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Children And Teen Magazines 1953. The Magazines And I: Chapter 7, Part 3.

May 31, 2021

Children and Teen Magazines … is the 7th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter seven, part three.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five and six in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

OPEN ROAD

A boys’ magazine encouraging the outdoor life, The Open Road for Boys was published from November 1919 to the 1950s. The title changed to Open Road The Young People’s Magazine in 1950. The magazine was quite the motivator for young boys to get out and explore the open road, so to speak, with adventure, sports and outdoor fun prominent features. By 1949, the magazine was published by Holyoke Publishing in Massachusetts.

The March 1953 issue had a basketball ace on the cover, along with stories about hunting lions in Africa and adventure in Alaska. From swapping ideas to the cartoon contest the magazine became noted for, Open Road was a valuable part of the history of young people’s magazines, especially in the 1950s. 

SEVENTEEN

Seventeen was first published in New York City in 1944. Its mission was to provide teenaged girls with impeccable role models and all the information they needed about their own personal growth and development. Hearst Magazines bought the publication in the early 2000s. In November 2018, it was announced that Seventeen’s print editions would be reduced to special stand-alone issues only.

The March 1953 cover was splendidly “springy,” with the cover line “Wake Up, It’s Spring.” It was colorful and featured a young lady resplendent in her best Easter frock, complete with hat and gloves. The articles inside ranged from “What You Wear” to “How You Look and Feel.” There was a section called “Your Mind” for those personal thoughts and feelings; a “Home and Food” section; along with “Having Fun.” Seventeen was and still is a relevant resource for teenaged girls.

STORY PARADE

The advisory board for Story Parade magazine was impeccable. Members from the American Library Association, the U.S. Office of Education, Columbia University, and the list goes on and on, offered their expertise and knowledge on the content of this children’s title. The magazine was issued monthly, except for July and August, and had no advertisements at all, giving it the look and feel of a paperback book. The illustrations were colorful and very complementary to each of the whimsical and educational stories inside.

The March 1953 issue features a cover story about a wonderful little bear named Bruno, “The Awakening of Bruno,” by author Richard Stone. The subsequent stories and poems are just as perfect for holding a young child’s attention, while teaching them something valuable at the same time. The magazine was complete with fun-filled puzzles and games that children could relate to and enjoy.

THE GIRL FRIEND AND THE BOY FRIEND

A magazine for teenaged girls, this title was a predecessor of the dating apps of today. From dating advice to a story titled “Have You Tasted Forbidden Love?” such as the March 1953 issue features, this magazine was certainly focused on the female perspective, but offered “boyfriend” in the title nonetheless. On the March 1953 cover, a young woman with her mouth slightly opened seemed a bit breathless as she pondered the teaser lines for a story called “Love’s Seven Sins” right below her face. It was definitely a romantically-geared publication that could lure itself off the newsstand and right into a teenaged girl’s hands. 

TOM THUMB

Another digest-sized children’s magazine, Tom Thumb’s Magazine for Little Folks was published by Universal Publishing and Distribution. The magazine was  filled with pages children could color and stories that could teach them without seeming to. The magazine was written and edited by child guidance experts, with vocabulary that was carefully controlled and basic. There was a “How and Why” section, along with games and cartoons for loads of fun.

This 1953 issue was filled with 3-D action pictures and had cut-out glasses that children could use to get the full effect of the 3-D. The cover was bright and colorful and touted the magazine as 130 pages of bewitching fun for little folks. 

WEE WISDOM

Wee Wisdom is the name of an American children’s magazine, which was established in 1893 by Myrtle Filmore, one of the two founders of the Unity spiritual teachings. The magazine was published for 98 years, until 1991. The magazine’s philosophy was that children have an inherent nature that is wise and good, and that the purpose of education is to teach them how to shine their light of goodness and wisdom in the world. 

The March 1953 issue had three lively-looking children building kites on its cover, complete with a string-wrapped kitten in the middle of them. The content is filled with puzzles, games, vivid poetry and stories that entertain and educate. The activities inside range from drawing to coloring to stamp collecting. It’s a different time, a different era, but fun for children nonetheless.

YOUNG MECHANIC

Young Mechanic magazine was published by Ziff Davis, which was an American publisher founded in 1927 by William Bernard Ziff Sr. and Bernard George Davis as a hobbyist print magazine publisher. Young Mechanic was a magazine that gave young people with mechanical minds an outlet, with stories like “Faster Than Sound,” TV Is Not New,” and “Body Tips For Hot Rodders.” It was a magazine that provided blueprints for things like wastebaskets or diagrams for how to start a car when it won’t. There was a plethora of ideas and creative thinking behind each story and advice article.

The spring 1953 issue featured an illustration of a young man building his own 14-foot boat on its cover, with inside stories such as “Developing and Printing Film,” (remember film) and “How to Solder.” The magazine was a young person with a mechanical brain’s dream.

Up next, the True, Detective, and Confessions magazines of 1953. Stay tuned.

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Children and Teen Magazines Of 1953. The Magazines And I: Chapter 7 Part 2.

May 26, 2021

Children and Teen Magazines … is the 7th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter seven, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five and six in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

CHILDREN’S PLAYMATE

The tagline for Children’s Playmate was “The Favorite Magazine of Boys and Girls” and with stories and poems, puzzles and riddles, pages that belonged to the children themselves, one could definitely see why it might be a favorite among children. From fun contests to things to make and do, this gem of a magazine was published monthly by the A.R. Mueller Publishing and Lithograph Company. 

The March 1953 issue was a spring edition that had a cover illustration featuring a boy and girl on roller skates, their dog, umbrellas and the ever-present March winds. There were stories dedicated to Irish skits, Irish parties and many other great stories and poems. It was a children’s magazine that offered fun activities and much, much more. 

HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN

Since 1946, Highlights for Children has been creating “Fun With A Purpose” for children of all ages. The very first issue of Highlights sold fewer than 20,000 copies, but 40 years later, Highlights was the most popular children’s magazine in the United States, having close to two million subscribers, with 95 percent of the copies mailed to homes. The magazine accepted no advertising and shied away from single-issue sales, but could be found in most doctors’ and dentists’ offices in the United States.

The March 1953 issue is an extremely “March” issue, with the cover a deep green in color and two inquisitive children staring into a telescope up into the sky. The stories are whimsical, yet have a lesson hidden beneath the magic: “A Bear Scores,” “The Eisenhower Brothers,” and “Knuckle Down,” among many others. There are many “Things To Do,” and great poetry for kids. In usual Highlights style, the March 1953 issue captivates. 

HUMPTY DUMPTY’S

Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine for Little Children has been publishing with the mission to promote the healthy physical, educational, creative, social, and emotional growth of children ages 2 to 6. In March of 1953 Humpty Dumpty the magazine was still an infant, it was issue six of this new magazine published 10 times a year by the same folks who were publishing Parents magazine. Now, the magazine is part of the Children’s Better Health Institute,  the magazine is another extension of the Saturday Evening Post Society.

The March 1953 issue featured stories for beginning readers, several read-aloud stories, along with drawings and illustrations that would bring smiles to adults, never mind the little ones. The cover featured Humpty himself plus a few of his cohorts. The masthead lists Humpty Dumpty as editor in chief. And indeed the magazine reflects the nursery rhyme character’s tenacity, good spirit and fun nature.

On a different note, the magazine offered its readers an explanation about the type of paper and binding it uses. “Humpty Dumpty’s magazine is printed on what is known as “eye-ease” tinted paper. This light green paper is easier on the eyes than white or any other tinted paper.

Out binding, called the Rumflex Binding, is designed to eliminate the use of staples. As a result, the magazine lies flat when opened, and is easier for children to handle.”

JACK AND JILL

Jack and Jill is a bimonthly magazine for children ages 6 to 12 years old that takes its title from the nursery rhyme of the same name. It features stories and educational activities, along with nonfiction, poems, games, comics, recipes, crafts, and more. The magazine has been continuously published for 80 years, and is one of the oldest American magazines for kids.

As part of the Children’s Better Health Institute, which is a division of the Saturday Evening Post Society Inc., Jack and Jill is nonprofit and has a very important mission that it strives to accomplish even today: to promote the healthy physical, educational, creative, social, and emotional growth of children in a creative way that is engaging, stimulating, and entertaining for children ages 6 to 12.

The magazine was launched in 1938 by Curtis Publishing Company and was the first thing that they had added to their portfolio since Country Gentleman in 1911.

The March 1953 issue features an illustration on the cover of a girl jumping rope, while a young boy swings it up and over for her. It would appear one or both of the children’s mother is looking on with a slight smile. To complement the cover of the magazine, the inside features rhymes for jump roping, titled Rope-Jumping Rhymes and Playground Rimbles. It’s a fun and thoughtful thing to include for the children reading the magazine. 

The stories, drawings and pictures are entertaining and educational. It’s a magazine that was a wonderful companion for the children of March 1953 and still is today.

JUNIOR SCHOLASTIC

The Scholastic Corporation was founded in 1920 and has become a top publisher of magazines for children and youth. There are many extensions of Scholastic for children which are attainable through schools, online and retail. Scholastic is an important part of children’s magazines and still very relevant and available today.

Junior Scholastic was and is focused on middle schoolers and offers a wide variety of stories and articles. The entertainment value and the educational facet of the magazine is clear (it is Scholastic, after all) and the March 11, 1953 issue is no exception to the brand’s value. The cover is filled with how people in Vermont work to make maple sugar. It’s filled with more articles explaining interesting and fun things that people from all over the country and the world know how to do. It’s a great magazine and brings back many memories for many people, even today.

MOVIE TEEN

Movie Teen magazine was a bit of  a spinoff of “Teen” magazine only about screen stars. All the teenaged stars and starlets could find themselves on the pages of this magazine. And in turn, all the teenaged girls buying it were enthralled with their favorite actors and actresses, dreaming one day of meeting them or possibly even dating them

The March 1953 issue featured actress Pier Angeli on the cover with articles written by Tab Hunter and Piper Laurie, two screen teens of the 1950s, in the cover lines. From a feature about a young Robert Wagner to a fan club registry for all your favorites, this publication had to be a young girl’s dream-come-true when it came to info on the stars of the small and large screens. 

Up next part three of the Children and Teen magazines of 1953… Stay tuned.

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Children and Teen Magazines Of 1953. The Magazines And I: Chapter 7 Part 1.

May 24, 2021

Children and Teen Magazines … is the 7th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter seven, part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five and six in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

Life was very different for children and teens in 1953 than it is for today’s youth. Of course, there was no Internet, no cell phones, no digital devices at all, and television was in its infancy. The effects of World War II could still be felt throughout the nation in some ways. For instance, many goods were still being rationed in the early 1950s. Sugar was rationed until 1953 and meat only came off ration a year later. So the life of a child or teen in 1953 could be viewed as rather difficult by the youth of today; if not difficult, definitely different. But for kids in 1953, it was their golden age. Rock and roll was just around the corner; crusin’ with your best girl/guy, headed for the drive-in in your parents Cadillac was on its way; and most little ones had their favorite toy, and magazines were everywhere. 

With nothing else really to entertain the youth of that era, magazines were certainly a part of their lives. Children had magazines like Highlights for ChildrenJack and Jill,  Child Life and Wee Wisdom, among others, and teens had SeventeenThe Girl Friend and the Boy Friend and Movie Teen, with many more to select from. Magazines were an integral part of young people’s lives, with education and fun activities a major part of each title’s contents. It was a time of fun, yet practicality; education, but also whimsy and interesting stories. 

In March 1953, children and teens had a rich array of magazines to choose from. Let’s take a look, shall we.

AMERICAN GIRL

From 1917 until 1979 Girl Scouts published a monthly magazine, originally called The Rally (1917–1920) and then The American Girl, with “The” later dropped  (not to be confused with the American Girl Dolls magazine which began publishing in 1992). During one point of its long history, this magazine had the largest circulation of any magazine aimed at teen-aged girls. 

The March 1953 issue of the magazine had a very impeccably dressed young teen, complete with hat and gloves, on its cover, displaying what every American teen girl wanted to look like and wear for Easter 1953. The tagline was “For All Girls” and the content ranged from fiction, nonfiction to fashion and good looks. It was a mixture of recipes, patterns and sharp-dressed young ladies promoting and selling many designer’s clothes. 

BOYS’ LIFE

Boys’ Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), with its target readers boys between the ages of 6 and 18. The magazine was founded and first-published in 1911 and at that time there were three major competing Scouting organizations: the American Boy Scouts, New England Boy Scouts, and Boy Scouts of America (BSA). 

The content could be geared toward older boys, but not always (hence the tagline: For All Boys) and included special features, adventure stories, Bank Street Classics, entertainment, environmental issues, history, sports, and Codemaster. Pedro was a fictional burro that was created as a mascot for the magazine.

The March 1953 issue’s cover was one of New Englanders, Ohioans and other maple sugar producers, doing what they do best: making maple sugar. The contents of this issue were many special features on scouting, gifts and gimmicks, and discus throwing, so it was a varied and diversely topical magazine. There were articles and photo features, plus many fun stories. And the magazine is still around today for boys of all ages to enjoy. 

CHILD LIFE

Child Life is a children’s magazine begun in 1922. A little something for everyone in this magazine…stories, projects , crafts, puzzles, history , advertisements, the magazine was published monthly (except in July and August) and is notable due to its very vivid stories and poetry. 

The March 1953 cover featured good-old Johnny Appleseed himself  and his colorful story. It’s fun and whimsical, two things children would notice right away. Poetry such as “The Wind is a Witch,” and stories like “Aunt Dorothy’s Mailbox” and “Guessing Games” surely provided endless reading fun and excitement. 

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES

Then president, Harry L. Wells writes in the March 1953 issue of the magazine: Children…our greatest asset, our greatest opportunity. Since the conception of Children’s Activities some 20 years before 1953, the Child Training Association, publishers of the magazine, believed that children were our greatest asset, our country’s greatest opportunity. And who could argue with that, even today. 

The magazine featured vivid illustrations, stories, and activities parents could enjoy together with their children. The March 1953 issue had cover work by an eminent photographer, Rie Gaddis, who held a degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa. According to the “About the Cover” segment, the image was a completely new look for the magazine, featuring a brother and sister who were on their way to a vacant lot with their homemade kite ready for flight. 

The magazine was filled with all kinds of activities and stories and poetry that would keep children entertained for hours. It was an educational title, but created in a way that no child would ever suspect that not only were they being mesmerized by tales and fun activities, they were also learning something at the same time. 

CHILDREN’S DIGEST

From Parents’ MagazineChildren’s Digest was a children’s magazine published in the United States from October 1950 to May/June 2009, after which it was merged with Jack and Jill from the same publisher. Parents Magazine Press began publishing the magazine in digest format in its early years (hence the name) until 1980 when it was sold to The Saturday Evening Post Society. 

The original idea was that it would be the Reader’s Digest for children, so it republished stories, comics and other features from magazines across the globe. The 1953 issue had an illustration of Pinocchio and his creator on the cover to accompany the story inside the magazine’s pages. There was also a story about Abraham Lincoln, a how-to on devising one’s own secret code, and a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. The magazine was filled with amazing stories, colorful comics and everything a child might dream about in the throes of kid-dom. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Children and Teen magazines of March 1953 up next….

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Black Magazines Of 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter Six, Part Two.

May 16, 2021

Black Magazines … is the sixth chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter six, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four and five in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

OUR WORLD

Our World magazine was a publication founded by John P. Davis for African Americans and was published from 1946 to 1957. Davis co-founded the National Negro Congress, an organization dedicated to the advancement of African Americans during the Great Depression. Along with Our World magazine, he also published the American Negro Reference Book, covering many aspects of African American life, present and past.

Our World was another title that promoted the excellence of African Americans, their achievements and the successful lives that many led. It covered contemporary topics from Black history to sports and entertainment, with regular articles on health, fashion, politics and social awareness. Its covers featured entertainers such as Lena Horne, Marian Anderson, and Harry Belafonte.

The February 1953 issue featured Isabelle Cooley, the beautiful actress, known for Cleopatra (1963), Real Genius (1985) and Parenthood (1989). Along with Ms. Cooley, there was an article on Joey Adams, L.A.’s top platter-spinner, and Solly Walker, St. John University’s first black basketball player. The magazine was large in size and the cover was splashed with bright colors and vivid images. It was another title that proved how important and notable people of color were and the deeply woven threads of pride and promise they made in the nation’s overall tapestry.

SEPIA

Sepia was a magazine that featured fantastic photojournalism. It was styled a lot like Look, but often compared to Ebony. It focused primarily on achievements of African Americans and was founded in 1946 as Negro Achievements by Horace J. Blackwell, an African American clothing merchant from Fort Worth. Blackwell had already founded The World’s Messenger in 1942, which featured romance-true confession type stories of working-class Blacks.

In 1950, George Levitan, a Jewish-American man born in Michigan, bought the magazines and Good Publishing Company (aka Sepia Publishing). Levitan is the one who changed the name of the magazine to Sepia from Negro Achievements, and The World’s Messenger became Bronze Thrills. He also published Heb and Jive for Black audiences as well. 

According to the magazine’s history, after Levitan’s death in October 1976, Beatrice Pringle, one of the original publisher/editor team with Blackwell, bought Sepia and continued operations through 1982. The magazine still had a strong circulation of around 160,000 in 1983 when Ms. Pringle closed up shop. Many scholars have supposedly had a difficult time researching the magazine, as its records and building were mostly destroyed after it closed.

THE CRISIS

As mentioned earlier, The Crisis was and still is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Founded in 1910 by W. E. B. Du Bois, who was also a founding member of the NAACP, along with Oswald Garrison Villard, J. Max Barber, Charles Edward Russell, Kelly Miller, William Stanley Braithwaite, and Mary Dunlop Maclean created the magazine to show the injustices and danger that racial prejudice generated. The Crisis has been in continuous print since 1910, and is the oldest Black-oriented magazine in the world. But today, The Crisis mostly operates online via social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and through their website.

With a smaller format, The Crisis relied more on content than aesthetics. The March 1953 issue, while not distinctly eye-catching, definitely makes up for its lack of outer resplendence with the articles within its covers. From “Mugo-Son-Of-Gatheru,” a story about the Kenyan writer who left  his home on the Kikuyu Reserve when he was a teenager, to “American-Panamanian Relations,” the articles are on point for the times and substantive. It’s a magazine that shed much light on the plight of people everywhere.

Looking at these great ethnic magazines of March 1953, we see a definite foundation for all of the mainstream titles we have today in the genre. And while many have gone and some have been reborn in different formats, the fact remains that ethnic magazines played a major role in the early history of magazines, especially in March 1953.

Up next, we take a look at the Children magazines of that era. Stay tuned.

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Black Magazines Of 1953. The Magazines And I: Chapter Six, Part One

May 13, 2021

Black Magazines … is the sixth chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter six, part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four and five in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

Changing the narrative. That’s what Black magazines did in March 1953. From Ebony to Jet, the African American community began to see themselves in the pages of magazines devoted to their culture and their lifestyle. It was an eye-opening time for Black publishing. And the major leader of the movement was the man who started Ebony and Jet, John H. Johnson. Johnson was a man born to a suppressive demographic, but rose above it to become a force to be reckoned with in the world of publishing. 

Along with Johnson, a Jewish-American man born in Michigan, who was a plumbing merchant in Fort Worth, came onto the scene in 1950, George Levitan. Levitan bought the magazines Sepia and The World’s Messenger from an African-American clothing merchant from Fort Worth, Horace J. Blackwell. The difference between Levitan and Blackwell? Levitan was white. But could a white man tell the black man’s story during a time of segregation in America? And truth be told, while Blackwell’s mother had been Black, his father was white. So two men on the same journey, but with very different perspectives on the subject matter.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded long before March 1953; February 12, 1909 to be exact, but the organization contributed greatly to the world of magazines. W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Crisis was the official magazine of the NAACP, still is as a matter of fact. The magazine has been in continuous print since its inception in 1910.

The publications highlighted display the importance and solidarity of Black magazines in the 1950s, March 1953 specifically. The magazines’ common interest was apparent, no matter what conversation they chose to engage in. From the positivity of a magazine like Ebony, to the call for action, social justice and an end to violence against Blacks as The Crisis often presented, Black magazines brought attention to the lives of African Americans.

Let’s delve into a few of the Black magazines that were in existence in 1953:

EBONY

John H. Johnson’s premier magazine that focused on news, culture, and entertainment for African Americans, Ebony was founded in 1945 in Chicago. The magazine showcased positive stories in a life-affirming manner. From celebrities to politicians to sports figures, the magazine’s format was patterned after Life and sought to show the accomplishments of African Americans more than anything negative going on in their lives at the time. 

The magazine flourished for many years, changing its direction during the 1960s to cover more and more of the Civil Rights Movement, even garnering Ebony photographer Moneta Sleet Jr. a Pulitzer with his photograph of Coretta Scott King and their daughter Bernice attending Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.

The magazine reached unprecedented levels of popularity, reaching over 40% of the African American adults in the United States during the 1980s. Unfortunately, the publication went bankrupt in July 2020, but was purchased for $14 million by Junior Bridgeman in December 2020. It was reborn digitally on March 1, 2021 with no plans to return in print. 

The March 1953 issue featured Nat King Cole and his second wife Maria on the cover asking the question: “Are Second Marriages Better?” The piece was written by Cole himself and had many personal at-home photographs that the singer provided for the story, enriching the piece tremendously for fans. 

Along with Cole on the cover, the stories ranged from “Negroes Taught Me To Sing” by Caucasian singer Johnnie Ray to an article about a Park Avenue doctor who was an African American psychoanalyst with some very swanky New York clientele. 

The March 1953 issue was epic in size and content and is definitely a collector’s dream. Showcasing these amazing Black achievers was something that Ebony reveled in and did extremely well throughout its long lifespan. It was a magazine that paved the way for many ethnic publications after it, including its sister publication Jet.

JET

Jet was a weekly magazine that was another John H. Johnson publication. It too focused on news, culture, and entertainment related to the African American community, just as Ebony did. The magazine was founded in November 1951 and was originally titled “The Weekly Negro News Magazine.”

The differences between Jet and Ebony, other than the frequency, was their size. While Ebony was a large, coffee table-sized magazine, Jet’s format was smaller and digest-sized and it was printed almost entirely in black and white except for its cover’s background. According to the magazine’s early history, John. H. Johnson called his magazine “Jet” because he wanted the name to symbolize “Black and speed.” Jet covered the Civil Rights movement extensively and gained national attention when it published photographs of Emmett Till’s body after his death in 1955.

Two March 1953 issues, March 5 and March 26 respectively, had singer Jean Parks and singer Dinah Washington on each of its covers. With cover lines such as “Does Liquor Stimulate Sex” and “Has Sugar Hill Gone To The Dogs?” the magazine showed a diversity in subject matter that always intrigued. 

In May 2014, the publication announced the print edition would be discontinued and transitioned into a digital format. But Jet and Ebony were sold in 2016, only to be bought again in the $14 million Junior Bridgeman deal with Ebony, with a promise to return digitally in June 2021.

OUR SPORTS

Edited by the great Jackie Robinson, Our Sports magazine was touted as “The Great New Negro Sports Magazine,” and was published in 1953. It ran for a total of five issues. It featured top African American sports stars on the cover, such as Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Minnie Minoso, Satchel Paige, and George Taliaferro, who was the first black football player drafted into the NFL. Jackie Robinson was proudly credited in large letters on the cover as the editor of the magazine. It was a publication totally devoted to the Black athletes of the time, who were becoming more crucially involved in all major sports. 

With stories such as “Will The Yankees Hire A Negro Player?” and “Why Are Negro Stars Still Buried in The Minors?” the magazine offered a different take on sports and athletes and just who made up these important teams.

To be continued…

*Please note that some of the background historical data about the magazines were taken from Wikipedia…

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Dan Hickey, CEO, Kalmbach Media To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: “We’re Always Going To Put The Customer At The Center.” The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

April 25, 2021

“In the case of Kalmbach, we’ve spent time over the last few years consolidating our brand portfolio. And now we feel we have a strong core business in trains and science. And across our brands in those categories, many of our customers still want the experience of a print magazine. And we’re going to continue to provide high-quality print experiences for those customers.” Dan Hickey…

Print and digital at their best, working together to serve the audience across all platforms. That’s the plan at Kalmbach Media. Kalmbach was founded in 1934 and continues today to delight and inform enthusiasts across many interests, from trains to science to beads and buttons. Through a diverse portfolio of brands that encompasses magazines, digital content, books and related products, Kalmbach has brought its legacy brands into the 21st century with a robustness that is far from shy.

Dan Hickey is CEO of the company and believes in the Kalmbach mission of always putting the customer front and center wholeheartedly. I spoke with Dan recently and we talked about these brands that are very near and dear to many readers’ hearts, and to Dan’s too. Model Railroader, Classic Trains, Garden Railways, just to name a few. And about the new Trains.com website that was launched recently. For train and railroad lovers, it’s a portal to heaven with more than 20,000 pieces of content from all of their train enthusiast brands all in one spot, a massive endeavor that offers an unlimited access membership that Dan feels will excite his audience as much as it does him. With premium content created solely for the website and live video, plus access to 85 years of archives, it’s sure to cause train enthusiasts nationwide to sign up.

In fact, they launched recently and signed up thousands of memberships. Dan said that their expectations for Trains.com is that it will become the number one trains website in the world. “And it’s going to be a recurring revenue model for Kalmbach, it’s a subscription model, it’s premium content, and we expect and plan on it to be very successful.”

Indeed. It’s print and digital at their best. A successful partnership between the ink on paper and the pixels on the screen. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dan Hickey, CEO, Kalmbach Media.

But first the sound-bites:

On how things have been operating during the pandemic: It has certainly been a challenging time for everyone, but our business is doing very well. We’re having a very good year. Most areas of our business are actually doing better than last year. There has been a bit of a lift, I would say, since the onset of COVID. Some of our customers are people who have return to the hobbies, whether it’s the train category or astronomy or science. Business has done very well.

On whether he subscribes to the theory that the pandemic has been a sort of blessing to the magazine media and publishing industry: I’ve spoken to many CEOs in our peer set and all of them have told me that their businesses have actually improved during COVID, and that has been true of our business as well. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a blessing, just because of the context of it all, but our businesses have improved.

On the membership business model he is starting for Trains: A lot of publishers are turning to what I would call a new business model for digital, for websites, and for Internet businesses. At Kalmbach, our revenue is probably 90 percent from the customer today and has been for a long time. So the shift for us is just making sure that we are building digital membership products as part of our future strategy. And that’s what Trains.com really is, it reflects in our business the multiyear strategy to serve our audiences through compelling digital subscription products. So, it’s not so much of a new business model, it’s the same business model, but it’s just happening in the digital arena.

On the role of print in this digital migration: In the case of Kalmbach, we’ve spent time over the last few years consolidating our brand portfolio. And now we feel we have a strong core business in trains and science. And across our brands in those categories, many of our customers still want the experience of a print magazine. And we’re going to continue to provide high-quality print experiences for those customers.

On the plans for Trains moving forward: We’ve owned the Trains.com domain for a long time without putting it to good use, so to speak. We wanted to unlock the value of the domain because it’s powerful, for sure. And we knew by looking at our data that there was crossover between brands and we came to the conclusion that optimal value would be building one big site with multiple brands, versus five separate, distinct websites. And that’s what we did.

On what someone can get from Trains.com that they can’t get from the ink on paper publications: They’re going to find exclusive, premium content from all of our Trains brands. That’s Model Railroader, Classic Toy Trains, Garden Railways, then Trains and Classic Trains which serve the enthusiast audience that are interested in big trains. This is exclusive content, created just for them. They’re going to get expert Q&A’s, track databases. The one unique thing that they’ll be able to get is 85 years of archives of all five of our brands. And we know from our experience in data that the archives are very much valued by our customers.

On what he hopes to accomplish with Trains.com within a year: I think a year from now we’re going to tell a very compelling story, in terms of our success building a new digital subscription product and really paving the way for train enthusiasts to interact with digital content in the future.

On Kalmbach’s selling content to the audience mentality instead of selling the audience to advertisers and whether that still fits no matter the platform: Yes it does. We do advertising, but it’s a minor part of our business. It’s not a huge part, but we do it because it’s a service really to our customers, because they’re looking for products and they’re buying products on a continual basis, so they need to be connected to manufacturers and retailers, that’s just a fact of the business.

On whether the membership for Trains.com is digital only or print plus digital: The membership is an unlimited membership for digital, but we have some other products. We know the archives are valuable, so if somebody just wants access to the archives, they can purchase that for $2.99. So we’re allowing subsets of content and we’ll experiment too.

On how important the legacy brand was to this digital membership model: If you’re asking how important are our brands in establishing Trains.com, if you visit the site you’ll see that we took a lot of care, this was a massive effort as you might imagine, bringing more than 20,000 pieces of content from different websites all onto one.

On the role of the print product at Kalmbach: Again, we have a customer base that very much wants a print product. I can tell you that it’s not declining fast by any means, but it’s not growing necessarily either. For us it’s harder to find a print subscriber than it is to find a digital subscriber. The digital universe, as you know, is quite large and provides opportunities for publishers like Kalmbach to find new customers more efficiently than we can through traditional means for print products.  

On anything he’d like to add: It was a massive project for our cross functional teams; we had editorial involved; we had our marketing team; our technology team; our design team; third party vendor, and our digital team. It was a year-long project or more and we’re very excited and proud about the product and the results so far. We’re proud of the team that really came together and put Trains.com on the map for us. We’re just very excited at this point.

On being a CEO and handling the social changes that are taking place in the workplace and in the country today:As a CEO, I didn’t shy away from engaging employees in issues of race and social injustice; we had discussions. I actually got involved with employees in focus groups and I didn’t shy away from vulnerable questions about working from home; how is it working with their families, to really try and understand and have empathy for these employees who are facing very challenging times, especially if you’re a parent, with the schools shutting down and opening up.

On what makes him tick and click: Every day I have new questions and I’m a curious person. I always try to explore what might provide answers to those questions.

On how he unwinds in the evenings: I live in Wisconsin on a lake and I like to get a fishing rod in hand and get out on the dock. It’s something that relaxes me the most.

On what keeps him up at night: Thinking about our future, and not just as an industry, but as a company. And about how we’re going to be successful. We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about acquisitions and what types of companies would make sense for Kalmbach to acquire. It’s a process that requires patience and a great deal of thought.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dan Hickey, CEO, Kalmback Media. 

Samir Husni: How have things been operating during the pandemic?

Dan Hickey: It has certainly been a challenging time for everyone, but our business is doing very well. We’re having a very good year. Most areas of our business are actually doing better than last year. There has been a bit of a lift, I would say, since the onset of COVID. Some of our customers are people who have return to the hobbies, whether it’s the train category or astronomy or science. Business has done very well.

Our employees have moved from pretty much 100 percent in the office to about 90 percent remote work. Our collaboration and communication has been excellent. And surprisingly, our productivity has actually increased, so we’re feeling pretty good about things right now. 

Samir Husni: So when people say that the pandemic was a, and I hate to use the word blessing, to the publishing and magazine media industry, do you subscribe to that theory?

Dan Hickey: I’ve spoken to many CEOs in our peer set and all of them have told me that their businesses have actually improved during COVID, and that has been true of our business as well. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a blessing, just because of the context of it all, but our businesses have improved. 

Samir Husni: Can you tell me  a little bit more about the membership business model that you’re starting for Trains?

Dan Hickey: A lot of publishers are turning to what I would call a new business model for digital, for websites, and for Internet businesses. At Kalmbach, our revenue is probably 90 percent from the customer today and has been for a long time. So the shift for us is just making sure that we are building digital membership products as part of our future strategy. And that’s what Trains.com really is, it reflects in our business the multiyear strategy to serve our audiences through compelling digital subscription products. So, it’s not so much of a new business model, it’s the same business model, but it’s just happening in the digital arena. 

Trains.com is the answer to the question of how Kalmbach is going to serve our customers in the future. In that respect, it really represents our future path. This has been our model, but what I think is new for us is really migrating that business model to digital.

Samir Husni: What is the role of print in this migration? Will we continue to see Trains in print; continue to see the Kalmbach magazines in print as you migrate the business model to digital?

Dan Hickey: I think that will vary publisher by publisher. Larger publishers are going to have an easier time staffing both print products and digital products. Smaller media companies, smaller publishers are going to have to really balance between print and digital. 

In the case of Kalmbach, we’ve spent time over the last few years consolidating our brand portfolio. And now we feel we have a strong core business in trains and science. And across our brands in those categories, many of our customers still want the experience of a print magazine. And we’re going to continue to provide high-quality print experiences for those customers.

However, access to new premium digital products will not necessarily be included in those subscriptions. I do see publishers, the small and medium-sized publishers, looking at frequencies. Even the bigger publishers over the last five years have consolidated their portfolios, maybe have sunset some brands. But there are other levers that publishers can use to fund the investment in new digital subscription products, such as circulation and the size of the magazine, how much paper they’re using. Those are the things that Kalmbach looks at as well.

Samir Husni: What are the plans for Trains as you move forward?

Dan Hickey: We’ve owned the Trains.com domain for a long time without putting it to good use, so to speak. We wanted to unlock the value of the domain because it’s powerful, for sure. And we knew by looking at our data that there was crossover between brands and we came to the conclusion that optimal value would be building one big site with multiple brands, versus five separate, distinct websites. And that’s what we did. 

Over 86 years, we’ve developed leading brands and we’ve been serving our customers predominantly in print. Our expectations for Trains.com is that it will become the number one trains website in the world. And it’s going to be a recurring revenue model for Kalmbach, it’s a subscription model, it’s premium content, and we expect and plan on it to be very successful. 

Samir Husni: What can someone get from Trains.com that they can’t get from the ink on paper publications?

Dan Hickey: They’re going to find exclusive, premium content from all of our Trains brands. That’s Model Railroader, Classic Toy Trains, Garden Railways, then Trains and Classic Trains which serve the enthusiast audience that are interested in big trains. This is exclusive content, created just for them. They’re going to get expert Q&A’s, track databases. The one unique thing that they’ll be able to get is 85 years of archives of all five of our brands. And we know from our experience in data that the archives are very much valued by our customers. 

They’ll also get livestreaming video as well. And again, we’re going to be creating premium, new content daily that can only be found on Trains.com. Trains.com was our first digital subscription product that was all video and we had great success with that, in terms of Model Railroader fans. About 20 percent of our audience also chose to purchase the video product, so Trains.com is a continuation of that strategy, but it’s just bigger and better than what we did for Model Railroader Video Plus. 

Samir Husni: What would you hope to tell me you had accomplished a year from now with Trains.com?

Dan Hickey: We have a large ingrowing audience on a subscriber base on Trains.com, membership base. We’re creating a lot of video content and we’re reaching new customers through digital channels that we weren’t necessarily invested in previously. And that the Trains.com domain is absolutely powerful. 

Just to give you a sense of how powerful, with the launch a few weeks ago, we signed up thousands of members. It was pretty much a rolling launch, with Model Railroader Video Plus being the last to shift and redirect its customers. Our conversion from a 30-day trial membership to a full unlimited membership is around 80 percent. We consider that a very healthy conversion rate. 

So, I think a year from now we’re going to tell a very compelling story, in terms of our success building a new digital subscription product and really paving the way for train enthusiasts to interact with digital content in the future. 

Samir Husni: You have rarely been in the business of selling the audience to the advertiser, but rather selling content to the audience. As you move more into digital, are you finding that “audience first” mentality still fits, no matter the platform?

Dan Hickey: Yes it does. We do advertising, but it’s a minor part of our business. It’s not a huge part, but we do it because it’s a service really to our customers, because they’re looking for products and they’re buying products on a continual basis, so they need to be connected to manufacturers and retailers, that’s just a fact of the business. 

But in terms of Kalmbach, we’re always going to put the customer at the center. It’s been our history to provide expert premium content to those customers, they’re willing to pay a premium per subscription in many cases. The difference for us is great content allows us to charge a premium for that content and we feel that’s going to migrate over easily, based on the conversion rate that I just shared with you, so we feel that will be true for Trains.com as well.  And will we provide advertising on Trains.com? Yes, we think we can provide advertising that’s suitable and effective in the digital realm. 

Samir Husni: Did I understand you correctly when you said the membership is for digital only? No print plus digital? 

Dan Hickey: The membership is an unlimited membership for digital, but we have some other products. We know the archives are valuable, so if somebody just wants access to the archives, they can purchase that for $2.99. So we’re allowing subsets of content and we’ll experiment too. 

We’ll experiment with areas where there might be a subset of products that aren’t as expensive as the unlimited membership, but the plan for right now is that a subscriber to the magazine will get all that content, but all the new content that is created on Trains.com, they will have to buy the unlimited  membership unless they want just the archives. 

Samir Husni: But for the price you can get it all, the print and the digital?

Dan Hickey: Yes, but it’s not a combined membership at this time. You’re just going to buy a subscription for the magazine and then you go online to buy the digital product. So you would buy both products. In the future we’ll look at creating a combined membership, but today with this new product it’s separate. There is a subscription or a digital membership or you can buy both. 

Samir Husni: How important is the legacy brand to the success of this membership model?

Dan Hickey: If you’re asking how important are our brands in establishing Trains.com, if you visit the site you’ll see that we took a lot of care, this was a massive effort as you might imagine, bringing more than 20,000 pieces of content from different websites all onto one. 

One of our principles was that we wanted to still create and allow for experiences that are brand experiences within Trains.com. So we have technology, but we kept the brands alive on Trains.com. If you go to Trains.com you’ll see a section that’s Model Railroader, one that’s Classic Toy Trains, and so forth with all of our brands. 

And as you experience Trains.com, if you were only interested in Model Railroader or Live Trains, Big Trains, we have the technology really to deliver that type of brand experience. That was very important to us in building Trains.com, to make sure we didn’t diminish the brands at all. So if you want to experience three or four different brands, we have the technology and will allow for that as well. And we’ll learn how the audience is interacting with the content.

Samir Husni: And the role for the print product at Kalmbach?

Dan Hickey: Again, we have a customer base that very much wants a print product. I can tell you that it’s not declining fast by any means, but it’s not growing necessarily either. For us it’s harder to find a print subscriber than it is to find a digital subscriber. The digital universe, as you know, is quite large and provides opportunities for publishers like Kalmbach to find new customers more efficiently than we can through traditional means for print products. 

We’re going to continue to serve our customers who want print experiences for as long as they want those products and it’s economically feasible for us to do so. And because we are niche publications in these enthusiast categories, we have options that other publishers may not have. People are very accustomed to paying premium prices for our products. 

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

Dan Hickey: It was a massive project for our cross functional teams; we had editorial involved; we had our marketing team; our technology team; our design team; third party vendor, and our digital team. It was a year-long project or more and we’re very excited and proud about the product and the results so far. We’re proud of the team that really came together and put Trains.com on the map for us. We’re just very excited at this point.

Samir Husni: As a CEO, what initiatives have you taken or how have you handled all of the social changes that are taking place today in the workplace and in the country?

Dan Hickey: As a CEO, I didn’t shy away from engaging employees in issues of race and social injustice; we had discussions. I actually got involved with employees in focus groups and I didn’t shy away from vulnerable questions about working from home; how is it working with their families, to really try and understand and have empathy for these employees who are facing very challenging times, especially if you’re a parent, with the schools shutting down and opening up. 

As a senior leadership team member, I really encouraged patience and empathy and really tried to listen more to our employees. And that has worked for us. We over-communicated and we were constantly surveying our employees, in terms of how things were going and did they have the tools and the resources to do their jobs. What were their views on returning to the office? What were their views on vaccinations? This was all done as a way of listening to what was happening. And we feel pretty proud of the way that we’ve engaged with our employees and that we’ve supported them and it seems to have influenced the results for the company.

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?

Dan Hickey: Every day I have new questions and I’m a curious person. I always try to explore what might provide answers to those questions.

Samir Husni: How do you unwind in the evenings?

Dan Hickey: I live in Wisconsin on a lake and I like to get a fishing rod in hand and get out on the dock. It’s something that relaxes me the most. 

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

Dan Hickey: Thinking about our future, and not just as an industry, but as a company. And about how we’re going to be successful. We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about acquisitions and what types of companies would make sense for Kalmbach to acquire. It’s a process that requires patience and a great deal of thought. During the pandemic, it’s been even more challenging to evaluate businesses — it is a time of uncertainty and there are question about what the future, or new normal, will look like post-pandemic. It’s challenging, but we’ll continue looking.

Samir Husni: Thank you. 

h1

EatingWell Magazine: Celebrating 30 + Years Of Health & Wellness Excellence That Includes Far More Than Just The Delicious Recipes – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jessie Price, Editor In Chief, & Tiffany Ehasz, Publisher…

April 13, 2021

“For our readers, the print magazine is going to continue to be relevant and important. It’s a totally different experience than how they get the brand on digital. I think for print it’s all about that serendipitous sit-back, relax and enjoy having content brought to you that you might not have expected. Our readers open the magazine and they know they’re going to get recipes, but it’s all that stuff around the recipes that surprises and delights them.” Jessie Price…

“Most of our successful integrations are rooted with the print content, where we can bring it to life across EatingWell.com and our social channels, which are performing tremendously right now. Advertisers are looking for those connections across all of our channels and so far they have been proven successful.” Tiffany Ehasz…

Launched in 1990, EatingWell is a brand that is stretching its food wings into far more than just delicious recipes. Although, there are plenty of those as well. With an avid focus on health and wellness, covering everything from food to kitchens to appliances, EatingWell has proven what its capable of, even during a pandemic.

I spoke with Jessie Price, editor in chief and Tiffany Ehasz, publisher, and we talked about the brand’s track record during 2020. Jessie said that the brand’s digital audience has grown year over year, 49 percent in January and in February, 48 percent, year over year, with direct-to-publisher subscriptions up 15 percent from 2019 to 2020. And with this happening during a pandemic, Jessie said it’s a testament to how relevant the brand’s content is across all its platforms.

Tiffany agreed whole-heartedly and said that while there were some challenges, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, they overcame those by digging deep into other categories and utilizing what Jessie had created for them in the book, which was more categories to go outside their food advertisers.

It was an informative and delightful interview with two women who are passionate about what they do and have the same end goal, to win against any challenges and make sure that their readers and advertisers are winning as well. So please enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jessie Price, editor in chief and Tiffany Ehasz, publisher, EatingWell.

But first the sound-bites:

On how they adjusted to operating during a pandemic (Tiffany Ehasz): Prior to the pandemic, it was a lot of client-facing meetings, a lot of dining out as you probably know. But right now it’s really about lots of Zoom calls with partners trying to use their time wisely with impactful, smart and meaningful conversations and ideas as we know their time is limited. So making that impact has been a bit of a difference-maker for us, but we have been successful in doing that and in bringing EatingWell to the forefront.

Tiffany Ehasz, publisher, Eating Well magazine.  Photo credit: Jeff Hornstein

On how the brand EatingWell can help advertisers and readers navigate out of the pandemic (Jessie Price): From the editorial side, I would say we’re at that perfect intersection between health and wellness and sustainability. We were relevant before the pandemic; we’ve become even more relevant and we plan to stay focused on that same area. We’re all about helping people and we’re going to remain focused on that.

Jessie Price, editor in chief, Eating Well magazine. Photo credit Oliver Parini

On the role the printed magazine plays in the cross-channel communication with the readers and the advertisers (Jessie Price): For our readers, the print magazine is going to continue to be relevant and important. It’s a totally different experience than how they get the brand on digital. I think for print it’s all about that serendipitous sit-back, relax and enjoy having content brought to you that you might not have expected. Our readers open the magazine and they know they’re going to get recipes, but it’s all that stuff around the recipes that surprises and delights them. 

On the sales pitch for the printed product to advertisers (Tiffany Ehasz): Honestly, my sales pitch is the fact that not only has our content grown tremendously beyond food, but our readers are very much engrossed in that content from cover to cover. And when we’re thinking about these amazing ideas, we know that it’s working because the numbers are up and all of our advertiser executions are performing very well from a research perspective.

On whether there have been any challenges during the pandemic (Jessie Price): For our business, on the consumer side, it’s been amazing. Our digital audience has grown year over year, 49 percent in January, year over year. In February, 48 percent, year over year. It is enormous. Our direct-to-publisher subscriptions from 2019 to 2020 are up 15 percent. And they are staying at that increased 15 percent up level and we think that’s just the new normal. So, it’s been great.

On any challenges on the business/publisher side (Tiffany Ehasz): There were some challenges, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of our food advertisers had their own challenges, supply issues or holding back some money just in case. We didn’t know what the future would hold. How we overcame that was by digging deep into other categories and utilizing what Jessie has created for us in the book, which is really more categories to go outside those food advertisers.

On how they see the magazine among the competitive set that’s out there, as an epicurean magazine or as a lifestyle magazine (Tiffany Ehasz): We are absolutely rooted in food, but we do have a focus on wellness and sustainability. And they’ve always been key to this brand and it truly sets us apart. The brand is currently so relevant and the continued evolution and expansion of the content to address our audience’s complete lifestyle, which is really at the intersection of health, well-being and food, is a really sweet spot to be in and we are completely capitalizing on it. 

On the power and education of the EatingWell brand when it comes to health and wellness (Jessie Price): The brand EatingWell, in terms of education about health and wellness has always been about having a balanced and sensible approach that’s based in science. We have never been about crazy diets. We have never been about restriction or deprivation. It’s really about eating balanced in a way that you can sustain for your whole life.

On what they hope to have accomplished in one year with the brand (Tiffany Ehasz):  We have come so far and as Jessie mentioned, our growth has been astronomical this year consumer-wise. More people now know about EatingWell and we anticipate the momentum and the growth to continue. 

On anything either of them would like to add (Jessie Price): We did a story on income and equality and its connection to health outcomes. It was an 8-page feature and a heavy read, but it was basically looking at all the data that shows that there’s a real connection between the less income you make, then the less healthy you are. And I got a number of letters from readers about that story. No surprise there. One of the letters included a personal check for $50 and a note saying, Dear Jessie, thank you so much for this story. It’s so important and I’m so glad you’re covering this topic, please give this $50 check to the subject who was the lead in the story. 

On what makes them tick and click (Jessie Price): We knew this was one of your regular questions and Tiff and I were thinking about what makes us tick and click as a team together. We both love food and love to eat; we both love to laugh and have great senses of humor; and we’re both super-competitive. So I would say for both of us it’s that we love the subject and we just want to win and we want to do better all the time.

On how they unwind at the end of the day (Tiffany Ehasz): I sit back with an issue of EatingWell and I have my glass of wine.

On what keeps them up at night (Jessie Price): For me it’s always about how can I make a story better or how can something be more creative. It’s just always about making the magazine better. When I’m up at 3:00 a.m., that’s what I’m thinking about. Or if I get a new idea. 

On what keeps them up at night (Tiffany Ehasz): For me it’s really about on the business side, how can we become smarter and create these partnerships to almost establish more tent poles. I see the future with bigger partnerships as it relates to EatingWell and certain big companies out there. And my goal is to marry those partnerships to create something beyond the print publication, social and digital. To really take ourselves to the next level. And I think we’re ready to do that sooner than later.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jessie Price, editor in chief, and Tiffany Ehasz, publisher, EatingWell magazine.

Samir Husni: How did you adjust to operating during a pandemic?

Tiffany Ehasz: Prior to the pandemic, it was a lot of client-facing meetings, a lot of dining out as you probably know. But right now it’s really about lots of Zoom calls with partners trying to use their time wisely with impactful, smart and meaningful conversations and ideas as we know their time is limited. So making that impact has been a bit of a difference-maker for us, but we have been successful in doing that and in bringing EatingWell to the forefront. 

Jessie Price: From an editorial perspective, there were a lot of technical changes in how we produce the magazine, because making a magazine is such a collaborative process. And we’re so used to being together as a team, talking all day long. So, at the very basic level it was finding new ways of communication for the team.

The second part of it is we had to adjust our content. And for a food magazine, that was things like changing the number of servings a recipe would make for the holidays, for example. Maybe people wouldn’t be needing 12 servings of a recipe, six servings made more sense. We also took into account people’s reasonable concerns about being safe when they were eating together. So that meant things like individual portion recipes or we had page where instead of making dips that served a whole lot of people where everyone would be dipping into the bowl, each person got a little individual dip with their own dippers to go into it. 

And the other thing that was huge because of the pandemic was immunity-related content. We saw that skyrocket in popularity near the beginning of the pandemic and continues to stay important and relevant now. 

For us, we were really in the right place, in terms of being interesting and providing content for our readers for what was going on with them during this whole thing, because they were at home. They needed to cook for themselves and they were worried about their health, so we were providing both the food and the wellness content that was what they needed during this time.

Samir Husni: As we hopefully move into a post-pandemic time, how can EatingWell as a brand help both your partners, the advertisers, and your audience, the readers, navigate out of this pandemic?

Jessie Price, From the editorial side, I would say we’re at that perfect intersection between health and wellness and sustainability. We were relevant before the pandemic; we’ve become even more relevant and we plan to stay focused on that same area. We’re all about helping people and we’re going to remain focused on that.

The other thing is we have found that there is so much more than just recipes that is important to our audience. We’ve been able to expand our content beyond just food to cover all sorts of different aspects of that wellness lifestyle, such as kitchens, appliances, fitness; we’ve been interviewing celebrities because so many of them are interested in food and wellness. So it’s really broadening what we’ve been able to cover, but still have that focus of wellness and sustainability. 

Tiffany Ehasz: From a business perspective, we are just so proud of what’s been going on with our advertisers this past year. It’s super encouraging that we are close to flat versus last year. We’re holding our own with the competitive set; we did suffer some attrition, but we’ve had amazing category wins with categories such as telecom, hospitality, beauty and retail. 

And clients are really asking for bigger ways and custom ideas to get in front of our readers with an increased investment. Partners like Green Giant, National Honey Board and Kraft Mac and Cheese captured our readers’ attention this year with impactful executions that we can prove worked. So we’re very proud of that.

Samir Husni: What role do you see the printed edition of EatingWell playing in the cross-channel communication with the readers and the advertisers?

Jessie Price: For our readers, the print magazine is going to continue to be relevant and important. It’s a totally different experience than how they get the brand on digital. I think for print it’s all about that serendipitous sit-back, relax and enjoy having content brought to you that you might not have expected. Our readers open the magazine and they know they’re going to get recipes, but it’s all that stuff around the recipes that surprises and delights them. 

For my team, it’s really all about remembering that we have to constantly be layering in all sorts of different content that will surprise and delight them, because that’s what the print experience is about. 

In terms of the other platforms, we’re going to continue to push out on all fronts because the brand is resonating with audiences across platforms, just in different ways. But print is not going away.  

Tiffany Ehasz: And same for me, tacking onto what Jessie just said. Most of our successful integrations are rooted with the print content, where we can bring it to life across EatingWell.com and our social channels, which are performing tremendously right now. Advertisers are looking for those connections across all of our channels and so far they have been proven successful. 

Samir Husni: What’s your sales pitch to advertisers about the necessity of the printed product? 

Tiffany Ehasz: Honestly, my sales pitch is the fact that not only has our content grown tremendously beyond food, but our readers are very much engrossed in that content from cover to cover. And when we’re thinking about these amazing ideas, we know that it’s working because the numbers are up and all of our advertiser executions are performing very well from a research perspective. 

So, my sales pitch really is print subs are up, social is up, digital traffic has skyrocketed in the past year. And together it’s very meaningful. And the numbers are there to prove if we can execute something like this for you cross-channel, rooted in some really relevant content that our readers are interested in, we do that and they get very excited. 

Samir Husni: So, have there been any challenges for you along the way or has it been a walk in a rose garden for you during the pandemic?

Jessie Price: For our business, on the consumer side, it’s been amazing. Our digital audience has grown year over year, 49 percent in January, year over year. In February, 48 percent, year over year. It is enormous. Our direct-to-publisher subscriptions from 2019 to 2020 are up 15 percent. And they are staying at that increased 15 percent up level and we think that’s just the new normal. So, it’s been great. 

Samir Husni: On the business/publisher side, what were some of the challenges that you’ve had to face?

Tiffany Ehasz: There were some challenges, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of our food advertisers had their own challenges, supply issues or holding back some money just in case. We didn’t know what the future would hold. How we overcame that was by digging deep into other categories and utilizing what Jessie has created for us in the book, which is really more categories to go outside those food advertisers. 

As I mentioned before, the investments that some of the partners we have who want to invest more, who are doing well and can keep up with the demand, has been incredibly successful for us. So essentially, digging deep into other areas and bringing smart ideas has helped us. We did suffer some attrition, but we were able to make it up and hold our own versus the competitive set. 

Samir Husni: When you’re selling the magazine to the advertiser or to the readers, how do you see yourself among the competitive set that’s out there? As an epicurean magazine or as a lifestyle magazine?

Tiffany Ehasz: We are absolutely rooted in food, but we do have a focus on wellness and sustainability. And they’ve always been key to this brand and it truly sets us apart. The brand is currently so relevant and the continued evolution and expansion of the content to address our audience’s complete lifestyle, which is really at the intersection of health, well-being and food, is a really sweet spot to be in and we are completely capitalizing on it. 

Samir Husni: And from an editorial point of view, how do you see the magazine among the competitive set that’s out there?

Jessie Price: At our core, we are absolutely a food magazine. But especially because wellness and sustainability are so integral to this brand, it has allowed us to expand our content and integrate a lot more of that lifestyle content into the pages of the magazine. And we have been delighted to see how our readers are reacting to it. They are loving the interviews with celebrities; they’ve even enjoyed our beauty pages, which was actually very surprising to me. I was happy to see it. It has been a really nice growth and evolution for the brand. 

Samir Husni: Yet, with all this evolution you have a bagel on the cover. (Laughs)

Jessie Price: What do you think? (Laughs too) It’s actually called a flagel, which is a flat bagel and a little lower calorie than a regular bagel. But it’s also packed with lots of healthy stuff. It has Omega 3; it has beets and cucumbers; it has an egg; yes, it has cream cheese also. It’s healthy and it tastes great too. That is eating well; that is that perfect marriage.

Samir Husni: Tell me about the power and the education of the brand EatingWell when it comes to health and wellness.

Jessie Price: The brand EatingWell, in terms of education about health and wellness has always been about having a balanced and sensible approach that’s based in science. We have never been about crazy diets. We have never been about restriction or deprivation. It’s really about eating balanced in a way that you can sustain for your whole life. 

And we know our readers love to cook and eat and so it has to be delicious. To me delicious actually comes before health within the whole equation, because if it’s not delicious it’s not going to be sustainable for someone’s entire life. And that’s the thing that a lot of people don’t think of when they think of healthy food, is being delicious. But it really is the first part of getting anyone to a healthy and sustainable life’s diet.

Samir Husni: And from a business point of view, when it comes to the power and education of the brand on health and wellness.

Tiffany Ehasz: What we love are our new partners that are coming here from this and how being rooted in food 30 years ago, we’ve just completely changed the game content-wise, which our advertisers are absolutely loving. 

They understand that and they understand how far this trend has come, that EatingWell potentially started that conversation 30 years ago and that it has completely transformed into something different and delicious and sustainable. And they want to partner with that message. They’re embracing this lifestyle personally and so are their clients and advertisers who are surrounding themselves with that messaging. 

Plus the fact that we are trending with consumers. It doesn’t matter for some of our partners, be it certain indulgent categories, they want to be part of the conversation and they know where readers are coming to get their content and information. And it’s at EatingWell. 

Samir Husni: If we’re having this conversation a year from now and the pandemic is behind us, what would you hope to tell me you had accomplished with EatingWell during that year?

Jessie Price: With our growth we’ve reached new audiences and I think that’s really exciting. Whether they wanted to or not, a lot of people have become cooks and will hopefully become lifelong EatingWell fans.

Tiffany Ehasz: I agree with, Jessie. We have come so far and as Jessie mentioned, our growth has been astronomical this year consumer-wise. More people now know about EatingWell and we anticipate the momentum and the growth to continue. 

Samir Husni: Is there anything either of you would like to add?

Jessie Price: I wanted to tell you one little anecdote, because I think you’ll like this. A lot of the feature stories that we do are about sustainability or heavier issues. We did a story on income and equality and its connection to health outcomes. It was an 8-page feature and a heavy read, but it was basically looking at all the data that shows that there’s a real connection between the less income you make, then the less healthy you are. 

And I got a number of letters from readers about that story. No surprise there. One of the letters included a personal check for $50 and a note saying, Dear Jessie, thank you so much for this story. It’s so important and I’m so glad you’re covering this topic, please give this $50 check to the subject who was the lead in the story. Please forward it to her. 

I thought that was pretty amazing. It was the first check I ever got with a letter to the editor and it really demonstrated to me the power of print, the power of magazines, and the importance of telling those kinds of stories about how food impacts the world around you. 

And I’d like to say we are very rooted in Vermont and feel extremely thankful that Meredith chose to keep us here because this is such a great place to be producing a magazine that is very interested and focused on food origins and where your food comes from and producing it responsibly. It’s a part of our DNA and I’m glad we’re here. 

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Jessie Price: We knew this was one of your regular questions and Tiff and I were thinking about what makes us tick and click as a team together. We both love food and love to eat; we both love to laugh and have great senses of humor; and we’re both super-competitive. So I would say for both of us it’s that we love the subject and we just want to win and we want to do better all the time.

Tiffany Ehasz: 100 percent. That’s exactly it. We both want to win and make sure that our readers and our advertisers are winning a well. 

Samir Husni: How do you unwind at the end of the day?

Tiffany Ehasz: I sit back with an issue of EatingWell and I have my glass of wine. 

Jessie Price: I cook; I love to cook and I drink wine while I cook. (Laughs)

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

Jessie Price: For me it’s always about how can I make a story better or how can something be more creative. It’s just always about making the magazine better. When I’m up at 3:00 a.m., that’s what I’m thinking about. Or if I get a new idea. 

Tiffany Ehasz: For me it’s really about on the business side, how can we become smarter and create these partnerships to almost establish more tent poles. I see the future with bigger partnerships as it relates to EatingWell and certain big companies out there. And my goal is to marry those partnerships to create something beyond the print publication, social and digital. To really take ourselves to the next level. And I think we’re ready to do that sooner than later. 

Samir Husni: Thank you both. 

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Crankshaft: A New Automotive Magazine That Believes In The Art Of Storytelling & High-Quality Collector-Car Content – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Richard Lentinello, Owner, Publisher & Editor In Chief…

April 9, 2021

“Print is very welcoming. For a while, people were reading magazines online, but I have since heard a lot of people have gotten bored with that. A lot of people are working from home now and they’re on their computers all day. When they want to relax they don’t want to sit in front of a screen again and read. They want to go sit in their backyard in their favorite chair with a print copy, their favorite beverage alongside them, and enjoy a magazine, To have something tangible in their hands.” Richard Lentinello…

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

With his 22-year history at Hemmings Motor News, Richard Lentinello has been living and working in the automotive media world robustly and then some. After leaving Hemmings, Richard decided he wasn’t exactly pleased with the way American car magazines were handling their content and missing some of the most engaging car stories out there by not writing about them, so he decided to launch his own high quality automotive print magazine.

And Crankshaft was born. Crankshaft is a quarterly with 144 pages of non-stop automotive collector-car history. It’s well-designed, well-written, and a really refreshing addition to the automotive club of magazines.

I spoke with Richard recently and we talked about this new venture of his and his goal for the magazine. According to Richard, Crankshaft offers engaging content, thoughtfully crafted by established writers and photographers, along with his own artful input. The magazine will inform, entertain and captivate readers in a way that he believes no other magazine has done before.

So I hope that you enjoy this delightful Mr. Magazine™ interview with a man who is a true car connoisseur, Richard Lentinello, owner, publisher, editor in chief, Crankshaft.

But first the sound-bites:

On why he chose to do an automotive magazine at this moment in time: I was at Hemmings Motor News for 22 years and I left there July 31. I was sitting in my backyard thinking about what I was going to do after that. I thought the time was right for me to try something new. I knew people were stuck at home with the pandemic and people want to read when they can’t go out, so I thought it could be a good time or it could be a bad time; let’s give it a shot. (Laughs) People were telling me, it’s a pandemic, what are you doing? And I said, well, they’re stuck at home, people want to read.  

On how he came up with the name Crankshaft: The magazine is about classic cars and I didn’t want to go down the same road as classic, vintage, antique, all those names, because I figured, how are we going to attract a younger audience with those old-fashioned type names? So, I wanted to come up with something different, something that had a ring to it. I sent some of the guys that I used to work with an email and asked them to put their thinking caps on and some of them came up with Crankshaft. And I thought it was a great name.

On whether any of his friends or colleagues thought he was out of his mind for starting a print magazine during this digital age: No, no one said that to my face. (Laughs) Only one person online, when I posted it on Facebook, said that I was crazy. But you can’t listen to people like that. When I explained what I wanted to do and the focus of the magazine to everyone, they all said yes, we need this.  

On the business model he’s implementing: The business model is gut instinct. (Laughs) It may not be the best business model, that remains to be seen. I spend a lot of time at newsstands, Barnes & Noble and such, and I see so many magazines that are $14, $15, up to $20, these limited-type magazines. But a lot of them are only 112 pages or 128 pages, so we went 144 pages of good quality stock, $12.95. If you look at some of the regular car magazines out there, they’re $7 or $8, 72 pages and half of it is advertising. So how much editorial are you really getting, 30 pages?

On his favorite role: author, editor, car owner: I think it’s a little bit of all of that. I didn’t go to school to write, I went to school for interior design, interior architecture. But that’s how I look at creating magazines. You start with a foundation, then you put the interior walls in, you decorate it with photographs; so I use that same concept that I learned to create a car magazine.

On what he thinks the role of the printed magazine is today: Print is very welcoming. For a while, people were reading magazines online, but I have since heard a lot of people have gotten bored with that. A lot of people are working from home now and they’re on their computers all day. When they want to relax they don’t want to sit in front of a screen again and read. They want to go sit in their backyard in their favorite chair with a print copy, their favorite beverage alongside them, and enjoy a magazine, To have something tangible in their hands.

On whether he thinks the type of quality content of Crankshaft will be the wave of the future for American car magazines: I think it is, I really do. And it’s true about the British magazines, the quality throughout is excellent. I’ve been reading British car magazines since 1975 when I used to go to the newsstand at the Pan Am building in Manhattan.

On his reaction when the first issue of Crankshaft rolled off the presses: It is nerve-wracking. When the truck pulled up to my house with three pallets of magazines that I stuck in my garage, for a while I didn’t want to open them. (Laughs) I told myself, okay, I’m going to find all the mistakes; I’m going to find something that I don’t like. So I stood there and I opened them and it was just like when I did one of my coffee table books, you want to look at it, but you also don’t, because you don’t want to see all the mistakes. (Laughs again) But once you go through it, it’s very satisfying and rewarding. But the best part is hearing other people tell you how much they love it.

On what he hopes to accomplish with Crankshaft in one year: I hope I’m still around a year from now and can keep this magazine going, because it is an expensive proposition. Hopefully by then we’ll have some advertisers onboard to help support and fund it. And by next year I hope to have a good amount of subscribers that will help us keep it going.

On anything he’d like to add: The magazine is a very serious type of publication. We don’t use any slang; we don’t go into politics or anything like that. We focus on automotive history. That’s what it’s all about. And we try and stay focused on quality photography. Some of the writers who write for Crankshaft are some of the best in the industry.

On what makes him tick and click: Besides my three rescue dogs? (Laughs) I’ve been creating magazines since 1987 and it’s what I love. To me, it’s not a job. I’m one of the fortunate people who turned his hobby into a career. I just love the whole process of going out there and interviewing people, photographing cars, writing stories, and putting it all together in a really interesting and engaging, well-designed package. And then hearing the reader say, wow, that’s a great magazine, I love it. That’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning.

On how he unwinds in the evening: What I do sometimes is I go into my garage and work on my cars; I’m restoring some old cars. I read other magazines, mostly the British car magazines. And sometimes I write at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. in the evening. But I really unwind by sitting down with a paper and pen and planning out the next two or three issues. I think of all the cars I’ve seen at the different shows and how I want to include them in the next issue or the issue after that.

On what keeps him up at night: All the things that float around in my head, such as is the magazine going to take off? Am I really going to be able to get advertisers to help pay the print bill? Can I keep it going? Those things keep me up at night.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Richard Lentinello, owner, publisher, editor in chief, Crankshaft magazine.

Samir Husni: Give me the genesis of Crankshaft and on what made you decide at this moment in time to be the owner, publisher, editor in chief of a new automotive magazine.

Richard Lentinello: I was at Hemmings Motor News for 22 years and I left there July 31. I was sitting in my backyard thinking about what I was going to do after that. I looked at all the magazines that we were doing under the new leadership, how the quality was going down and how they’re pandering to advertisers. Not just Hemmings, but a lot of publishers do that. They create content for the advertisers. And I feel that’s wrong. You should create content for the readers. Those are the ones who are buying the magazine. 

Between that and the lack of quality content in the automotive industry for American-made magazines, I thought the time was right for me to try something new. I knew people were stuck at home with the pandemic and people want to read when they can’t go out, so I thought it could be a good time or it could be a bad time; let’s give it a shot. (Laughs) People were telling me, it’s a pandemic, what are you doing? And I said, well, they’re stuck at home, people want to read. 

A lot of car magazines have gone out of business in the last 10 years. I think a lot of them went out of business not because of the lack of interest from the readers, but from poor quality content. Again, pandering to advertisers, creating content that is fluffy, not hardcore, not serious. And I just felt, being a hardcore car guy… I was looking around and thinking there was no magazine that I really wanted to read. There were British car magazines, and I get them all. And they’re so well done. The British put a lot of effort in their car magazines. Quality writing, quality photography. 

And I just asked myself why doesn’t someone here in America do a quality car magazine without treating the reader like an idiot? Because all too often people think if he’s a car guy there isn’t much intelligence there, he just likes cars. And that’s not true. Car guys run the whole gamut, from plumbers  to doctors, a brain surgeon in Philadelphia, anybody and everybody can be a car guy, it doesn’t matter who they are.

We treat the readers with respect. We give them hardcore information. And that’s why I decided to launch my own magazine. 

Samir Husni: How did you come up with the name Crankshaft?

Richard Lentinello: The magazine is about classic cars and I didn’t want to go down the same road as classic, vintage, antique, all those names, because I figured, how are we going to attract a younger audience with those old-fashioned type names? So, I wanted to come up with something different, something that had a ring to it. I sent some of the guys that I used to work with an email and asked them to put their thinking caps on and some of them came up with Crankshaft. And I thought it was a great name.

The more I sat at my desk and thought about it, the more I liked it. And Joe Pep, who did the illustration for the first cover, worked in Manhattan for 22 years for DC Comics and he was a font expert. I told him that we were going to call it Crankshaft and asked him what he thought. And within one day he came up with the logo. And I think it’s attractive. A lot of young people that I showed it to love it. So we think it has legs.

Samir Husni: Besides starting a new magazine during a pandemic, did any of your friends or colleagues think you were out of your mind for launching a print publication in this digital age?

Richard Lentinello: No, no one said that to my face. (Laughs) Only one person online, when I posted it on Facebook, said that I was crazy. But you can’t listen to people like that. When I explained what I wanted to do and the focus of the magazine to everyone, they all said yes, we need this.  

Once the first issue came out and everybody started getting it, the reviews from all the readers were 100 percent positive. I didn’t receive one negative email or Facebook post at all. Everyone just absolutely loved the magazine. 

Samir Husni: You’re publishing the magazine as a quarterly with a very high cover price, $12.95, and a very high subscription price of almost $60. Since you’re targeting the magazine more toward the readers and the audience rather than the advertisers, what is the business model that you’re implementing?

Richard Lentinello: The business model is gut instinct. (Laughs) It may not be the best business model, that remains to be seen. I spend a lot of time at newsstands, Barnes & Noble and such, and I see so many magazines that are $14, $15, up to $20, these limited-type magazines. But a lot of them are only 112 pages or 128 pages, so we went 144 pages of good quality stock, $12.95. If you look at some of the regular car magazines out there, they’re $7 or $8, 72 pages and half of it is advertising. So how much editorial are you really getting, 30 pages?

In Crankshaft, you’re getting 144 pages of editorial. Once people saw the value and got the magazine in their hands, they felt it was worth the price and started subscribing or bought a single copy if they didn’t want to spend the $59.95 to subscribe. But I really think we’re on to something.

Samir Husni: You’re an author, an editor and a car lover, all combined; which role is your favorite?

Richard Lentinello: I think it’s a little bit of all of that. I didn’t go to school to write, I went to school for interior design, interior architecture. But that’s how I look at creating magazines. You start with a foundation, then you put the interior walls in, you decorate it with photographs; so I use that same concept that I learned to create a car magazine. 

But what I like best is creating content that people love to read. I go to a lot of car shows every year and I meet all these wonderful people and car owners and there are so many great stories out there that are so interesting and engaging. But they’re being lost because no one is writing about them. And I know if I find it interesting about this car owner whose 1914 Buick was bought by his great-grandfather brand new, how could you not want to read about that? How did the family keep for over 100 years? So that’s what I enjoy most, finding content, creating it, and watching readers enjoy it.

Samir Husni: What do you think is the role of the printed magazine today?

Richard Lentinello: Print is very welcoming. For a while, people were reading magazines online, but I have since heard a lot of people have gotten bored with that. A lot of people are working from home now and they’re on their computers all day. When they want to relax they don’t want to sit in front of a screen again and read. They want to go sit in their backyard in their favorite chair with a print copy, their favorite beverage alongside them, and enjoy a magazine, To have something tangible in their hands. 

I think print may make a resurgence. I think a lot of younger readers are starting to come around to the benefits of having a tangible product in their hands as opposed to just reading it from a screen. Where that will go, no one really knows, but until then we want to keep publishing and see what happens. 

Samir Husni: Do you think that Crankshaft is the way of the future for automotive magazines here in America? You mentioned earlier the quality of the British car magazines and how you see Crankshaft as along those lines and geared more toward the reader and quality content; is this a glimpse into the future?

Richard Lentinello: I think it is, I really do. And it’s true about the British magazines, the quality throughout is excellent. I’ve been reading British car magazines since 1975 when I used to go to the newsstand at the Pan Am building in Manhattan. 

I saw this British magazine called “Thoroughbred & Classic Cars” and I took it home on the subway back to Brooklyn and I couldn’t believe the quality. I wondered why American magazines weren’t like that. And they’ve just been getting better and better while the American magazines have been going downhill for a long time. 

I think it’s the way they treat people, but I do think that more magazines will come out. I hear of others in the process of being created now, along the same lines as Crankshaft. Bimonthly or quarterly, higher quality, higher-priced; it remains to be seen where that goes.

Samir Husni: What was your reaction when that first issue of Crankshaft rolled off the presses?

Richard Lentinello: It is nerve-wracking. When the truck pulled up to my house with three pallets of magazines that I stuck in my garage, for a while I didn’t want to open them. (Laughs) I told myself, okay, I’m going to find all the mistakes; I’m going to find something that I don’t like. So I stood there and I opened them and it was just like when I did one of my coffee table books, you want to look at it, but you also don’t, because you don’t want to see all the mistakes. (Laughs again)

But once you go through it, it’s very satisfying and rewarding. But the best part is hearing other people tell you how much they love it. That’s what I really like about it. Every time I open it, I see something I don’t like or I should have changed, maybe a font here or there should have been a little larger, this picture should have been a little bigger, little things that no one else would notice. It’s like the artist who sees a mistake in his painting. Only he or she sees it. But the satisfaction I get is from readers enjoying it. That’s what it’s all about for me.

Samir Husni: If you and I are having this conversation one year from now, what would you hope to tell me you’ve accomplished with Crankshaft?

Richard Lentinello: I hope I’m still around a year from now and can keep this magazine going, because it is an expensive proposition. Hopefully by then we’ll have some advertisers onboard to help support and fund it. And by next year I hope to have a good amount of subscribers that will help us keep it going. 

There is interest from some other people who want to invest in it. I’m holding off for now; I want them to see two or three issues to show them what we can do. I’m not interested in taking money from investors unless I know I have an honest, viable product that has the beginnings of a solid foundation. We’ll see what happens next year, but that’s what my goal is. To make sure that we’re still in business and subscriptions are still coming in and advertising dollars are starting to come in. 

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

Richard Lentinello: The magazine is a very serious type of publication. We don’t use any slang; we don’t go into politics or anything like that. We focus on automotive history. That’s what it’s all about. And we try and stay focused on quality photography. Some of the writers who write for Crankshaft are some of the best in the industry. And we’re very careful about what words are chosen; we never write down to the readers or over their heads or anything like that. We try and write as though it were a friendly conversation we’re having with the reader. And that’s where we want to stay. A magazine that everybody likes. 

Whether you like American or foreign cars, pre-war or post-war, whatever you like, you’ll find something in every issue of Crankshaft that you will enjoy. 

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Richard Lentinello: Besides my three rescue dogs? (Laughs) I’ve been creating magazines since 1987 and it’s what I love. To me, it’s not a job. I’m one of the fortunate people who turned his hobby into a career. I just love the whole process of going out there and interviewing people, photographing cars, writing stories, and putting it all together in a really interesting and engaging, well-designed package. And then hearing the reader say, wow, that’s a great magazine, I love it. That’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning. 

Samir Husni: How do you unwind in the evening?

Richard Lentinello: What I do sometimes is I go into my garage and work on my cars; I’m restoring some old cars. I read other magazines, mostly the British car magazines. And sometimes I write at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. in the evening. But I really unwind by sitting down with a paper and pen and planning out the next two or three issues. I think of all the cars I’ve seen at the different shows and how I want to include them in the next issue or the issue after that. 

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

Richard Lentinello: All the things that float around in my head, such as is the magazine going to take off? Am I really going to be able to get advertisers to help pay the print bill? Can I keep it going? Those things keep me up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you. 

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Deborah Corn, Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse, Print Media Centr, To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: “I Don’t Think That When We Start Introducing Electronic Tools That Print Goes Away.” The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

April 7, 2021

“I believe in the power of communication and I believe that print is an essential part of that communication chain. Print is not just limited to ink on a piece of paper; it’s anywhere you see a message that isn’t electronic, most likely passed through some sort of printing process. And I just believe that communication evolves. There was a time when people used to communicate with drums, and they communicated with a telegraph, then a telephone and now a cell phone; it’s the same thing with Printed communication. I don’t think that when we start introducing electronic tools that print goes away. I think print is valuable as the bridge.” Deborah Corn…

Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at Print Media Centr. She is a woman with a mission, empowered and a believer that print and digital, and all the tools that go with it, can work together to benefit the printing and marketing industries. 

From her “Podcasts from The Printerverse” to her “Print Production Professionals,” the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Deborah has utilized her 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer to glean and share the most pertinent and up-to-date information out there to assist printers and marketers worldwide. She currently provides print-spiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through Print Media Centr, and works behind-the-scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.

I spoke with Deborah recently and we talked about Print Media Centr and what the company does for the printing industry, and in how Deborah herself became the self-proclaimed Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse. Hers is an intriguing journey of a woman who had the mindset of ‘if I can dream it, I can achieve it.’ And even during a pandemic, she is achieving it. 

So please enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Deborah Corn, Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse, Print Media Centr.

But first the sound-bites:

On women in the printing business: There are definitely a lot of women in print and printing, they’re just not as visible and that is exactly the problem, they are too behind-the-scenes. But I actually did start in advertising, so it was a bit of a shock to me to start being around less women. When I started going to trade shows and things like that, I started noticing that I was actually treated differently.

On switching to print from advertising: I actually lost my job and started a LinkedIn group called “Print Production Professionals” because I had run out of people I knew to network with. LinkedIn had just opened up groups and I thought, ‘Hmm, here’s an idea. Why don’t I bring all the people who might know about jobs to me instead of me looking for them?’

On why she believes in print in this digital age: I believe in the power of communication and I believe that print is an essential part of that communication chain. Print is not just limited to ink on a piece of paper; it’s anywhere you see a message that isn’t electronic, most likely passed through some sort of printing process. And I just believe that communication evolves.

On any challenges she’s had to face in the printing industry: The biggest problem that I had was establishing some sort of credibility with people. It was very difficult for me. And people didn’t really want to talk to me. There was the established trade media and they knew who all those people were, but who was I and why was I sticking a camera in their faces? (Laughs) So it was very difficult for me, but I started with the events and with all the exhibitors, because if I was working with the event, I must have passed some sort of credibility test. And from there I started developing my own relationships. 

On whether she ever thinks she’s crazy for continuing to promote print when the world is so digital: It would be naive of me not to think that other people think like you do, that this digital thing disrupted everything so much, but I am truly a believer in evolution, that only the strong should survive.

On what role she thinks print should play in today’s media world to survive: There is a unique moment in time right now where the world is about to reset and there’s a lot of information that has to be communicated in that. And I think print still has a big role to play in the world reopening, resetting itself, and reestablishing itself. Everybody needs to recommunicate with everybody, even if it’s just “these are our new hours,” “this is our procedure if you want to come to the vet or the doctor’s office,” whatever it might be. You can take your chances on an email, but that’s a pretty big risk.

On anything she’d like to add: Print Media Centr provides print-spiration and resources to print marketing professionals. We do that through podcasts from the Printerverse, through initiatives like “Girls Who Print,” “Project Peacock,” which is coming back this year and we’re excited for that.

On what makes her tick and click and get out of bed in the mornings: Perseverance gets me out of bed. I’m not going to let a pandemic take me down. I’ve had to reinvent what I do; I’ve had to reinvent my products and services. I’ve learned some really big lessons along the way. The biggest one, and I hope everyone listens to this one if you ever have customers, make sure you have what they refer to as a diversified customer base, because I did not.

On how she unwinds in the evenings: What I do to relax might seem crazy, but I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. It takes me out of the harsh reality of the world and it gives me an insight into acceptance in a way that’s different and it makes me feel good. There is creativity and it’s funny as hell.

On what keeps her up at night: What keeps me up at night is that I’m afraid that sometimes I’m like Fred Flintstone with my feet pushing the car. Being a solo preneur and a solo entrepreneur is very difficult now. Even though I’m trying to streamline how I’m running my business, what keeps me up at night is that I’m farther back getting to that point that I was almost at of being able to actually afford someone else working with me. Someone who has a stake in the company as opposed to a freelancer.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ interview with Deborah Corn, Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse, Print Media Centr.

Samir Husni: As we have just concluded the International Women’s Month of March, you’re one of the few women in the field of print and printing. What was your beginning into this business and how did it happen?

Deborah Corn: There are definitely a lot of women in print and printing, they’re just not as visible and that is exactly the problem, they are too behind-the-scenes. But I actually did start in advertising, so it was a bit of a shock to me to start being around less women. When I started going to trade shows and things like that, I started noticing that I was actually treated differently. 

And that was a new experience for me because my importance dropped.  There was an assumption that I wasn’t the owner of the company; I wasn’t the one who was going to make the final decision on writing the check; or I wouldn’t understand the technology. I know that’s very stereotypical, but it’s really how I felt and it is the experience I hear from other women out there. 

I didn’t really start in the printing industry and it makes me sad that I might have the visibility, but I wish that more women would really step out and up.

Samir Husni: You came from advertising; so why did you make the switch? 

Deborah Corn: I actually lost my job and started a LinkedIn group called “Print Production Professionals” because I had run out of people I knew to network with. LinkedIn had just opened up groups and I thought, ‘Hmm, here’s an idea. Why don’t I bring all the people who might know about jobs to me instead of me looking for them?’ 

So I opened the group for print customers, people who worked at advertising agencies, headhunters, and printers. And because humans have free will, they started using the group for their own purposes, which was things along the lines of does anyone know what this is called? Does anyone know where I can find a resource for this? Or my printer won’t give me a refund and I think I deserve one; what do you think about that? 

An executive creative director wrote me an email thanking me for the group and told me it was like having 500 colleagues down the hall because there was 500 people in the group. Now there are over 110,000 people and it’s the number one print group in the world, but at that time that was a very significant email to get, especially since I had worked in advertising agencies for so long. An executive creative director wrote a complimentary email and sent it off to somebody. They stopped their entire day to do that. 

I actually stared at that email for a long time. And I thought if that person found the value in it, then there’s a bigger value that I’m not understanding and I’m going to stick with it. And as the group started growing and I realized that I had this unique vantage point and I could see that printers were having questions that manufacturers could answer and manufacturers were trying to introduce technology that printers didn’t know about. 

That’s when I declared myself the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse because I felt that through this group I made myself a giant connection hub for the printing industry. And I have just kind of gone from that for the last 11 years and it worked out because I didn’t come from the mindset that I didn’t have the power to do what I wanted, and that I couldn’t step up and stand up and speak and blog and attend events and even speak at events. I thought I had every right to do that like everybody else.

Unfortunately, it became like a trailblazing thing, but it wasn’t something that I thought I couldn’t do because I hadn’t had that experience in the advertising agency. 

Samir Husni: Your tagline is “Print Long and Prosper.” Why do you believe in the power of print in this digital age?

Deborah Corn: I believe in the power of communication and I believe that print is an essential part of that communication chain. Print is not just limited to ink on a piece of paper; it’s anywhere you see a message that isn’t electronic, most likely passed through some sort of printing process. And I just believe that communication evolves. There was a time when people used to communicate with drums, and they communicated with a telegraph, then a telephone and now a cell phone; it’s the same thing with Printed communication. I don’t think that when we start introducing electronic tools that print goes away. I think print is valuable as the bridge.

For example, there is only so much real estate on a postcard. But you can capture my attention, give me enough targeted messaging that it interests me, and then I can scan a QR code, or go the website, do whatever I need to do there, and continue on the rest of my journey electronically if I choose to, but that’s the communication that put me into an action. 

I do not do the same thing with emails. Most of the time I’m deleting them; I do not opt in for text messaging. To me, that is my last privacy boundary. But I also feel there’s a lot more going on about privacy in general on the planet and print is a privacy tool.

Samir Husni: What have been some of the challenges that you’ve had to face in the printing industry? And how did you overcome them? 

Deborah Corn: The biggest problem that I had was establishing some sort of credibility with people. It was very difficult for me. When I first started, social media had also just started and I thought, okay, I’ll learn this thing called Twitter. And I started going to events and I was trying to get pictures or information so I could report back to the group. That’s what I was doing because I was the ambassador. I was out in the world and I was reporting back to everybody on what was out there because everyone didn’t get to the shows. 

And people didn’t really want to talk to me. There was the established trade media and they knew who all those people were, but who was I and why was I sticking a camera in their faces? (Laughs) So it was very difficult for me, but I started with the events and with all the exhibitors, because if I was working with the event, I must have passed some sort of credibility test. And from there I started developing my own relationships. 

So, it was very difficult in the beginning to get into the lane of a media person, but then I learned very quickly that’s not the lane that I wanted to be in. That as a lone entrepreneur, I couldn’t possibly do the same thing that a NAPCO Media could do, that would be impossible. So what could I do that was different? 

Because I had these community relationships, that’s what I was able to do. I was able to directly find out information that I knew the audience wanted to know and report that back in. And be able to tell them things that they didn’t know because I was able to attend the shows. People didn’t have relationships like that with the audience, they treated the audience like subscribers or members or users. And to me, the audience is the person I hung out with at the trade show or the person I emailed last week or someone I talked to on the phone. 

So it was a different relationship that I had with them and also because I don’t sell into them, I have a different credibility level. People realize that I don’t say things unless I want to. I have no motivation for it. As we see publications move more toward these advertorial models, I hear it all the time from the printers in particular, that they look at these newsletters or these magazines and it’s just sponsored articles. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but is it 100 percent accurate to what’s really happening or is it something someone wants you to know? 

So, in a way I’m kind of the anti that, but not in a “gotcha’” kind of way, but more of a “let’s talk about the things that nobody wants to talk about.” Such as if your software is all that, then why aren’t more people using it? Let’s get to the heart of the matter here. I always say that I represent the people because I am the people. That helps a lot now, but it was very difficult to get to that point.

Samir Husni: You’re preaching “Print Long and Prosper,” yet all these digital devices and digital platforms are hounding at you. Do you ever look at your reflection in the mirror and think “I’m crazy?”

Deborah Corn: Yes, I think I experienced that the most in 2008 during the recession. People would ask me what I did for a living and I didn’t really have an answer. I would tell them that I was a professional networker. (Laughs) And they would ask what that meant and I would answer I don’t really know but something is happening all around me and I’m just going to stick with it.

It would be naive of me not to think that other people think like you do, that this digital thing disrupted everything so much, but I am truly a believer in evolution, that only the strong should survive. Often at an event I show a picture of the yellow pages, which of course used to be the phone book, and I’m saying that because not everybody knows what the yellow pages are anymore and I have to explain that this is where you used to find everything. And I would ask guess who was upset when that went away? Printers and paper companies. Guess who wasn’t upset? The rest of Earth because that is now the Internet. 

So I don’t see it the same way. I see it as, if there is a technology that can amplify or support a communication or work together with another communication, then that’s amazing. If you can’t produce something that works in that system, that’s the problem, not the evolution of communication. You cannot stop evolution.

Samir Husni: What role do you think print should play today to survive?

Deborah Corn: There is a unique moment in time right now where the world is about to reset and there’s a lot of information that has to be communicated in that. And I think print still has a big role to play in the world reopening, resetting itself, and reestablishing itself. Everybody needs to recommunicate with everybody, even if it’s just “these are our new hours,” “this is our procedure if you want to come to the vet or the doctor’s office,” whatever it might be. You can take your chances on an email, but that’s a pretty big risk.

I really believe that if you are part of the world that we live in, there are certain things that are right for print and the things that aren’t, you should have the partners in place to execute those jobs. There are other ways to keep money coming in. For example, digital asset management. There are other ways that printers could expand, so I just don’t think it’s all about a piece of paper, or a piece of print, or the printed thing. It’s about how the whole system works now or how it should work. Or what’s the most effective and efficient way for it to work for that particular customer. 

And a printer has to have a solution for all of that, whether it’s under their roof or through partners. That is how we come out of this as only the strong survive.

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

Deborah Corn: Print Media Centr provides print-spiration and resources to print marketing professionals. We do that through podcasts from the Printerverse, through initiatives like “Girls Who Print,” “Project Peacock,” which is coming back this year and we’re excited for that. 

I also present at events and personally help companies with training salespeople, although I don’t think of it as sales training, I think of it as relationship coaching. Being a print customer for all of those years, I certainly have been on the end of a million pitches from people and I understand what works and what doesn’t. 

I like to think that we’re a free and friendly resource for the printing industry and the marketing industry. I have a very close connection with the print customers and the students, it’s one of my distinct honors every year, except for last year, of course, to come to the University of Mississippi for the ACT Experience and I’m really glad it’s back later this year. 

I can tell you that the students really do like Print Media Centr because all of our writers are regular people. No one’s preaching or selling anything. We’re just trying to give people ideas on how to think differently, do business differently, and think about print differently. 

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?

Deborah Corn: Perseverance gets me out of bed. I’m not going to let a pandemic take me down. I’ve had to reinvent what I do; I’ve had to reinvent my products and services. I’ve learned some really big lessons along the way. The biggest one, and I hope everyone listens to this one if you ever have customers, make sure you have what they refer to as a diversified customer base, because I did not. 

All of the people that I work with I don’t call them customers, I call them partners because they have to help me give information to people. But I realized that a big portion of that was related to events and when that rug was pulled out from under everybody, I kind of just stared at a wall and thought okay, that’s what they meant by a diversified customer base. 

I don’t want to say that I clawed my way out of a hole, because it wasn’t that bad. I actually lived most of my existence online. We came out a few years ago and primarily was out, so it wasn’t that hard to make the transition back, but the information that people needed was different, so I had to really look for that. So, that makes me proud every day that I wake up, go to my desk and still have the business, and in some ways it’s a better business because I was able to “kill all my darlings,” which is a literary expression, and stop doing the things that I was just doing to do them because I got into a pattern and it was comfortable. 

And push myself out and be willing to say no, this is what this costs and I’m not willing to negotiate on my time anymore. And it made me a little tougher, actually, when it came to that. If I’m going to put my time into it now, it has to be worth it for me too, not just the audience. There are always things I’ll do just for the audience, but I realized that I was too heavy on that side. Unfortunately, a lot of people are getting like, ‘I’d love to help you, here’s how I can help you’ with a little proposal attached, as opposed to ‘Sure, I’ll help you, no problem.’ But I just don’t have time for that anymore.

Samir Husni: How do you unwind in the evenings?

Deborah Corn: What I do to relax might seem crazy, but I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. It takes me out of the harsh reality of the world and it gives me an insight into acceptance in a way that’s different and it makes me feel good. There is creativity and it’s funny as hell. 

But ultimately, when the drag queens tell their stories, these are not great stories about how they were treated by their families or hardships that they had along the way because they were gay or they were drag queens, but just to hear how they overcame all of that and had the balls literally and figuratively to put on a frock and go and be themselves no matter what, and the freedom that gave them, is so inspirational to me. I highly recommend it. 

I binge watched it twice in 2020 and there were days when I needed it just to smile. It’s so creative and so amazing, it really helped me a lot. 

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

Deborah Corn: What keeps me up at night is that I’m afraid that sometimes I’m like Fred Flintstone with my feet pushing the car. Being a solo preneur and a solo entrepreneur is very difficult now. Even though I’m trying to streamline how I’m running my business, what keeps me up at night is that I’m farther back getting to that point that I was almost at of being able to actually afford someone else working with me. Someone who has a stake in the company as opposed to a freelancer. 

So, that keeps me up at night. I feel that the pandemic really was a slap in the face with the events and everything that went away. I’m trying to get back to the point where I’m doing things, where I can surround myself with people who are also invested in that and hopefully I can get to the point where I can take Print Media Centr to the next level. The podcasts help because I can speak things, but I wish my site could do more. But that keeps me up at night; I don’t want to become obsolete because I can’t keep up with the electronic mediums.

Samir Husni: Thank you. 

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Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor Q 1, 2021: 34 New Magazines Reaches The American Newsstands…

April 5, 2021

Whether you want to take a Royals Rue or you want to Justsmile and be Seen, or take a Men’s Adventure or be an Adventure Rider with or without a Crankshaft, there is always room for Delish and there is a new magazine with all the aforementioned names that appeared on the nation’s newsstands in the first quarter of 2021. Indeed there were 34 new titles that were launched or relaunched in those first three months, and this number is more than half of the total number of 60 magazines that launched in 2020.

Boys’ Life; published since 1911, changed its name to Scout Life to pave the way for a gender-free community of scouts. And it’s a new name and a new look for AAA members as the print edition of its member publication is now known as AAA Explorer, giving the title a fresh look and a fresh new moniker. 

And if you remember the men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, you’ll definitely want to order the first issue of Men’s Adventure Quarterly, a new print-on-demand magazine (when you order it, they send it) that features many of the exciting adventure stories born in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a retro feeling old fans will love and new fans will quickly cultivate.

A successful digital-first brand from Hearst that has seen immeasurable growth with not only its website, but its printed bookazines and cookbooks, Delish.com is launching a quarterly print magazine. Delish in print will be sold at the newsstands, but will also be an integral part of the subscription model the brand has in place for its online footprint. Issue 1 features some delectable ideas for breakfast + brunch.

And with the world infatuated with the Royal family more so today than ever before, PEOPLE brings us a new quarterly magazine simply called Royals. It’s sure to satisfy the most enthusiastic of Royal lovers.

And there are a lot of global magazines that are reaching newsstands in America. Magazines created and appreciated in our neighboring countries across the pond that are now showing up here for us to enjoy, such as Konfekt.  A sharp, elegant and well-turned-out new magazine from the creators of Monocle. It’s a quarterly publication covering fashion, travel, design, drinking, dining and culture in both English and German. And so is Orlando, not the city, but an international Italian magazine with Queen Elizabeth II gracing the cover of its first edition, and Simply Scandi setting the stage for a welcoming spring.

On the home front, Justsmile magazine is an independent cultural publication at the cross-section of fine art, fashion, ideas, self-expression, and inclusivity, according to its website. Mr. Magazine™ thinks it’s a sharp-looking new title that can be used as a tool for expressing ideas and dialogues. Created for everyone, Justsmile aims to shine a light on honest examples of inclusivity and diversity, providing a collaborative platform for Black and people of color voices to explore their work.

So, without any further delay, here are the covers of the 34 new titles launched in the first three months of 2021.

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

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