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Rodale’s Organic Life: Chapter Two Unfolds As The Handbook For Happy, Healthy Living – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Melanie Hansche, Editor In Chief, Rodale’s Organic Life Magazine

July 6, 2016

COVER“I’m also pretty old school; I do love the feel of print. I love the feel of sitting down and flipping through pages. It’s a very experiential thing. I find it very relaxing. And I think what’s been interesting with what we often refer to as the digital disruption is as iPad magazines are also fabulous because they also offer a kind of interaction and interactivity that you can’t get with the printed page, but I have always returned to that more tactile, page-turning approach and I think actually the markets have gone back that way too.” (On what it is about print that ignites her creative passions) Melanie Hansche

 

“We’re seeing a lot of magazines enter the market with beautiful paper stock and beautiful photography and they’re very lush, vibrant visual experiences. Print products still represent escape for people. When their subscription arrives in the mail, the reader might flip through it very quickly, maybe starting from the back, but what’s been found is they return to it on the weekend and read it cover to cover. And I’m certainly that person too.” Melanie Hansche

 

Fifteen months ago, Rodale’s Organic Life was reborn from the legacy title Organic Gardening. The magazine has transitioned from its original how-to approach when it comes to the organics of a healthier style of life, to a more all-encompassing lifestyle title that embraces the organic way of life completely without the purist attitude that some people fear when they pick up a magazine about organic living. With the current issue Rodale’s Organic Life starts chapter two of the rebirth.

 

Organic Life’s brand new editor in chief hails from Sydney, Australia and believes strongly and passionately in the brand and agreed that the militant idea that a reader had to be 100% committed to organic living was not what the magazine was about. Melanie Hansche is vivacious and ardent when talking about her new organic baby and was adamant that the magazine was willing to meet its readers on whatever level of their own organic journey they might be on at the time when they first pick up the magazine.

 

I spoke with Melanie recently and we talked about her future plans for the magazine and her intense passion for the printed page. It was a conversation that was both delightful and informative. The dedication to print and its tactile nature that could be heard in her voice when talking about the magazine was not lost on Mr. Magazine™. It was extremely well-received.

 

So, grab a copy of Rodale’s Organic Life, kick back, relax and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a woman who loves everything organic, especially her magazine, Melanie Hansche, Editor In Chief, Rodale’s Organic Life.

 

But first, the sound-bites:

 

Melanie Hansche_Corporate Portrait-Rodale-11-21-2014_0195-2On what her plans are for the future of the new adopted Organic Life: The new adopted child that I’ve inherited is very young; it’s 15 months old. As a very young brand, it was and still is trying to find its space. And the really exciting thing, I think, is to take on a young brand or a product and think about how you can evolve it and take it in a direction that really resonates with your audience. The team and I, we have decided to evolve the brand even further by being a lot more targeted about our audience.

 

On the new “target” audience: When the brand started it did have a legacy with Organic Gardening readers and it’s really tried to be all things to all people, which I totally understand, because on the one hand, we want to try and welcome every person into this organic lifestyle. But really I think that approach wasn’t working and it wasn’t resonating and we wanted to be a lot more positive about who we’re speaking to and particularly who are the people that are embracing this kind of lifestyle or asking questions and changing their habits.

 

On what she brings from her native Australia to Organic Life magazine: I think my Australian sensibility that I bring to the magazine is probably the magazine experience that I’ve had in Australia and the way that Australians are really not into the way they execute magazines, in terms of photography, styling and visual direction; it’s very fresh and vibrant and very modern. The food styling and photography is fantastic and so I feel like that’s a sensibility that I’ve brought with me from Australia.

 

On how she plans to use her skills as a curator to place the organic movement between the covers of a 104 page magazine: That’s a really good question. First of all we’re expanding our content areas, so when I talk about the fact that women in their 30s are making decisions about children, we’re going to include more parenting and family content. And the other two areas that we’re expanding and that we feel resonates with this audience is obviously beauty, as we’re talking to a more female audience, and then also home décor and home style and the stories behind craftspeople, artisans and makers, as I like to call them. So, we want to talk about an organic lifestyle on many different levels. And by expanding our content areas, we explore the conversation, so to speak.

 

On the most pleasant moment she has encountered in her new job since moving to America 18 months ago: When I joined Rodale, I was working on special projects in the food space because food media has been my specialty for over 10 years. And that was really exciting because I worked on a lot of different assets. I worked on a cookbook; I worked on building up our test kitchen; I worked on a digital project that was a database of recipes, and I worked on an event. So, I was able to work on many different things, but when I was asked to look after Organic Life three months ago, I realized how much I missed putting a magazine together. I’ve always worked in magazines and I love the creative process.

 

On what has been the biggest stumbling block that she’s had to face and how she overcame it: I would say the biggest stumbling block in moving here was being an unknown quantity, building relationships and trust; it’s getting buy-in from your coworkers. When I was in Sydney, it was like being a big fish in a little pond. And suddenly I arrive here in America, very innocent and wide-eyed, and I became a very little fish in a big pond and I really had to establish myself, establish my credentials all over again and have people understand what I do and what my skillset is and how I could benefit their brand and what I could bring to the table.

 

On what it is about a printed magazine that ignites her creative passions: The reason why I went into magazines in the first place as opposed to perhaps becoming a young newspaper journalist was that I always felt that magazines were more creative and certainly the writing and the imagery was, because it allowed editors and writers to explore areas in a lot more depth and in a much better visual style than say the old pyramid structure of newspaper writing did, which I found very formulaic and boring. So, I went into magazines because I found them to be much more creative and they allowed for more creative writing, and that still resonates with me today and is why I still love magazines.

 

On how it is to edit her CEO, Maria Rodale: I will say that Maria and I have a fabulous relationship built within the last 12 months because I edited her cookbook. And so we know each other very well and we also complement each other very well.

 

On anything else that she’d like to add: I’m excited about what the future holds for us, because I’ve always thought that this brand can resonate really strongly with an audience, particularly as the organic movement grows. One thing I want to say is that a lot of people are a little bit afraid that when you see a magazine called Organic Life that they have to be 100% organic. And the anecdote that I always go back to is one that a friend told me. She said that I can’t read your magazine because I drink cola. And this is exciting and is a great example because it’s how an organic lifestyle can be perceived. It can be perceived as really pure and really evangelical. So, what we’re trying to do at the magazine is say that this movement is approachable and it’s fun and vibrant; we’ll meet you at whatever stage of your journey you’re at.

 

On the tagline: a handbook for happy, healthy living: The magazine never had a tagline before and I felt very strongly that it would give this brand a more distinctive identity and a personality if we stated on the magazine just what the magazine does. It helps us lead a happier, healthier life.

 

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly at her home one evening: You would probably find me cooking actually. I’ve worked in Sydney for so long that I’m fairly food-obsessed, but the other reason you would find me cooking is that I find it relaxing. Cooking lets me switch off in the evening and I destress.

 

On what motivates her to get out of bed in the morning: Moving to New York has given me an energy and an engagement and has inspired me in ways that I guess Sydney didn’t. It’s a city that drives you and being here really excites me. And it’s also the product. To be honest, working on something that you personally and passionately believe in; it’s very easy to get out of bed in the morning.

 

On what keeps her up at night: I have a tendency to sweat the small stuff. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could just turn my brain off, but sometimes, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing when you care too much about things, but sometimes I worry about little things that I shouldn’t.

 

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Melanie Hansche, Editor In Chief, Organic Life Magazine.

 

Samir Husni: Organic Life is a little over a year old and you’re the new editor in chief; what are your future plans to take care of this new adopted child?

 

Melanie Hansche: The new adopted child that I’ve inherited is very young; it’s 15 months old. As a very young brand, it was and still is trying to find its space. And the really exciting thing, I think, is to take on a young brand or a product and think about how you can evolve it and take it in a direction that really resonates with your audience.

 

The team and I, we have decided to evolve the brand even further by being a lot more targeted about our audience. And with our editorial content and our vision direction definitely reflects that new target audience.

 

Samir Husni: Can you explain a bit more about the new “target” audience?

 

Melanie Hansche: When the brand started it did have a legacy with Organic Gardening readers and it’s really tried to be all things to all people, which I totally understand, because on the one hand, we want to try and welcome every person into this organic lifestyle. But really I think that approach wasn’t working and it wasn’t resonating and we wanted to be a lot more positive about who we’re speaking to and particularly who are the people that are embracing this kind of lifestyle or asking questions and changing their habits.

 

And we’re really clear that that person is most likely a young woman, 30 to 40-years-old. A better choice of words is it’s a young Gen X woman, and indeed, an older millennial woman, and guys too. I really think there’s a split, perhaps 70 percent female, 30 percent male split.

 

I am that reader; I am in that age group, that late thirties woman who for the last few years started making changes in my life. And the first gateway for me was food and I changed my diet to a more organic diet.

 

And then I started thinking about the skincare that I was using and I went organic, and a year later I switched out all of my makeup to an organic brand. I think a lot of women in that age group are making those kinds of decisions. And when you’re having children is the other point, the other gateway, if you will, where women start to make different choices as it pertains to their health.

 

And I do think that younger millennial audience is far more switched on and far more engaged in the kind of clothes that they wear and who makes them and who’s producing their food and the kind of travel they do; they’re a lot more thoughtful. And this is a brand that’s definitely about being thoughtful.

 

So, when you talk about our new audience that is the audience that we’re talking about, that older millennial and younger Gen X woman and to a certain extent men a well.

 

Organic Life editor's letter Samir Husni: Do you think your being from Down Under; can it be more organic than that, bringing someone all the way from Australia to lead this magazine? What do you bring from the land Down Under to Organic Life?

 

Melanie Hansche: Interestingly, the organic movement in Australia pretty much mirrors the organic movement in America. And it’s the very same issues. People Down Under are embracing an organic lifestyle for the same reasons. But there are also the same barriers, whether that’s price or information; it’s exactly the same, but a smaller microcosm.

 

When I moved to the States I remember my first trip to Whole Foods and I was just amazed at how the trends that I had been seeing back in Australia were just blown out. In Australia, for example, people had just started drinking coconut water and there were a couple of brands on the shelf. And walking into Whole Foods I remember thinking, oh my gosh, there are 20 coconut waters on their shelves. And it was the same whether it was nut milk or flour alternatives; just the sheer amount of organic products and lines that were available.

 

I think my Australian sensibility that I bring to the magazine is probably the magazine experience that I’ve had in Australia and the way that Australians are really not into the way they execute magazines, in terms of photography, styling and visual direction; it’s very fresh and vibrant and very modern. The food styling and photography is fantastic and so I feel like that’s a sensibility that I’ve brought with me from Australia.

 

Samir Husni: I noticed in your first letter from the editor, you also showed a picture of your cottage in Australia and you also brought the family aspect of the organic lifestyle into the forefront and how you want the readers to enjoy the magazine on their own porches or wherever they want to sit down and relax with it. As a curator and someone who is seeing all kinds of organic trends taking place, how are you going to use your skills to curate that organic movement and put it between the covers of a 104 page magazine?

 

Melanie Hansche: That’s a really good question. First of all we’re expanding our content areas, so when I talk about the fact that women in their 30s are making decisions about children, we’re going to include more parenting and family content.

 

And the other two areas that we’re expanding and that we feel resonates with this audience is obviously beauty, as we’re talking to a more female audience, and then also home décor and home style and the stories behind craftspeople, artisans and makers, as I like to call them. So, we want to talk about an organic lifestyle on many different levels. And by expanding our content areas, we explore the conversation, so to speak.

 

And the other thing that we became very clear on was that as a magazine called Organic Life, we have to show some kind of leadership, or advocacy in this space and in this movement. So, from now on every issue that we do, we make sure that we have one very hard-hitting or thoughtful piece of advocacy in the organic world, whether that’s in America or abroad. And an example of that is in our first issue, the large story that we did on a very small town in the Italian Alps that is the first town in the world to ban pesticides.

 

When we talk about our content strategy it’s really about pushing these different buttons and it’s inviting people into this movement by giving them inspiration and information in areas that pertain to their everyday life: beauty, food, health, and gardening. But then also it’s really hard-hitting where it counts and gives the audience really serious journalism and some serious leadership on issues that take place.

 

Samir Husni: How long have you been in the States?

 

Melanie Hansche: I’ve been here for 18 months.

 

Samir Husni: What has been the most pleasant moment in your new job since you moved here 18 months ago?

 

Melanie Hansche: When I joined Rodale, I was working on special projects in the food space because food media has been my specialty for over 10 years. And that was really exciting because I worked on a lot of different assets. I worked on a cookbook; I worked on building up our test kitchen; I worked on a digital project that was a database of recipes, and I worked on an event. So, I was able to work on many different things, but when I was asked to look after Organic Life three months ago, I realized how much I missed putting a magazine together. I’ve always worked in magazines and I love the creative process.

 

And when I began this, it was like getting back on a bike. I was so excited and the team was so great and I loved the creativity of it that honestly, the most pleasurable moment was being asked to edit this magazine.

 

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

 

Melanie Hansche: I would say the biggest stumbling block in moving here was being an unknown quantity, building relationships and trust; it’s getting buy-in from your coworkers. When I was in Sydney, it was like being a big fish in a little pond. And suddenly I arrive here in America, very innocent and wide-eyed, and I became a very little fish in a big pond and I really had to establish myself, establish my credentials all over again and have people understand what I do and what my skillset is and how I could benefit their brand and what I could bring to the table.

 

And to be honest, that was very hard, but I also feel like it’s making me stronger and making me more persistent than I was before. (Laughs)

 

Samir Husni: I could feel the passion in your voice when you talked about putting the magazine together; you’ve worked in digital and books, what is it about a print magazine that delivers that high for you, rather than just working on digital or some other project?

 

Melanie Hansche: The reason why I went into magazines in the first place as opposed to perhaps becoming a young newspaper journalist was that I always felt that magazines were more creative and certainly the writing and the imagery was, because it allowed editors and writers to explore areas in a lot more depth and in a much better visual style than say the old pyramid structure of newspaper writing did, which I found very formulaic and boring. So, I went into magazines because I found them to be much more creative and they allowed for more creative writing, and that still resonates with me today and is why I still love magazines.

 

I’m also pretty old school; I do love the feel of print. I love the feel of sitting down and flipping through pages. It’s a very experiential thing. I find it very relaxing. And I think what’s been interesting with what we often refer to as the digital disruption is as iPad magazines are also fabulous because they also offer a kind of interaction and interactivity that you can’t get with the printed page, but I have always returned to that more tactile, page-turning approach and I think actually the markets have gone back that way too.

 

We’re seeing a lot of magazines enter the market with beautiful paper stock and beautiful photography and they’re very lush, vibrant visual experiences. Print products still represent escape for people. When their subscription arrives in the mail, the reader might flip through it very quickly, maybe starting from the back, but what’s been found is they return to it on the weekend and read it cover to cover. And I’m certainly that person too.

 

Magazines to me, the way the type and the photography stick to each other and can work together; the way the illustration or the way hand-drawn fonts work together, I just love the creativity of that, and how we can speak to an audience with the simplicity of the printed page.

 

Samir Husni: You’re one of the few editors that I know of in the States that their CEO writes a column for the magazine or a story or article. How difficult is it for you as an editor to edit Maria Rodale?

 

Melanie Hansche: I will say that Maria and I have a fabulous relationship built within the last 12 months because I edited her cookbook. And so we know each other very well and we also complement each other very well. One of the reasons that she brought me onboard in the first place was because she knew the brand that I had come from in Australia and she loved it a lot. There is a lot of great respect and humor between the two of us; so in fact, it’s fairly easy to have an open editor/writer relationship with each other and we often brief her on the theme or topic of that issue. Generally, we let her have free reign over what she writes about and then workshop her columns a little bit, but I have to say given the history and the nature of our relationship, it’s actually not as tricky as you might think. (Laughs)

 

Samir Husni: (Laughs too) Maria is a rare entity in this business, where you have the CEO actually writing.

 

Melanie Hansche: Exactly. And to some extent, this magazine is also her baby. It was birthed as Organic Style over 10 years ago and now it’s been rebirthed as Organic Life and she really believes in this product and she believes in how much this can resonate with an audience. And she is very passionate about it and I’m actually very lucky that our CEO is as engaged with the product as I am. So, it’s a really good thing.

 

organic spread 2 Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

 

Melanie Hansche: I’m excited about what the future holds for us, because I’ve always thought that this brand can resonate really strongly with an audience, particularly as the organic movement grows.

 

One thing I want to say is that a lot of people are a little bit afraid that when you see a magazine called Organic Life that they have to be 100% organic. And the anecdote that I always go back to is one that a friend told me. She said that I can’t read your magazine because I drink cola. And this is exciting and is a great example because it’s how an organic lifestyle can be perceived. It can be perceived as really pure and really evangelical.

 

So, what we’re trying to do at the magazine is say that this movement is approachable and it’s fun and vibrant; we’ll meet you at whatever stage of your journey you’re at. And we’re not here to scold you for what you are or are not doing. This organic life is a journey and it means different things to different people.

 

So, I would love an audience to give this magazine a chance and realize that it’s actually really fun and it’s really vibrant and engaging. And it’s not judgmental. Living an organic life is about intentions; it’s not about some tricky label definition or certification. I want this to be a very encouraging and joyful magazine. And also for it to be really practical too, so I want people to understand that our mission isn’t a completely pure and militant one; it’s much more welcoming and inquisitive than that.

 

Samir Husni: Is that the reason for the tagline: a handbook for happy, healthy living?

 

Melanie Hansche: Correct, correct. The magazine never had a tagline before and I felt very strongly that it would give this brand a more distinctive identity and a personality if we stated on the magazine just what the magazine does. It helps us lead a happier, healthier life. And that’s why we included a tagline for this issue.

 

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your home one evening unexpectedly, what would I find you doing, reading a magazine or reading on your iPad, watching television, or something different?

 

Melanie Hansche: You would probably find me cooking actually. I’ve worked in Sydney for so long that I’m fairly food-obsessed, but the other reason you would find me cooking is that I find it relaxing. Cooking lets me switch off in the evening and I destress. After a long day, there is something about chopping, stirring, creating dishes that I really like. So, I would probably invite you to sit down and share a plate of food and a glass of wine with me.

 

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

 

Melanie Hansche: Moving to New York has given me an energy and an engagement and has inspired me in ways that I guess Sydney didn’t. It’s a city that drives you and being here really excites me. And it’s also the product. To be honest, working on something that you personally and passionately believe in; it’s very easy to get out of bed in the morning.

 

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

 

Melanie Hansche: I have a tendency to sweat the small stuff. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could just turn my brain off, but sometimes, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing when you care too much about things, but sometimes I worry about little things that I shouldn’t. And those are the things that keep me up at night. Sometimes I just need my husband to bring me back down to earth, when he asks me what I’m worrying about. And when I tell him, it’s generally something that happened at work that day that I probably don’t need to think about anymore. But that’s what keeps me up at night, the small stuff.

 

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Billboard: The Power And Magic of Magazine Covers…

July 4, 2016

Billboard coverOne of the major social roles of magazines is being an initiator of change.  From Esquire’s leading role in initiating the ban on gun advertising in the 1960s to this week’s Billboard’s cover, and the spread that follows, calling on Congress to stop gun violence.

The message is clear, but the medium is even clearer.  Nothing like a magazine cover can deliver, in your face, at your newsstands, on your coffee table, and in your mailbox a message as such.  No need to turn anything on, no switches and no batteries.  Judge for yourself.

To quote from the cover of the magazine and its editorial, “An Open Letter To Congress STOP GUN VIOLENCE NOW. As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change. Turn the page. Get involved… Billboard and the undersigned implore you — the people who are elected to represent us — to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.”

Billboard inside spread

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Magazine Launches First Half 2016 Vs. 2015: More Specials, Less Frequency

July 1, 2016

The total number of magazine launches in the first half of 2016 totaled 396 titles divided between 99 titles with a regular frequency and 297 specials and book-a-zines. Compare those numbers to the first half of 2015 where 412 titles were launched divided between 118 titles with a regular frequency and 294 specials and book-a-zines.

Needless to say the first half of 2016 witnessed a decrease of 19 titles with frequency and an increase of 3 titles in the special book-a-zine category. The total loss of the first half of 2016 from that of 2015 stands at 16 titles.

To check each and every title please visit the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor here.

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Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: 58 New Titles Arrive In June…

July 1, 2016

June showed steady numbers as the lazy, hazy days of summer began, with a total of 58 new titles, 13 of which were with promised frequency. Adult and teen coloring crafts were once again in the forefront as three new titles hit newsstands and regional made a strong showing as publisher, Arkansas Wild delivered two new titles this year following the launch of the first one late in 2015: Bike Arkansas, Fish Arkansas and Paddle Arkansas. From the cannabis world, and a spinoff of the successful “Marijuana Venture” magazine, comes a new title: Sungrower & Greenhouse, that is dedicated to cannabis growers who use natural sunlight.

It’s a great variety of impactful titles that will help make those long summer days a breeze as you enjoy each one. See you next month for a fantastic July!

And, as always, a quick reminder that if I do not have a physical copy of the first issue, you will not see it in the launch monitor.  So, if I missed your launch please send me a copy of your first issue to:

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

P.O. Box 1062

Oxford, MS 38655

Up first, our June frequency covers:

B Magazinebike arkansas fishing arkansas Mirror Mirror Modern Comfort Modern Farmhouse Style paddle arkansas Project Calm ranch horse journal Refined Home Star Tastic Coloring Book Sungrower & Greenhouse True Colors

 

And now our Specials:

USA Today Ali Special100 American OriginalsBarbarosaBest of Hobby Farms

Colorado RailroadsCountry CottageCupcakesDory's Adventure

Drinks and SnacksEat Smart Lose WeightEssence PrinceFood & Wine Fast & Fresh

Founding FathersGarden Tips 1Good Housekeeping Light & Easy RecipesHidden Hollywood

History of the RifleI Love Lucy 1Just Swap ArtKnit Scene

KumihimoLIFE Ali SpecialLIFE Science FictionLog Home Living

Men's Fitness Special Collector's Issue 1OXSPaula Deen Potluck DishesPEOPLE Ali Special

Popular SciencePrevention Fit in 10Prevention Instant CalmRolling Stone Prince

Secret SocietiesSports Illustrated ALI SpecialSpy PlanesSUNSET Best Outdoor Cooking

The Complete FishermanThe GreatestThe Note Remembers ALIThe Power Issue

The Vanishing WomenTIME Ali SpecialTIME The Science of HappinessUSA TODAY SPORTS ALI

 

Women's Health Over 50

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The Future of Newspapers: From “News Papers” To “News Organization.” Joanne Lipman Leads Gannett And Its USA Today Network Into The Future Both In Print And Digital – The Mr. Magazine™ In-Depth Interview With Joanne Lipman, Chief Content Officer, Gannett, Editor In Chief, USA Today Network

June 29, 2016

The World Of Newspapers According To Joanne Lipman…

USA Today

“One of the things that you do see in print, and I think this true everywhere, I know it’s true with my friends at The New York Times and The Washington Post, there is something about print that is still very, very compelling. When you have the big interview with the politician or the world leader; the celebrity, the first thing they always ask is will it appear in print? I don’t want it to disappear online. So, there is still a perception of premium with print. I think that’s something that we can think about going forward.” Joanne Lipman

“But I also think that publications that have done away with print too quickly have suffered. Look at what happened in New Orleans; look at what happened when Newsweek Magazine went out of print and then tried to come back in. There really is a value to that print product and those that have tried to move out of it too quickly have really suffered, in terms of loss of brand and loss of value, even if they provide good content.” Joanne Lipman

USAT_NETWORK_Brand_FullColor_RGB When many are saying that newspapers are on their way out, Gannett’s USA Today Network is saying something entirely different. With 108 different properties across the country, Gannett has brought all of its entities together to form one network that pools talent and resources to produce the most premium digital and print content around today.

However, “our mission is digital first,” says Joanne Lipman who is at the helm of USA Today Network as editor in chief and also heads up Gannett’s content as chief content officer. “The USA Today Network brings together 108 publications, with USA Today as the flagship and including news organizations such as the Detroit Free Press, Cincinnati Enquirer, Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Des Moines Register, to create a nationwide network with 3,800 journalists, over 100 million unique visitors a month, and more than 1.5 billion page views consumed each month.”

Add in this Gannett’s extraordinarily large digital footprint and you get a combination that can’t be deterred no matter what some naysayers are prone to report. Lipman adds, “Our nationwide news footprint — literally boots on the ground in big cities and small towns, red states and blue states — gives us a reporting advantage that no other national news organization can match.”

Joanne knows a thing or two about news content and news organizations as she began her career at the Wall Street Journal, ultimately becoming Deputy Managing Editor – the first woman to attain that post – and supervising coverage that won three Pulitzer Prizes.

Today, she brings that expertise and knowledge to Gannett, having joined the team in January 2016. I spoke with Joanne recently and we talked about her excitement to be with a brand as far-reaching and broad-based as Gannett. And about the new structured network that joins all of its properties together. It was a most delightful and interesting look into the world of today’s newspaper – or news organization, as Joanne puts it. And Mr. Magazine™ agrees, after all, you can’t chase news on paper anymore – it just isn’t possible.

And now please enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joanne Lipman, Chief Content Officer, Gannett, Editor In Chief, USA Today Network.

But first the sound-bites:

joanne Lipman On whether her job has been what she expected or if there have been any surprises along the way: What’s been great is first of all, when I came in because USA Today Network was a brand new concept, I thought that part of my job would be convincing people that they needed to work together collaboratively across multiple newsrooms. Instead, what I found was a culture of collaboration that existed here and exists. The culture is quite extraordinary when you have journalists across multiple different publications, coordinating coverage, cooperating with one another. So, we’re able to accomplish so much more than any one of us could individually.

On some of the priorities that have been uppermost in her mind since coming onboard: We’re focused on innovation and that includes video, social, mobile and virtual reality. Another priority is a budgeting and communications system to connect us. As I mentioned, this was a company made up of siloed organizations. Before I got here they created a unified CMS, so everybody is on a content management system. So, that’s a good step. But what we don’t have is a content budgeting system or a communications system that connects all of us.

On people saying there is no future for newspapers: It’s funny; we don’t use the word newspaper here. We talk about our news organizations and our news sites, so we’re really focused on digital. Obviously, we still have print papers and obviously, the revenue for paper is still great, but our focus has really been on becoming digital-first. I’m located in Tysons and I’m right off the USA Today newsroom. And USA Today under Dave Callaway and Larry Kramer, who’s the previous publisher, over the past four years really have made it digital-first and I’ve been in a lot of newsrooms, this is definitely the most digitally-oriented newsroom I have ever been in.

On her vision for the printed paper: I think there is no question that we’re all moving more and more toward a digital future. So because of that I think the printed paper becomes more of a premium experience. And like I said, I would love for the printed paper to reflect more of the depth and excitement that you see digitally. So, the printed paper can also be a way to send the consumer back online to get even more of the information that we’re providing.

On whom her audience is for the print product: In USA Today’s case, the print product has always been a newspaper for business executives and travelers, and that remains true. When you’re traveling, that’s what you pick up because that is the nation’s newspaper. In that way it’s a little bit like CNN; wherever you go in the world you turn on CNN because you know what you’re getting and they give you the information that you need.

On why she thinks it took so long for newspaper people to realize that the word news and paper is an oxymoron: I think that really smart newspaper people have been thinking about this for a long time. I think it’s been difficult because of the economic model, I really do. The big issue has been that print dollars are important. You have your digital dimes and your print dollars. And so you have to weigh the economics of it.

On the special interest publications USA Today is putting out on the market, such as the glossy magazine on Ali: I don’t think we’re doing any more than we ever did before. We tend to be very sparing when it comes to our special issues. We have regularly scheduled what we call “tab sections,” they’re not glossy, but they’re specials. The Ali Special magazine is highly unusual for us; we don’t do that frequently. The last one that I’m aware of, and I’ve only been here six months, but the last one that I’m aware of was several years ago with the death of Michael Jackson.

On what motivates her to get out of bed in the morning: This is the most fun job that I’ve ever had. What I love about this is the fact that we have so much potential, there is so much that we can do with the journalism here. The idea that we have essentially a giant firehose of content now that we are a network, as opposed to a bunch of individual organizations, is exciting. So the idea of taking that firehose of content and taming it and thinking of all the different ways that we can go about slicing and dicing and using it; it’s a very creative job because you’re constantly thinking about the amazing talent that we have all over the country.

On why we aren’t promoting journalism in a much better way than we used to: That’s a good question. On the one side, there’s the business model, which is clearly influx. And I think that’s a big piece of what we’re hearing. But I also think that one of the great things about being here with USA Today Network is what we are doing is – and I take no credit for this, because I came in after USA Network was invented by Bob Dickey, the CEO, and by his executive team, — but it’s such a smart idea. Every newsroom in America is resource-constrained, but when you put our 108 newsrooms together, with our 3,800 journalists, suddenly it feels expansive, a growing operation. If there’s an idea that we have, an idea that originates in any newsroom, no matter how small that newsroom is, we have the ability to execute that idea and support those journalists in that newsroom to get those ideas done.

On whether we should continue teaching journalism and having journalism schools: We should continue teaching journalism, absolutely. And I see a lot of talented young people who want to go into journalism; it’s definitely tougher than it was when I started. There are probably more jobs, not newspaper jobs, but more jobs if you add in all of the blogs and the other various outlets where you might be a writer. I think the issue is that there are fewer well-paying jobs with insurance. There is plenty of freelance, low-paid, unpaid work out there, but it is tough. I look at young journalism students, and I look at the young people we’re hiring, who are fantastic, and you can see that it’s a tougher world for them than it was for me.

On what someone might find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly to her home one evening: If you come after work, I generally go from the office to the gym. I guess you would find me at the gym.

On what keeps her up at night: I’ve been hiring a lot. I came in as a new position and my team was not filled out, so I focused a lot on finding just the right people to hire and now my team is almost all in place, so I think I’m sleeping easier now than I have in a long time.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joanne Lipman, Chief Content Officer, Gannett, Editor In Chief, USA Today Network.

Samir Husni: It’s been six months for you as chief content officer at Gannett and USA Today; has it been everything that you expected, or have you been surprised in anyway?

USA Today Newsroom Joanne Lipman: Let me back up for a moment and explain the background here; I think that will be useful. Gannett was a holding company and it was a holding company that owned USA Today and 92 other local news organizations. And they were all siloed; they all operated independently.

And then one year ago, last summer, when the company did the split, broke into two, like News Corp and all these other companies have done; so all the broadcast properties went into a separate company called Tegna, and all of the print publications remained in Gannett.

Fast forward to December and the executives here made the decision, Bob Dickey, the CEO and his executive team, made the decision that rather than being a company full of siloed news organizations, we would actually create a nationwide network, which became the USA Today Network. And I was brought onboard in January 2016 to be chief content officer of Gannett and editor in chief of USA Today Network.

We bought Journal Media Group, so now we have 108 properties. What USA Today Network news did was go from being 108 siloed, individual news organizations to a nationwide network with 3,800 journalists, with over 100 million unique visitors per month, and over one and half billion page views per month, and the demographics are phenomenal. So suddenly you go from being individual resource-constrained news organizations to a nationwide network where anything is possible.

And that’s what was so appealing to me. I have to say that my surprises since I’ve been here have been on the upside, which is so rare when you go to a new place. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Joanne Lipman: What’s been great is first of all, when I came in because USA Today Network was a brand new concept, I thought that part of my job would be convincing people that they needed to work together collaboratively across multiple newsrooms. Instead, what I found was a culture of collaboration that existed here and exists. The culture is quite extraordinary when you have journalists across multiple different publications, coordinating coverage, cooperating with one another. So, we’re able to accomplish so much more than any one of us could individually.

That’s been the most rewarding part of this and I’ve talked about the three priorities that I have. When I came in from day one I said there are three priorities that I have for this year and the first one is strengthening the network. And on that one I have to say that we are ahead of my expectations.

I could give you a couple of examples. We’ve had some really topnotch investigative work and that’s with the USA Today Network, the collaboration between USA Today and various local publications. We had one in February about teacher’s misconduct.

With the teacher misconduct work, we looked at data across all 50 states for teacher’s who had been fired for a cause; for physical abuse or sexual abuse and we found that they were able to get jobs in other states because of flawed background checks. And we were able to get the data for all 50 states. USA Today did a major, big investigative series on that.

But every market was able to localize it because they gave the data to all of the local markets. So, they could all localize their own stories. And that led to all kinds of state reforms and new legislation; a nationwide investigation. And that made us say, wow! That was the first time that we’d ever done an investigation where it ran in every single property.

And we followed that a month or two later with an investigation into lead in tap water. Again, we got data from all 50 states and we found that there were 2,000 communities across all 50 states that had toxic levels of lead in their drinking water. Again, we were able to do a big national investigation that ran in USA Today that was picked up by every television network. And because we had the data from all 50 states, we were able to localize it and we had more than 80 different individual, localized pieces that ran in our local markets, in addition to that national investigation.

I feel like we’re just tapping into the power of what this network can be and we saw how quickly we’re able to do that, and then you think: OK, going forward, if we’re able to do that off the bat, where can we go next? And that’s really exciting.

The one other thing that I would mention is that we’ve done an investigative series called “Trump and the Law” that’s also gotten quite a bit of attention because all of the media describe Trump as litigious, so what we did is ask the question, how litigious is he? And our data journalists dug into this and ultimately found that he’d been involved in 3,500 lawsuits. By collecting that database of lawsuits, we were able to look and see what the lawsuits were involving and that helped us dramatically, because several stories, including one that you probably heard about, which was looking at the frequency of his not paying people like plumbers, painters and carpenters. There were multiple lawsuits along those lines.

Samir Husni: You said you came in with three expectations; one, the USA Today Network, what were the other two?

Joanne Lipman: The second one is focused on innovation and that includes video, social, mobile and virtual reality. On the virtual reality piece, we actually had some news very recently where we created the first VR news program; it’s called “VRtually There” and we just debuted it at Cannes last week. We’ll be putting that into production in the next couple of months, so that’s exciting. That was actually another one of my upsides that I was speaking about earlier.

When I came in, I asked our chief technology officer about it. I was seeing The New York Times and others talking about virtual reality, so I wondered if we’d thought about it. He said that we’d been doing virtual reality for two years and in fact, the National Press Club gave its first award for virtual reality and it went to the Des Moines Register, one of our properties. The Des Moines Register had done a piece on farming two years before.

So, we were ahead on that and I didn’t realize it, but I think that’s partly because Gannett has had such a low profile and such a modest ethic that we didn’t talk about ourselves. We’re continuing on that virtual reality course and I recently hired a senior director of social media, who’s looking at our social strategy and I am currently interviewing for a senior director of video who will be reporting directly to me. So, we’re fast forwarding on those issues.

And then my third priority is a budgeting and communications system to connect us. As I mentioned, this was a company made up of siloed organizations. Before I got here they created a unified CNS, so everybody is on a content management system. So, that’s a good step. But what we don’t have is a content budgeting system or a communications system that connects all of us.

As a result, all of the work that we’re doing requires endless rounds of emailing and yammering, you name it. So, there’s a lot of work when it comes to us communicating with one another. So, I brought in Jim Pensiero from the Wall Street Journal. Jim worked with me at the Wall Street Journal for 30 years and he led the copy desk. He’s a fantastic journalist, but he was also the guy who understood how to do these kinds of systems and the CMS’s. He was the one who unified the Wall Street Journal in Asia and Europe and he put all of that together.

So, he came in with me and he’s leading our effort to put in place a budgeting communications system that will scale across all 108 properties.

Samir Husni: You hear people saying all of the time that there’s no future for newspapers.

USA Today newsroom Joanne Lipman: It’s funny; we don’t use the word newspaper here. We talk about our news organizations and our news sites, so we’re really focused on digital. Obviously, we still have print papers and obviously, the revenue for paper is still great, but our focus has really been on becoming digital-first. I’m located in Tysons and I’m right off the USA Today newsroom. And USA Today under Dave Callaway and Larry Kramer, who’s the previous publisher, over the past four years really have made it digital-first and I’ve been in a lot of newsrooms, this is definitely the most digitally-oriented newsroom I have ever been in.

For example, most newspapers will have their morning meeting at 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning, sometimes even 11:00 a.m. because they’re thinking about the paper. And most newspapers still do that. At USA Today it starts at 8:30 in the morning, everybody is up and running, and there’s no discussion about what section does this or that go in, it’s all about the digital piece; it’s all online. And it really is run like a digital news organization.

If you spend a little bit of time on the USA Today site you’ll see that it’s really very robust. In fact, the digital operation is so robust that one of the things that I hope to do going forward is I would like to see more of the digital variety that can be done. There are all kinds of interesting and in depth things and fun stuff on our site now. It really has a lot of texture and depth, and I’m actually hoping that we can move the print product in that direction to reflect the wealth of content that we have online.

Samir Husni: I think we are the only English-speaking country that still includes the word “news” in its paper. Most of the other countries call it journal or daily; if you were to write a prescription for the future of the printed paper, do you see USA Today as the preferred medication for the future’s solution? What’s your vision for the printed paper?

Joanne Lipman: I think there is no question that we’re all moving more and more toward a digital future. So because of that I think the printed paper becomes more of a premium experience. And like I said, I would love for the printed paper to reflect more of the depth and excitement that you see digitally. So, the printed paper can also be a way to send the consumer back online to get even more of the information that we’re providing.

One of the things that you do see in print, and I think this true everywhere, I know it’s true with my friends at The New York Tines and the Washington Post, there is something about print that is still very, very compelling. When you have the big interview with the politician or the world leader; the celebrity, the first thing they always ask is will it appear in print? I don’t want it to disappear online. So, there is still a perception of premium with print. I think that’s something that we can think about going forward.

But we all are really focused on a digital future because that is where we’re all going.

Samir Husni: You saw the most recent Reuters study that not only are the millennials getting their news from the web, but also the 55+ audience. So, who’s your audience for the print product?

Joanne Lipman: In USA Today’s case, the print product has always been a newspaper for business executives and travelers, and that remains true. When you’re traveling, that’s what you pick up because that is the nation’s newspaper. In that way it’s a little bit like CNN; wherever you go in the world you turn on CNN because you know what you’re getting and they give you the information that you need.

Digitally it’s interesting, if you look at our digital audience, which is over 100 million, we actually over index on a couple of groups. One is millennials. We have a very robust millennial audience; more millennials that Vox or Vice. But we also do incredibly well with C-suite executives. We get more C-suite executives than the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

One of the things that we talk about here is we know that these are both audiences that value and come to our content, so we think about being a little more purposeful when it comes to what we’re providing to those audiences. We think about that in terms of coverage and in other sorts of things as well. When we talk about innovation, we talk about virtual reality and many other innovations. We talk about events; there are a lot of ways to connect with our audience.

Samir Husni: Why do you think it has taken newspaper folks so long to discover what you were just talking about? Or do you disagree with me?

Joanne Lipman: It’s funny, one of the people that I brought in here, John Brecher, who worked with me at the Wall Street Journal; he was my first boss as an editor. He ran page one; he had this unprecedented string of seven Pulitzer Prizes at the Wall Street Journal; the guy is a genius. And he first hired me onto page one; I want to say 20 years ago. More than 20 years ago.

And I remember being on a business trip with him and he was telling me, and this was long before the digital world existed, and he said to me that print was going to go away. That people were going to stop reading physical, hard copies of the paper. And I looked at him like he was crazy. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Joanne Lipman: There was no Google then, nothing, certainly no Facebook. So, I think that really smart newspaper people have been thinking about this for a long time. I think it’s been difficult because of the economic model, I really do. The big issue has been that print dollars are important. You have your digital dimes and your print dollars. And so you have to weigh the economics of it.

But I also think that publications that have done away with print too quickly have suffered. Look at what happened in New Orleans; look at what happened when Newsweek Magazine went out of print and then tried to come back in. There really is a value to that print product and those that have tried to move out of it too quickly have really suffered, in terms of loss of brand and loss of value, even if they provide good content.

Samir Husni: I saw your Tweet on the glossy that USA Today is doing on Ali and all of the other specials that you have coming out; how do you differentiate, because most of the public, the minute that they hear print, they think newspapers. So, how are you making the case for all of these SIP’s that you’re producing and for all of these special interest publications? You’re not necessarily flooding the market like Time Inc., but you’re putting a lot of them out.

Joanne Lipman: I don’t think we’re doing any more than we ever did before. We tend to be very sparing when it comes to our special issues. We have regularly scheduled what we call “tab sections,” they’re not glossy, but they’re specials. One on national parks; one on Black History month, so we have a regular schedule with these and they will appear on newsstands.

The Ali Special magazine is highly unusual for us; we don’t do that frequently. The last one that I’m aware of, and I’ve only been here six months, but the last one that I’m aware of was several years ago with the death of Michael Jackson.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Joanne Lipman: This is the most fun job that I’ve ever had. What I love about this is the fact that we have so much potential, there is so much that we can do with the journalism here. The idea that we have essentially a giant firehose of content now that we are a network, as opposed to a bunch of individual organizations, is exciting. So the idea of taking that firehose of content and taming it and thinking of all the different ways that we can go about slicing and dicing and using it; it’s a very creative job because you’re constantly thinking about the amazing talent that we have all over the country.

And then you think about how we can put these different talents together and you can come up with some really cool ideas. I’ll give you one example. One of my deputies is a guy named Randy Lovely. He is the VP of community content and came out of the Arizona newsroom, which he ran for many years. So, he knows people throughout the network really, really well. And we were trying to solve a very interesting problem. We had a guy in Jackson, Mississippi, a reporter who had a really great idea for a video series.

Now the Jackson property is a small property. It alone did not have the resources to do a video series. So, Randy called around to some of the editors in the network and the editor of the Des Moines Register said that he had a fantastic editor that I’m going to lend to that reporter to help with that series. And an editor at USA Today said that he would lend his top videographer for that series, so now we have this group that has been pulled from our different properties and has converged together in Jackson, Mississippi to create this video documentary series.

Everyday there are things like that happening with 3,800 journalists, all with different talents, and they’re not all bunched up in one place; they’re all in different properties. And that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I love the excitement of thinking about where we can take this network. And how we’ve been able to take it so far, so fast, but there’s so much more to do.

Samir Husni: What you’re describing is a world where we have better journalism than ever, yet all we ever hear is that journalism is doomed and we should look at digital and TV and all of the cable networks. Why aren’t we promoting the future of journalism in a much better way than we used to?

Joanne Lipman: That’s a good question. On the one side, there’s the business model, which is clearly influx. And I think that’s a big piece of what we’re hearing. But I also think that one of the great things about being here with USA Today Network is what we are doing is – and I take no credit for this, because I came in after USA Network was invented by Bob Dickey, the CEO, and by his executive team, — but it’s such a smart idea.

Every newsroom in America is resource-constrained, but when you put our 108 newsrooms together, with our 3,800 journalists, suddenly it feels expansive, a growing operation. If there’s an idea that we have, an idea that originates in any newsroom, no matter how small that newsroom is, we have the ability to execute that idea and support those journalists in that newsroom to get those ideas done.

Samir Husni: So, you have no fear about the future of journalism; we should continue teaching journalism and having journalism schools?

Joanne Lipman: We should continue teaching journalism, absolutely. And I see a lot of talented young people who want to go into journalism; it’s definitely tougher than it was when I started. There are probably more jobs, not newspaper jobs, but more jobs if you add in all of the blogs and the other various outlets where you might be a writer.

I think the issue is that there are fewer well-paying jobs with insurance. There is plenty of freelance, low-paid, unpaid work out there, but it is tough. I look at young journalism students, and I look at the young people we’re hiring, who are fantastic, and you can see that it’s a tougher world for them than it was for me.

One of the benefits that we have with the USA Today Network is that we have 3,800 jobs, all over the country, real jobs, full-time with insurance. So it’s nice to be in a company that offers that. But the one thing that I would say to students, and I bet you say this to your students all of the time, is there seems to be a bias among journalism students that they think they have to go to New York or D.C. or maybe L.A. Somebody crunched some numbers and found that one in five journalists lives in either New York, D.C. or L.A.

We were really curious when we saw that, so we crunched our own numbers. And we found that for Gannett, for USA Today Network, that number is one in 39. So, the vast majority of our journalists are not on the coast, they’re in the middle of the country. And I think that’s a big benefit because it allows us to cover the country in a way that others cannot. We’re boots-on-the-ground in big cities and small towns and in red states and blue states so that we can understand the electorate better than the national news organizations.

But if you look at that point of view from students coming out, there are a lot of opportunities that aren’t necessarily in New York or D.C. or L.A.

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your house one evening unexpectedly, what would I find you doing? Reading a printed newspaper, or your iPad, watching television, or something different?

Joanne Lipman: (Laughs) I live in New York City, but my office is in Tysons, Virginia. So, I have a little apartment two minutes from the office that I live in during the week, and I go back home to my family on the weekends, because my kids are now out of school, so we’re now empty nesters.

So, if you come after work, I generally go from the office to the gym. I guess you would find me at the gym.

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

Joanne Lipman: There are no really mega issues; I feel really good about this position and the company and the leadership. I feel really, really good about the leadership. I’ve been hiring a lot. I came in as a new position and my team was not filled out, so I focused a lot on finding just the right people to hire and now my team is almost all in place, so I think I’m sleeping easier now than I have in a long time.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Military Kids’ Life Magazine: A Title For The Children Of Service Men & Women Of All Branches – Giving The “Chameleon Kids” The Voice That They Deserve – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Janine Boldrin, Creative Director, Military Kids’ Life Magazine

June 22, 2016

Military Kids Life 2

“When I saw my own kids and how they engage with magazines and books; they love print. They love going to the library; they love touching and they’re very tactile. Kids will read a magazine in the back of a car; they love the brightness of it and they love getting mail. Kids today love getting something in the mailbox that is for them. That’s such an enjoyable experience. It’s not an experience you can have by downloading something on a phone or looking at a tablet or other Smart devices.” Janine Boldrin (on why she chose print for the magazine)


“And they (kids) tell us. They love how bright it is and they love the feel of it. We think a lot about the feel of our magazine. When they touch it, they love the quality of the pages. And that’s what kids like and engage with. So, we’ve found that a print experience is perfect for what we’re trying to do.” Janine Boldrin

Military Kids’ Life magazine is the only print title for kids of U.S. service members of all branches that gives voice to the experiences these children have from their parents serving our country. Launched in April 2015 it incorporates military kids as reporters, allowing them the opportunity to tell their stories in their own way and connecting them with a host of people who provide a backdrop of different topics in which they can showcase their talents.

Janine Boldrin is the creative director of the magazine and also a military spouse, her husband being active duty Army. Janine is a woman who knows the excitement and the angst of military life, and the joy of being a writer and a journalist. Her thrill is in the passion she has for her product and the kids who make her smile every day.

JB Headshot I spoke with Janine recently and we talked about the magazine and the diverse emotions military life brings to the families. But no matter the mixed emotions adults and children alike might feel when either being deployed or watching a parent leave for months on end, the magazine presents a positive and bright outlook on the service environment and offers essays, articles, fiction, fun activities and poems, all centered on the concept of finding the bright side of life as a military kid.

The tagline for the magazine is “Find Your Adventure,” so, I invite you to sit back, smile and enjoy the military adventure of a lifetime as you experience a Military Kids’ Life – the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Janine Boldrin, Creative Director, Military Kids’ Life Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On the reason behind the company name Chameleon Kids: Chameleon Kids is all about our military kids, the children of U.S. service members, all branches. The reason that we named it Chameleon Kids is because our military kids go into communities and while they have to blend with the communities they move into, they’re also very distinct. So, we chose the word chameleon because we felt it really represented what our military kids have to be like.

On whether she has found her own adventure in the pages of the magazine: It’s 110% my adventure. (Laughs) I love it. It’s amazing the emails that I receive from kids. I have three kids of my own and they’re really why I wanted to do this. I had not worked within the kid’s space with writing, so it was very unfamiliar to me. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get, but when I get stories from kids, I am encouraged as an adult every single day.

On the “Hit the Road” section of the magazine: Our reporters are doing content for our print magazine, but they’re also developing some online content for us. For instance, we did a section in our most recent issue on the USO and we sent four military kid reporters out to visit some USOs across the United States. And they had designated times that they needed to go; they had representatives that they were meeting with to interview, and it really gave them a unique experience. They learned communication skills, how to tell a story, how to be responsible and it’s just a great opportunity for them.

Military Kids Life 3 On why she decided to launch a print magazine: When I saw my own kids and how they engage with magazines and books; they love print. They love going to the library; they love touching and they’re very tactile. Kids will read a magazine in the back of a car; they love the brightness of it and they love getting mail. Kids today love getting something in the mailbox that is for them. That’s such an enjoyable experience. It’s not an experience you can have by downloading something on a phone or looking at a tablet or other Smart devices.

On how she’s carrying it from the love and passion stage to a business model: That’s a very good point. You can have a passion for something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody else will have that same passion for your product. And we were worried about that at the beginning because we weren’t sure where this was going to go. But what we have found is that we’ve created something that people didn’t realize they needed, and in doing that we have found a home for our magazine in schools, libraries and in non-profits that serve military families.

On the biggest stumbling block she’s had to face: I think part of it was just not pushing hard enough in the beginning. I feel like we started out really slowly. And we focused on things that weren’t important. For instance, we really thought we needed to have an awesome website right from the get-go. So, we put way too much time and way too much energy in creating this website, instead of really focusing on getting the product out the door. That was one of our primary fails in the beginning.

On the most pleasant moment she’s had on this journey: It’s the kids, every single time. Their emails are just wonderful. I just love the kids’ feedback. They’re brutally honest. They will be the best critic on the face of the earth. They do not filter their comments like adults do. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you they don’t like it. (Laughs) And if they love something, they’ll have a very genuine expression about it.

On anything else that she’d like to add: I just hope that we’re able to connect more with schools and libraries and that more know that we exist. Quite frequently older military kids will tell us that they really wish this magazine had been around when they were kids. It’s really just hoping that we can reach more people to let them know we exist.

On what motivates her to get out of bed in the morning: When I was a kid I wanted to be a journalist. I’ve wanted to be a writer since day one. I took a very long and winding path to get there, including getting master’s degree in manufacturing and working for IBM. One day I managed to get back to what was truly my original calling. And what gets me out of bed is providing encouragement and opportunities to kids who also feel that, so that they don’t go down a winding path, but they see a more direct way out to what they truly see as their passion and growing their passion, because I would have loved that.

On what keeps her up at night: You know, military life isn’t easy; it really isn’t. My husband is gone from us more than he’s been at home and when you have three kids it’s a huge balance in making sure that everyone’s emotional needs are being met, when you’re the only parent around and your spouse is in a job that puts them in harm’s way. We’re in a society that is very disconnected from that. They don’t understand the sacrifice, truly that is made by military families and the sacrifices that our kids make. And that keeps me up at night.


And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Janine Boldrin, Creative Director, Military Kids’ Life Magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me the mission, the idea behind Military Kids’ Life and behind the company name, Chameleon Kids.

Janine Boldrin: Chameleon Kids is all about our military kids, the children of U.S. service members, all branches. The reason that we named it Chameleon Kids is because our military kids go into communities and while they have to blend with the communities they move into, they’re also very distinct. So, we chose the word chameleon because we felt it really represented what our military kids have to be like. They have to be a part of their community, but they’re also very vibrant and interesting. And that’s why we chose that name.

We also tried to avoid always using military terms with our kids because military kids are kids too and quite frequently you’ll see anything directed toward the military community using a word like operation kids, or operation this or that, or camouflage. So, we tried not to be too much military, because they really do just like to do fun things also.

The magazine was really born out of me being a writer for the past ten years within the military space. I had written a lot about military families, about veterans and service members, and I really found that there was a void when it came to our military kids. They didn’t have anything that represented their voices. As I started looking at it and researching, I realized that everything that I found out there really focused on the act of moving and most of the time the imagery was pretty sad. It would be a military kid crying or waving goodbye to a parent.

When I looked around at my peers, because we’re an army family, I saw kids that were just being kids and they really had an exciting life because many of them lived overseas, they moved a lot and had amazing experiences. I wanted to give them an opportunity to share that with each other, so that they could become encouraged about military life, rather than just hear this message all of the time that they were broken because their parents were being deployed and they would have too many challenges and have to struggle, and that moving was a bad thing. So, I wanted them to share their stories with each other.

And when they did that, I found that they had a great respect for each other. So, that’s really why we launched the magazine. We did a prototype and tried to figure out if it would work and if it was what they wanted and we found out that it was. We’ve had an exciting journey since.

Samir Husni: To borrow from your tagline “Find Your Adventure,” have you found your adventure; is this your adventure now?

Janine Boldrin: It’s 110% my adventure. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Janine Boldrin: I love it. It’s amazing the emails that I receive from kids. I have three kids of my own and they’re really why I wanted to do this. I had not worked within the kid’s space with writing, so it was very unfamiliar to me. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get, but when I get stories from kids, I am encouraged as an adult every single day.

Recently we started sending military kids out to do reporting in the field and it’s been so much fun. They go to concerts and museums; they meet with representatives of the museums and then they write a story for us. And they write to me just to say thank you. They thank me for giving them this experience and for trusting that they could do it. And it really is an adventure. It’s so much fun.

Samir Husni: And you’re talking about the “Hit the Road” section of the magazine; the road trips that the kids are making?

Military Kids Life1 Janine Boldrin: Our reporters are doing content for our print magazine, but they’re also developing some online content for us. For instance, we did a section in our most recent issue on the USO and we sent four military kid reporters out to visit some USOs across the United States. And they had designated times that they needed to go; they had representatives that they were meeting with to interview, and it really gave them a unique experience. They learned communication skills, how to tell a story, how to be responsible and it’s just a great opportunity for them. So, that’s what we’re doing with our reporters; we’re trying to get them out, more than just doing things over the phone, so that they can write about their own experiences.

Samir Husni: We live in a digital age, there’s no question about it. And some people say that kids don’t read anymore; so why did you decide to launch a print magazine?

Janine Boldrin: That is an excellent question because we have been asked that since the beginning. We don’t get that question so much anymore, but when we launched the magazine everybody said we had to be out of our minds because kids would not engage with it if it’s not online content.

When I saw my own kids and how they engage with magazines and books; they love print. They love going to the library; they love touching and they’re very tactile. Kids will read a magazine in the back of a car; they love the brightness of it and they love getting mail. Kids today love getting something in the mailbox that is for them. That’s such an enjoyable experience. It’s not an experience you can have by downloading something on a phone or looking at a tablet or other Smart devices.

People get their mail every single day and when a magazine shows up with the child’s name on it, it’s exciting for that child. And then they can go up in a tree with it, they don’t have to worry about glare. They can sit on the playground with it, and that’s where we see our kids’ reading magazines.

And they tell us. They love how bright it is and they love the feel of it. We think a lot about the feel of our magazine. When they touch it, they love the quality of the pages. And that’s what kids like and engage with. So, we’ve found that a print experience is perfect for what we’re trying to do.

Samir Husni: I can hear the passion in your voice and the love you have for this project. How are you taking it from mere passion and love to a business model?

Janine Boldrin: Exactly. That’s a very good point. You can have a passion for something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody else will have that same passion for your product. And we were worried about that at the beginning because we weren’t sure where this was going to go. But what we have found is that we’ve created something that people didn’t realize they needed, and in doing that we have found a home for our magazine in schools, libraries and in non-profits that serve military families. We have a lot of military personnel stationed overseas that order individual subscriptions. We’re working with overseas schools that serve military kids to get our magazine into their schools.

What we’ve found is that it really serves as a springboard for conversation for military kids in group settings. We’ve also developed an educator’s guide that goes along with every issue so that teachers know how to use the magazine in their classrooms and in their small groups. It can help in starting conversations with military kids about their experiences.

Something that is secondary to our primary audience is that we’ve found that adults who interact with military kids are reading our magazine, because they want to learn what the military kid experience is so they can serve them better. We’re finding that teachers, parents; again, non-profits that serve military kids, they want to be reading it, so that they understand what our kids are experiencing. And that’s how we’ve grown our business.

It started with us thinking about individual subscribers, but now we’re getting subscriptions from schools. Our magazines are going to select USO centers and one of those is in airports where kids and parents will sit down in for periods of time between flights. And as you well know, airports are a place where people pick up magazines. We’ve found a lot of different homes that we didn’t expect to find and we’re finding more every day.

Samir Husni: You’ve launched the magazine and you’re now on issue #6; what has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve faced during all of this and how did you overcome it?

Janine Boldrin: I think part of it was just not pushing hard enough in the beginning. I feel like we started out really slowly. And we focused on things that weren’t important. For instance, we really thought we needed to have an awesome website right from the get-go. So, we put way too much time and way too much energy in creating this website, instead of really focusing on getting the product out the door. That was one of our primary fails in the beginning.

I will say that we sped up after that play. Once we got past that and put our first prototype out, then I started realizing and my business partner Amy, who’s also another military spouse, also realized that it was really more about just getting the product out there and it didn’t need to be perfect. We’re perfectionists, her and I. But we realized the magazine didn’t need to be perfect in the beginning and now as we get it out and it’s getting where we want it to be, we see it as more of an evolution than perfect from the start.

Samir Husni: What was the most pleasant moment for you on this journey?

Janine Boldrin: It’s the kids, every single time. Their emails are just wonderful. I always keep a copy of the magazine in the backseat of my car because my kids will be doing something and I’d much rather have them reading the magazine than playing some electronic device. And I love to hear them comment about something they read.

I just love the kids’ feedback. They’re brutally honest. They will be the best critic on the face of the earth. They do not filter their comments like adults do. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you they don’t like it. (Laughs) And if they love something, they’ll have a very genuine expression about it. So, I love hearing those comments from my kids in the backseat or one that has emailed me.

Recently I was at the pool with friends that I have known for quite some time. Their daughter had written something in school weeks ago and had said to her mom that they had to bring it to me. So, her mom had packed it into the pool bag and her daughter gave it to me at the pool and said, “Ms. Janine, can you please read my essay? I really want you to read this.” And it was all about her father’s deployment. I sat down and read it and it was just so genuine about her feelings as she was going through this experience. And I felt so trusted with her story and all of these kids’ stories. It takes a lot of trust to put your story out into the world.

So, it’s them, the kids. It’s them bringing me what they want to share with their peers and the world. And that’s what’s really exciting about it.

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

Janine Boldrin: I just hope that we’re able to connect more with schools and libraries and that more know that we exist. Quite frequently older military kids will tell us that they really wish this magazine had been around when they were kids. It’s really just hoping that we can reach more people to let them know we exist. And we’re always happy to send a complimentary copy because we find that once people see it and experience it, they understand it. And they get excited about it too.

And I’m also really excited about our reporters. We have about eight reporters in D.C. and we have a database of around 30 kid reporters across the United States. And we’re connecting them with opportunities to go out and experience things and write about them. Adults and organizations have responded great to that.

That’s what I hope to see in a year, that we’re in more schools and libraries for military kids and getting more experiences for our reporters.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Janine Boldrin: When I was a kid I wanted to be a journalist. I’ve wanted to be a writer since day one. I took a very long and winding path to get there, including getting master’s degree in manufacturing and working for IBM. One day I managed to get back to what was truly my original calling.

And what gets me out of bed is providing encouragement and opportunities to kids who also feel that, so that they don’t go down a winding path, but they see a more direct way out to what they truly see as their passion and growing their passion, because I would have loved that. I would have loved to have had that same support and someone telling me that I could do this. And that I could not only do it, but be successful. And then being shown that this is how I could do it.

That’s really what gets me out of bed is encouraging kids to, and maybe they’re not going to become journalists, but to develop their communication skills and have someone to tell them that they can do this. And that they’re stories are pretty cool.

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

Janine Boldrin: (Laughs) What keeps me up at night? Probably my own kids. (Laughs again)

You know, military life isn’t easy; it really isn’t. My husband is gone from us more than he’s been at home and when you have three kids it’s a huge balance in making sure that everyone’s emotional needs are being met, when you’re the only parent around and your spouse is in a job that puts them in harm’s way. We’re in a society that is very disconnected from that. They don’t understand the sacrifice, truly that is made by military families and the sacrifices that our kids make. And that keeps me up at night.

It worries me and that’s really why I have the magazine too, because I need something that reminds me of why we do this and the positivity and the bright side of life that we encourage as a military kid. Our parents read our magazine too and they frequently tell me that it also reminds them of the positive side of military life.

So, it’s my own kids, military life and the challenges that presents. And it’s another reason why I started the magazine.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

h1

TV Guide: “Reengineered” For Today’s Television Audience And Industry– The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Paul Turcotte, President/Publisher, TV Guide.

June 16, 2016

“Absolutely. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t focus on the delivery. I think that if we’re providing a service that people need; in this particular case, I actually believe print is the most effective way to curate this information. I find that this is an example where technology takes longer than it does the printed service. It’s easy to flip open the page, do the read; this is what’s worth watching; done. I can do that before you can even open your app.” Paul Turcotte (on whether he believes there is a future for the printed magazine).

TV Guide old and new There is one thing in common between yours truly and TV Guide magazine. We were both born in 1953. TV Guide became the go-to source for anything television related, from daily programming to previews of each new season’s shows. As for me, you know the rest of the story.

On a recent trip to New York City with my students, we were privileged to visit with the folks at TV Guide in their headquarters on the14th Floor, 50 Rockefeller Place. The place was buzzing. The plans to “reengineer” the magazine were going full-fledge. Dummy designs filled the walls of the room and editors, designers and president/publisher Paul Turcotte were there. They introduced the new designs, the new sections, and all the additional content the new magazine will have. Ideas were exchanged, comments made and the necessity of a printed television guide in today’s marketplace was debated thoroughly. And it was unanimous; the need for a true “guide” was an absolute must.

Brits Tony Frost and Paul Aarons were brought in to work closely with TV Guide editor in chief Nerina Rammairone and designer Kevin Newman. The end result is now on the newsstands. So go pick up a copy of the new TV Guide and then read my review and interview with its president and publisher.

Today, in the digital world in which we live, the need for the particular type of television guide of yesterday has diminished with programming information at the touch of a finger for most of us. However, the need for a guide that actually “guides” us through the maze of infinite channels and information, be it entertainment or actual news, has never been more essential. And with the reengineering of today’s TV Guide, that’s just what we have.

Paul’s idea behind the “reengineering” of the new TV Guide seeks to sort through all of the confusion and turmoil that we have on our large-screened, digital TV devices these days. His guideline and roadmap is made to provide a guide to “What’s Worth Watching;” saving the reader’s time and curating the many programs on television is what the new TV Guide aims to do. My first reaction has been more than positive starting with the change of the iconic logo from the cornered television screen of the days long gone, to the flat edged television screen. Call it catching up with the times.

Paul Turcotte I spoke with Paul this week about the newly “reengineered” TV Guide, a word that he introduced during our conversation and that I liked immediately. My first question to him was, “Can this magazine be saved?” A line I paraphrased from the famous Ladies’ Home Journal magazine section, “Can This Marriage Be Saved.” The focal point of the redesign, according to Paul, is service, service to the industry, but more importantly service to the readers, another characteristic trait that Mr. Magazine™ likes. Providing a true television guide that leads the reader down the overcrowded programming highway and points the way to the shows actually worth watching is worth a goldmine in today’s muddled television roadmap. The profusion of information and channel-surfing that one must go through to find a program that interests them to watch is next to impossible without at least 15 minutes of their own research.

But the reengineered TV Guide does that job for you. And Paul is as excited as a new father about his baby. As well he should be. It’s a wonderful change and a positive one for the magazine’s future.

So, I hope that you enjoy this journey through the land of TV Guide – because it’s a given that you have a great team “guiding” you to what’s worth watching…The Mr. Magazine™ interview with Paul Turcotte, President and Publisher, TV Guide.

But first the sound-bites:

On whether he believes that TV Guide can be saved: Definitely. And I have a very specific reason I believe that to be true. It’s not the magazine, it’s the industry. Television, programming and content are such a hot and vibrant industry right now that the service we provide is what is still viable.

On the role he sees the “new” TV Guide playing in the market within the next year: The redesigned, or as I like to say, the reengineered magazine is now more reflective and useful, in terms of how people are consuming content today. First of all, we have more real estate committed to the service element of TV Guide, which is helping people understand what’s worth watching.

On the curation aspect of the magazine: Yes, it’s a curated Guide and we need that. So, we are focused more on a curation; we’re using our authority and our knowledge to provide viewer’s with an answer to the question: what is the best programming available right now?

On bringing new talent onboard, such as Tony Frost and Paul Aarons from the U.K.’s OK magazine: Yes, Paul Aarons. One of the things that we wanted to do was to ensure that we achieved the best results for our readers, but also to bring in outside perspective. We brought in Tony Frost and Paul Aarons to guide (no pun intended) and help ensure that we were looking at the reengineering from all points of view.

On the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face during the magazine’s reengineering and how he overcame it: That’s a good question. I don’t know that I would call it a stumbling block, but my focus in the reengineering of the magazine was on identifying the market needs and bringing those to the attention of the new team. Again, it was focused on recognizing the patterns and behaviors of consumers today.

Before and after On the most pleasant moment he had during the redesign: It was like any vision, as the magazine started to unfold and we started to see the redesign, we recognized that we in fact are answering a lot of the basic needs. We have run the reengineered magazine by some of the top network executives and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

On his expectations for the magazine: That’s a great question. For newsstand, I think what’s going to make me happy frankly is – we get pretty decent numbers on newsstand; we want to make sure that, and obviously I want to see our numbers jump, but it’s more important to me that we’re positioning the magazine correctly and what I want is for people to respond to the service elements of the magazine, which is more information on streaming and more information on movies.

On what motivates him to get out of bed, excited to go to work: Through my career I’ve learned what I love to do. And I love fixing; I love responding to a market. And as I mentioned at the beginning of our interview, the television industry is on fire right now. I clearly see the need for the service that we’re providing.

On whether he is a firm believer in the future of the printed magazine: Absolutely. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t focus on the delivery. I think that if we’re providing a service that people need; in this particular case, I actually believe print is the most effective way to curate this information. I find that this is an example where technology takes longer than it does the printed service. It’s easy to flip open the page, do the read; this is what’s worth watching; done. I can do that before you can even open your app.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly at his house one evening: You’ll likely find me at home with my son and we’ll have sports on television and the BBQ going and there are certainly magazines all around, because I am a big, big fan of, what I call, the guided tour, I think a good editor and a good magazine constantly brings you points of view that you’re familiar with, but they share new insights that you hadn’t thought of.

On anything else that he’d like to add: I think right now the biggest opportunity for us is, and maybe at the same time a challenge, because usually your challenge is your opportunity, we have a brand that is so well-recognized, but with that comes everybody’s own personal experience with the brand, so our hope is that we can take advantage of the brand awareness, but also get permission for people to look at this for the first time all over again.

On what keeps him up at night: (Laughs) The last thing I said – how do I get the industry to deserve us more? (Laughs again) Honestly, what’s fun about this industry, especially right now, is there’s not a week, or sometimes even a day, that goes by that there’s not a new program introduced that we believe we can support and help, and so it definitely keeps my passion burning at night, which is – how can we help ABC introduce this new show; what else can we do; how else can we participate? And the industry is so vibrant that there’s a new challenge every day. And I love that.

new sections

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Paul Turcotte, President and Publisher, TV Guide.

Samir Husni: You’ve been a publisher at Men’s Health, a publisher and chief revenue officer at a daily newspaper; suffice it to say, that you have been in the media business for a long time. Do you think TV Guide be saved?

Paul Turcotte: Definitely. And I have a very specific reason I believe that to be true. It’s not the magazine, it’s the industry. Television, programming and content are such a hot and vibrant industry right now that the service we provide is what is still viable. I think that there are older titles that’s time has come and gone, but there’s never been a better time or a bigger need for guidance about what’s worth watching on television than there is right now. So, that’s why I’m encouraged.

Samir Husni: What’s the plan? As you introduce the “new” TV Guide, how do you envision the magazine and the role it will play? After 63 years, we have more television channels than ever before. I’m a firm believer that we need more guidance today because of all of those channels and the fact that we’re bombarded by information. So, tell me where do you see TV Guide fitting into that picture in the upcoming year?

Paul Turcotte: The redesigned, or as I like to say, the reengineered magazine is now more reflective and useful, in terms of how people are consuming content today.

First of all, we have more real estate committed to the service element of TV Guide, which is helping people understand what’s worth watching. So, whether it’s a new streaming section that we have of what’s newly available or the movies available through the various over-the-top services, we’re providing guidance for what’s great to watch. There are 1,500 television shows on networks right now and there are over 400 scripted television shows; the question is which ones are worth watching and that’s what we’re doing with the new TV Guide.

more new sections We’re combining both a service element with the authority that is TV Guide to provide very useful information for people’s viewing habits. And the part that I’m encouraged by is that there are 120 million households watching television. Networks alone have over 40 million domestic subscribers, so people are investing in programming. We have the opportunity to help them enhance that.

Samir Husni: I believe that curation aspect is what’s worth watching and it definitely got my attention; finally somebody is thinking of the magazine as more of a “guided” Guide than just a yellow pages Guide.

Paul Turcotte: Yes, it’s a curated Guide and we need that. So, we are focused more on a curation; we’re using our authority and our knowledge to provide viewer’s with an answer to the question: what is the best programming available right now?

But I think you’ll also see that we’re also focusing more on service and the quality of programming than we are on the celebrity of the industry. We literally edit the magazine for people who thoroughly enjoy programming, not the celebrity of the show. We don’t talk about the gossip of who’s dating whom; it’s all about what’s the best programming out there across all platforms right now.

Samir Husni: I’ve noticed that you’ve also brought some new talent onboard. In that whole process of “reengineering,” and by the way I love that word, you’ve brought Tony (Frost) and the creative director from OK from the U.K.

Paul Turcotte: Yes, Paul Aarons. One of the things that we wanted to do was to ensure that we achieved the best results for our readers, but also to bring in outside perspective. We brought in Tony Frost and Paul Aarons to guide (no pun intended) and help ensure that we were looking at the reengineering from all points of view.

And I think the result of that is very positive. Every page has been analyzed, researched and overanalyzed to make sure that we’re actually providing the direction and the service to our readers in the most utilitarian format. And also in what I think is intuitive; it’s very easy with so much content to overthink things and a lot of what we’re trying to do at the magazine is just to have it be intuitive and friendly.

Samir Husni: You’re known in the industry, and correct me if I’m mistaken, as a hands-on publisher. You’re a hands-on CRO; you see everything, every word and picture. You’re involved to that extent.

Paul Turcotte: I am, yes.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face during the reengineering of the magazine and how did you overcome it?

Paul Turcotte: That’s a good question. I don’t know that I would call it a stumbling block, but my focus in the reengineering of the magazine was on identifying the market needs and bringing those to the attention of the new team. Again, it was focused on recognizing the patterns and behaviors of consumers today.

What we did was from the marketing point of view, meaning the market industry point of view and also from our readers point of view; we wanted thorough knowledge in how they were consuming content and how they were using the magazine? And also what was frustrating people right now and how we could help with that.

I would say that my biggest role in the reengineering was properly positioning the challenge to our editorial team and to Tony and Paul so that they could come back with effective answers to the market needs. So, that’s what we did. We identified what were the industry needs and what viewers really needed right now.

new sections As an example we are introducing a new section on movies and we recognize how challenging it is to navigate through the current delivery systems to find a movie worth watching. And we spent a lot of time on what is the best way to present the information and we’re really excited about it. And it shows in the way that we’ve laid out that service to our readers.

Samir Husni: What was the most pleasant moment that you had during this reengineering?

Paul Turcotte: It was like any vision, as the magazine started to unfold and we started to see the redesign, we recognized that we in fact are answering a lot of the basic needs. We have run the reengineered magazine by some of the top network executives and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

And for me, the most rewarding part is watching the team come together and feeling really good about the work they’re doing. As a unit and an organization, we’re really excited about what we’re delivering.

Samir Husni: As the reengineered magazine hits newsstands soon, what are your expectations? What will put you over-the-top happy and think: yes, they got it?

Paul Turcotte: That’s a great question. For newsstand, I think what’s going to make me happy frankly is – we get pretty decent numbers on newsstand; we want to make sure that, and obviously I want to see our numbers jump, but it’s more important to me that we’re positioning the magazine correctly and what I want is for people to respond to the service elements of the magazine, which is more information on streaming and more information on movies.

On our cover, we’re providing more service elements there too for our call-outs. We are telling about curation for movies, more information on streaming and also more information on what’s worth watching. So, I’m hoping that people will respond to that side of the new magazine.

Samir Husni: You’ve had a multimedia career, and not only media, but the events business too. What motivates you today to get out of bed, excited and ready to get to the office and go to work?

Paul Turcotte: Through my career I’ve learned what I love to do. And I love fixing; I love responding to a market. And as I mentioned at the beginning of our interview, the television industry is on fire right now. I clearly see the need for the service that we’re providing. I’m very aware of our history and am intrigued by the challenge of taking, what I think, is arguably the most successful magazine in the history of publishing and reinvigorating it and serving a whole new generation, but serving it the way that it needs to be served today. And I’m enjoying this work as much as I’ve enjoyed anything over the years.

Samir Husni: Do I take it then that you’re a firm believer in the future of the printed magazine?

Paul Turcotte: Absolutely. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t focus on the delivery. I think that if we’re providing a service that people need; in this particular case, I actually believe print is the most effective way to curate this information. I find that this is an example where technology takes longer than it does the printed service. It’s easy to flip open the page, do the read; this is what’s worth watching; done. I can do that before you can even open your app.

Samir Husni: (Laughs). Excellent point.

Paul Turcotte: (Laughs too).

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your house one evening unexpectedly; what would I find you doing; reading a magazine, watching television, reading your iPad, or something else?

Paul Turcotte: You’ll likely find me at home with my son and we’ll have sports on television and the BBQ going and there are certainly magazines all around, because I am a big, big fan of, what I call, the guided tour, I think a good editor and a good magazine constantly brings you points of view that you’re familiar with, but they share new insights that you hadn’t thought of.

So, I’m probably a classic multitasker. The game is on TV; I’ve got my magazine going and there’s a lot of activity in the home.

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

Paul Turcotte: I think right now the biggest opportunity for us is, and maybe at the same time a challenge, because usually your challenge is your opportunity, we have a brand that is so well-recognized, but with that comes everybody’s own personal experience with the brand, so our hope is that we can take advantage of the brand awareness, but also get permission for people to look at this for the first time all over again.

Samir Husni: And we’re not talking about selling eight million copies on the newsstands?

Paul Turcotte: No, we’re not. If we’re doing 100,000 copies on newsstand, that’s a good story for us.

And you asked before about my expectations; I would add that for the reader I hope to appeal to someone who watches television intentionally, not just passively. And I want the magazine to genuinely be of service to that reader. And on the business end, an old boss and now a mentor of mine, Richard Extract, once told me: an industry gets the magazine it deserves. So, my hope is that we’ve provided a magazine for the industry that it now believes supports them and they in turn jump back onboard and support us. We hope that we’re providing the magazine that the industry deserves.

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

Paul Turcotte: (Laughs) The last thing I said – how do I get the industry to deserve us more? (Laughs again) Honestly, what’s fun about this industry, especially right now, is there’s not a week, or sometimes even a day, that goes by that there’s not a new program introduced that we believe we can support and help, and so it definitely keeps my passion burning at night, which is – how can we help ABC introduce this new show; what else can we do; how else can we participate? And the industry is so vibrant that there’s a new challenge every day. And I love that.

Samir Husni: That’s the amazing thing; when we had three television channels, almost everybody knew what they wanted to watch and at what time. Now, with the numbers that you shared with me and the number of channels that we have available, we spend more time searching.

Paul Turcotte: And it’s interesting, there is a, I think Nielsen stat, that states over 50 percent of television viewers report that at least once a day they cannot find something worth watching on television. Once a day. And that’s the opportunity for TV Guide. That’s why I think the future is very bright. The need in the marketplace is there; our job is to serve that need.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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