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Print: When You Say & See BIG…

June 8, 2018

Last week I tweeted a quote from WWD: “Melissa Jones has launched Masthead magazine, a large format, online product heavily focused on photography.” My question is, “What is a large format online?”

Well, the reaction from that tweet was hilarious. Some equated it to a “jumbo shrimp.”

So, online, the size of your media depends on the size of your screen. You can call it anything you want: large format online, jumbo format online, small format online…you get my drift, but in reality the only size online media comes in is the size of your screen, be that PC desktop or mobile phone on the go. Enough said.

In print, on the other hand, size does matter. And today I received my first issue of the extra large format Civilization newspaper that is published in a limited edition of 1000. Richard Turley, the founder, answers Linda Leven’s question, “What is the purpose of this newspaper?” His answer on page 2 of the newspaper/magazine:

Civilization – The long answer is…I was in a magazine store at the beginning of the year and looking at the few magazines and newspapers that remain. All the magazines look the same, and are more like coffee table picture books now, and as for the actual printed newspapers, well…people only read those when they get them free in hotels. So I wondered whether I could make a new one and what I missed most was a publication about New York. What New York feels like to walk around and be a part of — which isn’t just Trump, Trump, Trump, Ramen spots and lifestyle tips — that’s not what New York is to me…”

The result, an oversized publication in print that you can actually measure and regardless where you read it, it will continue to have the same size, from the physical dimensions to the size of the type. Just check the size compared to a standard sized magazine and judge for yourself…

You ask me, what can print do that digital can’t? Well, now you have one of too many answers… continue measuring and counting.

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TypeNotes Magazine And How The Typewriter Changed Typography And The Way We Communicate…

June 7, 2018

Every now and then, a magazine grabs my attention, I really mean grabs my attention, and it becomes impossible to let go. One such recent magazine is TypeNotes, “A journal dedicated to typography & graphic design.” The magazine is published by the UK’s FONTSMITH that was founded by its creative director Jason Smith.

The first article of issue two is what grabbed my attention. The title “Tap Dance” and the subtitle “Fontsmith designer Stuart de Rozario on how the typewriter changed typography and the way we communicate.” Now, I know some of you don’t even know what a typewriter is, thus you will need to buy the magazine to learn the entire history of the typewriter.

Here is the first two paragraphs from the Tap Dance article… It is worth every single word:

The sound of the mechanical typewriter is a familiar one to many of us, who grew up to its distinctive percussive clack and chime. It’s also the sound of a bygone era; a machine handed its redundancy by computers, tablets and mobile devices.

The fall of the typewriter is just one moment in a long history of changes to how mankind has used written communication, from cave paintings to letter carving and handwriting to texting. Humanity as we know it simply couldn’t have existed without mark making and visual communications.

To read the entire evolution of the typewriter you have to find yourself a copy of issue two of TypeNotes at a newsstands near you. Enjoy.

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Magazines and Slow Journalism: Ernest Journal Provides A Great Example…

June 4, 2018

The back page of the British journal Ernest leads with the words, “Curiosity & Slow Adventure.” Nothing describes what a print magazine can and should deliver than those three words. After all, I have always taught my journalism students that their degree should not be in journalism, but rather in curiosity.

Ernest defines itself as such:

Ernest is a journal for enquiring minds. It’s made for those who value surprising and meandering journeys, fueled by curiosity rather than adrenaline and guided by chance encounters.

It is a repository for wild ideas, curious artifacts and genuine oddities, replete with tales of pioneers, invention and human obsession.

Ernest is founded on the principles of slow journalism. We value honesty, integrity and down-to-earth storytelling — and a good, long read every now and then.

And allwhat Mr. Magazine™ can say is AMEN!

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The Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: 25 + New Titles Arrive At The Nation’s Newsstands In May.

June 3, 2018

May arrived with the warm tones of an impending hot summer for us here in the steamy south, but newsstands all across the country were also blazing hot with an abundance of new magazine titles. Some brand new, some arriving on the national newsstands for the first time, some are changing their names, and some are just testing the waters…

As Gossamer strands of pungent smoke swirl above the heads of the many marijuana users in the country, they now have a new magazine that is made by and for those  who enjoy living the “high” life. It’s another offering into the print world of cannabis, and Mr. Magazine™ must say, it is definitely a well-done publication.

Also on tap for May is a new title that honors women, past, present and future, who have made or are making a mark politically on our world. Rosa is named after the amazing Rosa Parks and brings awareness to our foremothers and to all women who are willing to fight for their beliefs. This is a must-have quarterly magazine that Mr. Magazine™ will definitely be watching for at the newsstand.

And when you’re chasing the sweet things in life, there’s nobody better to do it with than Sweet Paul. For the first time, the print-on-demand magazine made its way to the newsstands, and Mr. Magazine™ says it’s long overdue. Founder & editor in chief, Paul Lowe, Sweet Paul himself, said he has adopted his grandmother’s motto of “perfection is boring,” and you can rest assured that’s one thing that Sweet Paul magazine is not, boring, that is. However, the fantastic recipes inside come pretty close to perfection as far as Mr. Magazine™ can tell.

So, I hope that you enjoy our magnificent May covers. The magazines mentioned above are but three out of the 25 that the month gave us. The other 22 titles are just as grand.

So, until we meet again for a jubilant June…

See you at the newsstands…

******And please remember, if Mr. Magazine™ can’t physically hold, touch and purchase the magazine, it does not enter the monthly counts. And counts now include only the titles with a regular frequency that are either new, first-seen on Mr. Magazine’s™ newsstands, or arriving to the national newsstands for the first time.

****** Three magazines I read that they were launched last month but with all my newsstands searches I have not yielded or located a copy of their premier issue yet. The magazines are: Robb Report Muse, Tonal, and WSJ Far & Away.  Please send me a copy of the premier issue to: Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, P.O. Box 1062, Oxford, MS 38655 to be included in the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor… Thank you.

 

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Jo Packham: A Self-Proclaimed Woman Of Ideas With One Goal In Mind: Help and Create – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jo Packham, Creator/Editor In Chief, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, Where Women Create Work, & What Women Create Magazines…

June 1, 2018

“I’m a traditional print girl. I was in book publishing for 30 years. When that ended and I got the opportunity to do the magazines; I don’t even go on Instagram. I don’t answer my phone; I hate anything technological. I really love paper and print. I wouldn’t have even considered anything else.” Jo Packham (On why she chose print over digital for her brand)…

Jo Packham believes we all have a story to tell and she also believes it is her job to give a venue to those ideas; hence, the four titles that she created and formerly published (three of them anyway) with Stampington & Company by her side. But today is a new day, and a new title. No longer is she affiliated with the giant crafting publisher. Today, she is following through with her own vision, through her partnership with Disticor, and she has decided there is more to tell than just “where,” we also need to know “what.”

I spoke with Jo recently and I must say, it was one of the most delightful conversations I have ever had. Jo is as passionate about her magazines as she is her readers and contributors. We talked about that passion, which was something that ignited and brought forth her latest title “What Women Create.”

Jo believes that the stories within the pages of her magazines should all express individuality and the rawness that makes them unique. That’s the main reason there is no heavy editing with contributors’ offerings, just mainly spelling. And she likes it that way.

Since parting company with Stampington & Company, where she had had a long-running relationship, Jo is now feeling unencumbered by guidelines and predisposed aesthetics, and is enjoying spreading her wings a bit. And while she is grateful for everything she shared with Stampington, she is also excited by the future’s possibilities. Even though she says (her words, not mine) who knows what’s going to happen with a 70-year-old, self-proclaimed idea woman. If Mr. Magazine™ could offer his opinion here (and why not, it is my blog after all), I’d say 70 is the new 50 and that is just the right age for Jo Packham and her latest endeavors.

So, I hope that you enjoy this very lively conversation with a woman whose youth is apparently eternal, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jo Packham, creator and editor in chief of all the “Where Women Create,” “Where Women Cook,” “Where Women Create Work,” and her latest, “What Women Create.”

But first the sound-bites:

On how she got her start in magazines: I worked really, really hard and I have been very, very blessed. I think it happened because my entire career has been about surrounding myself with really creative, successful women. I always wanted to be an artist; I grew up wanting to be an artist, and I’m a horrible artist. My 7th grade art teacher told me I should do something else.

On combining food and crafts with her magazines: In the early days what I had to do was go to the crafters and the creative people, because they have fabulous kitchens and they like to cook, they don’t consider themselves foodies, but because they’re so creative they like to cook. So, we would feature five of them with really beautiful kitchens and then we would feature five of the top food bloggers and foodies in the country and focus on their food. And it kind of became more of a cooking magazine than a “where” magazine, it just morphed into that. But we still try to include some kitchens and other kinds of things, but that’s the way it started.

On how she would describe herself today: I think I’m creative in my own way in that I can bring people together, because there are a lot of publishers and a lot of agents who I think are driven by money, so I believe I am a creator and a gatherer; I think I inspire people. I don’t know, I work hard. (Laughs) I don’t know what I am. I’m just the person behind the scenes who wants you to have the opportunity that maybe I can help you get.

On how she says that she wants to be behind the scenes, yet her name is on the cover of all of her magazines: It’s on the covers of the old ones too. And the reason I did that is for the first time in my 40-year career when I went to work for Stampington, and when we launched Where Women Create at Stampington, it was an atmosphere of distrust for large corporations. And even I didn’t know in those days that Stampington was a big company; I had no idea how big they were. So, I felt if I put my name on the cover that the people who we featured and the people who were our readers would understand that it was a single woman doing the job and making it happen instead of a big corporation, so that they would trust me more and look at us through a different perspective.

On whether she’s had any stumbling blocks to face or it’s all been a walk in a rose garden: Oh, a million stumbling blocks. It’s so not easy. It’s always what you don’t expect. You’re sailing along and something happens that’s totally out of your control, and it’s that telephone call in the middle of the night that you dread your whole life. And I’ve gotten mine. I’ve lost everything. I completely lost everything and had to start from scratch, that was 10 years ago. I lost everything.

On whether she feels like she’s now in a safe end with her new deal with Disticor: I don’t believe in a safe end. I think the world is so fragile and everything we do is so fragile that I’ve got the best gig of all time. When people talk about living the dream, this is it. It’s not easy; I’m working myself to death, but it’s living the dream. But I also know that I could wake up in the morning and Barnes & Noble could go bankrupt and there could be no more distributor for the magazines and we would be done.

On whether anyone ever questions her sanity because she is publishing four print magazines with high cover prices in this digital age: Oh, yes. We just started the Disticor partnership last November and I had never met them and they flew out here to meet me. We had dinner in my studio and I had a chef here. We cooked a private dinner for them and they told me that they had just decided to do this. I told them that I didn’t believe in contracts, but my ex-husband said I had to have one and they said that was great. And I asked them how long the contract should be for, and Mike, who is the president of Disticor, said 10 years. And I just started laughing and he said, what the hell? And I said I am 70-years-old, you’ll have an 80-year-old editor in chief. No one wants an 80-year-old editor in chief. (Laughs) So, I told him that we’d start with three years.

On why she chose print and not a digital-only entity: I’m a traditional print girl. I was in book publishing for 30 years. When that ended and I got the opportunity to do the magazines; I don’t even go on Instagram. I don’t answer my phone; I hate anything technological. I really love paper and print. I wouldn’t have even considered anything else.

On her new publication What Women Create: When I got the opportunity to work with Disticor, they told me that I could do whatever I wanted. And I said, really? And they said, sure. So, we started with the three that we knew, but then we were preparing the first issue of “Create” and “What” came up at the table and it’s brilliant. And it’s not a how-to magazine; it’s just a beautiful pictorial anthology of the passion and the inspiration. It’s meant to be the story of the women who create; it’s behind-the-scenes on how they do what they do. It’s not a step-by-step. And it’s such a great partner with “Create.”

On whether the magazines, in human form, are her: I hope so. I would hope so. I would hope that I embody the passion and inspiration of all of us, that I’m a good representative and I will be cognizant of who they are and what they do and never take advantage of them. And always represent them in the best way. So, I would hope so.

On anything that scares her with this new venture: (Laughs) Everything scares me. I have these constant panic attacks, because I feel responsible. People have trusted me with their stories. Once, somebody said to me, all we do is produce junk mail because they buy our magazines and then they throw them away. And I said that’s not what I do. I give these people the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words, the way they want, without edits. We don’t change it; we don’t give any guidelines. It is their opportunity to have a magazine for just a minute to tell the world what they want the world to know.

On whether she feels she’s publishing inexpensive books, but expensive magazines: They are, and it’s because we don’t sell advertising. We’re a newsstand model, so we have to make our money somewhere and printing is more expensive, photographers are more expensive, and shipping them is crazy. When I ship one magazine to Europe it’s $27 and some cents. So, it’s not that we’re making more money on the backend on this end, it’s just that we’re producing a really beautiful, collectible piece. Because when they’re not done in seasons and they don’t do holidays, it’s not that you ever throw them away, unless you’re cleaning out your closet. You can save them as an inspiring piece of literature to go to just like a book.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home: You would find me going through magazines. (Laughs) Right now on my dining room table I probably have 50 of the latest magazines from all over the world, trying to see who is doing what and what I love. So, you would definitely find me reading magazines.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her: That I gave people the opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

On what keeps her up at night: (Laughs) Being 70. I have all of these thoughts: what if I can’t remember anymore, or what if I can’t go up the stairs anymore. That scares me to death.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jo Packham, creator/editor in chief, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, Where Women Create Work, & What Women Create magazines.

Samir Husni: You’re the publisher and creator of not one, not two, not even three, but four magazines, all at the same time. Tell me how you got started.

Jo Packham: I worked really, really hard and I have been very, very blessed. I think it happened because my entire career has been about surrounding myself with really creative, successful women. I always wanted to be an artist; I grew up wanting to be an artist, and I’m a horrible artist. My 7th grade art teacher told me I should do something else.

And so I thought, you know what, I love it so much that early on, 40 years ago, I decided to publish cross-stitch books and I owned a small yarn and thread store. When cross-stitch was getting really popular, I decided to publish cross-stitch books, and I couldn’t do it myself, so I would just work with other women and surround myself with them and be the person who published them.

I would do the part of their creative life that they didn’t want to do, because they want to be creative, right? They didn’t want to deal with the publishing and write the stories, they didn’t want to get all the backend done, and things like that. I don’t really have very much of an ego and I was really happy to promote them and just be the person behind the scenes. I feel like a bus driver sometimes. I just get everybody on the bus and I get everybody where they need to go and then I get everybody off the bus and then I fill the bus up again.

It just led from one thing to another. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had some really dramatic failures in my career, but when you surround yourself with women who are so inspiring, they always have a new idea. And they always pick you back up and they always need someone like me behind the scenes. So, that’s the role that I love and that I took on, and that’s how I got where I am. It’s because of them, it really is.

Samir Husni: You combine both crafts and food; tell me about that mix. You have the food magazine, the craft magazine, and then you have the “What” magazine. (Laughs)

Jo Packham: (Laughs too). That’s really a funny story. When we started we had “Where Women Create” and it was all about the studios and everybody loved it and it’s really popular. I was not a foodie, but what happened was I was in the Texas Hill Country photographing Robin Brown and John Gray’s home, they own a company called Magnolia Pearl.

We were on a photo shoot and we got there one morning at around 6:00 a.m. and Robin’s guilty pleasure, and she lives way out in the country, her guilty pleasure was every morning a woman would come from Fredericksburg, Texas and bring in all fresh fruits and vegetables, and she was her cook for the day, her sous chef, if you will, and she would prepare all of these fresh fruits and vegetables. So Robin, because she’s a creative, had the most beautiful kitchen I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

So, when we walked in that morning and there was that entire array of fresh fruits and vegetables on the cabinet, I said we needed to publish where women cut. And when I first started it, I really thought it would be about the kitchen, just like it was about the studios. But I stayed an extra four days, photographed the kitchen, did all of the cooking, and I thought, I don’t know any foodies, so I should contact the top 10 food bloggers in the country.

I found out who they were, wrote them all a letter, said I would love to feature each of them in the magazine, they all said great, and I told them that we’d come and do a photo shoot in their kitchen, and they said yeah, no, that’s not going to happen because they were all about the food and not about the kitchen.

So, in the early days what I had to do was go to the crafters and the creative people, because they have fabulous kitchens and they like to cook, they don’t consider themselves foodies, but because they’re so creative they like to cook. So, we would feature five of them with really beautiful kitchens and then we would feature five of the top food bloggers and foodies in the country and focus on their food. And it kind of became more of a cooking magazine than a “where” magazine, it just morphed into that. But we still try to include some kitchens and other kinds of things, but that’s the way it started.

I had to go buy my first set of pots and pans. Since I was starting the magazine, I went into my kitchen, took all of my paintbrushes and all of my tools out of my silverware drawers, and all of my paintbrushes out of my cabinets and went and bought a complete set of silverware and a whole new set of pots and pans so that I would feel a little more like I could walk the walk and talk the talk.

Samir Husni: What do you consider yourself; a creator? I see “created by Jo” on each one of the four magazines. Or a curator? Someone who reaches out to all of these bloggers and creative people. If you had to describe Jo today, what would be some of the adjectives that come to mind?

Jo Packham: I think I’m creative in my own way in that I can bring people together, because there are a lot of publishers and a lot of agents who I think are driven by money, so I believe I am a creator and a gatherer; I think I inspire people. I don’t know, I work hard. (Laughs) I don’t know what I am. I’m just the person behind the scenes who wants you to have the opportunity that maybe I can help you get.

I’m a philanthropist, because I really want to sell a million magazines; I really do. But if I sell a million magazines; we always feature two really famous people in the magazine because they sell magazines, but then we feature 10 that no one has ever heard of, because if we can give them an opportunity to make their dreams come true sincerely, then that’s what sells more magazines that pays my bills and it’s a win/win situation for everyone.

Samir Husni: You say that you want to be behind the scenes, yet your name is on the cover of all four of the new magazines.

Jo Packham: It’s on the covers of the old ones too. And the reason I did that is for the first time in my 40-year career when I went to work for Stampington, and when we launched Where Women Create at Stampington, it was an atmosphere of distrust for large corporations. And even I didn’t know in those days that Stampington was a big company; I had no idea how big they were. So, I felt if I put my name on the cover that the people who we featured and the people who were our readers would understand that it was a single woman doing the job and making it happen instead of a big corporation, so that they would trust me more and look at us through a different perspective.

And the only reason I put my name on the second ones, with this new publisher, is because he absolutely insisted. And Barnes & Noble and Costco said Jo’s name has to be on the cover and I said that’s ridiculous. People don’t buy these magazines because of me, they buy these magazines because of the stories inside, but they felt like with my name on the cover that people would be assured that there was no advertising and that the stories would be sincere. And that it’s the same model. The first 30 years of my career, no one knew who I was; my name was never anywhere. Ever.

Samir Husni: Now your name is everywhere. Did it feel like a walk in a rose garden or were there some stumbling blocks you had to overcome?

Jo Packham: Oh, a million stumbling blocks. It’s so not easy. It’s always what you don’t expect. You’re sailing along and something happens that’s totally out of your control, and it’s that telephone call in the middle of the night that you dread your whole life. And I’ve gotten mine. I’ve lost everything. I completely lost everything and had to start from scratch, that was 10 years ago. I lost everything.

The story between Stampington and I is crazy and then the one between Disticor and I is even crazier. So, I’ve been at the top and I’ve been at the bottom. I’m great at cocktail parties; I have a lot of stories. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: So, today, do feel like you’re sailing smoothly, leaving what happened behind you? Does the new deal with Disticor make you feel as though you’re finally in a safe end?

Jo Packham: I don’t believe in a safe end. I think the world is so fragile and everything we do is so fragile that I’ve got the best gig of all time. When people talk about living the dream, this is it. It’s not easy; I’m working myself to death, but it’s living the dream. But I also know that I could wake up in the morning and Barnes & Noble could go bankrupt and there could be no more distributor for the magazines and we would be done.

So, I never plan on that kind of thing. I enjoy what I have. I used to plan on it in my younger days, but now I’m just very grateful and very thankful for what I have today and I work very hard for it. And if I wake up in the morning and it’s still there, I’m grateful tomorrow too. But I’m 70 years old, so who knows, right? Geez, I could fall down the stairs. (Laughs) It is what it is.

Samir Husni: At those cocktail parties, when you’re sharing your ups and downs, does anyone ever question your sanity because you’re publishing four print magazines with very high cover prices in this digital age?

Jo Packham: Oh, yes. We just started the Disticor partnership last November and I had never met them and they flew out here to meet me. We had dinner in my studio and I had a chef here. We cooked a private dinner for them and they told me that they had just decided to do this. I told them that I didn’t believe in contracts, but my ex-husband said I had to have one and they said that was great. And I asked them how long the contract should be for, and John Lafranier, who is the president of Disticor, said 10 years. And I just started laughing and he said, what the hell? And I said I am 70-years-old, you’ll have an 80-year-old editor in chief. No one wants an 80-year-old editor in chief. (Laughs) So, I told him that we’d start with three years.

But when I tell those stories and I’m at cocktail parties, people do look at me, because all of their lifetime friends in their communities are retired and traveling, doing all of those kinds of things, and I’m working 18 hours per day. And I ask myself whether I could retire and if that would be a good idea, but then I think, no, I’ll do this as long as I can. Just enjoy it. I love my job.

Samir Husni: Why did you decide to publish print? Why not just a blog or a digital magazine?

Jo Packham: I’m a traditional print girl. I was in book publishing for 30 years. When that ended and I got the opportunity to do the magazines; I don’t even go on Instagram. I don’t answer my phone; I hate anything technological. I really love paper and print. I wouldn’t have even considered anything else.

When things got really bad and I lost the first company, I lost my house and everything, I got a job at Starbucks. I was going to work at Starbucks. (Laughs) I thought that was a good alternative; they had really good benefits. And they would send you to school. (Laughs again) But it never even occurred to me to do anything but print.

Samir Husni: You’ve redesigned all of the magazines, you gave them a new fresh look. And you’ve added one new title that you didn’t publish with Stampington before. Tell me about What Women Create.

Jo Packham: When I went to work with Stampington, Kellene (Giloff, founder and president) was extremely generous with me, but even though What Women Create was my brand and my concept, I was still part of the Stampington Group. So, I had to adhere to their guidelines and their aesthetics and what Kellene wanted. And she’s very secure in that and likes that. She would never let me branch out on my own. And I certainly appreciate that. It’s hard to have two brands under one umbrella.

But I’m an idea girl, right? I have a million ideas. And I would present them and Kellene is really conservative and she has 36 of her own magazines, so she didn’t need any more of mine. (Laughs) So, the reason the whole thing happened was because Where Women Cook was just out of her wheelhouse. She’s a craft person, and so she was going to cancel Cook. And even though I am not a foodie, Cook is one of my favorites.

When I got the opportunity to work with Disticor, they told me that I could do whatever I wanted. And I said, really? And they said, sure. So, we started with the three that we knew, but then we were preparing the first issue of “Create” and “What” came up at the table and it’s brilliant. And it’s not a how-to magazine; it’s just a beautiful pictorial anthology of the passion and the inspiration. It’s meant to be the story of the women who create; it’s behind-the-scenes on how they do what they do. It’s not a step-by-step. And it’s such a great partner with “Create.”

“Create” has been on the market for 10 years and I believe that everything has a shelf life. I’m not sure if we haven’t started the shelf life over with the new, reimagined “Create,” so maybe we can start counting again. But I felt like for security, for retirement, if I ever do (Laughs), that I needed something new and fresh, and a different take on it. And I thought “What” was the perfect partner. And I called Disticor on the phone and asked them what they thought about “What.” And they said that I should absolutely do it. So, I did.

Samir Husni: When I flip through the pages of the four titles, the relaunched and the new one, I can see you in the pages of the magazines. Your passion, your craft, your touch, is there. If I give you a magic wand that could make the pages come to life and you strike the magazines with it, and suddenly a human being appears. Will that be you?

Jo Packham: I hope so. I would hope so. I would hope that I embody the passion and inspiration of all of us, that I’m a good representative and I will be cognizant of who they are and what they do and never take advantage of them. And always represent them in the best way. So, I would hope so.

Samir Husni: Is there anything that scares you with this new venture?

Jo Packham: (Laughs) Everything scares me. I have these constant panic attacks, because I feel responsible. People have trusted me with their stories. Once, somebody said to me, all we do is produce junk mail because they buy our magazines and then they throw them away. And I said that’s not what I do. I give these people the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words, the way they want, without edits. We don’t change it; we don’t give any guidelines. It is their opportunity to have a magazine for just a minute to tell the world what they want the world to know.

So, I feel responsible for that. And that scares me because they’re trusting me with their dreams and their heartaches and their pasts. I think that’s why the magazines are so personal, because they write their own stories, I don’t have editors. We do correct spelling, because I think that’s important. People write the way they speak. I speak in long runoff sentences and that’s the way I write. And I don’t want some editor making it sound like copy that you can find in any issue of the magazine that’s edited. I want everyone to be totally different. It’s like you’re sitting at the kitchen table learning about somebody new. And if they speak in broken English, they should write in broken English. That way we really know who they are and they really have the opportunity to tell their story.

Samir Husni: Do you feel that you’re publishing inexpensive books, but expensive magazines? Your magazines look and feel like a book, but inexpensive compared to hardbacks, but expensive compared to magazines.

Jo Packham: They are, and it’s because we don’t sell advertising. We’re a newsstand model, so we have to make our money somewhere and printing is more expensive, photographers are more expensive, and shipping them is crazy. When I ship one magazine to Europe it’s $27 and some cents. So, it’s not that we’re making more money on the backend on this end, it’s just that we’re producing a really beautiful, collectible piece. Because when they’re not done in seasons and they don’t do holidays, it’s not that you ever throw them away, unless you’re cleaning out your closet. You can save them as an inspiring piece of literature to go to just like a book.

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?

Jo Packham: You would find me going through magazines. (Laughs) Right now on my dining room table I probably have 50 of the latest magazines from all over the world, trying to see who is doing what and what I love. So, you would definitely find me reading magazines.

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

Jo Packham: That I gave people the opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

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

Jo Packham: (Laughs) Being 70. I have all of these thoughts: what if I can’t remember anymore, or what if I can’t go up the stairs anymore. That scares me to death.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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What Is A Magazine? “Polpettas On Paper” Provides Us With The Best Definition Yet…

May 26, 2018

“Polpettas on paper” is an international magazine created and produced in Spain. The name is taking from the word “polpetta” which in Italian means “meatball.”

Here is how the editors of “Polpettas on paper” define a magazine:

“We think of the elements of each story as ingredients: the artists we interview, their works, the time we spend with them, the cities they live in. All these ingredients are chopped up, mixed together and baked into delicious meatballs, each one a unique, easy-to-digest story. The pages of this magazine combine into one very tasty dish. Enjoy.”

What a wonderful way to describe what a magazine really is.

Enjoy, indeed!

h1

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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