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


From The Mr. Magazine™ Vault: Magazines From 1919 and 1932 — Similar Topics As Magazines From 2017, But Perhaps Better Coverage And Content?

February 21, 2017

Second of a Series of Mr. Magazine™ Musings About Classic Creative Innovation…

the-independent747the-independent-inside749the-indie-4752When it comes to the creative innovations of today, we have a tendency to think that 21st century humans are the “be all and end all” of everything. But Mr. Magazine™ is here to tell you that is simply not the case. Inside my classic vault of vintage magazines, you’ll find stories and articles that are 50 years, or much older, which cover many “cutting edge” topics.

For example, I have a copy of The Independent magazine that was published weekly by the Independent Corporation in New York. This magazine incorporated Harper’s Weekly within its pages. The lead story in this particular August 2, 1919 issue is “Can Congress Compromise?” The story talks about the divide between the Democrats and the Republicans (way before Presidents Trump, Obama, or Bush were even born, imagine that), and there is another article about “The British Ratification,” which is very similar to today’s British Brexit. There is a story titled, “Another Mexican Crisis,” one about “The Public Utility Crisis,” and one called “The Washington Riots.” An editorial about “The Black Man’s Rights,” and one titled, “The New Melting Pot.” Is any of this sounding familiar? If it isn’t, where have you been for the last several months and years?

And from the September/October 1932 issue of Asia magazine, an article entitled, “The Stars and Stripes Overseas,” in which the president of the American University of Beirut,(Lebanon), gives an observation on the appropriate conduct of Americans overseas, leading with principles by which our contacts with foreign nationals should be governed:

asia748I. We should not attempt to work abroad at all unless we can improve upon the methods of local agencies and take the time to carry on our activities in a thorough and creditable way.
II. Our contacts abroad should be based upon a sincere exchange of ideas. We should wish to learn as well as to teach.
III. We must base our success on personality rather than on organization, creed or propaganda.

The idea that the world we live in today is any different than the world people lived in decades ago is simply narcissistic. And the one thing that you can count on to show you that fact is a magazine. I have said it repeatedly; magazines are reflectors, mirror images of ourselves and what is going on around us. But rest assured, there is nothing new under the “creative innovation” sun when it comes to ideas, political landscapes, or the interaction between people of all cultures.

So, when you see the cover of your favorite magazine depicting our President as a strong leader or a shyster, because both sides are out there, remember that 75 years from now, President Trump may be proving another point besides the fact that he can indeed win an election; he might be proving that someone else isn’t the first of their ilk to do it!

Until next time…

act7Magazines Matter. Print Matters. That is the theme for the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT (Amplify, Clarify, Testify) 7 Experience that will take place April 25 to 27. Space is limited, so check the agenda and register to join us for an experience of a life-time.


There’s No Place Like The Newsstand…There’s No Place Like The Newsstand…

February 20, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

bikers-for-trump689rise-up687mad690golfer-in-chief688Some Yellow Brick Roads do exist and not just in the Land of Oz. If you follow the trail of what’s going on in our world today, the great and powerful Oz awaits you at the end of a road called “Newsstand.” And it’s there that you can find the stories that stimulate your brain; touch your heart; and more often than not; bolster your own courage as well.

In the life of Mr. Magazine™, there’s no place like the newsstand. It’s where I meet my new friends, old friends and my well-established friends; those who are very dear to my heart: my beloved magazines.

And with this Yellow Brick Road, you know what’s behind the curtain; you may not know what the exact outcome of that particular journey will bring you, but you can rest assured that it will be provocative and emotional as the magazines and their covers grab your attention and refuse to let it go. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the airport, train station, bookstore, or the supermarket; you know that the welcome mat is out, no one is going to tell you to “go away” and your friends will be there to meet and greet you.

As reflectors of the society that we live in, magazines do the same thing that they did yesterday and will continue to do tomorrow: they mirror our thoughts, emotions and the events that are happening in our lives. For example, as we hear all of the political rhetoric; the pros and cons of our new presidential resident and his team; or the assaults on the media or the assaults on the president; magazines play their own role in all of this, by being reflectors of these unsettling and unrestful times that we live in.

To show you what I mean, there is a commemorative issue on newsstands now called “Bikers for Trump,” which Easyrider magazine came up with in stalwart support of our new president. And then on another wave of the magical magazine wand, Condé Nast launched a magazine called “Rise Up,” a publication about the “Women’s March on Washington” in protest of President Trump. And then you have those magazines out there who illustrate yet another sentiment of folks who try not to take either political side, such as “Mad Magazine” that vowed on its most recent issue that they wished there was nothing about Trump between the pages of that particular issue. By the same token, just to show that magazine publishers can be magnanimous and shouldn’t be depicted by some as the Wicked Witches of the West, Condé Nast released not only the “Rise Up” issue to protest the president, they also did a magazine entitled “TRUMP, Golfer In Chief,” where their Golf Digest magazine published a special issue on President Trump and his “golfing” habits.

There are magazines out there that have a strong opinion and those that might have one, but have sworn to stay non-political. There are magazines that support Trump and magazines that do as much damage to his presidency as a falling house would, but you can rest assured magazines are out there to reflect on all sides.

So, when you need to step back and really see what’s happening in our world today, here is some aged and wise advice that was given to a young lady a long time ago; albeit this time around it’s the good wizard of the South, “Mr. Magazine™” who is offering it:

Just close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, “There’s no place like the newsstand; there’s no place like the newsstand.”

Until next time…

act7Magazines Matter. Print Matters. That is the theme for the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT (Amplify, Clarify, Testify) 7 Experience that will take place April 25 to 27. Space is limited, so check the agenda and register to join us for an experience of a life-time.


Factual Facts In An Age Of Alternative Facts… Just The {Magazine Media} Facts Ma’am!

February 7, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Samir Husni 2017In the land of leprechauns, the most prized possession that the magical creatures can offer a human being is the “pot ‘o gold” at the end of the rainbow. But what the little rascals always fail to point out is that there is no “end” of the rainbow. It’s as elusive as the gossamer veils you chase in the fog.

It was after having that imagery floating around in my brain for a while that I began to really muse about that mysterious “pot ‘o gold.” And about how it reminded me a lot of what the media world is up against when it comes to digital advertising and the ability to realize any revenue from the phantom microcosm we call the Internet.

 Pot Of Gold Dan Hilbert And of course, after that brainstorm, it stands to reason another would follow, right? I began to consider all of the “Alternative Facts” that we have to choose from in these days of what I like to call, “fish-tale journalism,” where sometimes the facts take on a magical life of their own and grow big enough to actually become stories and news sources. So, with the weight of importance these thoughts presented, Mr. Magazine™ decided to do a little research himself on the world of digital advertising and revenues. And here are a few factual facts that I discovered and that might make you see the world of Internet advertising in an entirely different light.

The Random Facts:

The average US online ad growth in the first half of 2016 was +19% from which Facebook saw a +68% growth, Google +23% growth and everyone else -2% decline
*Source: IAB, Google, Facebook, DCN

Year-over-Year Growth of Digital Spending: In the four-year period 2011 to 2015 the industry witnessed an average growth of 19%. In 2016 the growth of digital spending was a 6.8% with Dec. 2016 at a mere 0.7% growth.
*Standard Media Index, January 2017.

Online advertising spending growth has dropped almost in half from a 26.2% in 2015 to 13.3% in 2016.
*Standard Media Index, January 2017.

The number of mobile devices with ad blocking software installed jumped 38% from 275 million at the end of 2015 to 380 million at the end of 2016.
*Media Post.

The “trajectory of digital spend has recently hit a major speed bump as brands question the efficacy of the medium.”
*CEO of the Standard Media Index.

WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell expects growth in digital ad spend to slow over the next few years as concerns over view ability, ad fraud and measurement impact budgets.
*UK’s Marketing Week magazine

*Magazines show the highest return on advertising spend. In fact for everyone dollar spend in magazine advertising, the return on the investment is the highest of all media. Every dollar spent magazines has a $3.94 return on the investment compared with a $1.53 in digital video advertising.
*Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

“Agencies may be underestimating traditional media, while clients feel there’s not been enough seamless integration as we chased the shiny objects,” Mark Sneider, president of RSW/US, told AdWeek in an interview.
*Source: Venture Beat

But for most companies, digital advertising remains dauntingly massive, complex, and obscure. We found that mobile advertising can suck in up to 40 percent of your advertising budget on fees and commissions alone, if you’re not careful. It includes DMPs, DSPs, SSPs, no fewer than three different kinds of ad networks (of which there are about 1,000 currently), plus multiple kinds of ad exchanges.
*Source: Venture Beat

*The number of new magazines launched in 2016 was 225 compared with 236 in 2015. The total number of new book-a-zines launched in 2016 was 623 compared with 578 in 2015.
*Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Launch Monitor.

Now, are you sure that the Leprechaun is really offering you a pot ‘o gold that exists?

So, I wonder, why are we still chasing that “pot ‘o gold” while we have one right under our noses? For the life of me I can’t answer this question. It makes no sense, but, remember, maybe and only maybe, it is just common sense, and therefore, it is too hard to see…

Until next time…

See you at the newsstands…


The Lineage Of Magazines – Lest We Forget Where Magazines Came From: Thinking About The Content Of Magazine Content

January 29, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

mccalls-cover jan 1951The substance of the content of magazines has always been important. Each letter of each word formed matters. And when you string those letters together to make words, you then begin to create sentences, followed subsequently by paragraphs, followed by…well; you see where I’m going with this.

As the eras have passed, it seems that “substance” has sometimes fallen by the wayside. Vintage words that are weighty and meaningful are often replaced with a group of vowels and consonants that seem flighty and gossamer-thin. Even in the 21st century, content matters, especially in magazines, and especially in this digital age where everything is fast and instantaneous.

For those of you who follow my blog, it’s no secret that I have been digging into my Mr. Magazine™ Classic Vault of vintage magazines. And as most of you know, I have what some would call an “extensive” collection. I happened upon a beautiful hardback compilation of McCall’s recently and was struck by the substance of the content.

mccalls-eleanor345McCall’s Magazine has a rich and lustrous lineage. The magazine began as a small-format called The Queen in 1873, and was renamed McCall’s Magazine—The Queen of Fashion in 1897, later shortened to simply McCall’s. During the 20th century it reveled in an abiding popularity with its readers and is known as one of the “Seven Sisters” group of women’s service magazines.

McCall’s has always been known for its extremely staunch commitment to service in the women’s category. From the Eleanor Roosevelt column entitled “If You Ask Me,” which the former first lady wrote from 1949 until her death in 1962, to the Betsy McCall paper dolls that were printed from 1951 to 1995, and were available in most issues for children to cut out, McCall’s created content that was both service-oriented and engagingly entertaining.

mccalls-cover347The articles featured were often different from the norm, but still considered service as the content believed in its audience, and knew that women were interested in far more than just how to sew and cook, albeit those were valued topics as well. In the 1940s and 1950s, it featured many articles that covered subject matter that was also substantive and varied. For example, the January 1951 cover story written by Doris Fleeson “Washington’s Ten Most Powerful Women,” was written at a time when most women only had power through men and the article stated as much. In fact, the byline in part reads: but the cold fact is that NO woman has power except through a man, quite a compelling and strong sentiment, especially for the era.

mccalls-cover349And then there were the contemplative features that made one think and consider, such as “How Female is Your Husband” written by Don Wharton. These types of articles were cutting edge for the times and comparatively magazines today could learn a few things from the masters who over 50 years ago were creating content that was so bulked with important and vibrant information, the magazine fairly groaned from its verbiage girth. In a good way, of course; that satisfied groan that many of us get when we finally push away from the Thanksgiving table.

So, as we put together the words, sentences, paragraphs and pages of our magazines today, Mr. Magazine™ asks the simple question: “Do you really know the content of your content?”

Until next time…

See you at the newsstands…


Think You Know Vanity Fair? Well, Think Again! The Media Kudos Celebrating A Great Weekly Vanity Fair Circa 1850.

January 13, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Brief…

Before there was a Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair magazine (in the 1920s and 1980s until present time), there was a weekly Vanity Fair magazine from the 1850s (yes, you read that right) that was published every Saturday. With issue 38, dated Saturday, September 15, 1860, Vanity Fair received rave reviews from a bevy of prestigious publications in that era of media. Check out a bit of nostalgia that Mr. Magazine™ dug out from his Classic Vault. You won’t be disappointed…

And to make it easier on the eyes to read, here is a retyped version of the 1860 “Opinions of the Press” piece. It’s absolutely worth the read.

Vanity Fair,
The New Illustrated and Satirical Journal

Opinions of the Press

“The Punch of America.” – N.Y. Herald, Jan. 19

“If such a work can succeed, Vanity Fair will and ought to do so. It has a good corps of writers, whose contributions promise to be set on a hill and shine accordingly.” – N.Y. Tribune

Vanity Fair is the best experiment of the kind yet made in the country. The paper has already contained many things worthy of Punch in his brightest days, nor is this surprising when it is known that some of the best wits and most graceful writers in the country contribute to its pages.” – N. Y. Evening Post

“There is a good deal in a name, and this name is, to our mind, better than Punch. The illustrations in Vanity Fair have been the best ever produced in a comic paper in this country. They are beautifully drawn, carefully engraved, and not so entirely spoiled in the printing as, in many illustrated papers, woodcuts are spoiled on the press. If this paper shall continue, as it has begun, to take a high moral tone, to keep its pages scrupulously free from the too common wit whose only point is its vulgarity, to attack fearlessly and conscientiously the follies of the times, there will be a fair chance of its pushing its way to success and fame.” – The Independent (N.Y.)

“The object of Vanity Fair is a good one, and the parties engaged in it, so far as we are informed, are admirably qualified for their work.” – N.Y. Saturday Press

“This new comic paper has passed the trying ordeal of success, and is most decidedly entitled to the support of all those who love pure wit, dashed off from the pen or pencil.” – N.Y. Daily News

“There is vim in Vanity Fair. Its illustrations are equal to those which have made Punch a power in the metropolis of England, and in fun, piquancy of manner, terseness and humor it equals its great trans-Atlantic contemporary.” – N.Y. Dispatch

“Especially creditable, both in matter and appearance.” – N.Y. Sunday Times

“Its illustrations are superior to any that have heretofore appeared. The literary portion of the number is varied and entertaining.” – Boston Courier

Vanity Fair promises life and usefulness.” – N.Y. Leader

Vanity Fair bids fair to become one of the ‘peculiar institutions’ of the day.” – N.Y. Sunday Mercury

“That would certainly be a very mild criminal code which should prescribe nothing worse to take than Vanity Fair. We wouldn’t mind being shut up ourselves, for a time, in such companionship.” – National Anti-Slavery Standard

“It greatly excels any similar American publication, and is quite equal to Charivari or Punch.” – American Republic (Macon, Ga.)

“Pungent and humorous, and shows much ability in its editorial management.” – Louisville Journal

“The whole affair is exceedingly clever.” – Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

“There is no small degree of smartness in Vanity Fair.” – Philadelphia Press

Vanity Fair is the most piquant of hebdomadals. We could wish that it might sweep out of existence every other comic periodical we have.” – Buffalo Daily Courier

“Far in advance of any similar publications which have heretofore appeared in this country.” – New Hampshire Gazette

“The original articles possess much greater merit than we usually find in journals of this class.” – Portland Transcript

“It bids fair to be very popular, and gives evidence of a high order of literary and artistic talent.” – Hunterdon (N.J.) Republican

“Though scarcely two months old, ‘It stalks the earth and awes the world around.’ Its illustrations tinge even the cheeks of Punch. Its onslaught on vice and folly makes it a terror to knaves and fools.” – Justice Whitley’s Circuit Judge

“We heartily welcome Vanity Fair to our literary repast, and shall look greedily for each weekly number.” – Architects’ and Mechanics’ Journal

“Capital and full of fun.” – Cincinnati Commercial

“Comes nearer the object than any of its predecessors.” Newark Daily Advertiser

“One of the cleverest and brightest papers of the kind. The wittiest writers and artists of New York contribute to it.” – Providence Journal

“This is the first really clever comic and satirical journal we have had in America – and really clever it is. It is both sharp and good-tempered, and not afraid to say that its soul is its own – which shows that it has a soul. Our readers will be glad to know where they can find native fun that has something better in it than mere patois.” – Atlantic Monthly

“This paper is excellent, remarkable for originality.” – N.Y. Traveller

Vanity Fair is conducted by a vivacious, witty and intelligent corps of journalists.” – Litchfield (Conn.) Enquirer

“Will wield as potent an influence as that of the London Punch.” – Boston Traveller

“Whoever finds himself laughing at the wit of Vanity Fair, and does not return a quid pro quo, is fit for ‘treasons, stratagems, and spoils.’” – N.Y. Crayon

Special Notice

And at the end of the page there was this ad, that needless to say has been running since June 30, 1850 without any updates.

The very marked and flattering success which has thus far attended the publication of Vanity Fair enables the publisher to announce that with the commencement of the Second Volume, issued this day, 30th June, New Features, both Literary and Artistic, will be introduced, which will increase the value and interest of the paper, and fully maintain the proud position unanimously accorded to it, as the leading Comic Journal of America.


There Is Nothing New Under The “Creative Innovation” Sun…

January 11, 2017

First of a Series of Mr. Magazine™ Musings About Classic Creative Innovation…

multum-in-parvoJust when you thought the 21st century was the ultimate time for creative innovation in the world of magazines and magazine media, up rears the head of the 20th century again (and even part of the 19th) to prove you wrong. What’s the phrase adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible: There’s nothing new under the sun? That would be absolutely true, especially when it comes to creative innovation in magazines. And leave it to Mr. Magazine™ to be the one to inform you of this, seeing as how recently I have been dipping deeply into my Classic Magazine Vault.

For example, when it comes to small and convenient, there was a magazine that was published in 1894 called “Multum in Parvo,” which of course in Latin means a great deal of something in a very small space. And in this case it would be a great deal of entertaining short stories in what was self-described at the time as “the smallest magazine in the world.” It was sold by subscription and single copy. And it is very, very small, (Mr. Magazine™ of course has it on hand), and for 1894, very innovative. Today, you might call it the flash drive of the 19th century. It is exquisite.

people-today220dare215bold217Then there are the men’s magazines that were a prominent and key part of the 1940s and 1950s, such as “Bold,” “People Today,” and “Dare.” These were the magazines that slid conveniently into a man’s shirt pocket for his viewing and reading pleasure when he was out and about, either at work or other activities away from his home or desk. And while by today’s standards, what with the Internet and mobile, this bit of carrying around your passion might sound tame and mediocre, for the ‘40s and ‘50s this idea was quite creative and demonstrative of the type of innovations that could come from productively inventive minds.

esquire201true198And aside from those examples of modification and mutation, there were the oversized coffee table magazines (sound familiar?) such as “Ken” from 1938 and “Flair” from 1950, and the boxed publications, such as “Esquire’s” 1959 Christmas Jubilee issue and “True The Man’s Magazine’s” 1961 Silver Anniversary issue. As Esquire began in 1933 and True The Men’s Magazine in 1937, the latter had a tendency to follow in the footsteps of its senior compatriot. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose.

leslies200newsweek202And when it came to service journalism and patriotism for our men and women of the armed forces, magazine weeklies in the 1940s such as Newsweek and TIME provided such a significant and important boost to our military personnel’s morale by providing issues with timely and interesting stories for absolutely free. And during the First World War, Leslie’s and many other titles provided a “notice to reader” stamp on their covers that allowed readers to place a one cent postal stamp onto the designated notice when they were finished reading the magazine and it would be sent to military personnel overseas for them to also enjoy. What an unbelievably innovative idea! Brilliant!

liberty204And another service feature that by today’s standards would probably seem ludicrous to most, but in fact, was quite the bomb in days gone by was the 1920s “Liberty” magazine, which offered readers exact minutes and seconds when it came to how long it took to read individual articles. Saving time didn’t just start with the digital natives, you see.

pic199Arguing with the quality, creativity, and yes, innovation of the titles from yesteryear would be a complete waste of time. The pioneers of magazines were not only some of the most creative people who ever lived, but also visionaries in their own right. And I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most beautiful and innovative covers that I have ever seen in my many, many years of tracking and loving magazines. It’s a magazine from 1939 that was published every other Tuesday by Street & Smith. The magazine was called “PIC” and was actually three magazines in one that covered different areas of the entertainment world, Hollywood, Broadway and Sports. So, for example, one section was “Hollywood Pic;” one section was “Broadway Pic;” and one section was “Sport Pic,” just simply a well-done, original magazine that showed creativity at its best.

st-nicholas203Another lovely magazine for children that encouraged curious minds to flip through its pages and enjoy magical stories and actual illustrations that were not produced digitally was St. Nicholas magazine that was founded by Scribner’s in 1873 and ceased publication in 1940. Mr. Magazine™ has the beautiful December 1920 issue and it’s writing is superb. Over the years everyone from Louisa May Alcott to Mark Twain enjoyed being published in this amazing title. The magazine is proof positive that children do in fact love to read and always have, it’s just today they have more options than ever before, which isn’t a bad thing at all. However, it is a fact that the innovations of technology are not the entire reason children are inspired to read; it’s much more about the craft of good storytelling.

The point I’m making is that while those of us today who live and breathe as if we were the only creative, innovative, cutting-edge, and ingenious people to have ever touched ink on paper or (in our case in the 21st century), stared at pixels on a screen, are a bit narcissistic when you look back through the years that magazines have been around. Creative innovation didn’t happen simply because the world of digital came into being. Creative innovation hit the scene when the first magazine drew its infant breath. Digital may have motivated print to recheck and reinvent itself, but it never, ever coined the phrase “creative innovation.” That credit, my friends, goes to the human being…

And from almost the very beginning there have been human beings and their original ideas – that’s nothing new…

Until the next Mr. Magazine™ Musing…


Anniversaries Show That The Power Of Magazines Is Like No Other Medium…

November 22, 2016

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Join me to celebrate the power of print and the power of magazines as we proclaim a loud congratulations this week for several magazine anniversaries ranging from 15 to 150 years.

For someone who treats magazines like friends, I am privileged to have both younger and older comrades. I never get tired of celebrating with both the new, the young and the old.

So regardless of the fact that we live in a digital age, these ink on paper (which, by the way, is a great technology yet to be replicated successfully) magazines have survived the test of time and the test of all the innovations that came after the invention of paper.

I invite you to celebrate the following magazine anniversaries and to witness the power of print and the power of magazines. Other inventions may come and go, but magazines are here to stay.

Celebrating 150 years Harper’s Bazaar:

Celebrating 125 years Scholastic Teacher:

Celebrating 50 years Ranger Rick:

Celebrating 40 years Horse Illustrated:

Celebrating 30 years Lancaster County:

Celebrating 25 years Heavy Duty:

Celebrating 20 years Latina:

And celebrating 15 years Donna Hay:

Until the next round of celebrations, relax and get ready for there is more to come. The power of print, the power of magazines.

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