review of magazines the new york
Spring / Summer 2012
Sources: Magazines – MRI Spring 2011; SIM Publisher’s Estimate; Digital – Omniture Oct.-Dec. 2011
100 MILLION STRONG
OUR WOMEN’S NETWORK HAS EXPANDED. Meredith is the leading media and marketing company inspiring 100 million women at every life stage. With the addition of AllRecipes.com—the world’s largest food site, EatingWell, Every Day with Rachael Ray and FamilyFun, we’ve reinforced our leadership position in the food category. Our online audience has nearly doubled to 40 million UVs monthly and has expanded our reach into younger markets across digital, social and mobile platforms.
table of contents Features 12 (Un)Civil Discourse Online comment threads disrupt the tradition of letters to the editor. By Elizabeth Harball 16
The Most Insane Marketing Product Ever
With Think Quarterly, Google makes print its newest frontier. By Brian Patrick Eha
50 Years of “Delight and Absurdity”
Ed Koren opens up about his life as a cartoonist. By Alex Contratto
22 Are You Listening, Boys? The Atlantic becomes female friendly. By Andrew Bell
25 Military Mags Retreat From Print Defense Department budget cuts make the armed forces go digital. By Chris Haire 32 Out With the Old Hugo Lindgren cleans house at The New York Times Magazine. By Andrea Palatnik 34 In Her Own Words Desirée Rogers explains her move from the White House to Johnson Publishing. By Jessona McDonald
37 Mad’s Still Not Worried Mad Editor John Ficarra talks about sixty years of the satire magazine. By Travis Irvine
40 Ten Magazine Articles That Shook the World A selection of the twentieth century’s most influential feature stories. By Marie-Sophie Schwarzer 42 College Humor Magazines Get the Last Laugh The Harvard Lampoon, The Texas Travesty and The Yale Record—what keeps them coming back? By Jenny Rogers
News and Views
46 Keeping Us Honest The Columbia Journalism Review celebrates fifty years. By Chikaodili Okaneme 49 Elle in Oz The fashion book that failed in Australia in 2002 plans to try again next year. By Kate Racovolis 52 Wanted It’s about time African-American men had a magazine of their own. By Shonitria Anthony 55 Magazine-of-Honor How three brides find flowers, dresses and sanity in bridal magazines. By Danielle Ziri
In Review 59 The Social Media Monthly, Otaku USA, Cornucopia, Fangoria, Dazed and Confused, Mother Earth News, The Middle East, Yes!, Grantland, Thriving Family, Campaigns and Elections, Industrie, Garden and Gun, Filmmaker, Jones
3 What’s Fresh in Food Magazines Take Our Quiz! 4 Intern Report
5 Five Top Editors Get Inspired 6 The New Magic 8-Ball An App for That 7 Breaking Up With Vogue 8 Poem: “A Memory of Magazines” Social Media Goes to Print magazine moments 9 The Man Behind the Blog 10 Critics Out of Context 11 How Magazines Get Their Names Hail to the Nominee
Cover illustration: Stephen Kroninger
N e w Yo r k R e v i e w o f M a g a z i n e s
review of magazines the new york
Letter From the Editors It’s 2012, and The New York Review of Magazines is back after a two-year absence. A lot has changed in that time—readers switched on iPads, The New York
Brian Patrick Eha, Chris Haire
Times Magazine laid off columnists and, oddly, Google started a print magazine. This issue is full of content that attempts to come to grips with everything that’s
Elizabeth Harball, Jenny Rogers
News and Views Editors
Travis Irvine, Kate Racovolis
happened. One of the challenges of putting out a publication like The New York Review of Magazines is that we find ourselves, at the top of each new calendar year, with
the pressing need to define some terms and justify our mission. So let’s start by
defining the most important term of all. What is a magazine?
Simply put, the magazine is both a medium and a cultural product. As with all
cultural products, a close examination of it can tell us something of our society’s preoccupations and concerns. That’s where NYRM comes in. Magazines are
Brian Patrick Eha Elizabeth Harball Andrea Palatnik
Shonitria Anthony Alex Contratto Chikaodili Okaneme Danielle Ziri
the chosen lens through which we look at a host of larger issues. You’ll find our features address matters of technology, humor, food and more. But we also value the simple pleasures of reading. We don’t just examine the magazine as a cultural product; we believe in it as a medium. Whether on pixels or bound paper, it remains the best venue for in-depth analysis and long-form nonfiction as well as for various kinds of creative writing.
brian patrick eha
Business Manager Andrew Bell
We haven’t shied away from long investigations. Our writers’ stories took them everywhere from a military base in Maryland (“Military Mags Retreat From Print,” page 25) to the insular world of college humor magazines (“College
Jessona McDonald, Matthew Sawh
Stephen kroninger www.stephenkroninger.com
hilary schenker www.hilaryschenker.com
Humor Gets the Last Laugh,” page 42). But we also have plenty of light snacks to whet your appetite, including one staffer’s kiss-off to her first love among magazines (“Breaking Up With Vogue,” page 7) and a quiz that will test your magazine knowledge (“How Well Do You Know Your Newsstand?” page 3). There’s even a poem for you literary types. We love magazines. We wouldn’t be putting NYRM out into the world if we didn’t. Our back-of-the-book review section surveys more than a dozen of
Victor Navasky, Roger Youman, Nancy Butkus Kathryn McGarr, Barbara Sullivan
them—some good, some not so good and some just plain weird. We like to think there’s something here for everyone.
Fry Communications, Inc.
In this age of instant communication, of news that breaks even before it’s supposed to break, we’re confident that magazines, whether print or digital, still
This magazine is typeset in Minion Pro, and the display type is in Modern No. 20. Copyright © 2012 Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 (212) 854-5751 www.nyrm.org 2 | the
N e w Yo r k R e v i e w o f M a g a z i n e s
have a purpose and can still bring pleasure. We will have succeeded if this issue of NYRM introduces you to some that are getting it right and excites you about how much is still possible.
NYRM gives you a glance into the recent world of magazines
What’s Fresh in Food Magazines By Jenny Rogers It’s no secret we all love to eat, but it might be shocking how many food magazines our passion has spawned. Despite the gloom surrounding the demise of Gourmet in 2009, new food magazines keep on coming. More have launched in each of the last two years than magazines in any other category, according to the magazine database MediaFinder. com. With twenty-eight new magazines in 2010—nearly fifteen percent of all magazines launched that year—and twenty-five in 2011—nearly thirteen percent—the number of food magazines has grown fast. While many of them are small or regional, some have flourished in a big way. Here’s a taste of recent successes: magazines launched in the last three years that have reached a circulation of at least 100,000. Food Network Magazine, 2009: The cable channel turned to print the year Gourmet folded, and by January 2012 its magazine had a circulation of nearly one-and-a-half million. In Food Network Magazine’s glossy, photograph-filled pages, recipes rub up against views of kitchens and short articles featuring TV celebrity chefs such as Giada De Laurentiis of Giada at Home and Marc Forgione of Iron Chef.
And with cover lines like “Easy!” and “No Fuss!” the monthly is an easy-toread how-to book. Want to know how to poach an egg? The April issue offers up a four-step, photograph-accompanied guide. ChopChop, 2010: This nonprofit magazine is a quarterly on a mission: establish healthy eating habits among kids. With two years under its belt and a circulation of 530,000, ChopChop is funded by financial sponsors and subscriptions sold to families, doctors and schools. Partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics and advised by a board that includes health professionals, the magazine’s aim is to teach kids five to twelve years old—and their parents—to be “nutritionally literate,” in line with the national drive to fight child obesity. That movement’s most prominent advocate, first lady Michelle Obama, contributed a recipe for baked apples. Though ChopChop’s message is directed at adults, the magazine’s mazes, puzzles and use of words like “icky” or “diff ’ ” are directed at kids. Some bigger words, like “gua-
camole,” are spelled phonetically to help young readers sound them out. ChopChop, “the fun cooking magazine for families,” is determined to make broccoli and eggplant taste better, one vegetable at a time. Lucky Peach, 2011: The newest of these upstart food magazines is published by McSweeney’s, with David Chang, the provocative chef-owner of the Momofuku Restaurant Group, as its founder. Lucky Peach had 100,000 subscribers by its second issue. The heavyweight, unglossed pages of the food “journal” are filled with long articles and columns, such as a ten-page story about apricots and a five-pager about chefs and celebrity. With a sprinkling of F-bombs and the odd article about clean toilets, Lucky Peach exposes the guts of the food world—sometimes literally, as with a series of photos in its third issue showing how to catch, kill and gut a fish. Here, the recipes are “more like guides,” the magazine says. With cover photos that show dead, bleeding fish or tattooed pig hinds, Lucky Peach is not your grandmother’s food magazine. Some magazine categories may be experiencing hard times but, as the publisher of one of these newcomers, Vicki Wellington of Food Network Magazine, told magazine guru Samir Husni in January, “Food is on fire.”
How Well Do You Know Your Newsstand? By Shonitria Anthony With so many magazines on the stands, the cover lines can sometimes blur together or stand out or just be downright repetitive, depending on design. But consistency in the topics they cover is something we can always count on. Or can we? Match each of these 2012 cover lines to the correct magazine. Then check your answers below.
1. “How Social Media Fuels Social Unrest” 2. “Get Slim Without the Gym” 3. “90 Days To Financial Freedom” 4. “The Journey of the Apostles” 5. “Your Orgasm Guaranteed: The New Trick Experts Swear By” 6.“The 50 Most Powerful People in Politics” 7. “The New Good Guys: 12 Leaders Who Turn Down the Noise and Get Things Done” 8. “A Rock Star in Rwanda: Reflections from the Fray’s Isaac Slade” 9. “Hair That Makes You Happy” 10. “Ryan Seacrest (For Real!): Is He the Future of Media?”
Answers: 1. Wired, 2. Shape, 3. Essence, 4. National Geographic, 5. Cosmopolitan, 6. GQ, 7. Rolling Stone, 8. Paste, 9. Seventeen, 10. Fortune nyrm.org
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In the magazine industry, internships have become the best way for an inexperienced journalist to get her foot in the door. By running Five students at the errands, researching, fact checkColumbia Graduate School ing and answering phones, interns of Journalism reflect on gain experience and connections— their internship experiences. and often land jobs. However, most By Elizabeth Harball media companies pay their interns
very little, if anything, and groups like “Internships for Education (Not Labor)” have surfaced, claiming that internships are exploitative rather than instructive. According to The New York Times, Xuedan Wang recently filed a lawsuit against Hearst Corporation after a four-month, full-time, unpaid internship at
Harper’s Bazaar, claiming the company violates federal and state labor laws. We asked several students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism about their internships, and even though they didn’t have much money to show for their work, they were all grateful for the experience.
Magazines The Walrus GQ Slate The New Yorker Exclaim! 1) Why did you choose to intern at this magazine in particular?
I liked the mission of the magazine and I actually felt some loyalty to it—my high school had a subscription.
I’ve been reading the magazine since I was twelve. It isn’t too gay, it isn’t too butch— it’s well-rounded, as a men’s magazine should be.
I wanted to do an internship at a publication I actually read, and a place I could see myself growing as a writer.
Largely the prestige factor.
I had worked at a semi-monthy and a weekly before, so I was interested to see how the production cycle differed at a monthly.
2) What are/were your responsibilities?
We did fact checking, ran a pitch database, wrote factoids for the front of the book, wrote Web content, set up for special events, shadow edited articles—a little bit of everything.
I’ve done the typical intern thing—I got lunch for the editorin-chief, but that’s how I met him. There has been some writing involved and I transcribe interviews. I also look for photos of certain trends.
I write for the breaking-news blog [the Slatest]. It’s 100percent writing. I write 300–400 word news briefs whenever something exciting or important happens. I can also pitch stories to other parts of the site.
I’m the go-between for the online and the print side. We look for pieces that we can either shoot or record and then we can tack on online as a complement to the print piece.
I worked to a large degree in brand promotion and audience engagement.
3) What is/was your compensation?
We got sandwiches once a week.
There’s a stipend of $500 at the end of the internship. There are free breakfasts, though!
Experience and clips.
There’s a stipend at the end, but if you get to sit at the big table, you get to sit at the big table, even if you don’t get paid to do it.
We got free Red Bull all of the time because they had a partnership with Red Bull. Oh, and I went to concerts and music festivals for free!
4) How long is/was
Six months, full time.
Four months, part time.
Five months, part time.
Five months, part time.
Four months, part time.
5) Would you recommend this publication to other prospective interns?
It depends on where you are in your life— it was [right] for me, but not everybody could afford it. That said, I value it as probably the best education I ever had.
Yes . . . (hesitates). If you love the magazine, being a cog in its wheel is enough.
Yes, definitely. It’s one of the few places you can just write and not worry about answering phone calls and such.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of neat to be on the inside of the machine.
Yes—it’s a really valuable lesson for journalists to learn about the audience factor. I think a lot of them are wrapped up in the publication and forget where it goes.
7) What’s the most important thing you have learned?
It demystified magazine writing for me, and made it less intimidating.
Anticipate what your superiors want. If you’re ahead, you’ll be noticed. And dress well—but not too well.
I’ve learned you can’t rush this shit. Just to get in the door at these places, you’re looking at another five to ten years.
In the digital age, you need to be promoting your brand—journalism is a business.
8) How much coffee have you served?
They had a strict nocoffee policy, though I did bring in doughnuts a couple of times of my own volition.
None. I am, in fact, asked if I want coffee.
Zero cups—thank God.
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news and views
What Magazines Inspired You? Five editors answer. By Andrea Palatnik Gene Menez, college football editor, Sports Illustrated
Q: What was your first magazine subscription or the first magazine you enjoyed reading as a kid? A: Sports Illustrated. I was eleven years old and my best friend in junior high had a subscription. I would sleep over at his house and we’d obsessively look through the magazine—including the swimsuit issues, of course. As a kid you’re so fascinated by sports, and it was almost magical to open the magazine and see everything you loved the most in there. Q: What magazine made you want to work at a magazine? What magazine got you started in your career? A: It really was SI. As an undergrad at the University of Texas, I worked for the school paper, covering sports. I thought for some reason that I’d always work in newspapers; I never saw myself as a magazine writer. But then I met my future boss in Chicago. They were looking for someone to work with golf—SI was expanding its golf section. I was in the right place at the right time, I guess. Truth is that SI has driven my interest in sports journalism from the beginning. Q: What magazines do you trust/admire today? A: Other than SI, Time—those guys really keep the gold standard for journalism, and their reporting is impeccable. I’m biased, of course, but I don’t think you can get better reporting than that. I also like The Atlantic and The New Yorker, of course. John Bennet, senior editor, The New Yorker
Q: What was your first magazine subscription or the first magazine you enjoyed reading as a kid? A: The first magazine I subscribed to was Mad. It was a great read for a smart-assed ten-year-old, because it took on popular culture—a ravenous monster (Davy Crockett, Elvis) that threatened to devour me—and satirically reduced it to manageable bounds. I also enjoyed Boys’ Life and, most important, comic books, including the Classics Illustrated series, which taught me, in many cases, all that I yet know about great authors. In high school, reading Time— especially cover stories that I now know were written by John McPhee—Esquire and The New Yorker made me feel superior to classmates who by every other quantifiable measure utterly excelled me. I would have loved to write
for any of them. Who wouldn’t? Q: What magazine made you want to work at a magazine? What magazine got you started in your career? A: My first magazine job (other than editing a college literary magazine) was at a magazine called Promenade, a freebie that went to hotels in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. One of my jobs was writing restaurant reviews promoting its advertisers—not an easy task, given that I had no travel allowance for the restaurants that weren’t in Manhattan. Q: What magazines do you trust/admire today? A: The magazine I most look forward to is The New York Review of Books, which is brilliantly edited. I also like to trash out with Entertainment Weekly, in the vain hope of keeping up with popular culture (which no longer threatens to devour me). Cyndi Stivers, editor-in-chief, Columbia Journalism Review
Q: What was your first magazine subscription or the first magazine you enjoyed reading as a kid? A: Life magazine—it would come every week, my dad had a subscription. It had that beautiful format, with beautiful photography. It covered the world. I really devoured it. Even before I could read, when I was four or five, I would always look through it. My mom would subscribe to a lot of women’s magazines, and I remember thinking to myself then: “Do I want to be a woman like that?” And it turned out I wasn’t, really. (Laughs.) From the time I was seven I knew I was going to be a journalist. Q: What magazine made you want to work at a magazine? What magazine got you started in your career? A: You know, I had never thought about that, but it actually was Life. Before that I had only worked at newspapers. Q: What magazines do you trust/admire today? A: Oh, there are many! I still subscribe to literally dozens of magazines of all kinds. I like [Bloomberg] Businessweek very much; Josh Tyrangiel reinvented it and it’s great now. All Condé Nast magazines are very interesting. I also love New Scientist. Josh Tyrangiel, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
Q: What was your first magazine subscription or the first magazine you enjoyed reading as a kid? A: The first magazine I subscribed to was Mad, which I thought was hilarious at the time.
Q: What magazine made you want to work at a magazine? What magazine got you started in your career? A: I grew up in a house full of magazines— Newsweek, Smithsonian, tons more—so there was no single magazine that inspired me. My first job was at Rolling Stone, which was pretty cool. Q: What magazines do you trust/admire today? A: It’s too long a list, but a sampling would have to include Wired, Time, The Economist, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, [The] New York Review [of Books] and, of course, Bloomberg Businessweek. Donna Bulseco, assistant managing editor, InStyle
Q: What was your first magazine subscription or the first magazine you enjoyed reading as a kid? A: Growing up, I was a bookworm—so naturally, the first magazine I subscribed to when I started getting an allowance was The New Yorker—I had to save for months to afford it. As the youngest of three girls, I read all the magazines my sisters bought, from Tiger Beat to Seventeen and Mademoiselle. When I went to college, my boyfriend wanted to be the next Richard Avedon, so he subscribed to Vogue. I’d steal his copies to take back to my dorm room. Q: What magazine made you want to work at a magazine? What magazine got you started in your career? A: In the late Eighties I loved a magazine called 7 Days, edited by Adam Moss—it was smart, clever and informative, and unlike any publication I’d ever read. I also remember when Self was launched in 1979: It was the first magazine my sisters didn’t read—or even know about—and it felt like it was created just for me. That’s the mark of a great magazine—when you feel as if every sentence and photo is speaking to you personally. Some ten years later, while I was an editor at Women’s Wear Daily, I got a call from Condé Nast to interview for a job at Self—so guess what? It was also the magazine that got me started in my career. Q: Which magazines do you trust/admire today? A: I am still a slave to The New Yorker and am also obsessed by its digital edition. My teenage son turned me into a basketball freak, so I read everything written on b-ball in Sports Illustrated (genius writers), as well as SI. com, which does a brilliant job of covering games online. And this may sound incredibly self-serving, but I trust InStyle for its fashion, beauty, celebrity and home stories. In those areas, it truly follows the high standards of reporting valued at Time Inc.
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Are Magazines the New Magic 8 Ball? Definitely Yes! By Marie-Sophie Schwarzer
P hoto by M arie - S ophie S chwar z er / N Y R M
In today’s world of endless choices and possibilities some guidance is often very much needed. While the Magic 8 Ball can answer “yes or no” questions, it can’t solve your daily dilemmas and help you live life to the fullest. Magazines, on the other hand, are more than happy to help you solve your personal needs. What book shall I read tonight?
Flick open Bookmarks magazine (or visit it online) and its reading list will suggest the ideal book for tonight: Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which will take about sixty seconds to download onto your Kindle. Enjoy. What shall I wear to the office cocktail party?
If you’re looking for designer labels, Vogue will have the answer: “What to Wear to the Season’s Best Parties” will ensure that you make a worthy entrance. Otherwise, Lucky’s online styling videos will help you look stunning from head to toe. And men: Look no further than GQ’s “Trend Report.”
What will make a great dinner party gift?
Wine Spectator will tell you that the 2009 Bordeaux vintage is a good choice, and its March 31 headline, “Alcohol Helps Prevent Type-2 Diabetes,” will only encourage you to rush to the cashier with not one but two bottles in hand.
By Chris Haire
Your first stop: Men’s Health for “Today’s Instant Fitness Motivation.” Once you’re motivated, start with the “New 2-Minute Toners for Sexy Abs, Butt & Thighs” in Fitness. Budget Travel editors pick “the best travel deals and vacation packages world-wide,” so take your pick and fly into the sun. If money isn’t an issue and luxury is what you’re looking for, Condé Nast Traveler’s “Iconic Itineraries” of places “you can’t help but fall in love with at first sight” will help you book your trip to paradise.
TV Guide will show you “What’s on TV” and “What’s Hot,” and Entertainment Weekly’s
In April 2010, Apple Inc. unveiled a new product: the iPad. (You may have heard of it.) Two years later, it is clear that this technological wonder has revolutionized many aspects of the publishing world—and the digital world as well. Here’s a timeline.
May 26, 2010 Wired, the magazine that reports on all things digital, announces the launch of its first digital edition for the iPad, making it one of the first magazines with an app. The application, which costs nearly five dollars to download, N ew Yor k R eview of M aga z ines
My New Year’s resolution was to go to the gym regularly, but that didn’t work out, and now beach season is fast approaching. How can I get in shape as quickly as possible?
Where to go on vacation this summer?
After a long day, what film should I watch tonight?
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reviews will help you make up your mind.
After a week away, isolated from the real world, I want to catch up on the news. What have I missed?
Time’s “Briefing” section will summarize the most important international events for you and The Economist will give you the insight you need.
I’ve been invited to a dinner party and need some good conversation starters to impress the guests. Help!
Mental Floss is filled with trivia, amazing facts and “Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets,” so there will be no awkward silences. Read up on Voltaire and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to impress fellow guests.
I need a change of scene— something new, something exciting, something seasonal. But what?
Time Out will give you whole lists of options: “101 Things to Do
in NYC in Spring 2012” and “Best Things to Do this Week”—the best rooftop bars to visit on a Saturday night, the shows to see and the annual festivals to celebrate.
It’s never too late to start cooking and eating healthy. Where can I find the motivation?
Eating Well has hundreds of recipes designed for a variety of tastes, seasons, occasions and lifestyles. Bon Appétit also has an exquisite selection—but it will be difficult to stay away from baking the “ultimate sticky bun” that is deliciously posing on its cover, so perhaps it’s wiser to read Health instead.
How can I find a job and start a successful career?
Best Jobs Magazine will keep you inspired and, along the way, inform you about job fairs, career workshops, job openings and tips and tricks to impress future employers.
sells 24,000 copies in its first twenty-four hours.
media an interactive content will attract younger audiences.
June 22, 2010 Condé Nast resurrects the defunct Gourmet magazine in the form of an iPad application called Gourmet Live, allowing readers to search through the magazine’s large collection of recipes and other popular archival content. This, according to Condé Nast Chief Executive Chuck Townsend, will appeal to longtime readers. Condé Nast, meanwhile, also hopes that utilizing social
November 2010 Sir Richard Branson creates Project, which he claims is the “first native iPad magazine.” It focuses on—well, anything and everything: German architecture, political speechwriting, movie releases, record labels and fast cars. The lifestyle magazine becomes the No. 1 app on iTunes, and its user base will soo exceed 1.3 million readers.
December 30, 2010 The Business Insider website reports that iPad sales for Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair and Glamour have been flat or negative for the previous six months. The end of the year sees declining digital sales for all magazines that report figures to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Analysts blame the high cost of iPad editions compared with print editions. February 15, 2011 Apple announces a subscription model for the iPad, telling publishers it will take thirty percent of all
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Dear Vogue, I have a confession to make. I’ve been seeing other magazines. When we met about a decade ago, it was love at first sight. You swept this innocent Australian off her feet with your unique American style, leading the fashion magazine market with such flair. Anna Wintour, the woman who raised you when we started seeing each other, was an inspiring leader. Your trustworthy fashion advice and your verve captured my heart. I couldn’t get enough. I was addicted. You seduced me with silky, glossy pages, and tempted me with cover models flaunting gorgeous clothes too expensive for me to afford. The airbrushed beauty of it all made you irresistible. But the thrill is gone. You just don’t satisfy my passion for fashion any longer. Breaking up is hard to do, but you have left me no choice. What I need from a magazine is creativity. Give me something new and unexpected. Spice up our relationship. Take a risk, cause some controversy. Don’t keep settling for what you’ve always done. You do show that you are in tune with issues that face women—I give you credit for that. But give me more of the great female writers of our time—Joan Didion, for example—rather than just repetitive headlines like “Fashion’s Smartest Investments Starting at $50” and “The Only Bag You’ll Need This Season.” I understand that you are a mainstream fashion magazine, but I need more. I want to know why fashion is important to you. I admit that I have been a demanding partner over the years, constantly asking you to reinvent yourself. Still, we both know there is more to this industry so superficially called “fashion,” and it’s up to you to show me that you can make yourself as desirable as when we first started out. Until then, I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep this an open relationship. But while I’m playing the field, I have to confess, I will still lust after your wonderful covers, wishing that when I look inside I’ll find the same kind of editorial magnetism that drew me to you when I first set eyes on you in Australia. Perhaps, if we take things slow, I will one day want to bring you home to meet my parents. But until then, I must go my own way. Yours lovingly, sadly, but most hopefully,
Kate Racovolis sales generated through its platform. This profit margin upsets many in the industry. May 2, 2011 Time Inc. strikes a deal with Apple that allows free access to its iPad app for those who subscribe to any of its various publications—Sports Illustrated, InStyle, People, etc. This is a major victory for magazine publishers attempting to wrest control of their iPad circulation from Apple.
May 9, 2011 Condé Nast begins offering subscriptions for the iPad edition of The New Yorker. Its other publications—Allure, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, Vanity Fair and Wired—will add subscriptions shortly thereafter. August 30, 2011 CNN acquires Zite, a company that created an iPad app that provides a personalized magazine experience. Zite uses its technology to learn a user’s preferences and then aggregates relevant content from a variety of sources.
single location. Similar to the iBooks app, it also has a built-in store for buying subscriptions. In the coming months, it could boost magazine iPad sales.
September 13, 2011 The Financial Times launches what it calls a transformative iPad app for its luxury lifestyle magazine How to Spend It. The app offers seventy-five issues of the magazine catalogued by subject, not publication date. October 12, 2011 Apple debuts Newsstand, an application for organizing all of your digital magazine and newspaper apps in a
December 1, 2011 Rolling Stone, still without an app for its magazine, releases its first application—a ten-dollar version of the “Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide.” Wenner Media also announces that apps for Rolling Stone and Us Weekly will arrive sometime in 2012.
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A Memory of Magazines By Jessona McDonald Ask her— What she treasured most About the stacks that lined the shelves Of her cotton-candy pink room She’ll recall— Colorful pages of hidden pictures Highlights Of animated characters and Tricky word games From her bubble gum palace She’d totter across soft carpet Onto hardwood floors Her small hands bearing A recent issue Of inspired Crayola doodles Her father reclined In chair of choice His own hands cleaved To glossy pages Black-rimmed specs worn To behold finely printed lines Of inspired prose Seeing her come he’d smile Taking time away from Time In his arms he’d cradle her While she revealed with excitement Her latest achievement With amusement he’d praise her And curious she’d ask What he held in his hands Aloud he would read Stories of insight And current events Such times spent together She would forever remember
Chikaodili Okaneme @ChikaOkaneme
#Socialmedia goes to print: how two companies are tackling #newmedia in an #oldmedia platform. http://bit.ly/cHvMkt The fact that social media have become a part of our daily lives isn’t news anymore. What is news is the fact that two companies have chosen to publish old-media print magazines about the new-media phenomenon. In May 2011, the Cool Blue Company, a technology group based in Washington, D.C., launched The Social Media Monthly. And in October, GSG World Media, based in Blue Bell, Pa., introduced a quartet of social-media magazines, each based on a different media platform: Twitter (Tweeting and Business), LinkedIn (LI and Business), Facebook (fb and Business) and Google (The Big G and Business). Why print? “I love print,” says The Social Media Monthly’s publisher and editor Robert Fine. “There’s still something about sitting down, or lying on the couch with a magazine you can curl up with, or throw in your backpack.” And Eric Yaverbaum, cofounder and associate publisher of the four social media magazines, ex-
plains, “Social media is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean that the old media is gone.” The Social Media Monthly is aimed at readers of all kinds who want to gain a deeper understanding of social media. It focuses on anything from how social media affects networking to what role it played in the Occupy Wall Street protests. The magazine is sold in about twenty countries and is available by subscription (See page 63). GSG’s four magazines, on the other hand, target small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to enhance their enterprises through social media. They can be ordered at Office Depot for seven dollars and ninety-five cents each. They are also available free online via digital subscriptions and across multiple formats. Yaverbaum believes that the key to sustaining these magazines is the quality of their content: “If you don’t give great content then no one is going to read your magazine no matter what form it’s in.”
Ask her now— What she treasures most About the old stacks That line the shelves On her wooden floors She’ll answer— With these I learned brilliance By them I received love Through them I used imagination By him I was shown how
By Alex Contratto March 2010 Ben Silbermann launches Pinterest in Palo Alto, Calif. This bulletin board-style photo-sharing site allows users to “pin” interesting articles, media and photos to share with the
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social world. Pinterest sees tremendous commercial success in 2011. October 2010: Barnes and Noble releases the Nook Color, which, with the November 2011 Amazon launch of the Kindle Fire, increases the popularity of reading on tablets.
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November 2010: Newsweek and The Daily Beast merge to become The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, a watershed moment for the convergence of traditional and online publications.
February 2011: Time Inc. fires Chief Executive Jack Griffin five months after making him the first CEO hired outside the Time Inc. family. April 2011: Journalist Jon Krakauer publishes an exposé on Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, in Byliner. In “Three Cups of Deceit,” Krakauer uncovers the finan-
cial and literary inaccuracies in Mortenson’s book. May 2011: New York magazine dedicates an issue to war photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed in action. The photo essay “You Never Forget That First Taste of War” showcases some of the most memorable images
from the photographers’ first experiences on the battlefield. May 2011: The National Magazine Awards holds its annual gala. The New Yorker earns nine nominations and Los Angeles magazine
news and views
By Brian Patrick Eha
The Man Behind magCulture
Jeremy Leslie is best known as the operator and founder of magCulture, the blog that is now arguably the premier website dedicated to magazine design. Impressively credentialed, with twenty-five years of editorial design experience and two books under his belt, Leslie was happy to talk about his passion when I caught up with him by Skype at his home in London. Signing on to the video chat, I saw a distinguished gentleman of middle years, and behind him, occupying the entire background, floor-to-ceiling bookcases stuffed with what I at first took to be books. “Magazines, man, magazines,” he corrected me. I should have known. The man behind the blog that The Magaziner website calls “a must-read for any true magazine addict” got his start in the industry in 1979 when he and a friend created a music fanzine in London. At the time, he was studying graphic design at the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication). Although the fanzine lasted only three issues, Leslie says he learned a lot about editorial design from the do-it-yourself experiment. By the time he graduated, his friend was already working for City Limits and he got Leslie some work as a graphic designer. From there, Leslie was hired as the art director for Blitz, a startup fashion and culture magazine, then set up his own studio before leaving it behind to work as the art director of Time Out London. After more than three years, he struck out on his own again, freelancing for custom publishing companies, including John Brown Media, for whom he worked on Virgin Atlantic’s inflight magazine Hot Air. Around 1999, he moved in-house as John received three nominations (its highest total ever). Six newcomers also received nominations: Cooking Light, House Beautiful, Lapham’s Quarterly, OnEarth, The Sun and Women’s Health. June 2011: Grantland, a sports Web magazine, debuts. Founded by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, it
Brown’s creative director. It was during this time that the seeds of the magCulture brand were sown. In the early 2000s, Leslie wrote a book called magCulture, “a look at editorial design as it was then.” After it was published in 2003, he decided to create a website so that he could provide updates to the book and compile research for a follow-up volume. In 2006, he caught on to the blogging craze and launched the magCulture site. “It was a valid experiment on a personal and professional level to figure out what blogging was about,” he told me. His speaking gigs at editorial conferences helped to raise magCulture’s visibility, but its success had a lot to do with good timing. “It caught a moment where no one else had moved into that space, discussing magazines online from a design standpoint. It just sort of snowballed.”
releases a quarterly print edition in the fall of 2011 in coordination with McSweeney’s (see page 68). July 2011: Lucky Peach debuts as a quarterly journal of food writing published by McSweeney’s. Its popularity has steadily increased, reflecting the recent trend of success for
many food magazines. Creator David Chang, chef and owner of the Momofuku restaurants and the production company behind cooking show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
Jeremy Leslie’s Favorite Magazines of the Moment Food: Fire & Knives Design: Eye Fashion: Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman Film: Little White Lies
Like many of the magazines it champions, the magCulture blog has a clean design, with plenty of white space. Leslie does most of the posts himself, although Andrew Losowsky, the books editor for The Huffington Post, began doing monthly guest posts in January 2012. Reviews of various titles, especially new launches, are a staple of the magCulture content stream. Other types of posts include links to magazine-related stories from around the Web, and announcements about (and recaps of) magazine conferences and other events. The site also has an online shop September 2011: ESPN The Magazine closes its New York City office. Many top editors decide not to make the move to headquarters in Bristol, Conn., leaving the magazine in disarray prior to the move.
that offers a tightly edited and everchanging selection of independent magazines for purchase. Leslie works from home and his plate is full. “When I’m not blogging, I’m preparing lectures or talks or doing hands-on design or helping clients with their editorial strategies,” he said. He also writes a monthly column for the design publication Creative Review. Not long ago, he was involved in the project to create Think Quarterly, Google’s ad-free innovation and technology magazine. ([See page TK]). Revenue from a few advertisements and job ads that appear on the website allows him to break even on the cost of owning the domain name and renting the server space. But the visibility magCulture provides for him as an editorial designer is invaluable. Despite his love of indie titles, he doesn’t want to give the impression that he only champions independents. “There are some very good mainstream magazines,” he said, making special mention of Bloomberg Businessweek as one that has a winning formula. That business publication has found success by riding the front of a wave that he predicts will soon sweep through the magazine industry: “The way things are heading, the editor and the art director—the two disciplines—are becoming more and more just one discipline.” The two principal creative staffers need more than ever to work in unison and to understand each other’s discipline, he said, even if this means rethinking the traditional office layout. They need to “sit next to each other—no longer have these big offices where you can’t talk to each other. You’ll be sat with each other in the same space where you can shout and call and, if necessary, just reach over and tap them on the shoulder.”
issue memorializing the ten-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks— publishing powerful images of the destruction from one of America’s darkest days. October 2011: Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc., dies of pancreatic cancer.
September 2011: New York magazine releases the “Encyclopedia of 9/11,” an
(Continued on next page )
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✁ Ripped Out and Ripped Off N ews and views
By Andrew Bell
Have you wondered how mediocre films get glowing blurbs
the film but didn’t write
for their advertisements? The reality is—a lot of times they
the review for The Huff-
didn’t. Here’s an assortment of movie ads found in prominent
magazines: a few are relatively faithful renderings of the critics’ opinions that still mislead the moviegoer; others are twisted to make a lukewarm review sound hot; and some include words that the cited critic never wrote at all.
“Mr. Sayles frequently allows his ideas about how the wrote
world works to be overridden
two articles about Journey 2:
(or undermined) by his curios-
The Mysterious Island for the
ity about how people behave . .
Chicago Sun Times but never
. All in all, he is a pretty good
reviewed it and never used the
history teacher, the kind who
words “Take this Journey.”
knows how to make even dif-
ficult lessons entertaining and relevant.” —A.O. Scott, The New York Times
The review was favorable but the words “daring, hot and forbidden” referred
The reviewer never
mostly to the sex scenes. “The
used “pure magic” in
lingering lesbian sex scenes
his review but did so
of Maryam Keshavarz’s dar-
in a tweet.
ing Iranian drama, Circumstance, are as hot as they are forbidden.”
(Continued ) As the innovator behind Apple’s biggest creations— iTunes and the iPod—Jobs used the fascinating technology of tablet computing in the iPad to revolutionize the magazine and book reading experience. October 2011: Apple’s Newsstand launches. 10 | the
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Initially released on October 12, 2011, it is a digital database of newspapers and magazines, making it incredibly easy to download digital magazines straight to any iPhone or iPad.
merged to create HGTV Magazine, bringing a major consumer magazine to the market during a time when many other publications were closing their doors because of the recession.
October 2011: Hearst media launches a test issue of HGTV Magazine. Hearst Magazines and HGTV
November 2011: The Columbia Journalism Review celebrates its fiftieth anniversary (see page TK).
December 2011: Time magazine names “The Protester” as its Person of the Year in recognition of all those involved in the massive social movements of 2011. The accompanying article by Kurt Andersen honors the protesters of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Spain, Greece, Russia, the Demo-
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hat’s in a Name?
Founded: March 1923
Ever wonder how your favorite magazine got its name? Some of them—like New York magazine or Businessweek—are selfevident. But others are less clear. We took a look at four magazines whose titles left us asking, what’s in a name?
Running for Cover By Travis Irvine Nearly halfway through 2012, Americans are enthralled with the campaigns of the fourth U.S. presidential election of the new millennium. And what a millennium it’s been for presidential election magazine covers! Here are some of the most talked about, memorable, controversial and classic covers from 2000, 2004 and 2008. Rolling Stone, November 9, 2000: For their cover story on the vice president, Al Gore’s crotch appeared to be … um, enhanced? The Nation, November 13, 2000: With the winner of the 2000 election still in question, The Nation told us what to do if George W. Bush won. Newsweek, November 20, 2000: When we still didn’t know who the president was, something was wrong in America. Time, July 19, 2004: Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards wore their smiles for this cover story about their new ticket. Conservative pundits did not smile. The New Yorker, October 11, 2004: When Kerry’s war record was questioned and Bush’s vague military service was relatively untouched, The New Yorker showed what a lot of us were thinking. Time, October 18, 2004: In this classic Americana cartoon, Kerry and Bush fight over the ballot box. The Daily Mirror, November 4, 2004: When our friends across the pond asked us this question, we had no answer. Rolling Stone, March 20, 2008: For their endorsement of then Sen. Barack Obama, Rolling Stone didn’t need to enhance a thing … maybe. The New Yorker, July 21, 2008: The New Yorker made Obama look like the coolest America-hating Muslim to fistbump his wife ever! The Atlantic, October 2008: When freelance photographer Jill Greenberg took controversial photographs of Sen. John McCain for The Atlantic—and the magazine opted to use one—his supporters cried foul.
What It’s About: “Saving busy people time” by relaying the week’s news (according to Isaiah Wilner’s book, The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal and the Creation of Time Magazine). The Name: Founders Henry Luce (pictured) and Briton Hadden had “Facts” as a working title, but also began considering alternatives like “What’s What,” “Destiny and Chance.” One night, on the subway, Luce “focused on an announcement—‘Time for a Change,’ or something like it … and became convinced that ‘Time’ was the right title” (according to The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century by Alan Brinkley).
Founded: September 1944 What It’s About: Founder Walter Annenberg (pictured) wanted to capitalize on growing recognition of adolescence as a developmental stage. The Name: Editor-in-chief Helen Valentine, who previously worked at Mademoiselle, named the magazine after Booth Tarkington’s best-selling 1916 novel, Seventeen: A Tale of Youth and Summer Time and the Baxter Family Especially William (according to Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia, edited by Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh).
Founded: December 1953 What It’s About: Founder Hugh Hefner (pictured) envisioned a magazine for the sophisticated “city-bred guy.” He believed that Esquire, where he had previously worked as a copywriter, went downhill after removing many of its pinups and cartoons. The Name: First called Stag Party, Hefner changed the name after Stag Magazine threatened to sue for trademark infringement. After considering “Top Hat,” “Bachelor,” “Gentleman” and “Sir,” among others, he settled on Playboy (according to Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream, by Steven Watts).
Ladies’ Home Journal
Founded: December 1883
What It’s About: It was first aimed at “white, native-born women” seeking “a comfortable role in the … expanding middle-class” (according to Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture by Jennifer Scanlon). The Name: Originally titled Ladies’ Journal. But the magazine’s engraver included a picture of a house and the word “home” underneath the first issue’s title. When readers assumed it was called the “Ladies’ Home Journal”, founder Cyrus Curtis changed the name (according to 125 Years of Ladies’ Home Journal, at lhj.com). cratic Republic of Congo and the Occupy Wall Street movements throughout the United States. December 2011: Christopher Hitchens, a writer for The Nation, The Atlantic, Slate, Vanity Fair and World Affairs, dies. A controversial yet revered debater, leader of the “New Atheism” movement and foreign policy interventionist, Hitchens wrote many editorials in
support of the Iraq War. March 2012: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes buys The New Republic. Twenty-eight-year-old Hughes becomes the editor-in-chief and publisher of the ninety-eight-year-old publication.
April 2012: The National Magazine Awards reveals its nominations for the 2012 Ellies. New York and The New Yorker lead all publications with six nominations each, while Country Living, The Fader and Vice receive nominations for the first time—all in the General Excellence category. April 2012: Next Issue, an independent digital newsstand,
launches. Media companies Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time Inc. joined together to create the new platform that is often referred to as “Hulu for magazines.”
both the original article, “A Rose in the Desert,” and the decision to take down the online version of the piece.
April 2012: Vogue removes from its website a March 2011 profile of Asma Assad, wife of the ignominious Syrian president, by Joan Juliet Buck, inciting outrage over nyrm.org
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(Un)Civil Incendiary comment threads have eclipsed polite letters to the editor.
By Elizabeth Harball
ike the Romans who flocked to the Colosseum in ancient times, I enjoy a good bloodbath. When I went online to read Andrew Sullivan’s recent Newsweek article about the Obama administration’s stance on contraception, I hurried to take my seat in the arena, scrolling down the page to the bottom of the piece. Ah, the comment thread. This is where the real fun begins. The religious leapt out of the gate with a holier-than-thou attack: “If the left want to go to hell, and start running the world accordingly, that is their choice,” wrote a commenter identifying himself as Achiles. Then came an assault from an angry anti-Catholic: “The American Catholic bishops? Oh yes, we should always consult a misogynist, homophobic pedophile ring on moral questions,” snarled josephl. “This entire controversy is a purposeful stick in the eye for Catholics. It’s what Obama does, agitate, inflame, personalize and polarize. . . . This Admin-
stration is a divisive cancer on the Nation,” moaned Surfer II. Tons of Funk replied: “I have this feeling you like the smell of your own farts.” Surfer II parried: “No but your stench is seeping through my iPad.” (These comments have since been removed by a moderator.) Contrast these anonymous statements with the prim, printed prose in a letter to the editor responding to the same article in Newsweek’s print edition: “Thanks for clarifying the beliefs of Americans who call themselves Catholic vs. those of the increasingly distant fundamentalist papacy. It serves as a blunt reminder of how culture wars still rage in America,” wrote Meaghan Ryan. Are Meaghan Ryan and Tons of Funk from the same planet? Journalism has always relied on its readers’ written feedback, at first for material and later to gauge the quality of its product. A “letters to the editor” section has become standard in most news publications. At the end of the 20th century, however, the Internet grossly altered the news media’s relationship with its readers. The online comment thread, the Letters to the Editor’s scrappy younger cousin, appeared on news websites. Without the guiding hand of an editor, readers could say how they felt about an article immediately, anonymously, right below the original article. The role of news as a catalyst for public discourse was taken to an entirely new level. Based on the level of dialogue in the average online commentary, however, a news consumer might wonder if the collective id has overpowered its ego. Name-calling and crass digressions like the comments that appeared below Andrew Sullivan’s article are far from uncommon. But a closer look at letters to the editor and comment threads reveals that reader feedback has always come from many different sorts, and readers’ ideas can be more valuable than many journalists would care to admit. Correspondences were essential to the development of journalism as we know it today. Around 500 years before the first English newspapers appeared, Europeans bought and sold handwritten letters relating information on trade and politics. The modern newspaper evolved from “news-letters.” One of America’s earliest periodicals, the Boston Weekly News-Letter, published sailors’ letters about battles at sea, such as this 1745 dispatch: “I was forward, cutting the Anchor, and no-body on the Deck but myself with 3 great He-dogs of Spaniards. And hearing a great Noise in the banning, I ran aft, and found one of the Spaniards there killing Mr. Bow… I came to the Lieutenant’s Assistance with a fine Broad-Ax, and made several Strokes at the Spaniard to no Purpose; but by good Luck, the Dog looking about, at last I was up with him, for I cut off his Chin, and all lower Jaw . . .” Only in the mid-19th century, when newspapers became professionalized, did the separation between journalists and their readers become distinct. Owners and editors of the “penny press” wanted their papers to have i ll u s t r a t i o n by h i l a r y s c h e n k e r
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broad appeal to both readers and advertisers, so they separated opinion sections from more “neutral” content. “The press emerged as an organic outgrowth of private letters made public,” wrote Karin Wahl-Jorgenson in her 2007 book Journalists and the Public. Though public discourse lost its primacy, letters retained a place in most publications. Now this trend is changing. Print space is a commodity and many magazines have either reduced the space allotted to letters, buried them between advertisements or eliminated this section entirely. The New Republic stopped printing letters in 2007. Deputy editor Chloe Schama explained that although the magazine isn’t opposed to the practice, “our space is very, very tight.” Comment threads have replaced the role of letters to the editor at The New Republic. “We feel that there is an unlimited forum online,” she said, and referred to the letters section as “a relic of previous times.” Many newspapers and magazines that choose to retain a letters section consider it to be of symbolic importance, exemplifying the kind of uninhibited public discourse the press claims to protect. Emily Stokes, the young letters editor at Harper’s magazine, conceded that the magazine’s letters section is “totally anachronistic.” “It’s quite an old-fashioned aesthetic,” she said. When I asked what would happen if the section were to disappear, Stokes thought a moment before replying, “I think it would be a real loss.” At Harper’s, letters provide a sense of what readers enjoy and also serve a watchdog function, pointing out errors that may appear in the magazine. For readers, however, the letters section is more than just helpful. Studies show that it is second only to the front page of newspapers in popularity. Douglas Cumming, journalism professor at Washington and Lee University, believes that reader letters offer something more genuine than today’s purportedly objective news stories. “I think people go to letters for the same reason they like hanging around the bar, besides to drink. They get to hear people saying what they really feel and think. It feels unvarnished, it feels unmediated and it’s nice to have those voices in a newspaper that otherwise feels vetted.” Several years ago, Cumming undertook a project to index some 8,000 letters to the editor, dating back to 1804, that were published in small, weekly Lexington, Va. newspapers. Because these papers published nearly every letter they received, with very little editing, Cumming was able to gain a broad understanding of letters to the editor and how they have changed over the years. In letters written during the 1800s, Cumming was both surprised and impressed to discover many references to classical literature and poetry, even though they were written in a small, rural community. “When people put a pen to paper, they felt they were in a different world; they called it the ‘world of letters’, ” Cumming said. This literary style of writing disappeared over the years, and the letters morphed into a motley collection of pertinent arguments, curiosities and banal sentiments. In the process of mining for historically significant letters, Cumming discarded complaints about trimming forsythia bushes and nonsensical rants about government involvement in steamboat races. “When you read those 8,000 letters, if you randomly go in, you find a lot of junk,” he noted. “It’s either trivial or it’s the sort of fanatical opinions and expressions that you would find in Internet commentary.” Having worked for newspapers and magazines for twenty-six years before entering academia, Cumming developed a regrettably low opinion of his readers. “You got the feeling that most people out there were pretty ignorant and semiliterate—and a little nutty,” he said. For this reason, print editors prefer to have control over which letters
are published and which end up in the trash bin. Letters to the editor are an invitation-only salon, where the polite, the famous, the witty and the well-worded are ushered in. If an argument is worthy, the author of the article might even reply on the same page, or in the following issue. Vitriolic nutjobs with bad grammar and incoherent arguments are locked out. Even then, most letters pages contain a note to the effect of “Letters are subject to editing for space and clarity.” The New York Review of Books has perhaps the most elite, proudest and feistiest history of letters to the editor. Within its pages, Vladimir Nabokov famously replied to Edmund Wilson’s review of his Pushkin translation, dismissing it as a “mixture of pompous aplomb and peevish ignorance,” and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove penned a 1,700word reply to Helen Vendler’s unforgiving critique of an anthology Dove edited, writing, “I cannot let her get away with building her house of cards on falsehoods and innuendo.”(Vendler replied: “I have written the review and I stand by it.”) Joyce Carol Oates, Noam Chomsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and countless other luminaries have contributed to The New York Review of Books’ letters pages. But The New York Review of Books isn’t the only publication to reserve its pages for a certain kind of reader. In her study of letters to the editor, Wahl-Jorgensen reported that “when asked to imagine the average letter writer, most editors described an elderly, well-educated white male.” A 2009 report in the academic journal Political Science and Politics confirmed this suspicion, finding that of the 816 identifiable letter-writers studied, most were white males over the age of fifty. Harper’s receives about fifty letters every month, which are heavily curated, truncated and fact-checked before any are published. Sometimes Stokes decides that none of the letters pass muster, so the editors reach out to “notables and nonnotables in academic authority” to provide ink-worthy feedback. The resulting effort is what we read in the letters section of most national publications: clear, coherent analysis with pertinent anecdotes and engaging arguments. While they are usually not quite up to the level of the articles that follow, editors ensure that the letters are never anything to blush about, at least stylistically. Ray Cave, the editorial director of Time magazine during the 1980s, explained in an email that of the thousands of letters the magazine received each month, the editors printed those that represented the “sum” of reader response. Unlike Harper’s, Cave says that they cut but did not edit these letters. However, he proudly noted that reader response did not shape the content of the magazine. “If the reaction was a din, you needed to consider the point, but need not change. If it was mixed and predictable, you were comforted,” he wrote. Cave left Time long before the Internet existed, let alone comment threads: “Readers had no other method for feedback except package bombs or plastic-wrapped turds; the first we never got, the second I got once.” Of course, editors never print the written equivalent of plasticwrapped turds. After reading letters to the editor for many years, the casual news consumer may see the rise of comment threads as the downfall of civil society. The truth is, the angry, the illiterate and the lunatic fringe have been corresponding with magazines and newspapers for some time. They just don’t get published. Website administrators use a longer leash when moderating comments than would a letters editor, as news websites are not legally liable for what appears in comment threads. Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act has protected website administrators from being
Letters to the editor are an invitation-only salon, where the polite, the famous, the witty and the well-worded are ushered in. Vitriolic nutjobs with bad grammar and incoherent arguments are locked out.
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held accountable for the content other users post; in March 2012, a U.S. District Court granted three Montana newspapers immunity from libelous comments that had been posted to their websites. Additionally, editors don’t need to use up precious space on printed pages for online comments—once an article is posted, the comment section below is a realm of infinite space and possibility for reader feedback. For these reasons, most threads degenerate into disputes among readers based on the commentary itself and often have very little to do with the article in question. In light of this phenomenon, attorney and author Michael Godwin invented “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies” in the early 1990s, which states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” An April 11 article in The Atlantic by Randy Cohen about the Trayvon Martin case was followed by a heated discussion about today’s black leadership, a discussion only obliquely related to the article at hand. Not halfway through the comment thread, Godwin’s Law was fulfilled: “As long as you’re likening Sharpton to warlords with an interest in racial politics, why leave out Hitler?” wrote commenter KindaSorta. Many magazines are leery of having open comment threads on their websites. Readers are unable to comment beneath many of the articles posted on The New Yorker’s website. The New Republic restricted reader commentary to its paid subscribers. Though the Harper’s website will receive a makeover some time before this summer, letters editor Stokes is doubtful that comment threads will make an appearance. “There’s something a little bit flip about comment threads,” she said. “I do think people who write letters tend to have thought a tiny bit more.” Even if the revamped Harper’s website does provide a place for reader feedback, Stokes is certain the commentary will be moderated, “to protect people from themselves.” Curiously, it also turns out that letters editors serve to protect journalists from their readers. Even as reporters began to calibrate the popularity of their articles based on the number of page hits, the Web-speak words “flame,” “troll” and “spam” came to signify reasons for them to crawl under their covers. Troy Patterson, television writer for Slate, was “flamed” following his negative review of Game of Thrones. “This is the worst-written review I’ve read in a long time. Did Troy even watch the show? I can barely tell; in fact, I can barely follow his sentences, they’re written so awfully,” wrote Marcus Henry Weber. Boron1 went a step further, saying, “Were you intoxicated in some way when you wrote this?” After taking such a beating, Patterson relented and wrote a second review almost a week later; the comments weren’t much better. Jacob Weisberg, Slate’s editor-in-chief, said he has advised his writers to ignore the comment threads following their stories. Despite the unedited, blasphemous mess many comment threads become, some journalists have found value in the Internet community. Journalism professor Douglas Cumming admitted that he has noticed a kind of self-correcting phenomenon, where the thoughtful tend to correct the thoughtless. “When the Internet came along, a lot of journalists of my generation thought that it would open up the floodgates to this mayhem and ignorance of the public mind,” he said. “I have to say that a lot of my peers admit that there is some surprising dynamic that is actually very positive. If something stupid or wrong comes out on, say, Wikipedia, smarter people will correct it. And if the smart people make a slight error, even smarter people will correct it. This is the biggest surprise.” Deputy Editor Chloe Schama has developed a high opinion of her readers based on The New Republic’s online commentary. “Regular commenters read the magazine as carefully as I do,” she said. Schama noted that these regulars often have online discussions with one another, forming a kind of New Republic subculture. “I think that the commenters
pride themselves as an intellectual community,” she said. These diamonds in the rough have inspired some journalists to embrace reader interactivity. Slate’s William Saletan, who writes on controversial topics like abortion, often contributes to the comment threads that follow his articles. “This is your community, the people who are reading you, and there’s a certain measure of courtesy in paying attention to what the people in your community think and engaging with them,” he said. “I think the old model of journalists being above everybody, or writers being above their readers, is just defunct.” Saletan notes that not every comment that follows his article is brilliant, saying he ignores reader feedback that either isn’t thoughtful or is just plain mean. Nevertheless, because he makes himself a presence in the space below his articles, he is often able to elevate the level of conversation and discover new thoughts and arguments. “I think the lesson of the Internet era is that people are smarter interacting in groups than they are separately,” he said. “Just the interaction of your opinion with mine, your criticism with mine, makes us both smarter. It makes us better able to think through our positions, even if we keep them.” Perhaps because of Saletan’s philosophy, the comment threads below his Slate articles appear more focused. While the angry fanatics are still present, the kerfuffle is frequently interrupted by a thoughtful dialogue. Recently, Saletan logged on to Reddit, a web forum with a reputation for outrageous comment threads, to hold a discussion with his readers on a piece he had written on Mitt Romney’s abortion stance. He wasn’t expecting much, but Saletan said that he ended up spending far more time on the site than he had anticipated. One long, thoughtful comment or question followed another— along with some mindless criticism— and the thread’s civility and intelligence were astounding. “I really liked your Romney’s history on Abortion [sic] piece,” wrote Rustytire, “but I wondering [sic] if you’re really describing the mechanics of being a politician. For example, I can see similar machinations in Obama’s drug (marijuana) policy. What may appear to many as reversals are actually complicated facits [sic] that can’t possibly be expressed for some reason (nature of modern media/politics).” “Yeah, I think you’re right, and that’s the point: It’s all of the above,” Saletan replied. “A complicated shift like this one is all in the texture, and it’s a combo of the person’s dispositions and changing circumstances. The details can be icky and humanizing at the same time.” “Absolutely,” Rustytire answered. “I’m grateful for the article for that reason. If these people are more flexible and thoughtful then [sic] we give them credit for, might they also be more convincible.” Comment threads offer an opportunity for journalists to interact with their readers in a way that letters to the editor do not. Rather than having the ability to ignore the bulk of reader feedback, allowing their editors to restrain the angry, fanatical masses within the neat confines of the letters page, writers must now confront their audiences on the same page as their article. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “If you’re in this job to learn, write, think and just experience the pleasure of debating people and hearing other points of view, broaden your horizons a little bit,” Saletan advises other journalists. The Internet comment thread horizon may seem messy to some. But after more than a century of carefully curated letters to the editor, it may be time for the wisdom of the average reader to emerge on the battlefield. Even Ray Cave, who never dealt with comment threads during his tenure at Time, felt it was important to note: “When you stop listening to the people, you better get out of the business. The people are smarter than you are.”
Comment threads offer an opportunity for journalists to interact with their readers in a way that letters to the editor could not.
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The company that conquered Internet search has made print its newest frontier.
The Most Insane Marketing Product Ever
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By Brian Patrick Eha hen Nathaniel Dorn learned that Google, the company he most admires, was launching a magazine, he was thrilled. It was March 2011 and Google had just announced the debut issue of Think Quarterly, a magazine focused on technology and innovation. To launch any sort of magazine, much less one that claimed, as this one did, to be “a breathing space in a busy world,” would have been a counterintuitive move for the company that had made its fortune in Internet search and advertising. But for people like Dorn, then a twenty-eight-year-old contracts negotiator for an international defense contractor, the magazine was a welcome change from gadget-driven tech publications. Already a fan of Google products such as Gmail and Voice, and a subscriber to sophisticated magazines like Monocle, he was more than ready for Think Quarterly. “Tech sites and blogs are a dime a dozen and virtually indistinguishable from one another,” Dorn says. “Nobody was taking the time to mindfully address the important questions behind technology: the how, why and who. Until Think Quarterly, that is.” He was not alone in his enthusiasm. On issuu.com, a digital publishing platform, the first issue of Think Quarterly, “Data,” has received nearly a million views as of this writing. (Readers have the choice either to digest Think Quarterly articles discretely on its website or to engage fully with the magazine on issuu.com, whose Flash applet mimics the experience of reading the print edition.) Each issue revolves around a unifying theme. So far we’ve been treated to issues on data, innovation, people, speed and creativity. It goes with-
i l l u s t r a t i o n by h i l a r y s c h e n k e r
out saying that all of these topics are of extreme interest to Google as a profit-making enterprise. But Think Quarterly carefully distances itself editorially from Google’s bottom line, claiming to capture “the collective mindspace of journalists, academics, experts and industry leaders from around the world” and promising “insights and outlooks on the digital future.” It’s easy to see the appeal of Google’s magazine. It has no ads, it’s free and its online archives contain every article from the print edition. What might not be apparent immediately is the value Think Quarterly has for those outside of what its editor, Matt Bochenski, calls the “select group of clients, partners, friends and generally cool people” to whom it’s targeted, and who receive the print magazine every three months. Not only is its content fresh and thought-provoking, but it’s also a proving ground for radical experiments in magazine design. “We wanted to make something that people had never seen before, that wasn’t constrained by all the usual clichés of editorial design,” says Bochenski. “Like a mutant version of McKinsey Quarterly, Rolling Stone and Fast Company.” That’s a combination that anyone interested in digital technology, business, marketing and global culture should be able to get excited about. But questions remain. Who is the intended audience for Think Quarterly? Can a magazine effectively serve the interests of both a multinational corporation—especially one as rapacious as Google—and its audience, whatever it might be? Is Google trying to establish a think-
ing man’s technology publication, or is it merely hoping to boost brand loyalty by putting out a slick, magazine-length advertorial four times a year? Is Think Quarterly worth the attention of a general readership? And finally, what can others in the world of magazines learn from it? One of these is easy to answer. “Think Quarterly was created for, and its content is tailored for, our business partners,” says Sandra Heikkinen, a Google spokeswoman. “That said, we are more than happy for the content to spark thoughts and discussion in general.” To unpack the other questions, it helps to look at the quarterly’s production. Like many corporate magazines, Think Quarterly is not produced in-house by Google staff but rather by a custom publishing house, in this case a British creative agency, The Church of London. Bochenski, who is also the editorial director of The Church of London, said that although the print magazine is put together by his staff, the editorial content is a collaborative effort between TCOLondon and Google’s marketing team in New York. The second issue, “Innovation,” includes Amit Singhal, the engineer who developed Google search, on science fiction; and Russell Davies, head of planning for Ogilvy & Mather, on what the next technological leap might look like. (Spoiler alert: It will be an “Internet of Things,” complete with “flying robot penguin balloons, quadrocopters that can play tennis, Wi-Fi rabbits that tell you the weather.”) Issue four, “Speed,” features an essay by Astro Teller, Google’s new-products director, on how nyrm.org
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to overcome the human tendency to think linearly, as well as a practical, actionable article about HTML5, “the new web language that promises to put the magic back into your digital marketing.” This mix of content, from the highly theoretical to the eminently practical, sets Think Quarterly apart from other technology publications. And its articles are accompanied by superb design: interesting typography and graphics, surprising illustrations. “There’s a desire to push the boundaries of the medium in a way that I don’t think other publications are interested in thinking about,” says Bochenski. “We come to this not as business magazine makers, but as magazine lovers in general.” As much as Think Quarterly is an experiment in marketing, it’s also a test kitchen for editorial design, much as avant-garde Spanish restaurant El Bulli was for years in the world of gastronomy. The team at TCOLondon is doing work at a level that few other magazine staffs, subject as they are to market pressures and the demands of advertisers, even aspire to reach. “We’ve had magnetic covers, finger-painting inks, pop-ups, giant artworks, 3-D and motion graphics,” Bochenski says. “These aren’t gimmicks; they all make sense in the context of each issue.” No wonder Tom Uglow of Google Creative Labs has called Think Quarterly “the most insane piece of direct marketing ever.” And the insanity must be catching—Bochenski says the project is gaining traction within the company, and more and more Google insiders are contributing content. The company that long ago conquered Internet search has made print its newest frontier. This traction, however, has not been fully matched outside the Google bubble. When Think Quarterly first launched in March 2011, it earned mentions only on tech blogs such as Switched and Mashable. Despite later reviews by The New York Times and The Atlantic, the magazine continues to fly mostly under the radar—so much so that a July 2011 story by Eric Markowitz on Inc.com mistakenly called issue two, “Innovation,” Google’s “first official foray into the world of magazine publishing.” (Strangely, the first issue, “Data,” is missing from the U.S. website, but is accessible on the U.K. site. A story in The Atlantic called issue two “the first U.S. edition,” although, since the U.S. and U.K. versions have been identical ever since, it’s hard to see the rationale for having separate editions and websites.) Perhaps Think Quarterly’s low profile is due to its raison d’être. Groundbreaking or not, it’s undeniably a marketing product. It has now been rolled into Think With Google, a three-pronged digital resource that also includes Think Voices, a series of video talks by marketing industry leaders and academics, and Think Insights, a sort of digital research library of statistics, infographics and studies on consumer behavior. And its standalone Twitter account has been closed in favor of @thinkwithgoogle. Think Quarterly, and the cross-platform Think brand more generally, is Google’s attempt to play host to what Heikkinen calls “a smart conversation with smart people about big ideas.” But
some critics have found the conversation too self-serving. “To be sure, Think Quarterly is one big advertisement for Google. It is marketing collateral at its finest—elegant, creative, and heavily branded,” wrote Markowitz in his Inc. article. Rebecca Rosen said much the same in The Atlantic, but felt that “several of the essays provide genuinely thought-provoking insights into the future of the Internet and society.” Bochenski clarifies this. “It was never about selling products or services,” he says, “it was about creating something unique and useful that the target audience would enjoy on its own terms and would feel compelled to share within their organizations.” By giving readers a peek into what Heikkinen calls “the quiet rocket science that happens at Google,” the multinational hopes to encourage industry leaders to think hard about the digital future—and the strategic role Google will play in it. Google doesn’t share viewership numbers with outsiders, so there’s no telling how many people have read articles on the Think Quarterly website. But Bochenski feels the magazine’s content could appeal to a broad readership. “Anyone curious about where digital is taking us will get something out of [Think Quarterly]. And as that’s something affecting all of us, maybe its potential online audience is really massive.” The magazine world would also do well to take notice of Think Quarterly’s cuttingedge approach to print. “Someone needs to remind the world that print is far from dead. We have an opportunity to do that and we want to get it right,” says Bochenski. That it took a Google product to teach this lesson is perhaps a sign of how stagnant magazine design has become. With the exception of Bloomberg Businessweek, one is hard-pressed to name a mainstream title that is using the print format to its full advantage. “Think Quarterly is a great example of the power of illustration, something too many magazines are shy of exploiting,” says Jeremy Leslie, an editorial design consultant and founder of the pioneering magazine blog magCulture (see page 9). “It also features great conceptualization around the issue themes, particularly with the cover presentations. It shows how damn hard research and development can lead to great results.” Google plans to continue production of Think Quarterly for the foreseeable future, and the experimentation will continue, says Heikkinen. “We can’t say with certainty what future versions will look like, but this will be an ongoing evolutionary process.” Given this evolving identity, it may be best to look at Think Quarterly as a multivalent print product: not simply an inspirational technology publication, a heavily branded think-tank conversation or an effective tool of corporate soft power, but all of these and more. Bochenski effectively sums up the complementary nature of these various missions: “The more people understand what is happening across the digital landscape, the better that will be for Google, and the digital world, in the long run.” For better or worse, when industry leaders think, they now think with Google.
“We wanted to make a mutant version of McKinsey Quarterly, Rolling Stone and Fast Company.”
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“Delight and Absurdity” A Conversation With Cartoonist Ed Koren By Alex Contratto
As Ed Koren celebrates fifty years of cartooning for The New Yorker, he tells me how he got his start, why a cartoonist should keep his day job and what makes a drawing endure. What follows is a distillation of two phone conversations I had on February 25 and April 2 with Koren, who is seventy-seven and lives in Brookfield, Vt., with his wife, Curtis.
BEGINNINGS I backed into being a cartoonist. My friend Jules Feiffer wrote a book called Backing Into Forward, and I backed into my own life. Many of us who have made a professional life of cartooning started out like every other kid around. I’m an old guy, so newspaper comics and comic books were our literature—before real literature started to become part of my life, at least. My dad brought the paper home every night, and I grabbed it from him and went right for the comics: Gluyas Williams, Jimmy Hartwell, Tarzan, Superman—the usual menu of superheroes. Gasoline Alley was another good one that I loved. And there was Krazy Kat, by George Herriman. I just feasted on them as a kid—The New
Yorker, The New York World-Telegram, The Sun. They penetrated my brain and I had a desire to emulate them. And I had a little knack for drawing and painting when I was much smaller. The Jester at Columbia, from 1954 to 1957, was key to my development. I drew to my heart’s content, and in my junior and senior years I was editor. It was really a teething ring for me—it gave a taste of how sweet it was. I doubt I would be doing this if The Jester did not exist. I owe great thanks to that magazine. When I left Columbia, I bumped around a while, worked for a bit in city planning, thinking that’s what I wanted to do. And then I decided that was not really for me. I was going to go to the Graduate School of Design at Yale, but I deferred that for a year, and then deferred it for another
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year, and then never went. Instead, I went to Paris for a couple of years and studied printmaking: etching and engraving, strangely enough. All that time, I was trying to be a cartoonist without much effect—without any success at all. So I felt I had to make other plans. After I came back from Paris, I worked in New York for a while, doing a variety of odd jobs—editorial jobs and working at magazines. I was at Columbia University Press for a couple of years as the assistant advertising manager. And I realized that that life was not something I wanted to pursue. So I went back to graduate school at Pratt. I got my Master of Fine Arts degree and became a teacher at Brown. I started teaching printmaking and drawing and design courses—this was the mid-Sixties—and stayed at Brown for thirteen years.
LIFE AT THE NEW YORKER I had been contributing to The New Yorker since 1962, but sporadically, with cartoons and drawings. I always wanted to be a cartoonist underneath it all, and I felt that was my calling. At the beginning, it was very uncertain if I would make something of that. As time went on, I was accepted more—both in what I did and then in the sheer number of drawings that were getting accepted by The New Yorker. I branched into illustrations, and to some degree advertising and editorial illustrations, and book illustrations. So I got busier, and as time went on, I decided I could not do all these things at once; I couldn’t teach and draw well because I couldn’t concentrate on both. So I stopped teaching in 1977 and moved from Providence to New York. In the old days at The New Yorker—that is, when I was first starting, and with that particular art editor named Jim Geraghty, and then later with his successor, Lee Lorenz—there was a kind of editorial engagement. They might say, “We like this idea, but what if you did this, maybe it would be better if you did that.” It was much more of a collaborative effort during the editorial process. But now there is none of that. It’s all very formalized and somewhat inhuman. The New Yorker, for which I work pretty much exclusively as far as cartoons are concerned, expects nothing in terms of a deadline, in terms of number of drawings submitted, in terms of regularity. It’s all very much scattershot and unstructured. But I try to do five, six, seven a week, or every other week, depending on inspiration and time and work that I am doing on other things. I would say most of my cartoons are rejected—in fact, almost all. My batting average is pretty low. A lot of cartoonists have pretty much the same experience. The editorial selection is done with great mystery. I liken it to fishing. You have these wonderful things that you put on a hook and throw down into the water—the week’s worth of conceptual brilliance—and you never know if one or another or none are going to be thought of as a delicious-enough morsel to be taken. But there is no rhyme or reason to it. It is an extremely closed and somewhat opaque process that is very frustrating actually. So editorial judgment is very hard to predict after all these years. This is my fiftieth year of contributing to The New Yorker, and I have no more idea now than when I started about what exactly might tickle the fancy of an editor. I’ve felt sometimes that The New Yorker has its peculiar fix on life and society, more particularly with society. And it’s very different from, say, comic strips or political work. But that view is very catholic, or it especially was in earlier days of cartooning. There were more voices and approaches, and a huge variety of artists with their own styles and ways of thinking through those styles. And mine was just another one of that kind of diversity. I’ve never tailored an idea to a magazine, per se, but I am sure they are tailored inherently. Those fuzzy characters just developed organically, without any particular goal in mind. They all started as some characters that I developed in college and then transformed from there, almost by themselves. I hope they still are evolving. But I couldn’t survive as a cartoonist, frankly. I illustrate for other magazines, I do books, I make prints, I do things considerably different from The New Yorker drawings with the animals. And I have shown in a couple of galleries. You need a good day job. Cartooning is too difficult to predict, and depends on the whims of editors and all manner of things out of your control. There’s no certainty about it in terms of income whatsoever.
Even for someone in my situation, it’s very modest indeed. The rates are just low. I mean, even if you did one cartoon a month—what do they pay, something like $1,200 for a cartoon?—it’s small. You can’t make a living on it. It’s worthwhile, but as you get on in life and want to have a certain kind of stability, you’re not going to get it that way.
WORDS AND IMAGES I am primarily an artist, I think, and also a writer. And they both vie in my brain for dominance. The writer side of me and the artist side of me just kind of have a cordial relationship. And when they collaborate well, that’s when I’m most pleased. I think the images and the words can’t really be separated. Decades ago, there was a great cartoonist at The New Yorker named Peter Arno, and somebody asked him, “Which came first, the image or the idea?” And he said, “Both come at the same time.” So there is no separation of them and there ought not to be. At best, a drawing—a visual aspect of it and the literary quality to it—should be one and the same. But the fact is that they are drawings and that they communicate something entirely different through visual means. That’s the difference. It’s between that and someone opining in an editorial, or some op-ed piece, or a blog. That’s the component that makes it unique. Much of what one says is not spelled out, but implied just through the drawing. That’s the difference to me. It’s storytelling, but it’s not sequential—it isn’t like a comic book or graphic novel. It’s all right there in one spot. The story is a frozen moment, to be sure, but there is a story in there, and the viewer becomes almost the playwright or the interpreter of what’s there and sets it in motion. The question is: What happened before that moment in the cartoon, and what will happen after that moment? It’s also a proscenium in that it’s isolated from life in a kind of box where you spend some time pondering it, or ought to. You hopefully do. A lot of people have said, “How did you know this was our life?” or “How did you know we say these things to each other?” And in truth I never did. But it seemed to have struck a deep chord in the lives of the people who told me this. That’s how I knew I was doing something right. But in fact, it’s an extraordinarily isolated way of being an artist—having a public to view and read your work who you never see, never hear from, only by these little chinks in this opacity that tell you that you really made a difference and a point. Once, in Esquire, I published a cartoon that had to do with Alitalia, the airline, and there was something that some mob group didn’t like. They paid me a visit—a guy rang my doorbell when I was living in the city. There was this little sparkplug of a guy who asked, “You do that cartoon for Alitalia?” And I said yes. “We don’t like it. It doesn’t do too good for the Italians.” I was stunned. I thought: Are you kidding? The cartoon was affectionate, and he didn’t get it. It was very funny. That’s the most dramatic response to anything I’ve done. What goes on in one year doesn’t necessarily become valid the next year, or the decades after. So when you look at some cartoons that were done many decades ago, sometimes they are incomprehensible. You just don’t know what they refer to. On the other hand, if the drawing is really good, and the human emotional observation is right on, it can endure, like Honoré Daumier, a caricaturist who worked in mid-nineteenth-century France. The human quality of his drawings is so profound, so enduring, that you can appreciate them now as one could then, even though the specifics of the ideas are lost to us now. A lot of what I do is a reaction to things of the moment. But if I can draw them in such a way that the human aspect can be understood without reference to exactly what it means in our moment of history, then I feel I’ve done a little something. I’m a social historian in a funny way, I guess. Or, looking at it another way, an armchair anthropologist. The aim of satire has always been an interestingly uncertain one. Sometimes it’s described as being a way of tweaking people’s behavior. Alexander Pope, an eighteenth-century poet, said that with satire he hoped “to deter, if not to reform.” So these are lofty aims. What I find funny is the formulaic way in which people go about their lives and the absurd, silly things they do—unreflectively, unthinkingly, intensely, humorlessly. All those things intrigue me. It’s an endless well of delight and absurdity.
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Are You List
illustration by hilary schenker
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ening, Boys? The Atlantic discovers women.
By Andrew Bell
he Atlantic, America’s oldest continuously published magazine, is also one of its most distinguished, having published everyone from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to John Updike and Christopher Hitchens. When the magazine was established in 1857, its founding editor, James Russell Lowell, promised that “The Atlantic Monthly will be the organ of no party or clique” and vowed to publish writers of different perspectives. By most counts The Atlantic has succeeded in doing just that. However, as with most establishment, general-interest publications, early contributors were—with some notable exceptions (Edith Wharton, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Emily Dickinson among them)—mostly male. The readership was also mainly male, with male subscribers outnumbering female subscribers by three to two. Perhaps as a consequence, when it dealt with divisive cultural issues like what used to be known as the “war of the sexes,” the magazine did not seem to be particularly sympathetic to the feminist perspective. Although some women, such as Sandra Tsing Loh and Caitlin Flanagan, wrote about gender, the issues were addressed from a more conservative angle. Many of the articles, like Christina Hoff Sommers’ “The War Against Boys” (which became a controversial book in 2000), approached what many viewed as a triumphant moment for women’s rights in terms of what it meant for men, rather than its significance for women. While her call for empowerment for boys drew praise from conservatives, critics on the left were condemnatory. One of them, Karen Houppert, writing in The Nation, said, “It’s hard to tell whether Christina Hoff Sommers is the darling of the far right or whether she is doing penance for some great sin committed against her conservative brethren.” A decade later, in July 2010, Hanna Rosin broke the mold. Rosin, who had recently been made an Atlantic senior editor, wrote an article titled “The End of Men” that expressed a very different message and inaugurated an era of major changes in the publication that has positioned The Atlantic at center stage in the national gender debate. “The End of Men” celebrated a significant turning point: Women had surpassed men in the work force for the first time since World War II. Rosin demonstrated that, unlike Sommers, she was not perturbed by the rapid rise of women in the academy and the workplace. Rosin pointed out that by 2010,
women constituted sixty percent of U.S. colleges’ graduating classes, in addition to being a majority of the work force. Rosin did not shy away from bold claims, writing: “American parents are beginning to choose to have girls over boys. As they imagine the pride of watching a child grow and develop and succeed as an adult, it is more often a girl that they see in their mind’s eye.” She backed up her article with a video online in which the Rosin family debated whether men or women are superior, with Rosin and her daughter squaring off against her husband and son. Few were prepared for the stir that “The End of Men” caused. Of course the title was polemical, but what many commentators seemed to take offense to was Rosin’s glibness in imagining a world where men were slowly disappearing. The article drew enormous attention and attracted the most comments (3,150, to be exact) in the history of The Atlantic’s website. Reactions ranged from the disgruntled male who wrote, “Just because you met with some real bad men in your life doesn’t mean all men are the same round the world. . . . Don’t generalize based on your bitter experiences,” to a woman who wrote: “What about the I hate woman attitude and the inequalities that have been going on since the dawn of human history? Wow, a few decades where we start rising and you’re already threatened. You’re just going to have to accept that you won’t always be top dog anymore.” The article prompted a debate at New York University, sponsored by Slate, titled “Are Men Finished?”—with Rosin taking the affirmative and Sommers arguing in favor of male longevity. The debate was the culmination of a dispute between Sommers, representing the earlier old-guard understanding of gender in The Atlantic, and Rosin, espousing the views found in the magazine today. The article also resulted in a book of the same name by Rosin, due out later this year. The Atlantic editorial staff did not treat Rosin’s article as a one-off but rather used it as a starting point for addressing a series of related issues. Garance Franke-Ruta, who is the politics editor of The Atlantic’s website, argues: “It’s actually important also for people to write about how society is organized. We are in the middle of this unresolved social transformation, and if you are interested in thinking about American life and honest about looking at it, you can’t fail to articulate these issues.” Scott Stossel, the magazine’s deputy editor, explains: “Stuff about relations between the genders is always sexy and interesting and important. So anytime somebody stakes out a bold, broad, ambitious position on those issues, it generates a lot of attention. These ideas are at the core of how we live now, and Rosin’s article clearly drew attention and touched a nerve. In retrospect, it was smart and maybe nyrm.org
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“Right now gender is something that is at the heart of the national conversation, and so we are addressing it.” —Scott Stossel even obvious on our part to do that piece.” Since “The End of Men,” The Atlantic has published more than a dozen articles that address gender, from “Are Fathers Necessary?” to “The Joy of Not Cooking.” All of them featured, to some degree, comic rabble-rousing aimed at their male readers. Sandra Tsing Loh and Caitlin Flanagan, who had previously written material that sometimes seemed to pander to men, have incorporated Rosinesque language into their more recent articles. Tsing Loh has shifted perspective from her 2008 article “Should Women Rule?” in which she sheepishly argued: “A clutch of books suggests they can’t rule like men. But there are other ways to run the world.” Now she proudly states that “The Bitch Is Back” in a piece about, of all things, menopause. Flanagan is far more willing to cast aspersions on men. She writes in an article called “The Glory of Oprah” that Winfrey’s “understanding also accounts for the deep suspicion she arouses in so many men, who as a group tend to be wary of her, if not outright hostile. They’re not wrong to feel this way; she’s onto them. She has survived some of the worst they have to offer.” Continuing her run of provocative feminist-leaning material, Rosin published “Primetime’s Looming Male Identity Crisis” in The Atlantic and a slew of gender-related articles for “Double X,” a section dedicated to women at Slate, where she also serves as a contributing editor. Rosin opened the door for women willing to tackle the male establishment, but Kate Bolick barreled through it. Stossel, the assigning editor for Bolick’s article, knew that Rosin had struck a nerve and decided that dating in a post-parochial society, an issue that Rosin had raised, merited its own piece. “We realized,” he said, “that the opportunity for women to marry up is diminishing, which gave rise to a whole story unto itself. We wanted someone who was really smart and could bring a personal perspective, and Bolick was the perfect person to do that.” In “All the Single Ladies,” published in the November 2011 issue, Bolick wrote that women no longer feel pressure to get married or to have children, and can lead interesting and meaningful lives without those conventions. She evocatively painted a picture of her own journey to this self-discovery. Bolick had always felt that the issue of gender in The Atlantic was packaged in a way that assuaged the fears of men rather than expressing the sensibilities of liberated women. She was impressed by Rosin’s piece and was intrigued by her assignment: “I brought in a lot of aspects of my life and experiences, and it became personal. As a result I decided to focus on the female aspect in the story, and I don’t really put as much emphasis on the male.” Like Rosin, Bolick received her share of hate mail. “It was the most responded-to article of 2011 and the overwhelming initial response was from men and extremely negative,” she says. But young women in their twenties and thirties were relieved to finally see their experiences articulated, and Bolick received a flood of emails and letters of congratulations from women across the globe. “It was so gratifying and exciting. I feel like when we talk about women and men, it’s generally so polemic and unique. There isn’t a conversation that men and women can participate in that allows them to think about how they should live their lives. People in their twenties and thirties are looking at a different economic landscape than their parents, and it was comforting to know that this spoke to them.” The surge in roaring feminist-inclined articles in The Atlantic has not gone unnoticed. Jeffrey Goldberg, in his monthly humor column—“What’s Your Problem?”—commented on how he survives work at a magazine that has become so hostile to men. “I take active countermeasures to protect myself against the rampant feminization of The Atlantic,” he wrote. “For instance, I eat only what I kill, except for sandwiches from Potbelly, which are killed by someone else . . . and I [use] actual prophylaxis, in the form of a full-body condom I wear to protect myself from the effects of airborne estrogen.” In the “Double X” section of Slate, Jessica Grose expressed displeasure with the fact that Atlantic articles written by women seemed to deal primarily with women’s issues. She pointed to the mystifying statistic that in the past twelve years only twelve covers have featured articles written by women, and of those only half didn’t relate to female concerns. Norman Mailer, who was constantly accused of sexism, once said, “What’s the use in being a writer if you can’t irritate a great many people?” That point 24 | t h e
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is not lost on The Atlantic’s editors, whose new fixation on addressing the gender debate is certain both to offend and incite their readers. Since Rosin tackled a major national trend from a feminist point of view, other women now feel that they can finally articulate social issues from their perspective in the magazine. “I think there has been a lot of late that’s interesting to do with relationships and the sexes,” says Stossel. “It’s naturally lent itself to having more women writers. We don’t just want women writing about women’s issues and men writing about foreign policy. Our goal is writing about issues that matter and are interesting to a wide array of readers. It just so happens that right now gender is something that is at the heart of the national conversation, and so we are addressing it.”
The rise of feminist-leaning articles has coincided with a female hiring surge at The Atlantic and a slow crawl up the editorial masthead by women at the magazine. Jennifer Barnett was brought in as the new managing editor in the summer of 2011, and Kate Julian, who previously ran Slate’s “Double X” section, was hired this February as a senior editor. Over at the magazine’s website, which now is responsible for more than half of the advertising revenue, many of the more high-profile jobs are now held by women. Both the politics senior editor, Garance FrankeRuta, and the business senior editor, Megan McArdle, are female. According to Stossel, “It’s by design that we’ve sought out more female editors and a positive sea change. The gender breakdown will continue to improve.” As The Atlantic has become a more reliable venue for informed female voices, the male readership has, counterintuitively, increased, rising from fifty-seven percent in 2009 to sixty percent in 2011. Website traffic has also increased, and unlike many floundering publications, The Atlantic has posted revenue gains for twelve consecutive quarters, with the advertising revenue jumping nineteen percent since the “The End of Men.” It seems that women now have the platform to be provocative and discuss what editors feared were only women’s issues, and male readers will not only continue to subscribe but will devour the content and respond to it. The Atlantic’s focus on issues of gender has perhaps opened the door for a new business model. It might turn out that the best way to attract men is to feature articles sympathetic to feminist views. If the success of Rosin’s “The End of Men” proves anything, it’s that women and their issues should be more prevalent in the magazine world in order to help attract readership and increase loyalty. In an article published in the February 1859 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (in 2007 it dropped “Monthly” from its title), a male writer imagined a world in which women had overtaken men. In “Ought Women Not to Learn the Alphabet, ” he wrote: “ ‘Earth waits for her queen’ was a favorite motto of Margaret Fuller’s; but it would be more correct to say that the queen has waited for her earth, till it could be smoothed and prepared for her occupancy. Now Cinderella may begin to think of putting on her royal robes.” It took a century and a half for Rosin to pick up on his message, but it appears that she may be the queen the unknown writer mused about in 1859. The end of men may not happen in the near future, but at The Atlantic, at least, it looks as if women are finally welcome to express their opinions. Stossel jokes that The Atlantic will not “become Vogue in the next few years,” but clearly he sees the issue of gender as pivotal. “We want to allow for Flanagan, Tsing Loh, Rosin, Bolick and [Lori] Gottlieb to have a running debate and conversation amongst themselves in The Atlantic over the issue of gender, and we hope that it will help to broaden our audience and make them even more active.” And men appear to be listening. If nothing else, the recent success of The Atlantic may be influential enough to finally remind other publications to showcase female writers who have been ignored and held back for far too long. Virginia Woolf once wrote that “For most of history, anonymous was a woman.” To its credit, over the last few years The Atlantic has been insistent on trying to change that, and it’s profiting handsomely from it.
Military Mags Retreat from Print By Chris Haire
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n Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in a small-town milieu surrounded by meadows and nature reserves, lies a gated community of more than 5,000 acres. This community seems to excel at the mundane—it comes complete with its own theater, golf course, child-development center and office buildings. But this is not a typical suburb. The gate is adorned with barbed wire. To enter, you must pass through a car-inspection station. And Google Maps is unable to locate the entrance. The reason for these quirks becomes apparent when you realize that this gated community is Fort Meade—an Army base that houses ninety-five different organizations, including the National Security Agency. Once inside the base, drive along Mapes Road and turn right onto Taylor Avenue and you will find one particularly intriguing organization that is far more complex than its suburban surroundings: the Defense Media Activity. Operating inside a pristine eighty-three-million-dollar structure, which opened in October 2011, the DMA is the agency that oversees news and information for the Defense Department. Among its 650 entities are the well-known Stars and Stripes newspaper and the Armed Forces Radio Service. With technologically sophisticated soundstages inside the building and row upon row of servers in the basement, the DMA seems better suited to Rockefeller Center than a military base. One of the DMA’s objectives is to make the military’s media outlets more efficient. This has, over the past four years, put those outlets into a state of flux. And none have been affected more over that time than the Defense Department’s four flagship magazines: Soldiers, All Hands, Marines Magazine and Airman. With one magazine for each branch of the military, these publications have long served as alternatives to the news-driven Stars and Stripes, aiming to connect with those in uniform—no matter their job, rank or post—through longform features and kaleidoscopic photo spreads. Whereas their newspaper counterpart, Stars and Stripes, receives First Amendment protections and therefore publishes some stories critical of the military, these magazines are subject to Defense Department review. Their mission, then, often becomes one of morale boosting. These publications are decades old (All Hands, the Navy’s magazine, began in 1948) and are, by the simplest of definitions, lifestyle magazines for the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen of yesterday, today and tomorrow. But, in a situation reflective of the publishing industry as a whole, these magazines must now confront the reality of an online-only existence. Because of steep long-term cuts to the De-
fense Department’s budget mandated by former Secretary Robert M. Gates, the DMA has gone through major cost-reduction efforts over the last few years, resulting in, among other things, the cancellation of the printing contracts for the magazines. Since October 2011, Soldiers, All Hands, Marines Magazine and Airman have lived solely on the Web. Their reasoning for going digital parallels that of some commercial magazines: Younger readers increasingly prefer to receive content on the Web. No less a factor, though, is that the move will save nearly four million dollars per fiscal year. In the context of a Defense Department budget of more than $500 billion annually, that may seem like little enough, but for the editors of these four publications—and their readers—it means drastic change. The editors faced the necessity of creating dynamic, interactive websites in less than a year; transitioning from a print to an online production cycle; mollifying older veterans who for decades held print subscriptions; and coping with fewer and fewer resources as further budget cuts loomed in the future. What follows is the story of how these magazines have dealt with these new realities and what their prospects are. “Back in the day, the only way to get information out was to flip a switch, say it over the radio, flip the switch again and go back to music,” says Roger King, executive officer of the DMA, referring to the Armed Forces Radio Service. “But now you have iPad [apps], Facebook, Twitter, online, iPhones. Right now, the magazines are that platform that has fallen by the wayside.” The need to find the quickest way to disseminate information is a universal pursuit. Starting with the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century and continuing with such technological advances as the telegraph, the radio and the Internet, society has repeatedly found ways to transmit news more rapidly than ever before. Those in the newspaper-and -magazine business feared radio and television would make them irrelevant, but it didn’t affect their business models (although large media companies grew while independent publications died). But it is the Internet—and subsequently e-readers and smartphones—that many experts predict will sound the death knell for the printed word. The argument is familiar: Efficiency and speed in journalism are paramount; paper cannot compete. The DMA is the military’s answer to that question of efficiency in communications. In 2005, Congress planted the seeds of the Defense Media Activity with the passage of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act, known more commonly, thanks to the Defense Department’s love of acronyms, as BRAC. The DMA became operational in 2008 but did not
p h o t o g r a p h s by b r i a n p a t r i c k e h a
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Col. Eric Schnaible, the director of production for the Defense Media Activity, had planned to serve in Afghanistan until 2014, but budget cuts forced him into early retirement.
â€œWe need to find efficiencies. I tend to be an old-school guy, but we have to transition.â€? nyrm.org
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“A lot of people aren’t going to hit up a website. You’re not going to the All Hands website. All Hands was bathroom reading.” consolidate all of the publications under a single roof until the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Meade in October 2011. (Stars and Stripes is still based in Washington but will relocate to Fort Meade in the summer.) Before that, the newsrooms for the magazines were scattered, with Airman the farthest away, in San Antonio. Because the DMA’s mission, clearly stated on its website, is to become “a world-class multimedia organization,” and because of the increasing demand for online content, the editors of the publications have known for some time that moving online was inevitable. But in the beginning of 2011, DMA leadership made a decision that seemed to come all too suddenly: Print publication of the legacy magazines would not extend past the end of fiscal year 2011. The last print editions were to publish in October of that year, no later. “We were not prepared,” says Carrie McLeroy, the editor-inchief of Soldiers, who found out about the transition in March of that year. “Being staffed for print is different from being staffed for Web. We were looking to expand our Web presence anyway, but we would have liked it to be more incremental.” What followed was a frenetic span of several months in which all four editors had to continue publishing in print while preparing for a quick deadline for going online and producing daily content. Happening simultaneously: the relocation to Fort Meade. As the DMA soon discovered, its magazine websites had differing levels of sophistication and each publication would react uniquely to the new realities. Soldiers, for example, “cheated a little,” according to McLeroy, a civilian who was a Marine before entering the civilian publishing industry and eventually joining Soldiers. Each magazine is staffed by a mix of government-contracted civilians and military personnel. “We had planned content through January 2012, so right before print each month, we would publish the content online.” Marines Magazine, on the other hand, was already a fully functioning WordPress site before diverging from print. The site utilizes a large photo box at the top of the home page that scrolls to the left, featuring several stories at once. It also prominently displays icons that link to the magazine’s YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook pages. “We tried to make sure we broke the digital divide a while ago. Back in 2003, we already had it in our minds,” says Lt. Col. Greg Reeder, the director of Marine productions. It was also the first of the four to develop an iPad app. Airman, which hopes to launch an iPad app in June, also has a well-managed website. All Hands, meanwhile, does not— and will not—have an independent website. The Navy, rather, is revamping its main site, navy.mil, in order to allow users to search the magazine’s archives. All Hands is, for all intents and purposes, defunct. “The reason we got out of the magazine business,” says Dennis Casaday, director of Navy production, “was a lack of resources.” It has been more than seven months since the transition
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to online occurred, and the editors say that, for the most part, things are working. With the relocation to Fort Meade, the editors, designers and other staffers of the magazines work on the same floor, side by side, with cubicles acting as the only barriers to complete integration. Much to the pleasure of the DMA, this has created an atmosphere of cooperation and cohesion among the previously discrete publications. “One of the things about being under the DMA,” says James B. Pritchett, the deputy director of Air Force productions, which oversees Airman, “the sharing has been great. There has been better integration and more sharing of content.” “We’re all on the same team,” adds McLeroy. “If I need an event covered but can’t send anyone, then I can ask Pritchett if he has anyone available. I can’t think of anything negative about the process.” Of course, even though the transition itself has been mostly smooth—according to the editors, at least—killing the print magazines has contributed to the debate over the value of delivering content via printing presses compared with the value of the Web and the decreased costs that accompany it. Almost immediately after distribution of the magazines stopped, letters began arriving asking what had happened. McLeroy says she still receives letters—not email—from mostly older veterans who are not as technologically savvy as their younger, active counterparts. Says Pritchett: “We did have a large following in print. They weren’t happy with doing away with it.” He adds, however, “There was not as much of an uproar as you’d think.” According to Pritchett, citing an internal, unreleasable poll, “Where Airmen Get Their Information,” most people in the Air Force prefer receiving content online. The editors for Soldiers, Marines Magazine and All Hands agree this is true for their publications as well. On this point, they have suffered the same fate as commercial publications like PC Magazine and Gourmet—the changing needs of consumers have crippled the demand for print. But it is not just those who are inept at using the Internet who will miss the print product. Sailors at sea and service members still in Afghanistan have limited access to the Internet. Some suggest that it is unreasonable to expect those stationed in the far reaches of the Middle East to spend their ten minutes of connectivity on a military site rather than talking to their families on Skype or Facebook. “A lot of people aren’t going to hit up a website,” says Shane McCoy, the All Hands photo editor from 2002 to 2007, now a photographer for the U.S. Marshals Service. “You’re not going to the All Hands website. All Hands was bathroom reading.” McCoy was a military photographer for more than fifteen years, only half of which were spent with All Hands. He says that All Hands is primarily propagandist but that it serves the purpose of uplifting the spirits of sailors. It is a morale boost. “One quote I love is, one of the sailors came up to me and said: ‘I love reading All Hands. That’s the Navy I want to be a part of.’ They are going to miss that. But often, the people making the
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“We’re the Marines. Our idea is that we get things done.” decisions aren’t in the position to understand why they would need the magazines. They don’t have the experience.” Another argument against retiring the printed version is the traditionalists’ view that the feel of a magazine is sacrosanct, something not to be treated glibly. “There is nothing like holding a magazine in your hands and looking at the picture on the cover,” McCoy says. His point is one McLeroy concedes. “With the aesthetics, you’re going to lose something, this is true.” Yet many of the people who are still involved with the DMA contend that the decision was ultimately more complicated than the new media/old media dichotomy. The harsh reality of making the Defense Department, and by extension the DMA, sustainable in the long term drives down the amount of available resources. From fiscal year 2009 to 2011, the DMA’s budget increased from $236.3 million to $255.9 million according to budget documents obtained by NYRM through a Freedom of Information Act request. But that was a necessary effect of merging the media operations of the various branches under a single entity. Since then, the funding for the DMA has decreased. The projected budget for fiscal year 2013 is $224 million, a more than fifteen-percent decrease over the past two years, according to these documents. King, the executive officer for the DMA, adds that his agency is forecasting another tenpercent cut in 2016. “We’re having to look at everything we do and adjust,” King says. There is also the changing demographic of the military. The trends suggest that as the years go by, the young men and women joining the armed forces, much like their civilian peers, will pursue information almost exclusively online. This makes creating a print product less cost-effective. “Everything is budgetdriven. We need to find efficiencies,” says Col. Eric Schnaible, the DMA’s director of production. Schnaible, a member of the Air Force for twenty-seven years, oversees the content for every outlet that falls under the DMA umbrella. He understands more than most the true cost of living a budget-driven existence. He spent last year deployed in Afghanistan, and had hoped to serve his country until 2014 and then retire with three decades in uniform under his belt. But because of the Defense Department’s new austerity budget, he was forced into early retirement, effective soon after the publication of this magazine. Until then, however, he continues to lead the eight directors under him— including the heads of the four magazines—in creating content that connects with their target audience: those in uniform and their families. “I tend to be an old-school guy,” Schnaible says, noting that he likes the feel of magazines in his hands. “But we have to transition.” Still, it will be hard for some to shake the nostalgia that is conjured up when thinking of the glory days of the legacy magazines. “It was nice to have a print publication, but it’s the fiscal reality,” says John Valceanu, the director of the Armed Forces Press Service. He is also a former staffer for Soldiers. “I’m sad to see it go.” Trying to be optimistic, he continues: “But we can do a lot of things online. People under thirty prefer online.”
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Others are not as hopeful. “I read Soldiers a lot,” says Jay Seidel, the chair of the communications department at Fullerton College in Southern California. He was a combat engineer for the Army in the early Nineties. “That’s sad they are cutting the print. Not everyone will access it online.” One fringe benefit of having a Web-oriented focus, though, is that despite possibly losing a portion of the older military audience, there is now an opportunity to expand the readership to a wider cross section of the public at large. Stories in mainstream media that focus on the military tend to relate mostly to the war effort, discretionary spending or mental strain on those in combat. But as many who have worn a uniform can verify, the military is much more than battle fatigues and M16 rifles. Schnaible points out that people who are not intimately connected with the military may not understand its diversity. He wonders, for example, how many people know the percentage of airmen who actually fly. The answer is less than ten percent. Social media and the world’s reliance on the Web allow for a more global audience—a point made many times before by media experts. “What we used to call our shadow audience is becoming bigger,” McLeroy says. Pritchett agrees. “Our mission is to write stories for our young men and women, but we can now communicate with a larger audience. We have a lot of humanitarian missions that have a larger scope” that people can now hear about, he says. Les Benito, the director of the Public Web sector of the DMA, which oversees Internet operations for the 650 different Defense Department sites, says another thing that will help fuel the expansion of the magazines’ influence is the ability to easily post content on multiple websites. For example, a story appearing in Marines Magazine can now appear on marines.mil and defense.gov as well. “The Defense Department gets good traffic,” he says. “Navy and Army get good traffic. So if you publish on those sites, you get good traffic.” But there is still a long way to go. The four magazines hardly ever rank in the top twentyfive of the most-visited defense websites, according to weekly reports compiled by the Defense Department. Benito remains hopeful. “Each of the editors has access to the analytics, so they can see who is viewing what and determine content based on that,” he says. All of this paints a picture of journalists—some military, some former military—using the vaunted resourcefulness of the armed forces to keep their magazines relevant. Yet they are handcuffed by the Defense Department’s inability to plan more than two years ahead, thanks to congressional budgets. Further cuts could wreak havoc on already undersized staffs or lead to restructuring in other ways. Currently, McLeroy has only two full-time writers on the Soldiers staff; she cannot afford to lose either of them. Nevertheless, McLeroy and her fellow editors seem optimistic about the future of their industry—at least for those publications safely within the gates of Fort Meade. “We’re the Marines,” says Lt. Col. Greg Reeder, editor of Marines Magazine. “Our idea is that we get things done.”
Robert Joswiak, a former U.S. Air Force serviceman now serving as a civilian on the DMA Joint Assignment Desk, works on his computer at Fort Meade, Md. nyrm.org
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By Andrea Palatnik
he New York Times Magazine is among the most influential publications in the United States. It has accompanied the Sunday edition of The New York Times since 1896, and has reached impressive milestones along the way. Writers such as Thomas Mann, Tennessee Williams and Gertrude Stein, and statesmen and -women from this country and around the world have published in its pages. From the groundbreaking photo spread of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 that helped save the newspaper in a troubled era, to the three Pulitzer Prizes amassed in the last four decades, the magazine has been an invaluable asset to its newspaper and an appealing staple to readers everywhere. Last year marked the beginning of what the newspaper’s former executive editor, Bill Keller, called The New York Times Magazine’s “next incarnation”— a complete redesign, a new concept, different sections and writers and, most importantly, and most unexpectedly, a new editor: Hugo Lindgren, who had worked at the now extinct George magazine, New York magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek. He was no stranger to the Times Magazine; he had worked there, under Adam Moss’ editorship, in the early 2000s. Lindgren, who replaced Gerald Marzorati—having run the magazine for seven years, he left to become what Keller described as the Times newsroom’s “master entrepreneur”—arrived in late October 2010 from Bloomberg Businessweek after only seven months as executive editor there. In the official announcement of Lindgren’s hiring, Keller said: “We talked to a lot of great candidates, inside and outside of The Times, but Hugo stood out for his creativity, his charisma, and his experience helping to refresh two magazines. Because he knows The Times Magazine from his earlier work there, he’ll be able to hit the ground running.” As it turned out, that was the understatement of the year. When Lindgren’s first issue appeared, in March 2011, readers discovered that the new editor had changed out all of the columnists in the front of the magazine, along with many other staffers and contributors, replacing them with a whole new team. Lindgren ultimately said goodbye to some twenty people, according to someone close to the situation, who asked to remain anonymous. It is not known whether Keller knew of Lindgren’s plans, but The New
The weekly now is filled with pop culture references, readers’ Twitter comments and stories exploring the latest Internet meme or iPhone game fad.
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York Observer and others wondered out loud why Keller chose someone from outside instead of hiring from within. The same anonymous source said that another outsider, The New Yorker’s Daniel Zalewski, was the top pick for the job but turned Keller down. Other non-Times names like James Bennet (The Atlantic) and James Traub (now at Foreign Policy, however still a contributing writer to the Times Magazine) were also considered for the position. It seems clear that Keller wanted dramatic change. And that is what he got.
So how is Lindgren doing? The first impression one gets by comparing the two “incarnations” of The New York Times Magazine is that the new version feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience. The weekly now is filled with pop culture references, readers’ Twitter comments and stories exploring the latest Internet meme or iPhone game fad. The redesign made some of the sections look like a Tumblr blog, and the “One-Page Magazine,” which opens the front of the book with a dozen short, casual bricks of text, might as well be someone’s Twitter feed of random thoughts and observations. The magazine also has a blog now, “The 6th Floor,” which is apparently supposed to give readers an inside view of articles’ backstories and make those readers feel closer to the staff and their work. Followers of the blog can learn about the saga of a lost set of photographs of the 1960 Democratic National Convention, shot by Garry Winogrand; read an interview with chief political correspondent Matt Bai, about his cover story on the debt deal; or participate in a survey like columnist Rosie Schaap’s quest to compile a playlist of what she calls “bartender rock,” following up on her story about daytime drinking. Readers can also follow the publication on Twitter, and, as I write this, nearly 50,000 of them do. The front of the book is Lindgren’s pièce de résistance. He has killed beloved staples like the “On Language” column, started in 1979 by William Safire and continued by Ben Zimmer after Safire’s death in 2009. Popular columnists such as Randy Cohen, who had written “The Ethicist” since 1999, and Deborah Solomon, who had done the Q&A column “Questions For” since 2003, have been replaced by Ariel Kaminer, who became the ethicist on a one-year loan from the Times’ Metro section, and Andrew Goldman (whose Q&A page follows its predecessor’s format but has changed its name to “Talk”). Cohen is now the host of a one-on-one interview show called Person Place Thing on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, while Solomon is working on a biography of iconic illustrator Norman Rockwell. This is not the time or place to provide a detailed report card on how all the new changes have worked out, but a comparative look at two of his more controversial fires (Solomon and Cohen—each of whom had a real fan base) and their replacements (Goldman and Kaminer), might prove elucidative. The old and new Q&A section and “Ethicist” represent the distinct styles
drawing by barry blitt
Out with the Old
A new editor shakes things up at The New York Times Magazine. of the magazine before and after the 2011 refurbishing. Solomon was famous for insulting her interviewees with barbs like “Do you think your basic sexual confusion underlies your political confusions” (to Christopher Hitchens in 2010) and “Your critics might find it paradoxical that you are prescribing family togetherness when in fact you’re a single mom” (to environmental activist Laurie David in 2010). Or she might have wrapped up an interview with a challenging statement like “Your name sounds like Sam-I-Am, from Dr. Seuss” (to The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am in 2011) or a blunt out-of-nowhere reference to her subject’s sexuality (as she did to writer Gore Vidal and actress Cynthia Nixon, both in 2008). Goldman seems to be imitating Solomon’s approach, but he arguably lacks some of her grace when dropping bombs like “Have you turned into a narcissistic lunatic?” (to Noel Gallagher in 2011) or “I assumed from the biker look that you were gay, but you have a wife and daughter. Do many people make this mistake?” (to architect Peter Marino in 2012). “The Ethicist,” on the other hand, found a completely different style in Kaminer’s hands. Cohen typically opted for short, to-the-point answers peppered with sharp-humored comments, like: “This assumes that you use oil heat and that the misdelivered fuel was pumped into your tank and not your backyard pool or giant birdbath or enormous cat. (Insert BP joke here),” in reply to a reader who had 100 gallons of heating oil mistakenly delivered to his house in 2010. Kaminer produced a more detailed column and did her homework well, despite lacking much of Cohen’s wit and authority. Her humor was more discreet, almost shy, and she took a few more paragraphs than her predecessor to contextualize, sometimes digressing from the question being discussed in order to make a point. Kaminer recently conducted a contest among readers—the first in the column’s history—asking for short essays on why it is ethical for humans to eat meat. Cohen once discussed a somewhat similar topic, replying to an anesthesiologist who questioned whether it was ethical to utilize a blood thinner derived from pigs in patients who don’t eat pork for religious reasons (2009). While Kaminer typically chooses a more staid approach, Cohen wrapped up his reasoning with a laugh-out-loud comment about products derived from pigs: “It is curiously liberating to learn that I would violate no religious strictures if I were to wear mascara while playing football.” Even though Kaminer’s style seemed to mesh well with Lindgren’s new approach, her stint as “the ethicist” is over and she has now returned to the Metro section. “The Ethicist,” however, will remain. As NYRM went to press, Kaminer’s seat had yet to be filled. Magazines do change; different editors have different tastes and preferences. The only problem with Lindgren’s small revolution, according to a former employee, who asked to be quoted anonymously, is that he never explained his decisions to the newsRandy Cohen
room, and never told them directly that they would be let go. “Our annual contracts expired on December 31, . Shortly after Christmas, a sub-editor called and said that our contracts would not be renewed because Hugo was thinking about what he would do,” said the ex-staffer, adding that at that point nobody anticipated getting fired. “But the contracts were never renewed and we were paid for four weeks before leaving. I was fired by phone.” “It was such a shock to all of us. Some of my colleagues are truly suicidal,” said this source, who worked at the magazine for
over a decade. During a lecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in early March, Lindgren said that all these measures—including the sackings—were “truly necessary.” He explained: “The front of the book is the place that has got to evolve and change. The columnists there were not, to my personal taste, doing the work. And my feeling was: I don’t know how long I’ll get to edit this magazine, but I’m going to put the stuff that I like in while I’m there.” Lindgren is proudest of what he’s done with the front of the magazine, and considers all the renovations essential for the weekly to keep pace with its readership. “It’s not easy to make changes to a place that has been successful and where people take a lot of pride in their work,” he said. So how do the readers think he is he doing? Talking about his decision to discard “On Language,” Lindgren said: “There were people out there who were out to kill me.” There’s even a group on Facebook called “Keep ‘On Language’ in the New York Times,” aimed at persuading the editor to bring back the column. In general, readers’ reactions were mixed. Long-time subscribers to The New York Times like film producer Merv Bloch and his wife, TV producer Leslie Littlehale Bloch—who have both been reading the newspaper for more than sixty years—said the Sunday magazine “is getting boring.” “I used to like the magazine, and every now and then I still read it,” said Merv. “But it’s too esoteric for me now.” He suggested that the weekly should have fiction writing again, as it had for a while in the mid-2000s, and expand its coverage of the arts. On the other hand, in interviews with a dozen frequent readers between the ages of twenty and thirty-three, nine said they hadn’t even noticed changes in the magazine, while three said they liked the new look. Among the letters to the editor published in the March 20, 2011, issue— the first since the magzine was reshaped—some praised a “sleeker, more agile and more fun” magazine, while others complained that “the changes are too much,” referring to a letter from the editor that Lindgren had published, introducing and explaining the magazine’s redesign. “If all these changes seem too much,” he wrote, “work the crossword. It will always be here for you.” nyrm.org
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From the White House to the Publishing House Desirée Rogers, in her own words. Ebony and Jet, two iconic names in African-American media, faced a dilemma last year. After recent years of plummeting circulation numbers, some wondered whether parent company Johnson Publishing could keep the magazines alive. Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., came up with an unexpected, bold and risky solution: Desirée Rogers, the high-profile former White House social secretary, would become the magazines’ new CEO, despite zero publishing experience. Rogers was tasked with finding a way to solve Ebony and Jet’s problems. Here is what she faced: In 2009, Ebony reported an overall circulation of 1,169,870 compared with a rate base of 1,250,000, while Jet had an overall circulation of 795,055 compared with a rate base of 900,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In 2010, ABC numbers showed the magazines continued to slide, with Ebony posting total paid circulation of 1,068,383, while Jet had a circulation of 750,978 (for the period that ended June 2010). Advertising for the magazines also suffered. During the first half of 2010, advertising pages fell by twenty percent for the tiny Jet, which is eight-by-five-and-a-half inches; advertising fell about thirty percent for the standard-sized Ebony. But Rogers would also have some good things going for her. From its inception in 1945, Ebony, published monthly, has been the best-known AfricanAmerican magazine in the United States. The glossy cover with the familiar red-and-white logo has featured many prominent African-American men and women—including Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson and even President Barack Obama—as the magazine reaches out to its primarily African-American audience. Unlike Essence, a magazine aimed at black women, Ebony has a fortypercent male readership and includes savvy articles relevant to both men and women. Similarly, its sister magazine, the weekly digest-sized Jet, also prides itself on being a publication that celebrates the accomplishments of black individuals—celebrities, politicians, musicians and more. It was founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson, head of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Co., who called it the “weekly Negro news magazine.” Jet quickly gained readers who were hungry for news of the growing activism that led up to the civil rights movement. That long history of publishing success was on the line when, in August 2010, John H. Johnson’s daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, hired her friend Desirée Rogers and presented her with a huge task: revitalizing two of black
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America’s biggest magazines and turning the company around financially. On the surface, Rogers was an unlikely candidate for the job. She had no publishing experience. She had resigned from the White House under a cloud (as a result of the infamous gatecrashers episode). She was also known for having twice been selected as Queen of the Mardi Gras Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, not exactly a credential for rescuing a failing company. But she knows everybody—she has access to a wide variety of influential people. She’s both charming and smart, has an MBA from Harvard Business School and has worked at a number of high-level jobs: as head of the Illinois state lottery, as president of Peoples Energy in Chicago, and as an executive at the Allstate Corporation. Now on a mission to turn Ebony and Jet into thriving brands, Rogers has begun to change things around. She brought in the former publisher of OK! magazine, Stephen Barr, to be Ebony’s publisher, handling ad sales. She contracted with an outside firm to fix the circulation problems. She hired Rodrigo Sierra as a new chief marketing officer, brought in a new head of media sales and a new head of cosmetics. And she hired Amy DuBois Barnett, former deputy editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, to be the new editor-in-chief of Ebony. Barnett has since spearheaded the sixty-seven-year-old magazine’s first cover-to-cover redesign, starting with the logo. Rogers has also focused on launching new websites—ebony.com and myJet247.com—in an effort to attract a younger generation of readers. So far, the results have been positive. Ebony and Jet saw a remarkable increase in their circulation through the first six months of 2011. Ebony’s readership is up nearly eleven percent, to 1,235,865, while Jet has seen an approximately seven-and-a-half percent rate of growth, to 820,557, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which listed both among the twenty-five fastest-growing magazines. At a time when the industry in general is facing declines in advertising, subscriptions and newsstand sales, such increases seem pretty impressive. I attempted to set up an interview with Rogers, but due to her hectic schedule, she was able to provide only brief answers to a few questions. Nonetheless, because the story remains so important, what I have done in the following Q&A is to combine her electronic answers to the questions I posed with things she has said at other times, in other contexts. In the interest of transparency, I have footnoted the sources of her responses.
Photograph courtesy of johnson publishing
By Jessona McDonald
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“Washington is like playing the Super Bowl, only there are no timeouts, no potty breaks and the arena is filled with the media.”
How has your experience in the White House helped shape your plans for Ebony and Jet? Washington is like playing the Super Bowl, only there are no timeouts, no potty breaks and the arena is filled with the media. In government, you have to learn to put yourself second in a big way. But I am a business person at heart. I like to be in charge.”1 My White House experience has helped me to think large. I am inspired by my time at the White House and have unlimited visions for what these brands can do.2
As the first ever African-American White House social secretary, are there any significant experiences you would like to share?
I was in the White House for a year and a half. Up to that point, all my jobs had been very unglamorous. My world became much larger. As social secretary, I was responsible for putting together all the events that the president and the first lady host[ed]. This president was handed an impossible deck; I wanted to make sure that everyone felt the warmth of the family. I think everything about the security breach where two reality show stars crashed a state dinner has been said. We could all have done things a bit better.3
What is the strategic plan for making these magazines work?
We’re trying to re-establish, reaffirm and revitalize these brands. We hired Amy DuBois Barnett, the former deputy editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, as the new editor-in-chief of Ebony and we’re repositioning and modernizing the Ebony brand.4 I wanted to make Ebony prettier and more relevant. With Jet, people would say, “What are you going to do to my Jet?” We’re being very careful not to fall into a vacuum where we assume all black people want to read the same thing. That said, there are broad issues that impact the community. My daughter is twenty-one, and she doesn’t see the world in white and black. But she wants to read about our history. She helped me think about things in a different way.5 What is your mission for the magazines? What targets do you have
regarding advertising and circulation?
Right now it’s so busy because we’re looking to upgrade both magazines, plus the cosmetics line without losing the rich history that’s been established. In no way do I want anyone to think that we’re walking away from our history. We want that old excitement back. We have to remain focused on what we’re trying to achieve as a unit. People may worry about how existing readers will respond but my number one priority is to find people who love these brands. We have a great group of people who’ve been here for a long period of time and what we’re doing is sprinkling them together with our new team so we don’t lose sight of where we’ve been, but are able to leap forward and get to the next level for these publications. We brought in Rodrigo Sierra as our new chief marketing officer; we brought in a new head of media sales and a new head on our cosmetics side of the business. We are working hard on our circulation. . . . We’ve given a lot of thought to the fundamentals of the business. We’re making sure our fundamentals are strong and we’ve built a frame for that next level. We’re not trying to be fancy-first.6
What is your target for your max audience? Is it entirely African-American or a mixture of different ethnicities?
Ebony is not just a magazine, it’s a movement . . . and we’re hoping that more than black Americans pick it up, because we need people to be aware of what’s transpiring with the forty-one million black Americans in this country.7 36 | t h e
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Who or what inspired you to take on the challenge of redesigning Ebony and Jet?
I did not redesign Ebony or Jet. I actually decided to take the job as CEO after a brief consulting job at the firm. I believe that I have the skill set to help revitalize these iconic brands with the right team. The editors that we hired have redesigned the magazines. I am inspired by the significance that these two publications have in black America and their continued importance.8
Were there worries or apprehension before taking on the task of reshaping a magazine with Ebony’s history?
Johnson Publishing offered me an opportunity to build black iconic brands like Ebony and Jet magazines. What I was worried about was my friendship with the founder’s daughter, Linda Johnson. She is my very best friend. I didn’t want to be in a position where I would put at risk her company’s legacy.9
How does the online world for Ebony and Jet fit into current and future goals for both magazines?
Online is extremely important—we expect to expand in this space. We just launched ebony.com and are working on digital versions of the two magazines. It is important to deliver the publications to the public the way they want [them].10 I don’t really see the rise of digital, social media and bloggers as disruption; I see it as part of the creative process. I view them as other distribution channels for our style, and who we are. There is an Ebony style, there is a Jet style and we need to be sure we are moving in the direction of ensuring we make a play in those various forms of distribution.11
Cathie Black, former president of Hearst, was appointed chancellor of New York City’s schools by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and was famously unable to make the transition from the head of a journalism empire to public life. Are you experiencing trouble with the reverse? I am not experiencing trouble. It has been a very smooth transition and the world of journalism has been extremely kind to me.12
Did you grow up reading either of these magazines?
It was always there. . . . My grandfather used to always read Ebony and Jet. . . . He would say, “Look at what’s going on in our community. Look what’s occurring.” Growing up in the South, having not really traveled a lot as a young child, he said, “Look at the world.” He goes: “One day, you might get in Ebony. Maybe, one day.’’13
Is there a magazine for the black male? Not at this time, unless we acquired one.14
You’ve spent the majority of your career serving the public. How important is it for you to reach out to others? I think that it is extremely important to do what you can for others, but most importantly in my work I try to create an environment that allows everyone to do their best work.15
Footnotes Businessweek.com 2 Exclusive answer via email 3Businessweek.com 4Foliomag.com 5Businessweek.com 6 Foliomag.com 7Nationalpublicradio.org 8Exclusive answer via email 9Businessweek.com 10 Exclusive answer via email 11 Foliomag.com 12 Exclusive answer via email 13 Chicagotribune.com 14 Exclusive answer via email 1
Exclusive answer via email
While Other Magazines Fret and Sweat About Their Future...
L L I T S s ’ D A M D E I R R O W T O N by Travis Irvine
One of America’s most enduring satire magazines celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year. Mad magazine—famous for its gap-toothed cartoon boy mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, who is commonly featured in perilous situations, grinning and asking, “What, me worry?”—has ruthlessly lampooned everything from politics to celebrities to movies and much, much more. Founded by eccentric publisher William “Bill” Gaines and editor Harvey Kurtzman in 1952, Mad set out to be a mock comic book before finally becoming a humor magazine four years later under the guidance of its second editor, Al Feldstein. With Feldstein, the magazine would go on to shape American satire and culture for years, and reached its circulation peak of more than two million in 1974. During that time, Mad experienced a topsy-turvy ownership ride, going from Kinney Parking Company to DC nyrm.org
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“It is a magazine that is not afraid of bad taste, if it makes a point—and sometimes even if it doesn’t make a point but makes you laugh.”
Comics, which was then acquired by Warner Bros., which then became—after Gaines’ death—part of Time Warner, where it remains to this day. After Feldstein left the magazine in 1984, Nick Meglin and John Ficarra replaced him as co-editors until Meglin’s retirement in 2004. In February 2012, NYRM sat down with Ficarra, who is still editor, to talk about Mad’s history, the constantly changing magazine industry, comedy and why, after so many years, no one at Mad is worried. Here’s a transcript, condensed and edited for clarity.
NYRM: In March, you re-launched Mad’s website and in April, you introduced the Mad app. Anything else you’re specifically planning for these platforms in the months ahead? We’re really starting to burst out, and the app looks great. I was just in a meeting where I saw the first pass of it, and the company that we’ve hired seems to really get it. This is the initial pass; we’re going to start screwing around with it here, typical Mad stuff. You know, Mad likes to reward people who pay attention, so if you go into the legalese you may find jokes. If you poke around in the app, you’ll find the little Easter eggs that we’ve left you.
NEW YORK REVIEW OF MAGAZINES: So what is Mad magazine? JOHN FICARRA: In its purest form, Mad is a visually driven magazine of humor and satire. It is also a magazine that is not afraid to be very smart and, on the very next page, extraordinarily stupid. It is a magazine that is not afraid of bad taste, if it makes a point—and sometimes even if it doesn’t make a point but makes you laugh. Mad’s been around a long time: sixty years. It started out as a comic book, spoofing other comic books, then it became a full-sized magazine and over the years certainly has changed. NYRM: How do you see the role of Mad in the comedy world? It certainly seems to have a place, right? JF: For a long time, Mad’s place was—we were the first voice that kids saw that said, “Hey, you know what? The world ain’t a perfect place.” Just because somebody’s in authority doesn’t mean they’re right. Just because you read something in the newspaper, doesn’t make it true. Just because a politician says something, it may not be true; in fact, chances are it’s a blatant lie. And I think for a lot of kids, Mad popped that cherry. NYRM: How has technology changed Mad over the years? For a long time, we were a black-and-white magazine that was printed on really cheap paper. I mean, we used to say Mad looked like it was printed in Mexico in 1959. Computers have given us a chance now to do Photoshopping; we’re on better paper, we’ve gone to color and we’re not doing cut-up and paste-up with mechanicals and rubber cement like Mad was when I started. We can make changes virtually right up until the day we go to press. So that allows the magazine to be a little more timely. Now, we’re only a bimonthly, so even toward the end of our newsstand cycle, the material is sometimes getting old. And besides that, with the Internet, you know, they talk about 24/7 news cycles—well, there’s 24/7 comedy cycles as well. NYRM: How has that changed things? You now have this constant production cycle where you have to always create, but you still have the bimonthly magazine. It’s almost like, “Hey, here’s two months of ridiculous things in review.” JF: It’s killing us. (Laughs.) It puts a lot of strain on us creatively and on 38 | t h e
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our resources. At times it’s frustrating because if I had a staff that was just doing the blog, we could blow it off the roof. It’d be great. But I don’t. We didn’t increase staff. We don’t even have a budget for the blog. It’s all done within house. We write it inhouse and my art department—led by Sam Viviano—creates it in-house and we put it up. We haven’t figured out a business model yet where we can hire ten people. I don’t know if anybody’s figured that business model yet for the Internet. (Laughs.) Very few anyway.
NYRM: Are there other ways you guys are modernizing the content? JF: Certainly. Mad articles have changed over the years in that we do a lot of what we call “big impact pieces,” which are full pages and get to a point very quickly. You’ll see a lot Mad Editor John Ficarra in a recent spoof less dense reads. We’ll give you one or ad for the magazine. two articles in the magazine, whereas years ago, in the Sixties, there were maybe four dense read pieces. So we’ve cut down on it in that way. And certainly, with the technology, more photos. All of Mad used to be illustrated, or ninety-nine percent of it, anyway. It gives us a chance to really screw around with images that people know and expect us to screw around with. NYRM: The target audience of Mad seems to usually be young people. Is that still true? And what are the circulation numbers now? JF: The average age of a Mad reader is twenty-four. The median age is nineteen. What we found is we sort of have—for lack of a better term—a camel readership. So we get young kids, almost always very bright kids. Twelve years old, they start reading it. They’ll read it until they’re sixteen or so. Now girls come into the picture—sex, sports, cars—and we lose them. Then, either in college or right after they get out of college, they’ll pick it up because they haven’t read it in a while. Maybe they’re on a trip, first business trip, they’re in an airport, their plane just got delayed for six hours. What are you gonna do? You’re gonna go to the newsstand; you’re looking around for something to read, you go, “Oh, Mad? What the hell?” They pick it up and then we get them back. We don’t write for any particular audience. We write for ourselves, which has always been the case with Mad. NYRM: How has the market changed since 1952? JF: From a business point of view, the newsstand business is much, much different. In 1952 and most of the Sixties and Seventies, you still had the mom-and-pop candy stores, which was where you could find Mad. These
days it’s getting increasingly hard to find magazines. And when you do find a store that has magazines . . . if you have a hotrod magazine, okay, the clerk puts you in the hotrod magazine section, and there’s six or eight titles there. If you have a girl’s magazine—like Mademoiselle, Cosmo, whatever it is—put it in that section. You get Mad, where does it go? There’s no way for us to communicate to every person who’s stocking a rack that this should go with Entertainment Weekly, or in a pop-culture section. Some people look at it and say, “Oh, this is a kids magazine”—even though it isn’t—and they put it in with the kids magazines. Sometimes I’ll go and find it in the puzzle section! So from a distribution standpoint, it’s a nightmare. (Laughs.) It’s a nightmare! And the whole distribution system is very, very challenged these days, as I said. All magazines and newspapers are challenged. And that’s why you see us going into things like the app. But from a business sense, Mad was ahead of its time. NYRM: What’s made Mad endure for sixty years? JF: What’s that old line—“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people”? (Laughs.) I think it’s a real testament to the artists and writers who make up this magazine. They found a different voice; they found a different way of presenting the material and they were terrific. Just terrific. The competitors were always just trying to follow our breadcrumbs, chase our draft. By default, their product was inferior, because anybody who was really good would be working for Mad. So if you’re working for somebody else, chances are you were rejected by Mad. NYRM: What constitutes top talent? How do you pick your people? JF: We have turned down scripts from Hollywood sixfigure writers and bought stuff from twenty-year-old kids who are still in college. It’s all about what’s on the page. We’re comedy whores. We have to fill this magazine every other month with what’s good, what’s making us laugh. In some ways, it’s very difficult to write for Mad, but if your mind is that way, it’s not that difficult on some levels. But “top talent” is if you make us laugh. At the end of the day, that’s really it. People will say, “Well, I can send you some of my clips.” I don’t want to see your clips. I don’t want to see a very funny fifteen-hundred-word article you wrote for Esquire, because I can’t do anything with a very funny fifteen-hundred-word article you wrote for Esquire, and I’m too busy to read it. Send me something you thought of for Mad. NYRM: And what do you think it is about Mad? Like you said, on one page there’s something very smart, and then on the next page, there’s something just really dumb. JF: Yeah, cheap fart gag. Absolutely. NYRM: So what is it about comedy that makes it work like that? Where you can make a political point on one page and then . . . ? JF: Well, part of it is the unexpected. I mean, comedy works
best when people don’t see it coming. The other thing is, I think I have a reasonably broad sense of humor, but there are certain types of humor that I don’t go for. I’m not a big fan of knock-knock jokes, but if somebody sent in a page of knock-knock jokes and I go, “Ugh,” but three of my staff members say, “Oh, these are good,” then I’m not gonna kill it. I’m going to respect their opinions enough to say, “You know what? Three people whose opinions I respect think this is funny, well, then it is funny.” And that’s the thing about Mad; if you don’t like what’s on this page, if you don’t like political humor, go to the next page, there’s something else. There’s sports humor. Go to the next page, there’s something about Kim Kardashian. NYRM: Do you have a couple of favorite gags from the last sixty years? JF: We’re doing a book now with Time Life on the sixtieth anniversary, a coffee-table book. It’s like 256 pages. The problem is, it’s only 256 pages. And I just went through sixty years’ worth of Mads, picking out what should go in this book. At six decades, it basically allows you forty pages per decade and that’s hundreds of pages of material that I have to pick forty from. We could easily put out a second volume of this book and see no slippage in quality. NYRM: Is there something that you loved when you were a college kid sending in submissions? Something you loved then that you still remember? Something that is quintessential Mad? JF: I don’t know. A lot of the stuff I sent in and even a lot of the stuff I sold to Mad—now when I look back on it, the magazine has changed so much, we wouldn’t buy it today. The magazine has evolved. It was a more gentle humor. It was more folksy, whimsical at times, where we’ve sort of downplayed that and gone more for the jugular. I mean, Mad’s original slogan was “Humor in a Jugular Vein,” and we’ve tried to ramp that up. We had to. We’re swimming in the same waters as Howard Stern and The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live and David Letterman’s “Top Ten” lists. So we really had to ramp it up, otherwise we’re just going to become irrelevant. NYRM: Where do you see it going? What’s the future of Mad? Sixty more years? JF: God, I hope so. And then some. Certainly the landscape is changing. That’s why I’m very happy we’re doing this app. I’m very happy we’re relaunching the website, I’m very happy we have a daily blog. I think if anybody tells you where it’s going, they don’t know what they’re talking about, because nobody knows. Nobody knows! I heard something this morning that just blew me away: They said that Apple is now valued at more than Amazon, Coca-Cola and IBM together. And who’d have seen that? Who’d have seen that, you know? So it’s really changing in a very fast way. The best we can do is try to keep up with it and keep making fun of it.
“For a long time, we were a black-and-white magazine that was printed on really cheap paper. I mean, we used to say Mad looked like it was printed in Mexico in 1959.”
NYRM: So you’re not worried? JF: What, me worry? (Laughs.) Good ending! nyrm.org
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Magazine Articles That Shook the World (Or, if they didn’t, they should have.)
By Marie-Sophie Schwarzer
The neatly bound pages of magazines have the power to inform and inspire us, to shape our culture and our politics. Unlike other forms of journalism, they offer the space needed to tell timely stories in depth. The average viewer spends thirty-three seconds on a website; television doesn’t offer the time for indepth stories on a regular basis; and newspapers work too fast to run long narrative pieces, except for those rare ones that are
assigned with Pulitzer Prizes in mind. While we toss our newspapers into the recycling bin, we put our magazines on coffee tables, collect them and revisit them. Magazines don’t simply spread the news; they can analyze it, reflect on it and underline it through the use of graphic materials—and they can become agents of change. From among the countless examples of the potency of magazine writing, we have selected ten that inspired readers and helped to reshape the world in the twentieth century.
“The Shame of the Cities,” by Lincoln Steffens, McClure’s Magazine, series running October 1902 through November 1903. The crusading reporting of Lincoln Steffens, avid to expose political corruption, gave rise to a style of journalism that became known as “muckraking.” His work highlighted the need for government reforms and political action to reduce the power of business corporations. This article helped bring about a number of important policy changes, such as the introduction of direct primary elections and secret ballots to undermine the political machines that controlled many cities. “When I set out to describe the corrupt systems of certain typical cities, I meant to show simply how the people were deceived and betrayed,” wrote Steffens. His words made a difference.
“The Promoters of the War Mania,” by Emma Goldman, Mother Earth, March 1917. This article was published in Emma Goldman’s own “Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature,” which contained some of the most radical writing in journalistic history and promoted the anarchist movement (until Goldman was deported to Soviet Russia during the “Red Scare” that followed World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution). The article calls out to the people of America to refuse to play any part in the military machine: “I for one will speak against war so long as my voice will last, now and during war.” Goldman helped to define the limits of dissent and free speech in America, using the magazine to effect change.
“Dachau: Experimental Murder,” by Martha Gellhorn, Collier’s Weekly, June 23, 1945. Martha Gellhorn was one of the first female war correspondents and one of the first journalists to report from the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany after its liberation. “Behind the barbed wire and the electric fence the skeletons sat in the sun and searched themselves for lice,” she wrote. “They have no age and no faces; they all look alike and like nothing you will ever see if you are lucky.’’ Her close observation, her attention to detail and her honest, subjective prose brought to life the unspeakable realities of Dachau for her readers. Eleanor Mills and Kira Cochrane, editors of the book Journalistas, say Gellhorn’s report “reawakens a sense of fresh horror in a way that a fifty-year-on commemoration of the now-familiar look of the camps can never do.”
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“Hiroshima,” by John Hersey, The New Yorker, August 31, 1946. “At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time . . .” So began John Hersey’s piece about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The editors of The New Yorker dedicated an entire issue to his report, explaining that they felt that few had “comprehended the all but incredible destructive power of this weapon, and that everyone might well take time to consider the terrible implications of its use.” The article (which later became a book) was a shocking, informative, emotional—and eye-opening—account of the consequences of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which is estimated to have killed more than 140,000 people and maimed many others. The story followed six survivors, re-creating, in dispassionate words, the horrors that each of them experienced that day. That issue of The New Yorker sold out within hours and became required reading in high schools throughout the United States.
“Extraordinary Exile,” by Rebecca West, The New Yorker, September 7, 1946. The distinguished English writer Rebecca West took magazine readers to the scene of the war criminals’ trials held in Nuremberg, Germany. It was a historic moment that readers could otherwise not have experienced. And West’s prose continues to resonate: “A machine was running down, a great machine, the greatest machine that has ever been created: the war machine, by which mankind, in spite of its infirmity of purpose and its frequent desire for death, has defended its life.”
“Silent Spring,” by Rachel Carson, The New Yorker, June 16, 1962. Rachel Carson demonstrated how effective one voice can be when amplified by the medium of the magazine. She set out to raise awareness of the poisons—and the misinformation—that the chemical industry was spreading. Ultimately, her article led to the birth of a worldwide environmental movement, beginning with the ban of DDT in the United States and a global treaty restricting the use of twelve other pesticides, which Carson described as the “elixirs of death.” Al Gore characterized “Silent Spring” as “a cry in the wilderness . . . that changed the course of history.”
“Our Invisible Poor,” by Dwight Macdonald, The New Yorker, January 19, 1963. Dwight Macdonald’s review of Michael Harrington’s book The Other America: Poverty in the United States reignited awareness about poverty and caused a shift in public opinion. Most important, it is said to have motivated President John F. Kennedy to pour energy into what his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, would call a “war on poverty,” beginning with the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which aimed “to mobilize the human and financial resources of the Nation to combat poverty in the United States.” “The book and the review together forced a sea change in American attitudes toward the poor,” wrote Jon Meacham in a 1993 issue of The Washington Monthly.
“Races: The Long March,” Time, June 21, 1963. During the years of the civil rights movement, many magazines gave a voice to the voiceless and spread valuable information, thereby helping to bring about momentous social change. Time’s un-bylined article documented the process of the movement and detailed the bleak reality of racial inequality in America: “The condition of the Negro in the U.S. today results not only from present discrimination. That can be abolished. It results also from past discrimination, which can be eroded away only by the slow trickle of time. Past discrimination has left scars upon the Negroes.”
“Future Shock,” by Tom Morganthau, Newsweek, November 24, 1986. Twenty-six years ago, when HIV/AIDS was still an obscure disease, Newsweek saw the importance of public awareness, running a cover story that called AIDS “one of the most difficult challenges ever faced by modern medicine.” This article revealed that thousands had already died from AIDS. Articles like these led to the creation of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. More than eighty countries had reported more than 38,000 cases of AIDS to the World Health Organization by the end of 1986; and, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave his first speech about AIDS.
“Nickel-and-Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich, Harper’s Magazine, January 1999. Barbara Ehrenreich’s consciousness-raising piece was based on her travels around the country, working in low-paying jobs and interviewing Americans who were laboring for poverty-level wages. “I’ve had enough unchosen encounters with poverty and the world of low-wage work to know it’s not a place you want to visit for touristic purposes; it just smells too much like fear,” she wrote. Her story, later a book, transformed the way Americans perceived the working poor and, according to Mills and Cochrane, it “represents some of the most extensive and personal investigative work ever written.”
Even though this collection was intended to be comprehensive, it does not pretend to be definitive nor representative of the most influential magazine articles of the twentieth century. Therefore, The New York Review of Magazines invites you to question the selection and email your own personal favorites to email@example.com. Comments will be displayed on the NYRM website (www.nyrm.org) in the near future. We look forward to your contribution. nyrm.org
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College Humor Magazines After more than a century, they keep bouncing back. by Jenny Rogers
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A 1961 Yale Record parody, The Yew Norker, spoofs Eustace Tilley of The New Yorker. Cover courtesy of Robert Grossman.
Get the Last Laugh
ob Knoll, head writer of The Harvard Lampoon, sat in the magazine’s office on a Saturday afternoon in February. He had a writer’s meeting Monday night to prepare for; but, at the moment, a duct-taped mannequin with pins sticking out in every direction was distracting him. It reminded him of the cover of Hellraiser, he said—a 1987 horror movie. It’s an obscure pop culture reference, to be sure, and not the kind of thing you’d find in The Lampoon these days. The Lampoon became prominent in the Vietnam-era 1970s, a satirical oasis in a national college humor dry spell. Its immensely popular spinoff, The National Lampoon, peaked with a circulation of one million in the same decade. A few years later, college humor magazines across the country dusted off their typewriters and went back to the very serious business of being funny. By 1980, college humor had come back with a vengeance. Steeped in an aura of secret societies—its members joke that if Skull and Bones met in a dark room with candles, The Harvard Lampoon met in a dark room with candles and a slow saxophone; renowned pranks—lore holds that in the 1950s, after The Harvard Crimson stole the Lampoon’s symbol, the ibis, and offered it to the Soviets, the Lampoon (under John Updike) wrote to Sen. Joseph McCarthy that the event proved The Crimson’s Communist ties; and East Coast schoolboy prep—think Gatsby— college humor magazines were once bigger than their campuses. They produced big names like The Princeton Tiger’s F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Harvard Lampoon’s Robert Benchley (who later quipped, “Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people”) and The Yale Record’s Garry Trudeau (who created the prototype for “Doonesbury” while in college). That golden age of college humor is long gone, but the publications are still around—a little less secret and a little less renowned. They’re still important as the scratching posts of future comic writers and cartoonists and the home of campus humor on the printed page and, increasingly, online. The sixty-four-page Harvard Lampoon, with its vibrant, often bizarre covers (a 2010 cover of the issue “Splatterbrain” shows the Gingerbread Man popping out of a man’s cranium) and short quirky stories (for example, the fake diary of explorer Francisco Pizarro), is defining itself against its own legacy. The young Texas Travesty, with neither the burdens nor the benefits of a long history, fills its twelve tabloid-like pages with mock photos and fake news. And the thirty-six-page Yale Record, the oldest college humor magazine in the country, pairs vivid covers with simple black-and-white pages inked with one-liners, drawings and light parody features (the origin of each of the seven deadly sins, for instance, or the “untold” Aesop’s fables). Laughter, the old trope goes, is the best medicine. Psychologically, it’s a coping mechanism. It’s a way of dealing with stress or making a shrewd point. Freud
argued that humor is a way of “deriving pleasure from intellectual activity.” “Like wit and the comic, humour has in it a liberating element,” Freud wrote in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1928, during one of the great college humor eras. “Obviously, what is fine about it is the triumph of narcissism, the ego’s victorious assertion of its own invulnerability. It refuses to be hurt by the arrows of reality or to be compelled to suffer.” But really, Sigmund, humor is simply fun, when it’s done well. That, perhaps, is why it has lasted on college campuses—that last moment before real adulthood sets in, when consequences seem far off and everyone’s looking for a good laugh. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Jester was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover vice. —The Harvard Lampoon
o begins a recent Harvard Lampoon “editorial,” a drawing of “Jester”— the Lampoon’s mascot—lounging, with a pint and a lute, at the top of the page. Jester goes on to encounter a carnival (“… what really squeezed his lemon was the feeling he got when he harnessed the power of the mallet”). He eventually takes a job guessing people’s weights (“and could usually get a bigger tip by noticing their haircuts as well”). The Lampoon today is far from the cute jokes and campus crackups of its 1870s beginnings. Back then, comedy consisted of conversational cutups like “ ‘Have you taken a bath?’ ‘No, is one missing?’ ” and “Barber— ‘Have a hair cut, sir?’ Gentleman—‘Thank you, thought of having several of them cut.’ ” Now the magazine, with colorful, occasionally semisurrealistic illustrations on the cover, goes for what head writer Rob Knoll calls a more “experimental” brand of comedy. The rules are simple: No Harvard-specific humor. No pop culture references from the last five years. And no typical comedy tropes. If you don’t understand the joke, then The Lampoon thinks it might be doing something right. What Knoll and Harvard Lampoon President Owen Bates call “idiosyncratic humor,” others have called “trippy” or “elitist.” No matter, though. The Lampoon is famously disliked; it’s part of its shtick at this point. But how to keep The Lampoon fresh and funny has been a recurring theme since a previous staff of funny—and ultimately successful—people graduated in the early 2000s. These vaunted expectations have crashed headon with the Internet world. “The Lampoon has had an identity crisis in the digital age,” Knoll said. “We’re lucky in that we’re so ill-prepared to be timely nyrm.org
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at all and none of us really understands how pop culture works. All we can do is make stuff up that can’t be timely.” It’s a question college humor publications are facing across the country: to go online or not to go online. When does a magazine with medieval-inspired drawings become an anachronism? Maybe that’s part of its appeal. As Knoll and Bates graduate and move on to other comedy writing gigs (“I wouldn’t trust myself to be a doctor, so probably yes,” said Bates about a comedy career), The Lampoon goes on. There are “some big Web things” in the works, they hint, and coming from people holed up in a deteriorating castle that is home to explosive parties and overactive fire alarms, dreams cooked up at the 136-year-old magazine seem epic. The next generation of writers, and of
the magazine itself, is approaching, but not without a hint of trepidation. “When Jester was dead, would the next generation be able to keep pulling all the right levers and putting the right amount of syrup in the snow cones?” that recent editorial asked. “After thinking about it all of February and most of March, he decided that they would. All that was left for Jester to do was to fall in love a few times and then it was time to go.” Philosophy major discovers meaning of life/ Disappointed to discover he missed his chance by majoring in philosophy. —The Yale Record
he question of identity that The Lampoon has faced in recent years is nothing new. Comedy comes in waves, and college humor isn’t immune to them. Many of the old guard of college humor magazines (The Lampoon, The Yale Record, The Princeton Tiger, The Stanford Chaparral, etc.) come out of the late 1800s or the turn of the twentieth century, inspired by the British humor magazine Punch, and later, the original Life (which was a humor magazine before Henry Luce bought the title to use for his photo magazine). The Roaring Twenties let college humor push a few boundaries with mild references to sex and alcohol; but, for the most part, the realities of the outside world didn’t find their way onto the funny pages. Parody and absurdity ruled. By the 1950s, two decades of economic depression and war had snapped something in college humor. In 1952, The Princeton Tiger declared, “Funny mags are passé” and re-launched itself as a “serious publication.” When the then-successful Yale Record responded, a war of words played out nationally in The New York Times. “If the staff of The Record want to be the worst 44 | t h e
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magazine in the country, they don’t have to try any more—they are,” wrote John McPhee, then managing editor of The Tiger, in May 1952. Yale fired back in an adjacent Times op-ed: “As Princeton goes, so goes Vermont (if it wants to).” Ten years later The Tiger would eventually reinstate funny editors, but student protests against Vietnam rocked campuses across the country, and those parlor-humor jokes (“Professor: ‘Well, are we all here?’ Student: ‘No, you’re not all here.’ ”) rang false or, at least, irrelevant. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that college humor would fully return, bringing the outside world onto the pages. Satire and, God forbid, politics, rubbed margins (The Emory Phoenix wrote, “Our Middle East Policy: We are loyal/To the ones with oyal.”). The magazines’ comedy echoed the “nothing sacred” aspects of The National Lampoon and, on television, the then-young Saturday Night Live. “A lot of this is a backlash against the enormous seriousness of the 1960s, all the good vibes and piousness,” P.J. O’Rourke, then editor of The National Lampoon, told Newsweek in 1978. “It’s a fair guess every one of the Lampoon editors was a member of the counterculture back then, but look what happened: After all the folk songs and candlelit marches, it didn’t change a thing. You could argue that the world’s a worse place now.” Flash forward to today. The National Lampoon is gone, its brand name still funneling royalties to The Harvard Lampoon. Saturday Night Live has waxed and waned in popularity repeatedly. The Onion, a late-1980s college humor publication that began at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has gone national, spreading fake, funny news in print, on websites and through Twitter. On national TV, political satire and mockumentaries are all the rage. Comedy is everywhere—just not as much on the magazine page. At colleges across the country, many of the old magazines still exist in restored or revamped forms, increasingly online as often as on the printed page. They have a continual turnover of new writers and new readers and, potentially, an important psychological role to play. Reports from UCLA on the mindset of university students say college kids are more anxious and high-strung than ever before. Perhaps that old trope that comedy is the best medicine might actually be true. “College is a very stressful time and people take themselves very seriously on campuses,” said Joey Green, the 1978 founder of The Cornell Lunatic and a former contributor to National Lampoon. “It’s a way of making fun of all this useless knowledge in your head.” “Because of a lot of things happening like shootings on campuses,” Green told The Cornell Chronicle at The Lunatic’s thirtieth-anniversary bash in 2008, “a lot more humor is needed.”
Student unsure whether to bring Colt 44 or Beretta M9 to sociology class today.—The Texas Travesty his appeared in the University of Texas at Austin’s humor magazine after Texas lawmakers in the state capitol pushed to allow concealed weapons on campus. Six months earlier, a nineteen-year-old student wearing a black ski mask and waving an AK-47 had run down busy Twenty-First Street on the Austin campus, blocks from the capitol building. He had fired several shots—hitting no one—and then had run into the library, where he killed himself near the children’s section. The story made national news. The Texas Travesty, months later, quoted a mock student. “ ‘Ever since they started allowing guns on campus, getting ready for class has been so much more difficult,’ Abrell said, checking the mirror to see if her Colt 44’s ridged chambers matched her mauve shirt. ‘I just don’t know if I’m going to need the Colt’s reliable firepower or the Beretta’s low recoil to defend myself today.’ ” It’s fake news plus biting satire and a touch of cynicism—the kind of comedy The Travesty has been known for since its inception in 1997, the kind of comedy increasingly common among college humor publications growing up with The Onion to emulate. With a touch of both local and national topic trends (“Nation Rejects SOPA, Opts for ENSALADA”), the “newsmagazine” falls somewhere between The Onion and Mad, said its current editor, David McQuary. The Travesty is a cautionary tale among humor magazines. At its peak a few years ago, it claimed to have a circulation of 35,000 and to reach 90,000 viewers through its website. Reader polls conducted by the local paper, The
Austin Chronicle, named it the best local publication for five years between 2004 and 2010. At the height of its popularity, headlines like “The family that smokes together jokes together” ran across colorful, photo-filled two-page spreads. It was known as the largest college humor magazine in the country. But, with a current circulation of 7,000 and about 1,000 online views per issue, that old claim to fame is now tongue-in-cheek. “It’s very hard because at times it’s like, ‘Are we even liked enough to keep doing this?’ ” McQuary said. “But you just keep going.” The Travesty has suffered from problems all college magazines face. It’s a victim of constant staff turnover and talent loss. It’s dealt with changes in the university administration. And it’s lost ad revenue, in part because The Onion, a bigger name with a similar shtick, came to town. The Travesty, once the only game in a college town, now lacks name recognition. Its goal: to keep going and, it hopes, build up enough talent to grow a little. History is on The Travesty’s side. Most college humor magazines have folded and revived before. While a commercial magazine requires a certain level of success to continue, college publications are often supplemented financially at various levels by college administrations. (McQuary credits the Texas Student Media Board at the University of Texas with helping to keep The Travesty afloat.) Take a look at the ups and downs of The Yellow Journal at the University of Virginia. Begun in 1912 with the slogans “All the News Unfit to Print” and “Definitively Inaccurate Since 1912,” it shut down in the 1930s under university pressure and folded again after a shortlived reboot in the 1990s. Now “UVA’s little Onion,” as one of its recent refounders, Steven Balick, calls it, is hoping it’s here to stay. The Yellow Journal takes the fake news model of The Travesty to another level: a broadsheet newspaper format. A recent article, “Homeless Guy Enters 3057th day of Occupy the Corner,” mocked student support of Occupy Wall Street. “It is unclear when this protest will cease, but for now experts say there is much the Occupy protesters can learn from Peterson [the homeless
man],” it said. “His protest is said to at least have specific goals and has unarguably been a success at redistributing whatever is in the pockets of UVA students.” But with a circulation of 3,000 and only two issues a year, The Yellow Journal remains a fragment of its 1930s scandalous self.
The golden age of college humor is long gone, but the publications are still around— a little less secret and a little less renowned.
Dear Joe Biden, This is ridiculous. How long can this recession go on? Have you tried Rogaine? -Your barber —The Yale Record
n February, three generations of Yale Record alums gathered in New Haven for the exhibit “140 Years of Yale Cartoons,” which featured cartoons dating back to 1872. Past and present met as Record alumni told stories about their successes and met with current staffers. “After seeing this exhibit, I wonder if it’s possible that you could dip into any time and find great stuff that people were doing that is now forgotten,” said Robert Grossman (1961), former Record editor and cartoonist. He was at The Record after its glory days but before the counterculture comedy sense developed—a time when people like Harvey Kurtzman, the founding editor of Mad, came to talk to the staff with Gloria Steinem on his arm. Grossman would go on to great success with his drawings for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and The National Lampoon, among others. The Record, which collapsed in 1973 at the age of 101, is not only bringing back the old barber joke and revisiting its long legacy of cartoons; to hear the staff talk, Yale is bringing “classic” college humor back—but with a modern take. By “classic” they mean the old college humor magazine format. (The Record’s simple and stylized covers feel reminiscent of The New Yorker, which it influenced back in that Gatsby-era golden age. Its updated website, meanwhile, is something entirely twenty-first century.) The magazine is a collection of one-liners and headlines (“Scandal: H&M Run by Ghosts of Hitler and Mussolini”) along with fairly uncontroversial features and want ads (“You: A successful woman who knows what she wants. Me: A successful guy who knows what he wants and happens to be a velociraptor.”). The magazine answers those burning questions we all have. (What if Estonia took a Cosmo quiz? Its fill-in-the-blank answers might be “I’m dying to work with … high speed Internet” or “The worst date I ever went on was … Soviet occupation.” How is Paris Hilton coping with the recession? She’s changing her name to “Tulsa Best Western.”) Cartoons fill space The Travesty would use for photos. It’s literally a modern version of the magazine’s 1913 format, said David Kemper, the magazine’s chair. “I think that was one of the reasons for reformatting,” he said, “to show that we are one continual magazine.” The other reason? Profit. The identity change happened about a decade ago, when Michael Gerber, Record alum and magazine consultant, bought ad space and offered suggestions. He’s now the head of The Yale Record Company. With a higher quality magazine tapping into its own legacy, The Record makes an annual profit margin of ten-to-twenty percent each year. “Humor can sell,” Gerber insists. “It really can sell.” Mel Brooks famously said it better: “Funny is money.” Now 140 years old, The Record is the oldest college humor magazine in the country, but it’s not so far off from its 1950s rivalry with The Princeton Tiger. Turns out, “funny mags” aren’t passé after all. They’re just evolving, sometimes by returning to the beginning (but with websites and multimedia, of course). “Someone once told me that, looking back, humor is very much like fashion,” The Cornell Lunatic’s Joey Green said. “It changes with the times.” As humor changes, its magazines follow—adapting, redesigning, dying, reviving. Humor magazines may die, but the beauty of college humor publications is that they are so often reborn. Or, as The Yale Record put it: “Journalism is dead, and by journalism I mean your dog.” nyrm.org
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Keeping Us Honest: Looking back and ahead with three editors of CJR. By Chikaodili Okaneme Newspapers are in turmoil. Magazines, whose advertisers are deserting them for the Web, are in trouble. Television networks, along with the rest of the press, are shutting down overseas bureaus. Digital media, which don’t fact check or copy edit enough, seem to lack traditional standards. And old business models aren’t working anymore. In other words, media, across the board, are facing traumatic times. The Columbia Journalism Review, America’s—and perhaps the Englishspeaking world’s—oldest media monitor, is now fifty years old. Given its mission “to encourage and stimulate excellence in journalism in the service of a free society,” its moment may have arrived. In November 2011, CJR celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and published a 163-page commemorative issue. With twenty-six advertisements from noteworthy institutions—including The New York Times, NBC and Google—CJR grossed a record-breaking $240,000. And, late last year, the magazine hired a new editor-in-chief. With a new editorial leader, some new cash and renewed energy, CJR may be perfectly poised to “encourage and stimulate” new thinking in a journalism industry that is wrestling with the ethical, editorial and financial problems posed by the turbulent digital age. The Columbia Journalism Review, first launched in 1961, describes itself
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as “both a watchdog and a friend of the press in all its forms, from newspapers to magazines to radio, television, and the Web.” Five decades ago, it was a plain booklet containing some articles, accompanied by a few cartoons and black-and-white images. It has since evolved into a full-fledged print magazine and website. One way to examine the story of that evolution is through the eyes, experiences and insights of three of the Review’s most significant editors: its founding editor, James Boylan; its longest-serving staff member, Mike Hoyt; and the new editor-in-chief, Cyndi Stivers. Beginning at the end—today—we walk through the wooden doors leading to CJR’s offices within the 100-year-old building that houses Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. We go past its units of gray cubicles and enter Stivers’ office. With stacks of papers covering her desk, CJR’s new editor-in-chief manages her heavy workload by juggling tasks and working long hours. Before assuming her new duties, she was the founding editor of Time Out New York, a past president of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a member of Barnard’s board of trustees. Stivers became a CJR reader back in the 1970s, when she was an undergraduate studying English at Barnard College. “That’s not fifty years of reading it, but it’s been a pretty long time,” she says. After graduating, she worked at a variety of media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, VH1 and
P h o t o g r a p h by m a r i e - S o p h i e Sc h wa r z e r
Cyndi Stivers, the new editor-in-chief of CJR, has been reading the magazine since the 1970s.
Martha Stewart’s satellite-radio program, in both editorial and business-related positions. “I feel I have a good perspective on the industry. I mean, I’ve pretty much worked in all media at one time or another,” she says. Stivers enjoys writing, as well as editing. “I feel like I’ve written every day, all of my adult life, regardless of whether I was publishing it or not,” she says. “I realized that, while I love writing, editing could be just as creative if you pair a great subject and a great writer to elicit the best story possible.” She likes helping writers improve the quality of their work, but she tries not to interfere too much with a piece. “You should not hear my editing footprints tiptoe through the piece at all. I want the writers to sound like themselves, not like we manhandled them.” Writers, as people, fascinate her. “I’m always interested in meeting people and finding out what makes them tick,” she says. “I can’t help myself. I feel so fortunate that we get to be nosy for a living. We get to keep learning for a living. We get to try on all these other careers and lives of the people we talk to for work, and get paid for it. Well, it seems like a real privilege to me.” As the new editor-in-chief, Stivers’ initial efforts have been focused on the magazine’s Internet presence and its digital coverage. She wants to enhance the website by redesigning it and by adding material that enriches what’s already in print—like more podcasts and videos. She intends to add new blogs and to provide new content daily, or whenever news breaks. “If there’s some-
thing people are talking about in the world of journalism, CJR will weigh in,” Stivers says, “and invite its readers to do the same.” Although the Web is a high priority, Stivers is not downgrading the importance of the print magazine. “We still have a passionate, devoted printonly audience, and we will serve them as long as it’s economically feasible,” she says. When it was first published, the magazine was viewed as an experiment. The pilot issue of the Columbia Journalism Review listed several goals that its editors hoped to achieve. It wanted to criticize irresponsible journalism, praise sound journalism and serve as “a meeting ground for thoughtful discussion of journalism.” The magazine was departmentalized, with a section for each of the major forms of media at the time—newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and books. Its topics ranged from how effectively the press had covered the 1960 presidential campaign to what the largest newspapers had written about a certain day of the year. During its fifty years, CJR has been led by a procession of editors. During Alfred Balk’s term (1969-1973), CJR became more reporting-driven. Kenneth Pierce (1973-1976) sought to emulate magazines like The Atlantic Monthly, increasing the depth of its articles. Marshall Loeb (1976-1979) moved the magazine in a direction that reflected his roots at Fortune and Money. Spencer Klaw (1980-1989) sharpened the focus on societal issues. Suzanne Braun
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“I have a lot of faith that CJR is going to go on for a long time.” —Mike Hoyt Levine (1989-1997), who had been the first editor of Ms. magazine, was CJR’s first female editor. Roger Rosenblatt (1994-1997) had been editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report and a commentator for PBS. It was James Boylan, however, who was responsible for bringing CJR to life. After graduating from the Columbia Journalism School in 1951, and gaining some editing experience with an affiliate of The New York Herald Tribune, Boylan returned to Columbia to pursue a doctorate in history and to work as an assistant to Edward Barrett, the new dean of the journalism school. Conversations between Boylan and Barrett sparked the idea of creating a magazine dedicated to analyzing and evaluating the media. As Boylan wrote in the article he contributed to CJR’s anniversary edition, “The proposal might well have died on the desk of a more cautious dean, but Ed Barrett was adventurous, and saw a glimmer of a way to perform a service for American journalism (whether American journalism liked it or not) and at the same time to add a new dimension to the school of journalism.” From the beginning, Boylan says, CJR has been written with an eye toward informing the general public, not just journalists. “We wanted the character of the magazine not to be like an ordinary scholarly journal with a lot of footnotes and all of that stuff. We wanted it to be accessible to the general reader, both within the journalism profession and outside it.” Although Boylan served two terms as CJR’s head editor (1961-1970 and 1976-1979), he says his early days at the publication were the most meaningful. Although he was able to start CJR with the dean’s approval, doing so was not easy. In his first office—a compact space that was once a darkroom for developing photos—Boylan stewed over how to get CJR off the ground. Without any similar publications to use as a point of reference, he experimented with CJR until he was able to turn it into a respectable magazine. “We made errors, more than I like to think of, but it was a great opportunity,” he says. Launching CJR in the 1960s, a time of major social and political change, brought its own set of challenges in terms of what the magazine should cover. “There were more issues than we could deal with in the Sixties, as you could’ve imagined,” Boylan says, but CJR’s approach to current events set it apart from the rest of the media. “What made the Review go is that we avoided the kinds of things that make some magazines boring,” he says. Boylan aimed to make every article as meaningful as possible. “I was able to pick out the major themes of the 1960s—civil rights, the Vietnam War—and relate journalism to those themes. I somehow worked them into the Review.” Since his editing years, he has continued to stay involved with CJR and still writes a column of brief book reviews. After seeing how the magazine has grown, he believes it will continue to do well. “Overall I’m pleased,” he says. “It’s always been recognizable as CJR. That is, no one has ever come along and made it into something else.”
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For about twenty-five years, Mike Hoyt, the longest-serving CJR staff member, has helped the magazine continue what Boylan started. Hoyt, who had previously worked for newspapers and magazines, came to CJR as a junior editor in time for the magazine’s twenty-fifth-anniversary issue. By the time the fiftieth-anniversary magazine was published, he was wrapping up his tenth year as its executive editor. “I’ve never grown tired,” he says, reflecting on his years as an editor. “Journalism touches on every aspect of life, so it’s not boring.” Unlike Boylan, who considers himself a much stronger editor than writer, Hoyt enjoys editing and writing equally. “It’s very satisfying to turn a piece around into something stronger,” he says. Although Hoyt is in the process of transitioning out of his editing position, he plans to continue writing for CJR and honing his skills. “There’s landing stories and there’s launching stories,” he says. “I think I’m a very good lander and I think I’m a good launcher. Finding is the part that I’m now looking forward to spending more time on.” He welcomes the extra free time he will have to do more pleasure reading, since it will allow him to play a bigger role in conversations about journalism and provide more ideas on issues that could be of interest to CJR. With its new editor-in-chief in place, CJR must contend with the principal issue that confronts all nonprofit entities— and that all magazines are facing during this recessionary period—having enough money to keep running. Acting publisher Dennis Giza is “cautiously optimistic about CJR’s financial status in the years ahead.” The magazine is financed mostly through endowments, philanthropic support and circulationand-advertising revenue. Giza says that although it has been “a challenge each year to ensure that we earn or raise enough revenues to reach break-even,” the publication has been able to accomplish this for the past several years and should be able to do so in the future. “Recent efforts,” he says, “include foreign-language editions, increasing advertising both in print and online, seeking sponsorships for CJR panels and events, and always looking for strategic partners who could both enhance our mission and provide help to our bottom line.” CJR has also signed a deal with Columbia University Press to publish a line of books. About the first of these, Publisher’s Weekly wrote that The Best Business Writing 2012 was “a riveting cross-section of hard-hitting investigative journalism.” These plans, along with new editorial leadership, aim to make CJR the most self-sufficient it has ever been. As Hoyt passes the torch to Stivers, he is confident that the publication will be in good hands. “I have a lot of faith that CJR is going to go on for a long time,” he says. “The reason, I think, is because democratic conversation is so important, and the way that it gets lifted and made a better conversation is through good journalism. I think there’ll be enough readers that recognize our important mission and support it.”
Will it go over Down Under? By Kate Racovolis
In Melbourne, Australia, where I was born and raised, I would take afternoon walks down my street, lined with elm trees, to the corner store, as a break from my work and studies. Along with a bar of chocolate, a Diet Coke and some chewing gum, I would pick up a couple of magazines to work my way through over the course of a few weeks. I scanned the packed shelves of the “Women’s Interest” section. Cosmopolitan caught my eye, telling me “What Men Want,” and then I would wade through the slew of celebrity weeklies (Britney Spears was making a comeback, or Jennifer Aniston was single again), past the cooking, to the monthly glossy fashion magazines. I was looking for some respite from my everyday routine; an opportunity to consume fashion through colorful and glamorous text and photo shoots. I was also searching for a good read, perhaps a forecast for next season’s trends, reported and written thoroughly enough so that I wouldn’t just be hearing about the color pink or an interesting silhouette. I would hold my comfort food in one hand as I reached for Vogue, with Australian model Alice Burdeu decadently dressed in couture on the cover and, inside, a photo spread with a Christian Dior tulle dress, nipped in at the waist with a fitted bodice, that could take me as far away from my routine as possible, short of going to France, where the couturier is housed. Next would be Harper’s Bazaar (also with an Australian model on the cover), in which I might be able to find one or two items of clothing that would be within my limited means. Then Marie Claire, for the articles, which have always had a strong focus on local news relating to women. InStyle, full of red-carpet images and fashion products, made for a quick, effortless read. One day, as I
continued to search the store for something that could satisfy me further, I spied a few outdated copies of Elle’s foreign editions, American and the U.K., in the corner. Then I came upon the Australian Elle, and I was immediately drawn in. From that point on, I made sure to check it out each month. The Australian edition—one of forty-four versions of Elle circulated in sixty countries—balanced easily digested fashion stories with robust editorial content. The magazine covered a wide range of topics, from a profile of Naomi Klein, “The World’s Most Influential Person Under 30,” on the politics of globalization, to a report on the growing incidence of fatal strokes among young people. These detailed articles were offset by fashion photo shoots, like one that showed casual work-wear in summer-appropriate pastel hues of lilac, blue and pink, and a story on how to work out in order to ready yourself for the miniskirt season. The magazine came across as a lively publication that was aimed at young-to-middle-aged women who care about the way they look, but also about other issues just as much. Elle highlighted key styles and issues, analyzing them in a way that related them to their readers. Then in early 2002, disaster struck. Elle’s Australian edition was dead. Its publisher, Pacific Magazines, had pulled the plug, and Australia and I were left without an Elle of our own. Until . . . One day in November of last year, the managing director of ACP Magazines, Phil Scott, announced that the publishing house would be re-launching Elle, in a joint venture with Hearst. You can imagine my excitement. After nine long years, my Elle was coming back. Scott said: “Elle is a magazine nyrm.org
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brand that is right for our times—for readers and advertisers. It uniquely covers women’s fashion, beauty, health, lifestyle and entertainment from an inspirational and achievable perspective. Its mixed and balanced content is accessible from both a global and local perspective.” This seemed like an ambitious statement to make in November 2011, with the magazine industry facing hard times. What was Scott’s plan? How did he intend to keep Elle afloat this time? Well, we’ll never know, because Scott stepped down from his role at ACP before he could explain anything. In a vague statement one month after he announced the re-launch, he said, “Now is the right time for me, personally and professionally, to bring to a close my ten years of full-time involvement in the business and a career in journalism spanning nearly thirty-six years in total.” And since that time, no one else has explained why Elle is now “perfect” and how the magazine’s launch will be executed—or even when. My inquiries to the publishers for more information were answered by voicemail recordings and an eerie silence in the lead-up to the launch, which is now purportedly taking place in 2013. In light of the hush and the guessing game that Elle’s new publishers have us playing, and because for selfish reasons—I miss it—I want to see Elle return to Australia, I herewith offer, free of charge, my six-point plan for what the new-and-improved Elle should do. 1. Capture the Australian angle of covering fashion, lifestyle and culture. The Australian angle differs from that in other countries, and it is something that Elle executed particularly well the first time around. While paying due homage to international influence—trends that emerge from Paris, New York and Milan, and names like Calvin Klein, Manolo Blahnik and Yves Saint Laurent—the magazine stayed true to its local roots by frequently putting Australian celebrities like Kylie Minogue and model Sarah Murdoch on its cover, as well as the creations of Australian-based designers like Easton Pearson, Scanlan and Theodore and Elle MacPherson Intimates. Marina Go, Elle Australia’s former editor-in-chief, wrote her last “letter from the editor” a few months before it closed. She said that under her editorship, keeping the identity of the magazines as authentically Australian as possible was something she was passionate about and pushed for consistently with French publishing company Hachette Filipacchi. For Elle’s eighth-birthday issue, she placed Sarah Murdoch on the cover, wearing a dress made by an iconic Australian designer, Akira Isogawa. The inside features typically pulled international designers together to ensure that the global fashion industry was represented in each edition that Elle produced. The past decade has seen an unprecedented period of growth in Australian fashion. Australian born-and-bred designers—including Sass & Bide, Kit Willow Podgornik, Josh Goot and Toni Maticevski—have recently made their way to New York Fashion Week. The fashion industry in Australia is receiving increased coverage in international media. This trend has been fostered by an abundance of new design talent coming forward with collections that encapsulate Australian style, which combines international influences with diverse, highly personal approaches. That is why Australian fashion can be so interesting: It is not all stilettos and skinny jeans. Australian women are not afraid to be different, and yet they rarely seem to look outrageous. The way I see it, Australian fashion is a hybrid of American and European fashion. 2. Borrow the best ideas from other international editions of Elle, but balance them with Australian authenticity. One idea for Elle Australia is to draw inspiration from some of the international features, like the “My Life in Books” section in the U.K. Elle that recruits famous designers, singers, actors and the like to select their favorite books to share with Elle readers. This one-page story is, to me, an exemplary feature that combines style and fashion with intelligent literary content. It speaks to “the Elle woman” as an educated person who would like some depth in her magazines. 3. Keep its core Elle identity. Roberta Myers, the editor-in-chief of the American edition of Elle for a little more than a decade, said: “We are modern fashion. ‘Fashion,’ the word, actually means ‘current.’ We take that word, and make it our core promise to the reader, but we are all about personal style, and we don’t dictate it.” Some fashion magazines take a more authoritative approach, leaving their readers feeling that they are not “in.” We Australians are not a group of women who 50 | t h e
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particularly like to be told how we should look. We like to have access to a source of inspiration and creativity on which to consider in our personal style, but we also value the power to choose what we love and not to be considered unfashionable because we don’t follow the trends that some fashion magazines try to impose as Scripture. Australia is, after all, a country born out of people who came from a wide range of cultures around the world, the foreign influences of which make up a rich and diverse society. As a result, our interest in fashion is inherently international, and the ability to choose is a trait that has value. Myers said of the editorial side of American Elle, which was also true of the old Australian Elle: “We don’t have a house style, and we don’t put everything through a grinder. We appreciate that women with interesting and strong experiences write about what is going on in their lives, but only if that illustrates a larger issue.” (A similar message is delivered through the writing that appears in the U.K. Elle.) I also hope that Australia will keep its new publication modest, not arrogant, in the way it covers fashion and lifestyles. 4. Covers are king. The covers of the international Elle magazines are a critical element in differentiating editions and allowing them to take on individual identities while taking care to maintain the Elle brand. For example, the models on the cover of Elle in Asia tend to be dressed more conservatively, with less skin showing, with necklines that don’t plunge too low, in line with regional norms. The U.K. edition, on the other hand, has used many of the same cover stars as the American one, because the two cultures have similar standards. And Italy has had the tendency to strike out on its own with covers, preferring European models and celebrities. The Australian Elle’s cover should draw attention to the fashion more than the celebrity. For its debut issue, I can see it using a less well-known model, but it could be one of Australia’s current “It” girls, like Stef Bambi, although Miranda Kerr would probably be a more obvious choice since her style is frequently celebrated in fashion magazines and on websites all over the world. Dressing Bambi in one of Chloe’s Spring/Summer 2012 pleated dresses, with a variation of stripes between mint and cream, long and flowing, with two thin straps against a white background and black text, would draw a sound balance between international and Australian fashion interpretations. 5. Keep the fashion balanced. Ensure that the coverage of new trends in fashion are inclusive of a range of styles and prices. Many women’s magazines cover ultra-high-end fashion, and others cover only less-expensive brands, but few combine the two. In order to be accessible to the widest possible audience, give them some more affordable options. Doing this will tell your readers how well you know them, as well as your fashions and how creative your fashion desk is. 6. Hire from the right places, and then support and promote your team. Many women’s fashion magazines are defined by their leaders. Editors have become celebrities in their own right. Elle’s success will depend on its leader—not to mention its editorial, art, fashion and beauty teams—and their passion for adding value to the coverage of fashion. Having a forwardthinking editor with extensive experience working in Australian women’s magazines is only one prerequisite. The editor of the Australian Elle should be a woman who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps fashion, and who will hire a like-minded team. I would like to see a staff that does not come from Vogue (see page 7), but perhaps from more niche fashion publications, which always seem to be more creative than the traditional monthlies. Russh is a perfect example of this—a high-end fashion publication that rarely puts out a cover with more than a few headlines (if any) and focuses on a strong photograph of a semi-famous model. Drawing inspiration from magazines that curate fashion in less conventional ways will differentiate Elle Australia from the vast range of women’s magazines that already exist on the continent. With a growing fashion scene in Australia, both in the media and in terms of fashion design, there is indeed an opportunity for a fashion magazine like Elle to re-emerge successfully. At least it has the support of its publishers (on paper) this time around. Like its previous incarnation, it should keep a local angle, with Australian-based designers and muses, and combine it with international fashion. But it should also dare to be creative and break the rules. Australian women like me are ready for a publication like Elle to make a comeback—bigger and better than before.
i l l u s t r a t i o n by h i l a r y s c h e n k e r
The Australian angle differs from that in other countries, and it is something that Elle executed particularly well the first time around.
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A Nati onal M agazin for Bl e ack M en By Shonitria Anthony
I feel overwhelmed whenever I glance at the sea of covers on display at my local newsstand. There is no denying that there are countless magazine titles out there, with choices for almost every type of person, personality, hobby or genre. There are more than 20,000 different magazines published in North America, according to the National Directory of Magazines. Yet somehow, despite this staggering number, I see a void in the magazine market: There is no national print publication for the successful, fashion-forward black male. There are magazines for African-Americans. Ebony and Jet are for readers of both genders, but it is safe to say that their primary target audience is African-American women. And, yes, there are magazines for African-American men. King, Black Men Magazine and XXL are targeted to black males, but they are focused on cars, women, sports and music. Currently, the only men of color who can be seen on magazine covers are athletes, rappers, movie stars and maybe the occasional politician. African-American men are left without a journalistic vision of what success for them can look like outside of those arenas. Where is the magazine that focuses on social issues, politics, fashion and grooming for the man of color? Such a magazine is needed badly to bolster black males’ selfesteem by letting them know they don’t have to be the next Kobe Bryant to be successful and by showing them that they have not been overlooked by the media. The newsstands didn’t always ignore the African-American male. In 1985, Ebony Man was born. John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publishing Company, believed that there were successful black men like him—or who aspired to achieve his success—who needed a publication that catered to them. Johnson was aware that in the 52 | t h e
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I l l u s t r a t i o n by H i l a r y s c h e n k e r nyrm.org
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past there had been attempts at such a magazine, but none had lasted. Ebony Man was characterized as the “fashionable-living magazine for black men,” or a black GQ, said Johnson. The magazine contained articles on fashion, grooming, health, fitness, personal finance and shopping techniques. Among the features in the first issue was an article titled “A Guide to Investing in a Leather Couch” and even a nutrition column. The initial circulation was 200,000. More than 30,000 people snagged annual subscriptions before the magazine even hit the stands. After one year it had 230,000 subscribers, and when Alfred Fornay, the original editor-in-chief, left the publication about four years later, it boasted a circulation of almost 400,000. “Our formula was: Look at yourself, this is how we see you,” says Fornay today. “We see you as a black man who has a sense of fashion.” Describing Ebony Man’s content, he says: “We really wanted people to see the manliness of man, the gentleness of man. We even looked at the religious man.” After almost six years, Johnson Publishing made the decision to terminate Ebony Man. “We broke a lot of ground,” says Fornay, but this magazine, like so many others, failed because of a lack of advertising. I asked Fornay if he feels there is still a need for a magazine that caters to the African-American male. “Absolutely, absolutely,” he says. “Why not? We don’t see our face in GQ on a regular basis. We don’t see our face on Esquire. That’s the reason why there’s a need for a magazine for men of color.” Fornay points out that we live in a time when popular African-American athletes and musicians have clothing lines, fragrances and other products. Usher’s fragrance, LeBron James’ shoes and Sean John’s clothing line would be perfect advertisers and would be directly reaching their desired audience. Still, the question remains: Can this type of magazine get enough ads? For Tia Brown, senior editor of Jet, this is the bottom line. Brown says that advertisers need to be convinced that there’s an audience broad enough worth targeting. “We are very integrated, so it’s hard to have a niche publication for the gender,” says Brown. “It comes down to money.” So let’s talk money and numbers. What are the demographics? There are nearly thirty-nine million Americans who selfidentify as black, according to 2010 census data. The median income of a black household was barely $30,000 in 1985, when Ebony Man was launched. Since then, the median income has increased only slightly, to $32,068. That relatively small income bump makes it easy to assume that the “buppies”—the black middle and upper class—have not changed enough to support this kind of magazine. Now to the nuts and bolts. What about advertising dollars? Among the main advertising categories for a men’s magazine are shaving cream, razors, cars, clothing, fragrances and shoes. A definite plus is that there are tons of such products on the market that could benefit from running their ads in a magazine for black men. For example, it makes perfect sense to advertise a suit from Sean John in a magazine aimed at the black professional and fashion-inclined male. Still, according to Fornay, advertisers are very skeptical about the profitability of this market. Before you launch a magazine, you need four things: an editorial plan, an advertising plan, a circulation plan and a financial plan, according to David Sloan, president of Sloan and Associates Magazine Consultants. “Like a car, if any of those things are missing you ain’t going anywhere,” says Sloan. There has to be an editorial focus that makes the magazine unique, a business plan that lays out how the magazine will be distributed, an advertising plan that enumerates the categories of advertisers desired and, to stay afloat, a reliable source of income. “Advertisers are buying eyeballs,” says Sloan. “What are you
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giving me that other magazines don’t?” In order to compete, this new magazine has to have content that is different and valuable, or it has to reach an audience that advertisers haven’t been able to reach. There is a quarterly called Krave Magazine that describes itself as a “fashion, lifestyle and entertainment magazine for all men of color,” but it is a regional magazine, based in Dallas. It aspires to go national, but Krave, which was introduced in 2005, has the same problem any new magazine would face: Without enough advertisers, its publisher can’t afford to distribute the magazine nationally, which means they won’t achieve a high enough circulation to attract more advertisers. It’s a catch-22. “There are hundreds of thousands of magazines. You hardly ever see a black person on the cover,” says Kenny Hibbler, editorin-chief of Krave. Minorities spend money, but it is hard to convince advertisers of this, according to magazine industry insiders. “The capital is there, the desire is there,” Hibbler says of the African-American market. “It is very important for minorities to have multiple options.” Hibbler hopes to grow the magazine’s national presence. In the meantime, Krave’s largest hurdle is the hunt for advertising. “We really try to focus on companies that focus on men of color,” Hibbler says. “They can be minority-owned or minority-targeted.” The products for minorities are out there. The numbers of prospects for subscriptions and circulation are there, too. The missing piece of the puzzle is the advertising dollars. It is not a question of whether a magazine for African-American men would attract an audience, but whether it would be able to get advertisers so it can stay in business. The editorial content for this sort of magazine could range from love to business, from fashion to music. A sample table of contents for potential articles might include: “How to Dress for Success: What to Wear for the Interview,” “Turn a Hobby into a Small Business,” “Best Sports Bars in the U.S.,” “What Women Really Want, According to Supermodel Tyra Banks.” Such subjects would cater to the interests of the AfricanAmerican male audience and would enrich the literature out there for the well-groomed man of color. The existence of this editorial content in a national magazine would create nationwide public conversations about the things men talk about. As I see it, a magazine like this could not be anything less than a game changer because it would add even more diversity to the magazine content currently available. Furthermore, it would serve as positive representation of the black male by showing that he has interest in things outside of sports, cars and scantily clad women. I know I am not the first to wonder why there isn’t a substantive magazine for the African-American male. It is just simply ludicrous to me that in the twenty-first century there isn’t a magazine for this man. He cannot wear the same clothes as a white male because the fit is different. Black culture and what is considered fashionable are different from white culture. The clothes and accessories considered “on trend” in mainstream society are not always viewed as trendy by the black community. For the black male, what is beautiful and cool does not coincide with mainstream standards. His hair can be coarse, wavy, kinky or curly, and tight-fitting clothes are not always considered acceptable by his peers. As a result, his sense of style can be a hybrid between black and mainstream culture. He also grows weary of seeing rappers as the only successful black men on magazine covers. It is time African-American men grace the cover of their own magazine, with content that understands them. Actually, this magazine wouldn’t be just for men, because, as an AfricanAmerican woman, I’d buy it too.
When a bride-to-be is overwhelmed, she may need a magazine-ofhonor
By Danielle Ziri
n her Facebook profile picture, Pamela Lin is sitting at a restaurant for brunch, sipping a mimosa and flipping through the pages of an issue of a magazine called The Knot. Pamela is getting married in September and The Knot is a wedding magazine, which she has been looking through to find inspiration in planning her big day. The ceremony will take place in San Francisco and the most important thing she is looking for is a venue. Marcy Scott, who is getting married on Memorial Day weekend in Detroit, is a nontraditional bride. She’s not into flowers or church weddings. When choosing favors for her 200 guests, she doesn’t want to give them some predictable customized object with a picture on it. What to do? She found the answer in Brides magazine, which inspired her to create her own wedding favors from scratch.
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to shape up the bride to fit into different styles of dresses: the dropped-waistdress workout, the strapless-dress workout or the open-back-dress workout. On the surface, Brides, unlike The Knot, resembles Cosmopolitan, Glamour or other women’s magazines, with a model dressed as a bride on its cover each month. Founded in 1934, it is the oldest—and probably the bestknown—wedding magazine. Inside, one can learn “what to check out this month,” such as new fashion lines, beauty products and celebrities’ opinions. A recent issue provided ideas for a bride’s styling, from “53 gorgeous hair ideas for your big day” to a beauty section featuring Chanel lip-glosses and Dior lipsticks in the trendiest new colors, appropriate for wedding makeup. This season’s hot color for lips seems to be “mango orange.” The magazine of choice for Pamela Lin is The Knot. Pamela and her fiancé, Brady, are now in the process of planning their San Francisco wedding. “It’s been less enjoyable and more stressful for me, on top of, I guess, everything else come in. There is no magazine that’s going on in my life,” Pamela says. The main issue she Pamela Lin smiles, realizing that can suit every bride’s concept wanted to solve before everything else was the choice of venher boyfriend Brady is about to or vision for her big day, but there ue. Until she knew where her wedding would be, she felt that become her fiancé. are plenty of them to choose from. she couldn’t decide anything else—food, number of guests, There are about fifty wedding-reeven the bridal gown. All depended on it, which was why lated magazines on the U.S. market she was looking for ideas in The Knot. today, some of them national and As it turned out, the magazine did not solve her venue some local. Among them: Martha problem, even though every issue has a back section that is Stewart Weddings (for practical an eight-page reception-site finder—a list of possible wedadvice), Destination I Do magazine ding venues, with capacity, price range and phone numbers. (for couples considering a wedding Instead, Brady found the venue online. away from home), DIY Weddings Even if wedding magazines can’t resolve every issue, they Magazine (written and created by can, for brides-to-be like Pamela, provide a hidden benefit: brides for brides), Wedding Dresses therapy! “Every once in a while I freak out because I’m really Magazine (specifically for fashion stressed with work and school and planning the wedding aspects of the wedding), Bibi Magaand everything else in my life,” she says. “My fiancé will buy zine (for South Asian-American me a wedding magazine to calm me down. Surprisingly, it’s weddings) and Equally Wed (for happened twice in the process, and it worked.” She explains same-sex marriages). that flipping through wedding publications, unlike consulting wedding websites, makes her feel like she is doing reA recent study published by The Wedding Report website found search but not work. It feels more enjoyable to her and eases that fifty-seven percent of engaged the stress. couples use wedding magazines For Marcy Scott, Brides was the most helpful magato help plan their wedding and zine. Marcy wanted her wedding to be different from spend an average of thirty-four anything shown in The Knot’s real-weddings section. dollars on the magazines. The re“We don’t like the whole traditional feel of the church port also said that couples conand the thousands of flowers and the ‘Here comes the sult an average of five wedding bride’,” she explains. “We took all those elements and magazines per wedding. Ninetythrew them out the door.” Her big event, as she deseven percent of people who use the magazines consult them for tips scribes it, is to be “modern, minimalistic, with a touch of Victorian style.” and ideas for their wedding, sixty-seven percent use them to find prod- She was looking for unconventional ideas and struggling, in particuucts for their wedding and thirty-nine percent to find service providers. lar, with finding a creative idea for wedding favors. Brides led her to a deTwo of the best-known wedding publications are The Knot, which is the cision to make her own wedding favors. “I did a little bit of research, and largest publisher of regional wedding magazines, with a circulation of 1.2 because we are getting married in downtown Detroit and people are going million in eighteen cities; and the nationally distributed Brides, with a cir- to be staying in hotels there, I started making bath products,” she says. She culation of 307,454. Each has its own personality and offers its own menu has been producing her own delicately packaged bath bombs, soaps and fragrances for all of her guests, by playing chemist with a couple of differof special features. The Knot focuses on real weddings, with a fifty-six-page section featur- ent products. Marcy says that these kinds of ideas represent the true value ing the nuptials of real couples, detailing the specifics of each event, from of Brides: “They help you create and develop your own spin on things.” the table centerpieces to the bride’s dress. It gives information about each Aside from creative ideas, Marcy says that Brides has helped her find vencouple and their wedding style, and displays photos of the event. In the dors. “They don’t just give ad space to whoever wants to pay the most March 2012 issue, fourteen weddings were featured. One of them, for ex- money. They actually give reviews, and these are people that they recomample, was the marriage of Erin and Rahim, whose inspiration came from mend and other people recommend,” she says. In the March 2012 istheir desire for it “to feel like a page out of an Edith Wharton novel,” with sue, for example, an article is dedicated to “Five Super-Flattering Gowns,” an “Old New York” flavor. in which the writer reviews five dresses from five different brands The magazine, which comes out seasonally, resembles a catalogue, with a that can be ordered online and “look amazing on almost everyone.” thickness of half an inch, glossy paper and numerous ads for different com- The search for a dress is, of course, a central element in wedding planning. ponents of a wedding, including local shops and service providers. Readers Pamela says The Knot was very helpful in this respect: “I got an idea of what can find many pages of advice and recommendations from real brides, such I want and what I don’t want. I knew from looking at the pictures I definitely as: “I used A Special Occasion Limousine in Wappingers Falls, [N.Y.] They didn’t want a mermaid or a trumpet or any sort of, like, fitted dress with flare had amazing service—from the gloves to the red carpet and champagne at the bottom. I knew I wanted a big, puffy ball gown. So, from the magazine, toast, they were wonderful.” The Knot also has a color report in every issue, I determined that.” showing the latest trends in color schemes for wedding celebrations, plus Still, not all brides find wedding publications helpful. Lauren Koffler, information about marriage licenses, multiple-choice quizzes that establish whose wedding took place at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, didn’t feel what sort of wedding might be most suitable, and even advice for workouts the need to consult any magazines. “I planned it with my mother and I’ve Lauren Koffler got married a couple of months ago, in New York. She knew exactly what she wanted—a wedding with all the traditional trappings—and she found no available magazines that seemed useful to her. Organizing your wedding is one of these events in life that many little girls dream of from the time they are old enough to know what weddings are. But what they don’t dream of is the stress that can come with it. Getting married is a complicated business—which is where wedding magazines
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c o u rt e s y o f pa m e l a l i n
of engaged couples use wedding magazines to help plan their wedding.
ensure that this new chapter in one’s life starts in the best way possible. As with many other aspects of life, magazines can be a helpful resource at a crucial moment, but, as these three wedding stories attest, every bride has different ideas and different priorities, and there is no magazine that works for all of them. I have no way of knowing how Natalie Portman, one of the most prominent brides of the year, planned her marriage to dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied. In fact, the gossip magazines have not been able to learn anything about their secret ceremony beyond the fact that the couple sported wedding rings on Oscar night. But Natalie could have followed Marcy’s initiative and opened the March 2012 issue of Brides, in which she would have discovered that the magazine had solved all her problems. In that issue, on page seventy-two, the headline read: “If We Planned Natalie Portman’s Day . . .” under which she would have found pictures of a possible cake, a pair of $2,860 amethyst pendant earrings and even an idea for a signature cocktail.
Illu s t r at i o n by Da n i e ll e Z i r i a nd m a r i e - S o p h i e Sc h wa r z e r
been dreaming about my wedding for so long, I knew what I wanted.” In her view, magazines are “not what they used to be.” She recalls two magazines she liked, which no longer exist: Elegant Bride and Modern Bride, both Condé Nast publications that were shut down in October 2009 during a period of budget cuts. According to Lauren, those magazines featured high-end designers, such as Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, and displayed the kind of things she wanted for her wedding. She feels that today’s magazines cater to lower-budget weddings, and she was not happy with the options they gave her. “It’s hard to describe, but I was looking more at the designer end of things,” she says. According to The Knot’s 2010 data, the average wedding costs about $27,000. “And that’s what today’s magazines cater to—the average wedding,” says Koffler. “Not the higher-end New York wedding.” It has been said that a couple’s wedding day predicts the way their marriage is going to be, so prenuptial research seems like an important task to
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A Better Internet Brought to you by AOL
The staff of NYRM dives into fifteen magazines and emerges with a verdict on each one.
The Social Media Monthly Circulation: 30,000 Date of Birth: 2011 Frequency: Monthly Price: $6.99 Website: thesocialmediamonthly.com
By Jenny Rogers If having a magazine devoted to a subject makes it legitimate, then social media has officially moved from being that thing we all do to that thing we all talk about. But then, we already knew that, even before The Social Media Monthly, the self-described first print magazine about the mobile and online phenomenon, launched last year. Social Media claims to analyze and review the “social media evolution,” and it does just that with a clear-cut, no-frills concept that combines the “latest trends” stories you’d expect with features on the effects of social media on larger societal events or issues. Naturally, topics like Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring have made appearances. More surprisingly—and more interestingly—the Super Bowl has shown up, too, in an article about NFL players using social media. Launched by the D.C.-based Cool Blue Company, the magazine went international in August and is currently distributed in twenty countries. Though at the time it was not yet widely available, I found it in my local Barnes and Noble near Wired and down the magazine rack from Forbes. For a new magazine in an economically uncertain
publishing world, it seems to be doing fairly well. By its fifth issue, in January, Social Media had a circulation of 30,000 and had been named one of the fifteen “hottest” magazine launches of the previous year by Min Online, which reports on the publishing industry. Packed with square barcode-like QR codes (for accessing websites) and iPhone screenshots— virtually the only illustrations that are not part of advertisements—Social Media is not a magazine for the technologically faint of heart. With articles written mostly by social media strategists or marketers, Social Media is filled with just enough jargon, such as “content curation” and “social ecommerce,” to make a casual tweeter like me feel out of her depth. Still, Social Media manages to merge all that tech-speak with a sometimes-nuanced view of social media’s larger societal ramifications. In a fifth-issue feature titled “The Social Side of Speed,” business marketer and strategist Mike Brown relates the installation of Google Fiber, an experimental network infrastructure in Kansas City, to the larger socioeconomic issue of the digital divide. He takes it further, quoting St. Louis technology consultant David Sandel: “As data speeds get close to replicating the speed with which the human mind functions, we’ll see more human-like functions online.” Sounds a bit like the Jetsons, right? In fact, the magazine itself launched with a kind of 1950s-era Space-Age feel, with a cartoonish cover drawing of an astronaut floating in space among a slew of social media logos. The magazine implies that this zone of geolocation, connectivity and IP addresses is the next frontier, and that kind of grandiose celebration of the social media “phenomenon” and “evolution” fills its pages. Social Media is at its best when it moves beyond simply cataloguing the latest developments in the digital and mobile worlds and begins critiquing them—something it needs to do more often. In a funny article on the top social media stories of 2011, Tonia Ries, founder and CEO of Modern Media, spears social media “fails” of the year. If you missed Anthony Weiner, she quips, “You’ll see more of him than you ever wanted to see with some quick online searches.” The magazine’s design begins with a cover illustration each month, and inside it’s simple, readable and oddly reminiscent of Google+; but it is not visually interesting. That is one of the challenges of this kind of content. How do you illustrate a topic like crowdsourcing? Social Media’s answer seems to be limited to screenshots and colorful pull quotes and that doesn’t cut it. With a lot of words and few photos, the design is static and sometimes boring. Screenshots and colorful headlines aren’t enough to illustrate the abstract social and technological concepts discussed in the articles. With an article on the
importance of communicating with imagery leading the January issue, the magazine needs to take its own advice. That said, for a newborn publication it manages to be informative and engaging even for someone not looking to improve a business’ social media brand. The world of networks and apps and curation sites has never felt so wide, and the irony of a social media magazine publishing in print is enough to make you wonder whether Social Media is a vote of confidence for the printed word. (Don’t get too excited—it has an app, too.) The Jetsons, I’m sure, would be subscribers.
Otaku USA Circulation: 192,000 Date of Birth: 2007 Frequency: Bimonthly Price: $5.99 Website: otakuusamagazine.com
By Elizabeth Harball During the past half-century, a curious creature known as the otaku has evolved, migrating from the electric whirl of Tokyo’s Akihabara district to the corners of American comic book shops, forming a worldwide subculture, becoming the lifeblood of a multibillion-dollar industry and forever changing Japan’s international image. And, since 2007, it has had its own English-language magazine called Otaku USA, available in the United States and Canada. Before saying more about Otaku USA, we need to pause for an explanation of what an otaku is. The Japanese word “otaku,” translated as “geek” or “nerd,” refers to a person infatuated nyrm.org
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in review with manga, Japanese comics, and their animated counterpart, anime. Manga and anime are known for their distinctive visual style; characters often have massive, gleaming eyes, psychedelic hair colors and, if female, gravity-defying, triple-D breasts. These cartoons aren’t just for kids. Take a ride on the Tokyo subway (as I did often when I was living in Japan for a year) and you will see schoolboys and businessmen alike flipping through the pages of their favorite manga magazines. Several manga and anime genres are marketed exclusively to adults, due to their violent or sexual content. Some anime are Academy-Award-winning creative masterpieces, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 film Spirited Away. Others have received negative press: One particular episode of Pokémon caused seizures in more than 600 Japanese children. In Japan, manga are big business. In 2011, Japan’s manga sales totaled 271.71 billion yen— more than three-and-a-half billion dollars. The Japan External Trade Organization reports that twenty percent of the country’s total magazine sales comprises manga. Considering the popularity of manga and anime in Japan, it was inevitable that they would garner a following overseas. The North American manga fad has undergone a boom and bust not unlike the late 1980s Japanese economy. According to the pop culture trade information website ICv2, manga sales in the United States and Canada went from seventy-five million dollars in 2001 to $210 million in 2007. By 2010, however, sales dropped to $120 million. Still, many loyal American otaku remain. In 2011, a record 47,000 people attended Anime Expo, a manga and anime convention held annually in Los Angeles. Otaku USA, published bimonthly in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean, Va., caters to this audience, covering the latest trends in Japanese manga and anime. With a readership of 192,000, it contains articles, interviews and reviews about anime, manga, gaming and a fascinating phenomenon known as “cosplay,” in which adults assemble and wear costumes to resemble their favorite anime characters. (Don’t judge too quickly; some of these getups are impressive.) Curiously, otaku has a more negative connotation in Japan than one would expect; Japanese anime and manga fans blanch when associated with the term. This may have something to do with the high-profile case of “the Otaku Murderer,” Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was hanged in 2008 after being convicted of the gruesome murders of four young girls. Police found thousands of graphic anime films in Miyazaki’s apartment. As the title of Otaku USA reflects, American anime lovers are oblivious to the bad rap otaku have received in Japan. They embrace the term otaku, proudly assuming the title while communicating in an almost incomprehensible lexicon. “The closest thing to a saving grace for this show,” reads one Otaku USA review, “is the individual IS designs. They come off as a cross between Busou Shinki and the wildest entries from the sketchbook of Hajime Katoki (mech designer, Gundam W, Virtual On) and are actually kind of slick when in action. Sure they’re cel-shaded but the sequences are a welcome break from the harem antics.” For the non-anime60 | t h e
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obsessed reader, much of the writing in Otaku USA might as well be in Japanese. For the magazine’s target audience, however, this probably adds to its appeal; by understanding the obscure references, they become part of an exclusive community. Seen on these terms, Otaku USA delivers a fine product to its readers. It strikes an enthusiastic tone with its generous use of exclamation points and informal language. Within its colorful, glossy pages, fans find thorough reviews of the latest manga and anime. While it avoids the most sexually explicit products, Otaku USA represents a wide array of genres, from shonen anime, targeting schoolboys with action and adventure stories, to yaoi manga, entertaining women who like passionate tales of male homosexual romance (who knew?). Much of the writing in Otaku USA appeals to its older readers. The articles are long, printed in small type that would frustrate an eleven-year-old boy trying to read about his favorite ninja, Naruto. Younger readers, however, can appreciate the pullout posters and the traditional newsprint manga section in the magazine’s center—you have to turn the magazine upside-down to read it, as Japanese reads from left to right and it’s too much bother for translators to flip the pictures. My one concern is that Otaku USA’s American readers may think this subculture defines Japan. Anime and manga have about as much to do with Japanese culture as Hollywood movies have to do with American culture. While it’s not Otaku USA’s job to tell readers that, in general, Japanese women are not scantily clad, ultra-cute bimbos, the magazine doesn’t do much to combat this stereotype. Otherwise, Otaku USA is exactly the magazine it should be for the English-speaking otaku. For the anime and manga aficionado, flipping through its pages stimulates friendly banter with like-minded buddies. Will the latest series of Hunter x Hunter live up to the hype? Don’t you love the voice actor for Squid Girl? Those unfamiliar with the anime and manga phenomenon may find its pages mystifying, but then, otaku fans wouldn’t expect them to understand. Only the initiated are worthy of comprehending Otaku USA.
Cornucopia Circulation: 20,000 Date of Birth: 1992 Frequency: 2 to 3 per year Price: $18 Website: cornucopia.net
By Brian Patrick Eha Of all the subjects to build a magazine around, nations rank low on the list. Cities are more popular: New York magazine exists—and Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and many others—but not United States. And yet, Cornucopia’s purview is nothing less than the nation of Turkey. Below its masthead is an etymology of the word that gives this sumptuous magazine its title: “The Latin cornu copiæ or ‘horn of plenty’, a horn overflowing with flowers, fruit and corn; sym-
bol of prosperity and abundance in the cities of Anatolia.” It’s a small note, probably overlooked by most readers, but it warms this former high school Latin student’s heart. Better still, the content lives up to the Latin. Cornucopia is a marvel of execution as much as conception. Its rich photo spreads of architecture and handicrafts are as stunning as anything in The World of Interiors, the writing holds its own and the subjects covered are diverse, within its limited scope. The Autumn 2011 issue, for example, includes a historical profile of Midhat Pasha, author of Turkey’s first constitution; a substantial piece on America’s first archaeological expeditions to the Ottoman Empire (with full-color reproductions of paintings by Osman Hamdi Bey); and an essay on the collection of Kütahya ceramics at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Plus, book reviews and notices about museum exhibits and art shows. The only aspect of Turkey from which Cornucopia shies away is contemporary politics, though glimpses of the rapidly developing nation overseen by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan come through in Andrew Finkel’s “Private View” column. If the relative lack of political coverage seems at times a glaring omission, it is also a redress of the coverage Turkey receives in newsmagazines, which focus exclusively on its social and political ferment. And Cornucopia, published jointly in the U.K. and Turkey, also avoids lapsing into Orientalist fluff. Don’t be fooled by the glossy pages and pretty pictures—this is not an empty-calorie magazine, an Architectural Digest for the Ottoman-obsessed. In that autumn issue, a cooking feature centered on sweet peas offers no fewer than nine recipes for pea-based dishes—including one handed down unchanged from the 18th-century librarian of the Topkapı Palace—and also whets the reader’s appetite with the surprisingly fascinating history of the legume in Ottoman cuisine. This combination of lifestyle coverage and stimulating history is also present in the profile of Harun’s Paradise, a unique getaway that doubles as a boutique hotel and a traditional boat-building atelier on the Sea of Marmara.
in review The question of how a magazine that comes out just two (occasionally three) times a year and sells only 20,000 copies per issue can afford consistently to produce such high-quality content has at least three answers. First, the editorial staff is small. I counted three pieces in the most recent issue that Berrin Torolsan, the co-founder and publishing director, wrote or contributed to. Second, Cornucopia is manifestly aimed at a well-heeled readership, which means lucrative ad space occupied by boutique luxury hotels, Christie’s auction house (advertising an Islamic art sale), carmaker Peugeot and other upscale brands. Mercedes-Benz even created a special ad for the magazine that features its SLS AMG coupe on the shore of the Bosporus. And third, Cornucopia is expensive (eighteen dollars per issue). One distinct hindrance to a wider readership is the difficulty of finding it outside the U.K. and Turkey. Although subscriptions and back issues are available for purchase through the website— with free shipping worldwide—it’s safe to say that most people who find it are those who have gone looking for it. Neither the price nor the exclusivity, however, in any way decreases the pleasure of reading Cornucopia for the armchair world traveler or couch surfer, no matter how impoverished. Whether you’re planning a trip to the Golden Horn or just dreaming about what life was like in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, this is a magazine to revisit and to savor. It’s a truism that the measure of a travel magazine’s success is whether it makes you yearn to visit the destinations it depicts. Cornucopia goes one better. It is a vacation in itself.
Fangoria CIRCULATION: 46,000 Date of birth: 1979 FREQUENCY: Monthly PRICE: $10 Website: fangoria.com
By Travis Irvine When I first thought about making a featurelength satirical horror movie about killer raccoons eight years ago, many of my friends said, “Oh! You should submit it to Troma!” They were referring to Troma Entertainment, the independent production company that is famous for The Toxic Avenger and other low-budget, schlocky horror flicks. Even more friends said, “You should send it to Fangoria so they can review it!” Fangoria? What was that? Soon enough, I found out. Fangoria magazine has been the horror movie fan’s ultimate publication since 1979. Issues are purely dedicated to all things horror—films, shows, special effects and more. It really doesn’t matter if the films Fangoria
reviews and writes about are independent, cult or mainstream. Anything from big-budget Hollywood horror blockbusters to low-budget flicks made by independent filmmakers may grace the cover of this reliably offbeat publication. In fact, Fangoria actually started out much like an independent horror film—with a small budget and a hint of controversy. According to Fangoria’s website, the magazine was originally supposed to be dedicated to fantasy films and called Fantastica. It was produced by the publishers of Starlog, a magazine entirely devoted to science fiction films and aimed at teenage audiences. However, Starlog’s competitor, Fantastic Films magazine, filed a suit saying the two names would be confusing to the publications’ primarily young audiences. After Fantastic Films won the case, the Fantastica staff chose the name Fangoria instead. But Fangoria wasn’t out of trouble yet. The fantasy focus was a giant flop, and the magazine was losing around $20,000 an issue. So the editors focused on the one article from their first issue that had received an “immensely positive audience response”—a piece about the special makeup effects of Tom Savini in the 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead. With its seventh issue, Fangoria featured a cover story on Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining and dedicated the issue entirely to horror films. It became the first issue of Fangoria to earn a profit, and by issue twelve, the formula for Fangoria was set. So what is this distinctive formula? Imagine a comic book, mix it with a 1950s sci-fi flick poster and the back of a cereal box, then add some splattered blood. Lots and lots of splattered blood. And explosions. And pictures of fake corpses, fangs and zombies! Fangoria’s February 2012 issue featured a cover story on Nicolas Cage and his sequel film Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, with a large picture of Cage’s character screaming at readers with a flaming skull. Such is Fangoria’s world. It’s been pretty successful and, frankly, it’s pretty cool. Every issue carries interviews with high-profile figures like Cage, but also has articles about people like horror actress Barbara Crampton, who is famous for a movie in which she almost receives oral sex from a severed head. There’s also interviews with actors like Michael Biehn, who played the protagonist in The Terminator and is now directing and acting in his own independent horror movies. Zombies, psycho killers and vampires—all not real, of course— are the subjects of other articles, and are all surrounded by advertisements for bloody video games, horror conventions and the like. The magazine also reviews Hollywood’s horror blockbusters, like the recently released Underworld:
Awakening and The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe. There are also horror films that one would never hear of otherwise, like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil or actor-turned-director Vincent D’Onofrio’s Don’t Go in the Woods. With these and articles focused on similar independent projects, Fangoria maintains its circulation base. Obviously, this is a niche market, but it is a niche that is filled with frightfully dedicated fans who will likely keep horror movies—and Fangoria— undead for years to come.
Dazed and Confused Circulation: 89,600 Date of Birth: 1992 Frequency: Monthly Price: $9.99 website: dazeddigital.com
By Danielle Ziri Dazed and Confused is a magazine for people who are looking for something beyond the mainstream fashion publications, something edgier. In its pages, beauty is portrayed in a very nontraditional way, with tattoos and piercings proudly exposed in photographs. But calling Dazed and Confused a fashion magazine does not do it justice. It also covers art, music, literature and film. The publication takes its name from the classic Led Zeppelin song “Dazed and Confused,” and as you flip through the pages, you find that its aesthetic feel pairs quite well with that of the English rock band, particularly in its visual approach—the magazine’s photography resembles shots taken with one of the Polaroid cameras that were popular in the 1980s. Dazed and Confused began in the early Nineties in the U.K., founded by a British photographer, John Rankin Waddell (known as Rankin), and a culture writer, Jefferson Hack. It was born as a limited-run foldout poster and then turned into a monthly publication, which is now distributed in more than forty countries. The magazine is known for having, throughout the years, kept a standard of high quality in the areas it covers, particularly in its photography. Photos are dispersed all through its pages, from small shots between columns of text to vivid twopage spreads. This pictorial emphasis proves to be advantageous when it is adapted to the digital version, available by subscription on the iPad. For its July 2011 issue, the magazine exhibits a bold cover starring the singer Beyoncé Knowles dressed in bright colors, holding a dripping ice cream cone. Inside, twelve pages are dedicated to an article about the star. This feature exemplifies what Dazed and Confused does best: marrying fashion photography to detailed nyrm.org
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in review narrative articles and demonstrating expertise in the fields of both music and fashion. Big names like Beyoncé are in the minority in the magazine’s music coverage. Dazed and Confused likes to promote up-and-coming performers, or others rarely mentioned in the mainstream media. In that July 2011 issue, for instance, two pages are dedicated to Vybz Kartel, a Jamaican singersongwriter, displaying tattoos and gold jewelry in his portrait. The magazine also organizes an event called the Emerging Artists Award, in which, partnered with the shoe brand Converse, Dazed searches for “the best new U.K. artist.” This focus on unknown artists carries over to the magazine’s website, Dazed Digital, in its section called “Rise.” The website is a busier version of the print magazine, so densely packed with article blurbs and pictures that it leaves online visitors not just dazed but also very confused by the overload. The print magazine, too, can leave the readers dazed and confused. The things the editors choose to cover and the tone they use make it appear as though a deep knowledge of the arts is needed to understand the publication’s content. This magazine’s avowed aim is to challenge its readers and create a “new generation of switched-on, intelligent, aware and influential individuals.” That makes it stand out amid the crowd of culture magazines available in the international market, but catering to a narrow niche of people who are familiar with the style and content, and won’t be dazed and confused by it, seems like a risky way to achieve long-lasting success in the highly competitive magazine marketplace.
Mother Earth News Circulation: 494,000 Date of Birth: 1970 Frequency: Bimonthly Price: $5.99 website: motherearthnews.com
By Chikaodili Okaneme For those living in cities, where green living can seem out of reach, Mother Earth News is a good resource for people seeking a more sustainable lifestyle. John Shuttleworth and his wife, Jane, launched Mother Earth News in Ohio more than forty years ago. “All we had was a dream,” John said in 1975. “Within the limits of the painfully short resources we had on hand, we wanted to publish—even if we never got past the first one—a magazine that . . . would help other little people just like us live richer, fuller, freer, more self-directed lives; and ease us all into more actively putting the interests of the planet over and above any personal interests.” Since then, Mother Earth News has become one of the fastest-growing magazines in the United States and is the longest-running publication of its kind. 62 | t h e
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Self-proclaimed as “the original guide to living wisely,” Mother Earth News features a wide range of articles focusing on environmental issues, healthy eating and eco-friendly living. Each bimonthly issue contains articles and recipes, plus home and garden tips. Its nice balance of visuals complements the subject matter. The December/January cover shows a loaf of sliced homemade bread, typical of the magazine’s covers, which usually display either wholesome foods or lush landscapes. Its headlining article offers advice on buying quality food at affordable prices, which fits well with an article in the “News from Mother” section explaining the decrease in the nutritional value of foods found on market shelves. The issue also contains tips for making your own cleaning products out of household ingredients, a safer alternative to buying store products with harsh chemicals. The recipes throughout the magazine are fairly simple and use a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Mother Earth News encourages readers to contribute to the magazine by submitting their own nature photographs and small messages regarding articles they have read. In a recent edition of the magazine’s “We See You” section, readers provided beautiful pictures of birds perched on branches and scenery covered with snow and ice. In the “Dear Mother” section, one person who had read a Mother Earth News article about rabbits shared some additional advice, while a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan wrote to say how much he appreciated “the most practical, utilitarian magazine available today.” Mother Earth News is now owned by Ogden Publications in Topeka, Kan., publisher of magazines ranging from Utne Reader to Motorcycle Classics, and is available in print across North America, Europe and Australia—in major chains like Barnes and Noble and Sam’s Club, as well as in local healthfood and mom-and-pop stores. It’s also available in digital format. Motherearthnews.com has a wealth of information, including blogs, archives and a section that continually updates readers throughout the day. The website contains far more material than any single printed copy could hold—and that’s a bit of a problem. Visitors to the site are overwhelmed with content. As soon as the home page opened, my eyes were pulled in all directions. Similarly, the magazine itself could benefit from better organization, because most pages contain advertisements for natural or agricultural products, which may have value to readers but result in too much clutter. The designers need to give their material—in the print magazine and on the Web—more room to breathe. Although the majority of people who read the
magazine are middle-aged homeowners, it is filled with information relevant to a variety of readers. Overall, Mother Earth News accomplishes its goal of giving any person the tools to live a greener life.
The Middle East Circulation: 24,000 Date of Birth: 1974 Frequency: 11 per year Price: $4.95 WEBSITE: africasia.com/themiddleeast
By Andrea Palatnik Just like the region it covers, The Middle East magazine has been through some good times and some bad times. Launched in 1974, it claims to be the first English-language publication focused on the Middle East that covers not only business and culture but also politics and diplomatic affairs. It gained immediate momentum from the oil crisis that, just one year before, had brought global attention to the region. The early 1980s were also good for the magazine, with the world’s eyes on the Iran-Iraq war; the magazine’s publisher, IC Publications, had to increase print runs from 28,000 copies to 45,000 to keep up with demand. After the first Gulf War, however, interest in the Middle East waned, and as sales declined along with oil prices, the Nineties became a difficult time for the magazine. Nonetheless, it has survived and consolidated its role as one of the most influential publications in the region. “Our first interest and mission has always been to defend the point of view of the region and to be the voice of the Middle East,” said Afif Ben Yedder, the Tunisian entrepreneur and journalist who founded the magazine, in a phone interview from his company’s headquarters in London. (IC Publications has correspondents scattered around the Middle East, Africa and Europe.) With a current circulation of more than 24,000, The Middle East claims it has readers in more than 100 countries. Published monthly, it can be found on some newsstands in the U.S., with a cover price of four dollars and ninety-five cents, or ordered by subscription for ninety dollars a year (or twenty-eight for the digital version, which can be downloaded to computers, e-readers, tablets and smartphones). “We launched The Middle East magazine in English to target the international community who wanted an insight into what was happening in the region, as well as the educated Englishspeaking Arab elite,” said Omar Ben Yedder, Afif ’s son, who plays a major role in IC Publications, which also has four magazines focused on Africa, published in both English and French. With few ads and a clean layout, each issue of
in review The Middle East is a blend of news, finance and lifestyle articles. The main section is divided into “Current Affairs” and “Business” departments, featuring well-written stories enriched with broad background information and, in some instances, financial advice for investors. The December 2011 issue, for example, headlined a cover story, “Goodbye and Good Luck,” about the chaos left behind in Iraq after the American retreat last year. The article was critical of not only the invasion itself, pointing out how the war opened space in the region for a much stronger Iran, but also of the failed attempts by Washington to create a stable and functional political environment. Shorter pieces dealt with the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Even though the editorial line is very analytical in general, expressing clear opinions and conclusions about each topic, the pieces are well-sourced and written in a concise, straight-to-the-point fashion that leaves readers convinced that they have been provided with serious insider information that is not available in other news venues. The articles are preceded by a “News and Views” section, with brief items about art exhibitions, movie productions, fashion shows and such novelties as diamond-encrusted luxury cellphones, all related to one or more of the Middle Eastern countries. And the back of the book has a travel section, which may feature an exotic beach town in Saudi Arabia, a hyped resort in Dubai or suggestions for a holiday escape to Israel. The January/February 2012 issue, for example, hailed the city of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, as a “glittering new destination” for luxury tourism. The magazine publishes three special issues: “The Top 50 Most Influential Arabs” each summer; “The Top 100 Middle Eastern Banks” in October; and occasional supplements, like The Middle East Woman, which came out in 2008. As this is written, The Middle East is going through a transitional process. After the publication of the December 2011 issue, IC Publications sold the magazine to the editorial team that has produced it for twenty years, headed by editor-inchief Pat Lancaster. The January and February 2012 issues were amalgamated and publication resumed normally in March. There won’t be many changes in the publication, according to Afif Ben Yedder, who still is in charge of distribution and writes the editorial that opens the front of the book. “The magazine will continue to cover the region,” its founder said. “We love what we do and we are very passionate about the region.”
Yes! Circulation: 150,000 Date of Birth: 1996 Frequency: Quarterly Price: $6.50 website: yesmagazine.org
By Marie-Sophie Schwarzer Nothing about Yes! magazine is normal, which may be why it is thriving in today’s bleak media
landscape. Yes! may not be glossy and glamorous, but it stands out nonetheless. It is a magazine dedicated to making a difference in the world, and it recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. In contrast to magazines with headlines that shout things like “Be Afraid,” “Update Your Style for Spring” and “Apocalypse Now,” Yes! has a refreshingly positive message: We can do it. Recent issues have covered cultural and racial diversity, new livelihoods, climate action and sustainable happiness. Last year’s anniversary issue saluted “15 Extraordinary People Transforming the Way We Live.” But isn’t all of that too idealistic? Apparently not for the readership Yes! caters to: a consciously green, open-minded audience of all ages that is aspiring to effect positive change. Yes! aims to give ordinary citizens a push to take a stand, speak up and ultimately make a difference at the local, national or even international level, as expressed by the magazine’s slogan: “Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions.” Every aspect of Yes! is dedicated to creating a better world. Cover to cover, the smiling faces, laudatory profiles and quotes such as “Believe that the world can change, and commit to your part of the solution” paint a rosy and oftentimes one-sided picture of the possibilities. Even the reviews are ultrapositive: “It’s hard to read Urban Homesteading without feeling the itch to grab a sledgehammer and replace some pavement with parsnips” and “Ry Cooder’s song ‘No Banker Left Behind’ offers Wall Street protesters an anthem.” This optimism is infectious, and you can feel good about having bought a magazine printed on 100-percent post-consumer waste, chlorinefree paper “that will help you change the world” one page and tree at a time. Ultimately, however, you may be disappointed by the quality of the journalism. The writing is zealous but often flat, especially in the front-of-the-book section, “Small Stories About Big Change,” a series of short pieces on various current issues, which resembles the lifelessness of Wikipedia and does not harmonize with the longer, livelier features. But journalistic excellence is not what Yes! aspires to have. According to the website, its goal is to empower “people with the vision and tools to create a healthy planet and vibrant communities,” and it does this most effectively through its profiles of people and accounts of their achievements. The fifteenth-anniversary issue featured one profile for every year of Yes!’s existence, ranging from Ai-jen Poo, founder of the Domestic Workers United, dedicated to ending exploitation and
oppression for all; to Deepak Bhargava, who is working on the movement “Take Back the American Dream” to promote jobs, education funding and Medicare for all Americans; to Alison Smith, a stay-at-home mom turned activist who revolutionized election financing in Maine. These profiles intend to inspire readers by giving them a success model to follow, and they generally succeed. Yet this approach sometimes makes their subjects sound superficial, portraying the people, their ideas and their projects with insufficient depth. Unlike the complex vision of Yes!, its design is simple but effective. Articles are embellished with color photographs and quotes, and the layout is reader-friendly. In the anniversary issue, quotes from readers decorated the pages, demonstrating that the readers’ input is valued at Yes!. The connection between editors and readers is an important reason for its success. For a magazine that has no advertising, readership loyalty is vital. As a nonprofit magazine determined to remain liberated from the influence of advertisers, Yes! depends on subscriptions for one-third of its revenue, and on tax-deductible donations and foundation grants for the remaining twothirds. It also uses its donations to fund outreach to teachers, journalists, grassroots organizations, faith groups and policymakers, which is another way to promote the publication. According to the publisher, Fran Korten, “Yes! magazine has dramatically expanded its reach and influence.” Web traffic increased by fifty-eight percent in 2010 and email lists multiplied. Moreover, Yes! derives income from an online shop that sells everything from Yes! canteens to a recently published book about the Occupy Wall Street movement. To ensure that Yes! will continue to prosper, house ads invite readers to name Yes! in their wills, so that it “will be around for many years to come.” The current sociopolitical situation, which gave rise to the “99 percent” movement, has lent Yes! momentum. Still, even though Yes! is widely available in the United States and Canada, it has a long way to go to reach a truly wide audience. Although its journalistic quality does not compare to magazines such as The Economist and The New Yorker, it is uplifting to see that a publication, conceived fifteen years ago in the basement of a house by a small group of people with a vision, now celebrates “the work of people who are making a difference” with 150,000 readers. It’s encouraging to read positive news every once in a while, and four times a year you can find it in this eco-friendly cheerleader of a magazine. nyrm.org
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Grantland Circulation: Unknown Date of Birth: 2011 Frequency: Quarterly Price: $25 website: grantland.com
By Chris Haire Daily sports journalism is moribund, having long resigned itself to the banality of wins, losses, contract extensions and not much else. There is now a counterweight, however, to the box-score-obsessed, formulaic doldrums of contemporary sports writing. Its name is Grantland, and it reaches back to the early twentieth century, recapturing the essence of a long-forgotten era of elegant sports writing made famous by the likes of Grantland Rice, the publication’s namesake. Primarily a Web magazine, which added a quarterly print edition in the winter of 2011 (the spring issue came out in April), Grantland couples an unadulterated adolescent love of sports with mature longform narrative. It is the creation of longtime ESPN columnist Bill Simmons and is funded by ESPN. It blends Simmons’ brand of irreverent humor with an intellectual and eloquent approach to the craft—using sports as a lens through which to examine larger issues—while being decidedly un-ESPN. The design of the website is clean, consistent and easy on the eye. It does not vie for every second of a reader’s attention; ESPN.com, by contrast, is cluttered and distracting. The print quarterly’s debut-issue cover actually has the texture of a basketball, and has illustrations scattered throughout its 341 pages. It is, however, not dependent on design for its impact; it’s the words that count—it’s a text-heavy magazine. Grantland offers a mix of off-the-cuff gibes— Charles P. Pierce wrote that he “once spent 13 scalded days in Qatar, before we turned the place into an aircraft carrier with luxury hotels”—and thoughtful prose—an article about the late boxing trainer Angelo Dundee described him as “an island of sanity in Muhammad Ali’s mad world.” Typically, the website offers more of the former (along with a pop culture blog) and the quarterly more of the latter, though both provide some of each, but it is the sincerity with which Grantland shows how sports connect to people’s lives that makes the publication unique. “Maybe God abandoned Senna on Tamburello corner,” wrote staffer Chris Jones (also writer-atlarge for Esquire) in his review of a documentary about the death of the highly religious Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. “Maybe God looked 64 | t h e
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away, just at the wrong moment, and something broke first inside Senna’s car and then in his heart. ... Or maybe, just maybe, Senna, like the rest of us, had been alone his whole life, and love and destiny had nothing to do with any of it.” Jones exemplifies the talent that Simmons and the limitless coffers of ESPN have attracted, a lineup of writers unrivaled in the field of sports journalism. Grantland employs National Magazine Award winners, best-selling authors and national correspondents for Newsweek. And writers like Chuck Klosterman, author of seven books and a contributor to Esquire, GQ and The New York Times Magazine; James McManus, published in Foreign Policy, Harper’s Magazine and The New Yorker; and Pierce, author of a national best-seller, Idiot America, and the lead writer of Esquire’s politics blog. The inaugural issue of the print version, available for nineteen dollars and ninety-five cents through the McSweeney’s website and in select stores across the country for twenty-five dollars (issue two costs twenty-five dollars on McSweeney’s), allots significant space to examining the burden of old age and the loss of physical abilities. Jane Leavy, author of the acclaimed novel Squeeze Play: A Novel, began her essay “One Round” simply: “When my father realized he was going blind, he took up golf.” In a short story that, on the surface, is about a middle-aged community-college professor whose recreational-league basketball team tries to break the news of his wife’s affair, Edgar Allan Poe Award winner Jess Walter writes: “There is a reason there is no noise in deep space. There are no molecules to vibrate. The only true peace comes from the lack of being. For the rest of us, it’s all pain. Decline. Death. Words and deeds rattle around to great awful effect—all those fifteen-point losses, the ceaseless erosion of aging, back fat, and ear hair, all that heartache.” There is also an article about disgraced ex-Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel; a piece about a fiberglass backboard helping a kid cope with his father’s suicide; and an essay about the death of William Faulkner’s niece, Dean Faulkner Wells, and the simple gestures involved in mourning the beloved daugher of Oxford, Miss.
Simmons is on record as saying he is unconcerned about page views and circulation, preferring to let the writers determine content. Through its first year of online existence and its first print issue, Grantland has stayed true to that philosophy, which is a radical departure from the proven model of sports coverage. And, so far, it succeeds.
Thriving Family Circulation: 300,000 Date of Birth: 2009 Frequency: Bimonthly Price: $3.99 website: thrivingfamily.com
By Jessona McDonald If you happened to come across the January/ February 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine, you might have found yourself smiling along with the friendly-looking people on the cover. The picture features fourteen-month-old twins, Olivet and Emayah, beautiful smiling girls with piercing blue eyes and bright bows in their red hair. They are the daughters of Josh and Katie Krehbiel, intercessory missionaries who wish to raise their daughters in a community and culture of worship and prayer. Intercessory missionaries? You’re probably wondering what that means, and also what it means to raise children in a culture of worship and prayer. Questions like that are clearly and appealingly answered in the articles you’ll find in Thriving Family, a bimonthly Christian magazine dedicated to helping parents raise healthy families. As intercessory missionaries, the Krehbiels dedicate their lives to the service of missionaries across the globe, praying day and night for their safety and success in bringing the Gospel to people around the world. As parents, the Krehbiels want their daughters to grow up knowing the importance of considering the struggles of others. Despite their uncommon lifestyle, the goal they have for their children is similar to Thriving Family’s goal of helping parents raise their children to be selfless in a narcissistic society. The magazine is one of the many branches of Focus on the Family, a major Christian nonprofit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist Dr. James C. Dobson. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., the organization aims to nurture and defend the God-ordained institution of the family by promoting biblical truths worldwide. Thriving Family came into being through the combined efforts of two similar publications: Focus on the Family magazine and Focus on Your Child newsletter. Both the editorial and design staff saw that the magazine and newsletter were not reaching new and young parents—
in review the average age of Focus on the Family magazine subscribers was forty-five. After some two years of editorial and design work, Thriving Family launched in November 2009, just months after its predecessors ceased production. Although the primary audience for the magazine is married parents with children, Thriving Family also includes articles with tips for single parents, blended families and extended families, and addresses such nontraditional family situations as military, adoptive and special-needs families. The magazine emphasizes its strong belief in the sanctity of life. Thriving Family is packed with inspirational stories ranging from miracle babies to rescue missions by hometown heroes. The pictures alone provide an incentive to flip through the pages. Each issue contains photos that readers can easily relate to—from cute toddlers playing in dirt to adult couples in the middle of screaming matches. The photos illustrate real situations and real issues. With articles like “Date Night Ideas” and “The Value of Integrity,” Thriving Family touches upon a wide variety of topics. One of the most popular topics deals with issues facing married couples. For example, Kirk and Chelsea Cameron, best known for their roles as Mike Seaver and Kate MacDonald in the TV sitcom Growing Pains, were featured in the 2010 January/February issue. Since Growing Pains, Kirk has acted in independent films while Chelsea remains at home with their six children, four of whom were adopted. In this feature, the couple discussed some of the challenges they have faced together. The roughest times during their marriage were often the result of busy schedules, selfishness, stress and major life transitions. It was during these times, they said, that they learned kindness, patience and selflessness by trusting in God. This is the kind of message that Thriving Family delivers effectively, promoting good family values during a time when such values are seldom found in our society. The magazine doesn’t seek to paint a picture-perfect image of family. It recognizes real issues, offering solutions and giving hope.
Campaigns and Elections Circulation: 30,000 Date of Birth: 1980 Frequency: Bimonthly Price: $4.95 website: campaignsandelections.com
By Matthew Sawh Journalists covering political campaigns often focus on candidates’ personal style to say something about substance—George W. Bush’s Texas swagger or Barack Obama’s cool detachment, for example. The danger is that election results that are anything but inevitable are presented as inescapable—produced by personality. For a deeper look at campaigns and their power, check out Campaigns and Elections magazine. Campaigns and Elections brings its 30,000-plus readers inside the smoke-filled rooms where po-
litical operatives are plotting the “path to power,” to use biographer Robert Caro’s phrase. It seeks to appeal to the powerful insiders who make the major decisions on advertising, hiring and messaging that win or lose elections. While political magazines like The Weekly Standard and The New Republic often talk tactics, Campaigns and Elections offers depth and grainy “how-to” detail. Insiders need that detail and interested outsiders can benefit from it, too. Campaigns and Elections stresses the practical nuts and bolts of modern campaigning. One story in the November/December issue measured the depth of each GOP campaign’s ground game in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three Republican primary contests, providing office and staff counts. Another story devoted nearly a dozen pages to a political-consultant scorecard. Want to run for office? This tells you whom to hire. When New York magazine asks, “Who in God’s name is Mitt Romney?” Campaigns and Elections wonders: Who is organizing the fall presidential debates? A technology theme pervaded much of that winter issue, with social media, the social Web and the implications of pushback against online campaign tracking all scoring coverage. Staffers wrote most of the pieces, but practitioners also wrote a few, answering the neurotic questions of political consultants, such as: Can a digital billboard with new messages each night be effective? How do pollsters count people who only use cellphones? The late Stanley Foster Reed started the magazine in 1980 as a how-to-enter-politics guide. He said he wanted to get better people involved in the process. “In political campaigns and in business, it is management that makes the difference,” he wrote in the first issue. “Management of resources: money, media, people.” The magazine’s media kit claims that sixty-five percent of readers each control campaign spending worth more than $100,000 in a cycle, and eightythree percent have regular contact with elected officials. Campaigns and Elections has a deck of editorial advisors that is stacked with familiar names, including Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, which he built through online organizing; queens like Mary Matalin, who advised the administrations of both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; and aces like David Yepsen, an expert on Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus. Campaigns and Elections shows that campaign tactics have consequences. Recent events reflect this: Just thirty-four votes separated Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in Iowa. Four years ago, organizing strategies in South Carolina produced a crucial Barack Obama win, answering Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire victory.
The November/December issue’s letter from the editor, Shane D’Aprile, kicked off with his alltime favorite rant from a campaign staffer: “We do all the work and the candidate gets all the credit. We ring doorbells and make the posters and build up the candidate’s image. And then he says something stupid and ruins everything we’ve done.” Content like that makes Campaigns and Elections an entertaining read for people who like political inside baseball, whether they are players or just interested spectators. The magazine may be elusive on newsstands, where it costs four dollars and ninety-five cents. But for three dollars and ninety-nine cents, it’s available online, where its detail and insight impress despite having to use the clunky Zinio reader.
Industrie Circulation: 50,000 Date of Birth: May 2010 Frequency: Biannual Price: $18.00 Website: industrie.com
By Kate Racovolis If you are looking for your quick-fix fashion magazine, regurgitating all of the same trends season after season, telling you what to wear and how to wear it, Industrie will not be your cup of tea. But if you are at all a creative kind of person with an interest in fashion, this London-based publication is the sort of magazine for which you might gladly hand over a twenty (without getting much change), place it carefully inside a plastic bag, sandwiched between protective layering, in order to prevent the mixture of matte and glossy pages encased in a weighty gloss cover from creasing or bending. Industrie breaks away from mainstream fashion magazines, and not just because it’s a slightly bulky ten-by-fourteen-inch publication, produced only twice a year and priced about four times higher than the monthlies. In its aesthetic, it is stripped of the clutter and clamor for space evident in the monthly glossies. The primary thing that sets it apart, however, is its approach to fashion. Its focus is not on the fashions themselves, but on the people who create them or are influential in the fashion world. Industrie was born out of what its founding editors, Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede of the privately owned media company The Saturday Group, call “the democratization of fashion.” Conceived well after the onset of the fashion blogging culture of the early 2000s, it set out to cover the creative people in the fashion industry—editors, models, designers, journalists, artists and photographers. Industrie aims to “document the individuals who influence fashion and critically examines the ideas which shape it,” according its mission statement. Industrie has made them its cover stars, beginning with a cutout paparazzi shot of Anna Wintour on a stark white background for the debut issue in 2010. Wintour, of course, is one of the most famous fashion editors, but Industrie often shines its spotlight on lesser-known people. Journalist Cathy Horyn, for example, who has written highly nyrm.org
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in review abashed affection. Its editorial coordinator, Lynette Nylander, said as much when she explained her magazine’s nonjudgmental approach: “We have seen many independent publications acting like thinly veiled industry publications, so why not just say it? At the same time, we were asking ourselves, ‘Where is the long story?’ Fashion is not a job; we are in it because we love it.”
Garden and Gun CIRCULATION: 250,000 DATE OF BIRTH: 2007 FREQUENCY: Bimonthly PRICE: $4.95 website: gardenandgun.com critical fashion pieces for The New York Times, may be familiar to some fashionistas in New York but is not well-known elsewhere. Karl Temper, a New York-based photographer who has worked for Vogue Italia and other fashion publications, also reflects Industrie’s mission to cover a wide range of people. Most of them are presented to the reader in the form of transcribed interviews, preceded by a short introductory paragraph or two. Questions may be as thought-provoking as “How do you feel about the perceived schism between Hollywood and High Fashion?” asked of Us Weekly’s Sasha Charnin Morrison, or as superficial as “How many emails do you get each day?” Although this barebones approach tends to leave the reader craving deeper analysis and perspective, the interviews do provide an inside look at the lives, influences and professional journeys of the men and women behind the fashions. The photo shoots are more innovative. In fact, they sometimes push through the conventional boundaries typical of mainstream fashion publications. Marc Jacobs was dressed in clothing from his women’s collection in the second issue, complete with high heels and makeup, and Australian model Miranda Kerr posed nude in a stark black-andwhite editorial. The fashion shoots often are printed on glossy pages, in contrast to the majority of the magazine’s pages, which are on matte paper. Many of the same fashion brands that advertise in monthly fashion magazines also appear in Industrie, which is circulated internationally but normally can only be found on off-the-beatenpath newsstands in the U.S. Between print editions, the Industrie website is updated sporadically, mostly with small photographic posts. Industrie’s online home is hosted by an entirely separate entity called Now Manifest, where it resides alongside six other fashion blogs and attracts a niche audience of only about 20,000 readers each month. Although Industrie is not directly associated with those blogs, it fits comfortably into the sleek design of the website and the “indie” fashion culture that the Now Manifest blogs speak to. The website keeps the brand name alive during the six-month wait for the next print edition to be released. Industrie does, as the British say, what it says on the tin. It views the fashion world with un66 | t h e
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By Andrew Bell Growing up in New York City, it didn’t take me long to notice that many fellow New Yorkers like to visualize our city. With its soaring skyscrapers, Broadway stages and numerous media empires, they see it as the apogee of civilization and the center of the world. On the other hand, they like to view other parts of the country— especially the South—with disdain. New Yorkers’ feelings of superiority and some less than flattering depictions of Southerners in the media have contributed to South-North tensions that are palpable and at times vituperative. This has always made me uncomfortable. And so, when I discovered the recently launched Garden and Gun magazine, I was pleased to have my eyes opened to what an unexplored and underrepresented gem of a region the South can actually be. The founder of Garden and Gun is a woman who has lived at both poles of the regional conflict. Rebecca Wesson Darwin was the publisher of the magazine that is viewed by many as the ultimate in New York snobbishness: The New Yorker. After she moved back to her home state, South Carolina, she launched Garden and Gun in 2007 with the purpose of establishing something that reflected the Southern lifestyle in a sophisticated and charming way. Her success was formally recognized last year when Garden and Gun won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the Food, Travel and Design category. The magazine avoids obvious Southern topics like SEC football, religion and politics, and instead embraces the less explored aspects of the South, such as its nascent music scene, its emerging contemporary art scene and its enticing culinary folklore. Garden and Gun expounds on everything from alcoholic beverages to the sharpest bowtie. As the name implies, the magazine also focuses on the South’s fabled hunting scene, with features about particular hunting locales and elements of the gun culture such as profiles of loyal hunting dogs. “The dogs of my youth were thus matted,
sandy, and often drooling,” writes Allison Glock in one piece. “Dogs with mud caked in their fur and flea-bitten noses. Dogs who rode untethered in the backs of flatbed trucks. Dogs that wouldn’t know a canine sweater if they swallowed one.” Garden and Gun also serves as a travel and adventure guide for people interested in exploring unspoiled places in the South. Lush landscapes are unveiled in undiscovered locations in Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the cultural mainstays of the South, like Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., are revisited and reimagined. In a portrait of Lexington, Ky., Erik Reece downplays its horses-bourbon-and-basketball culture and provides the reader with a glimpse into a burgeoning poetry movement in the city. The style of the magazine is as seductive as the places it takes us to. The covers consistently draw you in with effulgent photography and the inside pages display top-notch production design, along with relevant ads. Garden and Gun is unabashed about its Southern home, but at times even the most sympathetic New Yorker begins to feel that it eulogizes the South to an unhealthy degree. A January letter from the editor-in-chief, David DiBenedetto, says: “It’s no surprise that [my wife] Jenny and I are the envy of our NYC friends. In fact, these days anyone who lives the Southern lifestyle seems to be envied by the rest of the country.” Tub-thumping jingoism, yes, but still, the magazine can boast that almost half of its circulation is composed of people in the North. In an interview on CBS, Rebecca Darwin said that one of her principal intentions when starting the magazine was to prove that Southerners “are not all dumb.” She should feel proud, because her brainchild, Garden and Gun, demonstrates that Southerners can actually be pretty darn smart.
Filmmaker Circulation: 60,000 Date Of Birth: 1992 Frequency: Quarterly Price: $5.95 website: filmmakermagazine.com
By Alex Contratto Filmmaker magazine is aimed at independent filmmakers, but it also has a lot to offer those who simply love watching indies. I appreciate Filmmaker primarily for its interviews, which give readers a level of detail that dives beneath the surface of films to uncover the thoughts and insights of independent filmmakers. The magazine was founded in 1992 by three filmmakers—Holly Willis, Karol Martesko-Fenster and current editor-in-chief Scott Macaulay. The
opening pages of Filmmaker carry brief reports and columns, such as pieces about filmmakers studying at UCLA and the state-of-the-art film-viewing experience at Lincoln Center, followed by news items from the industry and buzz on upcoming festivals, video games and newly released DVDs. This DVD section is particularly interesting because it provides filmmakers’ recommendations of the releases they admire and find noteworthy. I can utilize their insights to add to the lengthy list of films I never seem to get around to watching. The centerpiece of Filmmaker is its detailed interviews, which are accompanied by behind-thescenes facts set apart from the interviews in little rectangular boxes. These sidebars include a section called “How They Did It,” explaining how filmmakers shot their work (the production format, type of camera, film stock, editing system and color correction), which gives aspiring filmmakers insights into how professionals in the industry are taking images and transforming them into stories. Another sidebar, “Go Back and Watch,” is a list of films to view and compare with the interview subject’s work. Visually, Filmmaker uses large photos to introduce the main subject of each interview, as well as still screenshots from the film. The interviews themselves are in question-and-answer form, but the questions have a depth of educated inquisitiveness that elicits revealing and insightful responses. The subject of the featured interview from the Fall 2011 issue was David Cronenberg. He talked about his most recent film, A Dangerous Method, a period piece centered on psychoanalysis that chronicles the relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). “For me,” says Cronenberg, “the project was really one of resurrection. I wanted to bring them back to life as accurately as I could, and that means being very neutral and objective. These were very detail-obsessed people ... they were very precise in recounting meetings, conversations, incidents, dream realizations. ... So I felt that it was necessary to really try to resurrect [them], revive them, bring them back to life.” The interview is personal and captivating, highlighting the talents of Cronenberg while
also allowing the reader to enter the filmmaker’s psyche. Also in that fall issue was a Q&A with Jessica Chastain, the busy young actress who has appeared in a string of big-budget movies recently. Here, however, the topic was an indie, Jeff Nichols’ film Take Shelter, in which she co-stars with Michael Shannon. In the course of the interview, the reader discovers the woman behind the actress. She explained how she became uneasy when first reading the script and seeing her character’s description as “the wife.” “I’m an actor first. I’m not a model,” she says. “I won’t be the eye candy in a movie. I’m not that kind of actress.” Based in Brooklyn, this quarterly serves more than 60,000 subscribers as well as readers who pick it up on newsstands and in bookstores. For nine dollars per year, the website allows full access to the print edition in an online format and also offers additional features not found in the print edition. These online features include sections devoted to the “Best of 2011,” and the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The website also holds an extensive archive cataloguing every issue dating back to the magazine’s founding in the early 1990s. There’s no shortage of magazines that dote on the world of blockbuster films and A-list Hollywood celebrities, but in the indie film niche, Filmmaker shines as a unique, invaluable periodical.
Jones Circulation: 100,000 Date of Birth: 2005 Frequency: Quarterly Price: $4.99 Website: jonesmagazine.com
By Shonitria Anthony “Jones” is slang for having a strong desire or craving for something, making it an appropriate title for a luxury magazine of the same name. Aimed at affluent women of color and filled with desirable clothing and cosmetic products, Jones is currently the only magazine on the stands focusing on fashion and beauty specifically for the black woman with money. It calls itself, “The shopping guide for women who know better.” Its name, Jones, in the left-hand corner of the glossy cover, in a funky, handwritten font, stands out from the block-style lettering of other fashion and shopping magazines. Inside, a majority of the editorial features and advertisements depict blackowned beauty and fashion brands, giving women the chance to learn more about products by African-Americans and for African-Americans. Those behind Jones understand that black women want a magazine that shows people like them and offers shopping advice directed at their needs. The “Beauty” section near the front is full of cosmetics and hair and skin-care products designed specifically for women of color—items that can be hard to find in the general marketplace. The magazine’s photography depicts products for textured hair, curls and waves. Models with darker skin tones provide makeup tips. This targeted approach runs through all of the sections of
Jones, which, following the beauty pages, include photo spreads and editorial features on fashion, food, travel, movies, television and events, as well as advice from celebrity makeup artists. As for the celebrities themselves, Jones highlights a variety of mainstream figures, such as Beyoncé Knowles, who is on the cover of the Winter 2011–2012 issue. Unfortunately, the Beyoncé cover story exposes a weakness that this publication will have to overcome if it wants to move into the upper tier of women’s magazines. The photos for the Beyoncé fashion shoot were picked up from the elaborate packaging of her latest album, 4. And the text was not based on an interview she gave to Jones but was, rather, snippets of things she said in interviews with other media outlets, pasted together without any input from the singer. Perhaps these journalistic shortcomings are a result of Jones’s immaturity. It has been available on newsstands nationally for only two years. It began in 2005 as a free quarterly magazine in Houston that was circulated in upscale day spas, salons, medical offices, retailers and other business establishments. In April 2010, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Tracey Ferguson, relaunched it nationally. The majority of its readers are women who cannot identify with the images and products in magazines such as Vogue and Lucky. Mainstream magazines don’t feature models and articles about women with curves, dark skin, full lips. That is the void Jones wants to fill.In its efforts to do so, the magazine is trying to get its name out there by using all available media, such as its colorful website, social media and even television: Keeping Up with the Joneses is a reality show on Centric TV, a spinoff from the BET cable channel. The show goes behind the scenes of the magazine, following Ferguson and others who are involved in its production. Through all of these ventures, Jones is positioning itself to capture its demographic and give readers the opportunities to connect with editors. The question is: Will more women “jones” for Jones?
N e w Yo r k R e v i e w o f M a g a z i n e s
Shonitria Anthony grew up in
a small town in Mississippi. She graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a minor in psychology. She has interned at Atlanta magazine and Creative Loafing. The self-proclaimed natural hair expert enjoys watching basketball games and possesses an obscene amount of alt-weeklies and magazines that she refuses to throw away. She is currently a magazine concentrator at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered stories ranging from community to entertainment to political news. Shonitria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted at @MyBrown_Eyes. Andrew Bell graduated from
Trinity College with a bachelor’s degree in history. There he co-founded the school’s first online newspaper, 4legs, which was the featured platform for an impassioned school-wide debate over the recent string of racist incidents around campus. Andrew is also an avid tennis and basketball player and a dyed-in-the-wool follower of the New York Knicks and ATP Tennis. He is also an aspiring screenwriter, playwright and director. He recently directed an innovative take on Donizetti’s legendary opera L’Elisir D’Amore for Divaria Productions, which was performed off-Broadway. He’s at @andrewbell33 or email@example.com. Alex Contratto graduated from
Columbia University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He is now pursuing his master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, with a magazine concentration. Besides focusing on pop culture and cuisine, from quirky theater reviews to the secrets of Brooklyn wineries, Alex also enjoys analyzing Constitutional case law, the focus of his master’s project. He looks forward to moving home to Los Angeles to begin his career this year. Alex can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @amcontratto12 on Twitter. BRIAN Patrick EHA grew up in
Florida. A National Merit Scholar, he graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in English literature and philosophy from the Burnett Honors College of the University of Central Florida, where he split his time between the rowing team and the library, until the library won. Later he worked as a professional editor and
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ghostwriter, handling dozens of books in many genres. Among his clients was Dr. Barry C. Black, the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. In late 2010, he co-founded a boutique marketing and branding firm. His first love is literary writing, however, and he writes both poetry and fiction. His work has been published by or is forthcoming in The Atlantic, City Journal, The New Inquiry and other publications. He reads widely, and his interests include photography and urban exploration. He can be reached by email at brian.eha@gmail. com or on Twitter @brianeha. Chris Haire grew up in a small
town in Southern California. He graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Francisco State University, where he was the managing editor of the school paper. Thanks to his time in the Bay, Chris is a burrito snob and, in true hipster form, loves drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Chris is an old soul: he owns every Bob Dylan album, wears fedoras, has a crush on Julie Andrews and still uses hardcover dictionaries. Also, his knees and back hurt constantly. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CJHaire. Elizabeth Harball grew up in
with Dick Cheney in the rolling hills of Vermont. Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheTravisIrvine. Jessona McDonald gradu-
ated from Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in philosophy. A true trackand-field junkie at heart, she competed as a 400-meter sprinter during her four years as a Nova Wildcat. Now a magazine concentrator at the Columbia Journalism School, she spent her first semester covering the Polo Grounds housing projects. She has written on issues concerning everything from education to community matters. She can be reached at email@example.com. Chikaodili Okaneme graduated
from Cornell University in 2011 with a bachelors degree in biology & society and science & technology studies. Her main area of interest is science journalism, particularly in biology and health, but she also enjoys editing any piece of text she can get her hands on. She will earn her masters degree in journalism from Columbia University in May 2012. Chika can be reached at cno2108@ columbia.edu.
Montana, riding horses and hiking in Glacier National Park. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2009 and then worked as an English instructor in Kirishima, Japan, until 2010. After collecting a variety of stomach ailments while trekking in Nepal, she returned to Santa Fe, where she found a job with THE magazine, a contemporaryarts monthly. While at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, she has covered everything from heating oil to classical musicians. She has recently received a fellowship to spend the summer writing for the Poetry Foundation website in Chicago, Ill. She can be reached at elizabethharball@ gmail.com.
Andrea Palatnik is a journalist
Travis Irvine was conceived and
born and bred writer who studied political science during her undergraduate years at the University of Melbourne before finding her passion for writing about arts and culture in London, Melbourne and New York. Most recently she has pursued her love for creativity at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is working on her first book, about New York’s Garment District and its design history. She hoards magazines and
raised by wild apes and space lizards in the Appalachian Mountains during the Reagan years. Taught to make fart noises with his armpit at an early age, Travis ventured out into the exciting world of belly dancing and fire swallowing before joining a touring circus for the next few decades. He currently resides with his pet emu on a secluded Chihuahua farm, tucked away in a fortress, and locked away in a bunker
from Rio de Janeiro, where she grew up listening to the Beatles instead of samba, watching tennis instead of soccer and basically staying away from the beach. She is currently based in New York City as a freelance reporter while finishing her master’s degree at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Andrea has covered elections in Brazil as well as folk music festivals in Norway, working for the Agence France-Presse, where she started as an intern and left after four years as a multimedia, multishift reporter and editor. She’s into photojournalism, foreign affairs and everything in between. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kate Racovolis is an Australian
cannot be stopped. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Jenny Rogers graduated from
Georgetown University with a B.A. in English and a minor in art history. While in school, she split her time between writing for the university paper and walking the school mascot, Jack the Bulldog. Now a magazine concentrator at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, she’s covered stories ranging from the science of art and architecture to local court reform campaigns. Born and raised in Texas, she loves college football and good Tex-Mex. Jenny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew Sawh cares about
politics and education, focusing on the differences in how people think about and respond to politics. Before coming to J-School, Matt worked on Gerrymandering (www.gerrymanderingmovie.com), a nonpartisan film arguing for redistricting reform. He also served as political strategy and education policy advisor on Lincoln Chafee’s 2010 campaign. The Staten Island native believes people, like stories, are the sums of their contradictions. Matt can be reached at email@example.com. Marie-Sophie Schwarzer
graduated from Durham University, England, with a B.A. in English literature, international relations and art history before coming to Columbia Journalism School. Her travels around the world teaching English in schools across Thailand, Tanzania and Nepal inspired her to become a journalist. She reported for her university paper, was editor of her college magazine and wrote for Rheinische Post, a national German newspaper. Marie-Sophie can be reached at marieschwarzer@ gmail.com. Danielle Ziri is originally from
Israel but has grown up all over the globe from Africa to Europe. She graduated from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel with a B.A. in communications and a specialization in television studies. She now is a magazine concentrator at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she spent a semester covering public housing in Manhattan. Danielle’s interests range from politics to culture, but she is passionate about feature writing and, particularly, food stories. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect. Provoke. Inspire. Huffington.
Original Feature Writing From The Huffington Post Delivered Weekly to Your Tablet
While readers take Hearst magazines everywhere, we continue to take them further. Imagining inspired ways to deliver the trusted brands readers can’t live without. Now, with the acquisition of 5 additional magazines in the U.S. and 95 magazines in 14 countries, Hearst Magazines conﬁrms its belief in magazine print today—and its many expressions tomorrow—
becoming the world’s largest magazine publisher and America’s number one publisher of monthly magazines. But thinking big is not just about reaching an audience of over 84 million.* Or having the biggest footprint. It’s about an entrepreneurial spirit that is reimagining print while boldly looking beyond it—to mobile, online, tablets, new e-commerce businesses and more. And about challenging every notion of what a magazine company can be—beﬁtting our leadership role in magazines’ bright future. *Fall 2010 MRI
CAR AND DRIVER | COSMOPOLITAN | COUNTRY LIVING | ELLE | ELLE DECOR | ESQUIRE | FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING | HARPER’S BAZAAR | HGTV | HOUSE BEAUTIFUL | MARIE CLAIRE | O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE POPULAR MECHANICS | REDBOOK | ROAD & TRACK | SEVENTEEN | TOWN&COUNTRY | VERANDA | WOMAN’S DAY ICROSSING PLUS 25 DIGITAL BUSINESSES AND GROWING
Published on Jun 24, 2012
The New York Review of Magazines presents its 2012 digital edition, covering the industry we live and breathe. Visit nyrm.org for more.