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Time Inc. Tries Hand at Reader-Generated Issue

‘This Old House' becomes ‘Your Old House' for a month.

By Joanna Pettas

This Old House has become one of the latest magazines—and first Time Inc. title—to publish a 100-percent reader-created issue.

The 950,000-circulation title's June issue is comprised entirely of reader-submitted photos and stories of do-it-yourself projects. (It also features a special "Your Old House" logo with the word "This" crossed out.)

Executive editor Kathryn Keller says the magazine received thousands of e-mails, letters, photos and projects since editor Scott Omelianuk's first call for submissions in his December editor's letter.

In addition to the letter, the magazine created a dedicated microsite for readers to upload materials and then called for submissions at the end of magazine stories, in e-mail blasts and at the end of the This Old House television show.

According to Keller, the magazine plans to do this again on an annual basis. "But just as important," she says, "we received so many great tips and projects from readers—and they're still coming in—that we're going to continue showcasing them in each issue. We definitely want to keep the conversation going."

Though ad pages were up 3 percent over last year with this issue publisher Matt Turck told FOLIO: that the magazine "actually had to invest a little more than usual" to create it, due in part to the costs associated with building and managing the microsite. However, he says, "it was an advertiser success and early signs show a consumer success—we plan to do it again."

User-Gen Trend

Earlier this month, Budget Travel published its own user-generated June issue. The magazine solicited roughly 2,800 pitches from readers and included submissions from 324 contributors. In a blog post for FOLIO:, editor Erik Torkells wrote, "Let's be perfectly clear. Making this issue was neither cheap nor easy." The magazine paid "normal fees" to contributors as well as travel expenses for companions and had to do an "extraordinary amount" of editing.

8020 Publishing, which formed in June 2006, produces its two reader-generated titles Everywhere and JPG with a total staff of 19, and may be profitable by next year. The company is reportedly considering similar titles for foods and car enthusiasts, if the demand among its online community reaches critical mass.

By Joanna Pettas


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