are from the collection of the Center’s founder and director Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D. and was designed by journalism graduate student MacKenzie Ross.
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A New Year’s Message In Two Magazine Covers

December 31, 2020

As we bid 2020 farewell, I thought if a picture is worth 1,000 words, a magazine cover or two from my collection is worth a million words. Here are two covers from 1916 and 1918 that sum my hopes and views of the coming year. Keeping the faith (and the magazines), easing the pain, stopping the hate, spreading the love and hoping this too shall pass. Have a wonderful, healthy and mentally prosperous new year.

The Lyceum Magazine November 1916
Leslie’s Magazine June 22, 1918

Here’s to a very successful 2021 magazine year and long live print in this digital age.

All my best and until we meet again in 2021 enjoy a magazine or two.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

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Magazines Celebrate Blackness. Is This The New Normal? A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

September 29, 2020

Change is taking place right before our very eyes, important changes in the world and in the world of magazines and magazine media.  From A to Z, magazines are celebrating blackness like they never have before.  Some are asking if this is the new normal, and some are lamenting about what took magazines so long to discover people of color in general and blacks in particular?  Blacks have appeared on covers of magazines in the past, but they were few and far between.  Yet, in the last few months I was able to buy more than  100 magazines with blacks and/or Black Lives Matter statements adorning their covers.  Change is taking place and change is good as the folks at GQ magazine stated in their global editorial (see below)…

I have decided that a picture is still worth a 1,000 words. So I assembled all the 106 magazines I bought or acquired in the poster below followed by excerpts from three magazine editorials.

 What follows are few excerpts from editors’ letters of three selected magazines ….

2020 IS NOT CANCELLED – IT’S GAME-CHANGING

By Toby Wiseman, editor in chief

UK Men’s Health magazine

              As I write this in late June, the past couple of weeks have proved fairly tumultuous for people working in the predominantly white UK magazine industry. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing in the US and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests around the world, there has been a lot of belated hand-wringing and understandable brow-beating, as well as some unhelpful, imprudent sabre-rattling.

Editors have rightly been examining their consciences, reflecting on unconscious attitudes towards diversity, as reflected through their brands in past years, and how best to address them in the immediate future and beyond. Some have realised that they have work to do and have pledged as much.  Others have been guilty of rather cack-handed, disingenuous responses.

IT’S BEEN A LOT

By Ben Cobb, editor in chief

UK LOVE magazine

            We’re little more than halfway through 2020 and it’s already hard to grasp the biblical change that have tossed us around and spat us out into this alternate reality.  I read something recently that made some sense to me.  It was a quote by Lenin.  He said, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.” I don’t know about you, but the past four months feel like centuries have happened.

…Meanwhile we had a magazine to make… The industry shutters had come down, Lockdown was in full effect: there were no clothes to shoot, no talent to work with.  Think, think. Rethink. We had the freedom now to do something different. Nature had triggered its reset button and so should we. It was time for photographers to turn their cameras inwards and explore their immediate worlds. Time to produce heartfelt projects that reflected this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The brief was simple: let’s dream again.  As the pages began to fill with beautiful images, we felt buoyed.

Then came the three words that shattered any complacency: I Can’t Breathe. Eight minutes and 46 seconds of abject horror. Stop. WTF. The eyes of the world watched as George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight. There was nowhere else to look. This time there were no distractions; the pandemic had made sure of that. It was a perfect storm. Some day, we will look back and fully understand the inextricable link between these two moments – the Covid crisis and the BLM uprising that sprang from it – but right now, the future was suddenly there for the taking. Introspection flipped to action.  Outrage hotwired an ongoing process of re-education and accountability.  The gears had shifted and, with them, our focus at the magazine.

March to June.  Four months that saw humankind brought to its knees, the global economy eviscerated, sovereignties shaken, bronze gods toppled and 400 years of black oppression at the top of every agenda. So far, so fucking monumental. Maybe 2020 wasn’t so bad after all.

What We Mean When We Say “Change Is Good”

By Will Welch, editor in chief

US GQ magazine

            …Welcome to the special “Change Is Good” issue of GQ. It is a response to the wildly varied and overlapping forces of change – social, political, cultural, technological, economic—we are experiencing. The issue is intended as an instrument of inspiration and hope…

… As you’ll soon see, much of this issue found its purpose in the Black Lives Matter protests and larger racial-injustice reckoning that has followed.  When it comes to this moment of potential for true structural change, several of our profile subjects are setting an impeccable example of presenting ideas that are leading the way…

… So think of this issue as proof of concept—and each of these individuals’ stories as evidence. At GQ, we say change is good because change represents an opportunity—just add smart ideas, hard work, care for the community, and unflinching moral conviction , and suddenly you don’t have change, you have progress.

This notion has already gone global: “Change Is Good” is a rallying cry that is being projected out to some 50 million readers by all 21 worldwide editions of GQ simultaneously…

… GQ’s global unification around this idea is a first for us, and it represents a proud moment for our very worldwide brand…

 

Change is taking place.  Magazines are celebrating blackness. My only hope is that one day we don’t need to ask the question, is this the new normal, but just move on as if it is the normal thing to do rather than identifying it as new or anything else.  Change is good.  Agreed.

 

Until the next Mr. Magazine™ musing, all my best

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

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Anxiety Empire – A New British Title That Shines A Light On Mental Health As Sometimes Only A Magazine Can…

September 8, 2020

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Magazines  have always been reflectors of society. Their role as mediator and advocate for important issues of the day is evident by many of the tried and true brands that have been around for decades and by many of  the new titles that are being brought into the world today. Such as a new British title called Anxiety Empire.

Anxiety Empire was birthed into existence using Kickstarter to raise the funds needed to publish the magazine, and in unheard approach to a business model is offered to the public free of charge, although there is no advertising in the magazine to foot the bill. It explores mental health as not just an individual issue, but as an issue of society and how we live our lives, and thus believes that the magazine should be available to its audience free of charge.

The founder, creative director and editor in chief, Zoë Hough, writes in the inaugural edition of the new print magazine:

“When I started the Instagram account @anxietyempire in late 2017, I did so because – after working in a job which felt pretty damaging to my own mental health – I felt there was a need for more discussion around mental health in the workplace. But work is of course only one system of society which has a big impact on our mental health, and I found myself wanting to explore these systems in depth, which is how the idea for this print magazine came about; to look at macro systems of society and explore the impact they have on the mental health of us as individuals.”

Anxiety Empire is more of a project for its creator and was made free to the public – because the powers-that-be at the magazine believe that mental health resources should be accessible for all. As Hough added in the introduction to the first issue: “We all have mental health.”

Indeed.

The inaugural issue examines the world of media and its effect on mental health. Issue 02 will explore the ways in which the education system impacts our mental health. Exploring the many facets of society in regards to the impact each macro system has on our psyches and emotional reactions  is an avenue well worth exploring.

Anxiety Empire  truly offers what a magazine does best: informs, educates and inspires. This new magazine is something that will provide all of those things to people about a subject that has been taboo for generations, but is finally beginning to come to light using reason, education and compassion. Anxiety Empire deserves a special mention as it strives to provide a connection that sometimes only a magazine can: a deep, personal curiosity and caring that brings people together.  And remember if it is not ink on paper it is not a magazine.

And in today’s uncertain world that is something worth noting.

Until next time,

Mr. Magazine™

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The Magazines And I … A Preview Of A New Book From Mr. Magazine™

June 21, 2020

A draft book cover design by James Daulton Byars.

Coming soon to the Mr. Magazine™ Blog the serialized first chapter of the new book I am working on titled The Magazines and I.  The book will chronicle the story of how I fell in love with magazines from the young age of 10 and how that love of magazines that started as a hobby, turned into an education, and ended up as a profession. I can easily say I have never worked a day in my life. In addition to a brief background chapter on how I became Mr. Magazine™,  I will be taking a look at the more than 500 magazines of March 1953 that were published in the United States of America, the month I was born.

Stay tuned and enjoy the lazy days of summer.  Take care, be safe, and know that this too shall pass.

All the best,

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

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The MVP Of Magazine And Magazine Media… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

May 2, 2020

Achieving MVP status starts with being Relevant, Necessary, and Sufficient. Photo by Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

The MVP of any magazine or magazine media company should be the audience – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And that MVP status is only achieved through the true underlying meaning of those letters when it comes to magazines and magazine media:

  • M: Meet and exceed the needs, wants, and desires of your audience.
  • V: Validate and curate all the information that is out there.
  • P:Preview the near future for your audience to ease their anxiety about what it holds.

So the question today, in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, is how can your magazine achieve that MVP status?

Simply put, by applying the three factors that will help your magazine reach an engagement level like no other platform can. Your magazine must be relevant, necessary, and sufficient. Two of the three is not enough in this day and age. You MUST achieve all three factors to survive in this pandemic era and beyond.

Be Relevant

Being relevant is the easiest of the aforementioned three, yet it is still not easy. Relevancy is not in the eye of the beholder; it is in establishing that invisible three-fold link between the magazine and its readers, the readers among themselves, and the readers and the advertisers. All must be relevant to each other to cultivate the “sense of community” that Phyllis Hoffman, chairman and CEO of Hoffman Media, believes is especially vital right now.

Magazines today must provide their audiences with content that provides service during this pandemic – service that must go beyond delivering the news or the fantasy aspects that provided readers an escape from reality over the years. Witness Playboy, a magazine that outlived its purpose and relevancy. Who wants to be called a “playboy” anymore or live that lifestyle today? Even before the #MeToo movement, the magazine lost its relevancy in the 21st century. This is the age of service journalism and magazines should reign supreme.

Be Necessary

I have always said and wrote that no one (well, besides Mr. Magazine™) needs a magazine, so how can necessity be a factor in the survival of a magazine? For a magazine, necessity means changing the wants and desires of audience members into needs.

Make magazine content addictive by simply being repetitive. The more you give your audience what they want, the more you will change their wants to needs. Name any subject: building abs, losing weight, cooking, crocheting, etc. Your readers want more of the same. Readers are creatures of habit, and no habit is created without repetition. As a magazine creator, you should put your creative self aside and think of your habitual readers who want more of the same, issue in and issue out.

Be Sufficient

In addition to being relevant and necessary, the magazine must also be sufficient. Provide answers that your readers can’t Google or find on any platform. As Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines told me: “To me, magazine media is not the news. It is point of view; it is passions; and it is perspective; and it moves in and around the news and the things that people care about, but it brings more perspective to that conversation.”

In short, the magazines and magazine media must be the readers’ support system.

Ask yourself, in the midst of this pandemic, is your magazine relevant, necessary, and sufficient? It is the only way to survive this crisis and to create your MVP, your most valuable player, your reader.


This blog appeared first on Publishing Executive website.

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“You’ll be glad tomorrow…you smoked Philip Morris today!” The Cigarettes of 2020…

April 28, 2020

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

Marc Benioff co-CEO of Salesforce and co-owner of TIME magazine said it best, “Facebook is the new cigarettes. It should be regulated.” And he said that in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing.  I’m really not concerned about the regulated part as much as the cigarettes part, plus I might add all of social media to Mr. Benioff’s comparison:  today’s social media is the cigarettes of the 1950s.

So for those of you who are too young to remember the fifties and all the movies and television programs where all the “cool” people smoked, the ads for cigarettes from that era promised users good health, good digestion, and good flavor.  Cigarettes back then were good for you, so said the manufacturers anyway . You smoke today and you will thank the cigarette manufacturer tomorrow, the ads stated.

In this age of social distancing  that we now find ourselves living in, social media has become our only window to the outside world. So what are we to expect from an audience if we combine the stay at home orders and social media?  Well, before I answer that question, read what researchers have found in 2018.  That was the time our social distancing was an option and not a must.  The Australian website CBHS Health Fund quotes a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Researchers “found that when people reduced their use of social media to just 30 minutes a day (spread across three platforms), their overall mental wellbeing improved. This study found that feelings of depression and loneliness in particular declined.” Keep in mind that was the time we were staying at least eight hours less outside the home as we are doing today.

Move forward to 2020 and the Neuro-Central website tells us in an article written by Sharon Salt, its senior editor, “Constant updates about coronavirus, especially those concerning confirmed cases and the number of deaths to date, can be extremely overwhelming and feel relentless. Moreover, rumors and speculation can add fuel to anxiety, which is why obtaining good quality information is so important.”

In the midst of this doom and gloom, social media combined with the so-called 24-hour news cycle is leading to more depression and more suicide according to Mike Ragsdale, CEO of 30A company and publisher of the new magazine Beach Happy.

“When I was growing up the news that we were consuming had to be bundled within 22 minutes of time. And if it didn’t make that cut, then you never heard about it. But now we hear about every single awful thing because we’re in a 24/7 news cycle. And not just that, we have pushup notifications and breaking news alerts, so we hear every awful thing that happens.” Ragsdale said.

Since the dawn of cable television late in the 1970s and the introduction of 24-hour channels with no turn off switches, followed in the 1990s and beyond with the explosion of news channels and social media outlets, people have become accustomed to “breaking news.”  Some thought that was the democratization of the media and the making of everyone into a publisher… instead we now have the law of the jungle, with no gatekeepers or editors etc.

Too much information leads to less comprehension and less impact.  It desensitizes the audience in a way that they tune in and tune out and hear exactly what they want to hear.

More than ever, we need to hit the brakes on the dissemination of the shotgun information delivery and get back to the laser targeted news that was delivered in less time with more information that was curated and fact-checked before it was delivered.

Between the delivery, whether from presidential press conferences to comments of the sane and insane alike on social media, we are moving with the speed of a bullet, fast and furious, to destroy the social fabric (some say we already have) of our society and drive a bigger wedge between the people, among themselves and among their authority figures.

Social media and the 24-hour news cycle, while they claim to be keeping us connected, they are  in fact creating the biggest divide ever and the biggest threat to our democracy and freedom of the press.

So to paraphrase the cigarette ads of the 1950s, “You will be glad tomorrow that you hopped on our social media platforms, turned on our 24-hours news channels today.”

But will you, really?

To sum it up, would you please let me know how many people today are thanking the cigarette companies?

I rest my case. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to welcome the stack of magazines that just arrived on my doorsteps via Fed Ex.  Credible and trustworthy journalism awaits. There are good times ahead. Count on it!

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