Posts tagged magazines

I have to tell you, it’s a spectacular relief. The pressures of the present moment in American journalism aren’t just economic; they’re intellectual, or rather anti-intellectual. I feel very confident in saying we’re not going to become quicker, fuzzier, faster. We’re reviving our old standards.

Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, to the Washington Post on Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes becoming the magazine’s publisher. Washington Post, Chris Hughes, once a new-media pioneer, makes bet on old media with New Republic.

The 28-year-old Hughes acquired TNR in early March. The influential magazine is set to “relaunch” — reboot might be a better word — this fall.

If you read through on the Washington Post article, you’ll find a profile of Hughes that takes you through his North Carolina youth, to prep school in New England, to Harvard where he was roommates with Mark Zuckerberg, to becoming to director of online organizing for the 2008 Obama campaign, to starting Jumo, to advocating for marriage equality with his boyfriend and on, and on.

Not bad for your first quarter century.

Want some Gumbo with that Magazine?

Publishers constantly consider their business models. Often it’s the now mundane debate about whether to paywall or not to paywall. Other times it’s about brand diversification.

For example, the Washington Post survives because the Washington Post Company makes millions off of Kaplan, its for-profit education company. The New York Times Company, until recently, was part owner of the Boston Red Sox. Hearst, which publishes magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Popular Mechanics, owns a number of television, radio and cable stations.

In turbulent times, diversification can be a good thing. So take the Oxford American, the 23-year-old quarterly dedicated to southern writing. They’re opening a restaurant.

Via the Oxford American:

The Oxford American, a literary magazine of Southern culture, will soon transform its new buildings in Little Rock’s burgeoning South Main Street (SOMA) district into a home for diverse arts programming, thanks to a significant grant from ArtPlace.

The space will include a restaurant that will celebrate Southern culinary culture. Accompanying the food will be nightly cultural programming that will feature the best of Southern arts and culture across a variety of formats including literature, music, film, art and drama. The Oxford American will focus on community-oriented programming developed through partnerships with local organizations and institutions.

The Oxford American will also outfit this space with recording (audio and video) equipment that will allow all of the programming to be live-streamed over the organization’s website as well as recorded for podcasts, videos, and other presentations. New and unique broadcasts also will be developed through The OA’s existing partnerships with NPR and PBS. As a result, the programming will be viewed and appreciated by people all over the world.

ArtPlace is a new national collaboration of eleven major national and regional foundations, six of the nation’s largest banks, and eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities with strategic investments in the arts.

Good reads. Good eats. Good entertainment.

Liking this.

onaissues:

“[A]mong magazines there is a new sense of optimism. In North America, where the recession bit deepest (see chart), more new magazines were launched than closed in 2011 for the second year in a row. The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) reports that magazine audiences are growing faster than those for TV or newspapers, especially among the young.”
Read more: The magazine industry: Non-news is good news | The Economist

onaissues:

“[A]mong magazines there is a new sense of optimism. In North America, where the recession bit deepest (see chart), more new magazines were launched than closed in 2011 for the second year in a row. The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) reports that magazine audiences are growing faster than those for TV or newspapers, especially among the young.”

Read more: The magazine industry: Non-news is good news | The Economist

In Praise of Print

  • FJP: The Guardian reports on both the success of print magazines, and the symbiotic relationship print and digital delivery can have for a brand. Here are some ideas from the article (http://bit.ly/Ke0hGj).
  • Marcus Webb: We want to make something which is treasured, which ends its days making the bookshelf, coffee table or toilet just that little bit prettier and more civilized.
  • Joerg Koch: You don't need print for news any more. But for long, visual-driven stories, it can offer a business model and an immersive focused quality that digital cannot offer yet.
  • Dave Eggars: To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive.
  • Munro Smith: Computers and video games haven't killed physical toys and games, so there's no reason why the digital world should kill print. Lack of innovation or providing a poor product is far more likely to do that. The amazing range of technological opportunities that can be used to support and interact with print are definitely a bonus, not a threat.
We decided to credit editors because they live and breath the stories they work on, and I felt that some kind of recognition was due. It’s really as simple as that. The kind of work they do varies widely from story to story, it’s very difficult to generalize. What makes our editors so good is they know how to do a light line editing, when that’s all that’s required, and they know how to wrestle something to the ground, when that’s what’s required. Usually, it’s somewhere in between.

Hugo Lindgren, Editor, New York Times Magazine. Reddit. I’m Hugo Lindgren, editor of the New York Times magazine.

Hugo Lindgren spent time on Reddit’s IAmA board yesterday to answer questions about his career, magazines and journalism. Here, he’s talking about giving editors byline credits in the magazine.

His thoughts are great on other topics too, especially for those looking to get into magazines.

sciencefiction:

These are fictional magazine covers from Blade Runner. They were created by production illustrator Tom Southwell in 1980-1981 and appeared in the background on a magazine stand in the city streets. (!!!!)

Meet the future of (fake) journalism

Sometimes something is too provocative or too sexist or too racist but it will inspire a line of thinking that will help develop an image that is publishable.

Françoise Mouly, Art Editor, the New Yorker, on how she works with artists on the magazine’s covers. Secrets of the New Yorker cover.

Mouly’s just published a book called Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See, that shows rejected work and the sketches made in the process of arriving at the covers that ended being used.

Time’s Upcoming Cover
Discuss.

Time’s Upcoming Cover

Discuss.

Time Wins Magazine of the Year Award
Via AdAge:

Time was named magazine of the year at the annual National Magazine Awards on Thursday night, taking home a prize introduced in 2010 to honor brands that excel across both print and digital.
Vice magazine, which had celebrated its first nomination for a National Magazine Award with a press release thanking the industry for “realizing we do it better than you,” lost to Bloomberg Businessweek for general excellence among general-interest magazines.
It was Businessweek’s first win for general excellence since Bloomberg acquired the title in 2009.
Four magazines won their first-ever general excellence awards, which were the top prizes before the magazine of the year category was created: O, The Oprah Magazine, for general excellence among women’s magazines; Inc., for active- and special-interest magazines; House Beautiful, for lifestyle magazines; and IEEE Spectrum, for thought-leader magazines.

Congratulations to all. And hat tip to Vice for being clever.
Image: Assorted Time covers.

Time Wins Magazine of the Year Award

Via AdAge:

Time was named magazine of the year at the annual National Magazine Awards on Thursday night, taking home a prize introduced in 2010 to honor brands that excel across both print and digital.

Vice magazine, which had celebrated its first nomination for a National Magazine Award with a press release thanking the industry for “realizing we do it better than you,” lost to Bloomberg Businessweek for general excellence among general-interest magazines.

It was Businessweek’s first win for general excellence since Bloomberg acquired the title in 2009.

Four magazines won their first-ever general excellence awards, which were the top prizes before the magazine of the year category was created: O, The Oprah Magazine, for general excellence among women’s magazines; Inc., for active- and special-interest magazines; House Beautiful, for lifestyle magazines; and IEEE Spectrum, for thought-leader magazines.

Congratulations to all. And hat tip to Vice for being clever.

Image: Assorted Time covers.

Vogue Editors Announce Pact to Promote Healthier Body Image
Via Vogue UK:

THE HEALTH INITIATIVE, a pact between the 19 international editors of Vogue to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry, is unveiled today in the June issue of Vogue.
"As one of the fashion industry’s most powerful voices, Vogue has a unique opportunity to engage with relevant issues where we feel we can make a difference," editor Alexandra Shulman explains in her editor’s letter, adding that the Initiative will "build on the successful work that the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the support of American Vogue in the US and the British Fashion Council in the UK have already begun to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry".
In line with the Health Initiative, the international issues of Vogue jointly pledge - among other things - to “work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image” and to “be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image”.

Women’s Wear Daily has additional details:

Among the points that form the pact are that the editors will not knowingly work with models under 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder; that they will ask casting directors not to knowingly send underage models to their magazines; they will help structure mentoring programs so that more mature models can advise their younger counterparts; they will encourage designers to “consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes,” and that they will encourage show producers to create healthy backstage working environments for models.
The new initiative builds on the steps that the Council of Fashion Designers of America and U.S. Vogue have taken, such as the launch of a mentor program for models in 2011, and those of the British Fashion Council and British Vogue, such as the launch of the BFC’s Model Health Inquiry in 2007 and the establishment of a model advisory panel, a meeting of casting directors, stylists and booking editors to discuss model welfare.

Image: Cover for Vogue UK’s June Issue.

Vogue Editors Announce Pact to Promote Healthier Body Image

Via Vogue UK:

THE HEALTH INITIATIVE, a pact between the 19 international editors of Vogue to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry, is unveiled today in the June issue of Vogue.

"As one of the fashion industry’s most powerful voices, Vogue has a unique opportunity to engage with relevant issues where we feel we can make a difference," editor Alexandra Shulman explains in her editor’s letter, adding that the Initiative will "build on the successful work that the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the support of American Vogue in the US and the British Fashion Council in the UK have already begun to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry".

In line with the Health Initiative, the international issues of Vogue jointly pledge - among other things - to “work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image” and to “be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image”.

Women’s Wear Daily has additional details:

Among the points that form the pact are that the editors will not knowingly work with models under 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder; that they will ask casting directors not to knowingly send underage models to their magazines; they will help structure mentoring programs so that more mature models can advise their younger counterparts; they will encourage designers to “consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes,” and that they will encourage show producers to create healthy backstage working environments for models.

The new initiative builds on the steps that the Council of Fashion Designers of America and U.S. Vogue have taken, such as the launch of a mentor program for models in 2011, and those of the British Fashion Council and British Vogue, such as the launch of the BFC’s Model Health Inquiry in 2007 and the establishment of a model advisory panel, a meeting of casting directors, stylists and booking editors to discuss model welfare.

Image: Cover for Vogue UK’s June Issue.


Bloomberg reaches iPhone readers by giving them a word count
The Bloomberg Businessweek iPad app has been a success for nearly a year now, and this week they’re bringing it to the iPhone. The difference being that:

It gives readers a word count for stories, making it easier to pick out the most digestible piece given whatever amount of time you have. “We know through the course of the day on iPhone people are going to come in and out, and we want to give them a perspective of the (time) commitment,” Oke Okaro said.

Tip toeing around the other things people use their phones for, the global head of mobile there says there’s a lot to learn from watching how people use the app over the next few months.

Since the iPad version of the app has been out for some time, Bloomberg has data on their readers’ habits, and they generally line up with what we’ve seen elsewhere: People are reading the magazine in the evening and on weekends. The magazine has grown a steady stream of new subscribers and converted print readers to verify their subscription, so the iPhone edition is a play at expanding their audience.

Via Nieman Lab.

Bloomberg reaches iPhone readers by giving them a word count

The Bloomberg Businessweek iPad app has been a success for nearly a year now, and this week they’re bringing it to the iPhone. The difference being that:

It gives readers a word count for stories, making it easier to pick out the most digestible piece given whatever amount of time you have. “We know through the course of the day on iPhone people are going to come in and out, and we want to give them a perspective of the (time) commitment,” Oke Okaro said.

Tip toeing around the other things people use their phones for, the global head of mobile there says there’s a lot to learn from watching how people use the app over the next few months.

Since the iPad version of the app has been out for some time, Bloomberg has data on their readers’ habits, and they generally line up with what we’ve seen elsewhere: People are reading the magazine in the evening and on weekends. The magazine has grown a steady stream of new subscribers and converted print readers to verify their subscription, so the iPhone edition is a play at expanding their audience.

Via Nieman Lab.

Zite Launches Publishers Program

Zite, the personalized magazine app creator that CNN purchased last summer has had a busy couple of days.

Last week they announced the release of an Android version of their app. This week they announce that they’ve created a publisher’s program with eight partners including Fox Sports, The Daily Beast, the Huffington Post and, of course, CNN.

The program integrates the publisher’s content into a dedicated section within the Zite app with the goal of first exposing readers to that content, and then — because the user likes the publishers’ content so much — getting them to download the publishers’ native apps.

Conversion, of course, is a tricky game to play and hard to succeed at but it is an important step for a company that was sent a cease and desist letter by publishers almost immediately after it first launched the product last year.

The model also differs from Next Issue Media’s “Netflix for Magazines” app that we highlighted yesterday, where publishers are bundling their content together under an all you can read buffet for $10 to $15 per month.

Perhaps its in their DNA. Zite considers itself a discovery engine rather than a personalized magazine news aggregator. In announcing the publishing program, they write:

Zite is uniquely positioned to innovate on distribution with publishers because of how Zite works. At our core, we are a discovery engine: a place where users can go to find interesting articles that are personalized to a user’s particular needs/wants. One of the most common compliments we receive from our users is: “Wow, I find stuff on Zite that I couldn’t have found anywhere else.”

Zite’s goal isn’t to be the only place you go to read news. Much like a search engine, we just want to be your starting point. On a person’s iPad, for example, we expect that a user will use Zite and a number of publisher applications that they read cover to cover. Zite gives you a taste, but you need to go the publisher for their full experience.

So, two days, two different models on how publishers are coming together on tablets and mobile devices. We look forward to watching where this leads, and seeing what new innovations others are coming up with.

A Netflix for Magazines
Via AllThingsD:

Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines.
The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.
There are catches, of course, and we’ll get to them in a minute. But the thrust of what NIM and its publishers are trying to do here is heartening, because it shows that they’re willing to experiment, for real.
They’re keeping their core business model — curated bundles of content sponsored primarily by advertising. But they’re making a key concession by not requiring consumers to make a commitment to any particular title and letting them swap out magazines at will.
Not a coincidence: Two years after the iPad launched, consumers have only shown a mild interest in tablet magazines — digital represents just 1 percent of the industry’s circulation. Publishers need to do something.

The app is currently Android only and the magazines offered a limited to an assortment (not all) of titles by publishers in the Next Media venture: Hearst, Meredith, Conde Nast and Time Inc.
Ken Doctor weighs in at Nieman Lab:

So what is it? iTunes for magazines? Maybe Hulu for periodicals? How about Piano Media for American titles? Tivo for print?
In the hurly-burly of digital content innovation and monetization, it’s hard to figure out what things are, so we try to find apt comparisons. With the new Next Issue digital newsstand, let’s think Netflix or Pandora or Spotify as the closest cousins. Next Issue, the offspring of five prosperous parents (Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and News Corp.), launched last night what I think will be a model-changing product for publishers.

A Netflix for Magazines

Via AllThingsD:

Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines.

The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.

There are catches, of course, and we’ll get to them in a minute. But the thrust of what NIM and its publishers are trying to do here is heartening, because it shows that they’re willing to experiment, for real.

They’re keeping their core business model — curated bundles of content sponsored primarily by advertising. But they’re making a key concession by not requiring consumers to make a commitment to any particular title and letting them swap out magazines at will.

Not a coincidence: Two years after the iPad launched, consumers have only shown a mild interest in tablet magazines — digital represents just 1 percent of the industry’s circulation. Publishers need to do something.

The app is currently Android only and the magazines offered a limited to an assortment (not all) of titles by publishers in the Next Media venture: Hearst, Meredith, Conde Nast and Time Inc.

Ken Doctor weighs in at Nieman Lab:

So what is it? iTunes for magazines? Maybe Hulu for periodicals? How about Piano Media for American titles? Tivo for print?

In the hurly-burly of digital content innovation and monetization, it’s hard to figure out what things are, so we try to find apt comparisons. With the new Next Issue digital newsstand, let’s think Netflix or Pandora or Spotify as the closest cousins. Next Issue, the offspring of five prosperous parents (Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and News Corp.), launched last night what I think will be a model-changing product for publishers.

The Future of Magazines Should Look a Lot Like Spotify

Most news stories are covered by many media outlets. News is not a scarce commodity. Magazine articles, on the other hand, typically provide more in-depth commentary or analysis on interesting topics. A consumer can’t easily find other sources for a magazine story. 

Hamish McKenzie argues that magazine publishers, like music publishers before them (album versus iTunes single), should break up the sacred magazine bundle online and allow consumers to either pay a Netflix type subscription to an all-you-can eat buffet of articles from a variety of publishers, or provide an a-la-carte menu for consumers to discover and pay for the articles they want to read

Of course, this implies that publishers would need to coordinate the development of an industry led technology and distribution platform (similar to Hulu), or watch an external technology company such as Flipboard, Google, Apple, or Amazon build a business model off the publisher’s content and own the relationship with the end consumer.

As McKenzie states:

The first problem is that there is an app for each magazine. To subscribe to the New Yorker, Wired, Vanity Fair, GQ, The Atlantic, Details, New York, and Time, you’ve got to have seven different apps, many of which are bloated. Some issues of Wired, for example, have weighed in at 500MB each. And what do you get inside? Aside from the occasional animation, or supplementary audio and video, they’re basically just digital facsimiles of the paper product. Worse – you can only get the stories if you get the whole magazine.

So here’s an idea for how to do it better and make money from it.

Break up the bundle. Present stories on an individual basis. Do to the magazine what iTunes did to the album, but do it with a Spotify model. And put it all into one app.

In short: build a platform not for magazines, but for magazine stories.

Here’s how it works. You have an app called something like Mag Reader. When you open Mag Reader, it shows you a list of the latest works from your favorite publications, as well as ones that align with your interests, or the stories currently most talked about on social media.

Each story is listed with a small picture, headline, by-line, date, relevancy rating (just like Netflix’s customized recommendations), introductory teaser, and publisher name. Before clicking through, you can expand each one to see more art work, the first few paragraphs, who has recommended the story, links to similar stories, and what else the publisher has put out recently. If you feel the urge, you can even buy the magazine issue into which the piece has been bundled for paper consumption.

You have a profile page, just like you do on Spotify or Facebook, on which your most recently read stories are listed alongside the stories you recommend most highly. On your page, you can also list your favourite magazines and writers, along with your interests. Perhaps you even list all the readers you follow, Twitter-style. You can discover new stories through the social connections you have built around your profile, just like you do now through Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader (people still use that, right?).

Each writer has a profile, too. Some writers will be affiliated with magazines; some will be independent. You can follow your favorite writers, so you’ll always know when they have a new story out. On his profile, a writer has a bio, links to his stories, and perhaps even a “works in progress” section that comes with a “donate” button, so readers can make financial contributions to stories they’d like to see materialize, Kickstarter-style.

Publishers have brand pages, as well, just like on Facebook. At each page, you can read about the magazine, check out the masthead, perhaps watch some behind-the-scenes footage, and maybe even subscribe to their bundled products.

Like Facebook and Spotify, Mag Reader can host third-party apps – such as Longreadsand The Atlantic’s Best of Journalism – that offer curated reading lists.

The story-reading experience is seamless and alive. You can highlight passages you want to make a note of, just like you can on the Kindle. You can look up specific words in a dictionary. Publishers can easily integrate multimedia into their stories. Writers can update their stories as new information comes to hand. On each story you can leave comments that will then, if you so choose, publish to your Facebook profile. You will be able to sort comments on the stories to prioritize the ones written by “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” (thanks, Roman Meytin, for that idea).

One commenter from Germany, who actually tried to launch a service similar to the one described in the article, summarized the experience of trying to herd cats publishers and get them to work together:

We presented our app to dozens of newspaper publishers and press agencies in Germany and we had around 20 of them joining our model as launching partners. But we realized very soon that this model was a failure.

Most newspapers, mainly the big and interesting ones, were not interested at all, they all wanted their OWN app in the AppStore. They did not want to promote an app that contains content from other newspapers. They did not want users to choose which article is interesting and which one is not. So, more or less all German newspapers launched their OWN apps, most of them never reached top 100 of the category news in appStore and – even more surprising – a lot of them are completely free or you have to pay an initial single payment of .79 €.