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Dylan Stableford

Why Newsweek Chose Obama

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 01/07/2008-14:54 PM

For magazine editors covering politics, it’s been Huck-O-bamania since the candidates’ surprising Iowa Caucus wins last week. Newsweek chose Obama as its cover subject this week. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham explains why:

A word about the decision to put Obama on our cover. Weekly magazines like ours have traditionally worried about looking stale or out of sync if the candidate we are featuring loses a different primary early in the week we publish. We suffered from that perennial concern until Thursday night. Then, when Obama's victory— 8 points over John Edwards, and 9 over Hillary Clinton—became clear, so did the cover decision. Barack Obama has made not only news but history.

In an election to choose a successor to an unpopular incumbent at an hour of danger, an African-American candidate for president convincingly won a state that is virtually all white; a 46-year-old first-term senator defeated two more seasoned national politicians; an insurgent is roiling the stately party establishment Bill Clinton built as the first two-term Democratic president since FDR. No matter what happens going forward, in New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond, the Obama win—a vote for a viable candidate of color in a nation in which the issue of race has been called simply "the American dilemma"—is a new chapter in our long national story.

Check out the video of Meacham’s explanation here

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Dylan Stableford

FOLIO: Editors Weigh In on 2008

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 01/04/2008-17:49 PM

Not surprisingly, our annual roundup of media predictions has generated a ton of traffic for our little Web site here. What is surprising is that it did so without the benefit of the FOLIO: editorial staff weighing in on 2008. So, before we send the piece off to the Smithsonian for archival purposes, I figured we should round 'em up here:

NAME: Matt Kinsman
TITLE: Managing editor, FOLIO:
2008 PREDICTION: I think publishing companies in 2008 and 2009 will face a real talent pool crisis. Those companies that ignore new media training will be behind the curve, while those employees that have developed a new media skillset (and more importantly, a strategic understanding of new media) will say "enough" to product closures, lay-offs and pay cuts, and start jumping ship not only from their companies but the magazine industry in general.

NAME: Bill Mickey
TITLE: Senior editor, FOLIO:
2008 PREDICTION: Six of 'em ...

1. Site engagement metrics—time spent and session lengths—will play a larger role with more publishers in the online sales process as advertisers begin to understand that page view and unique visitor metrics are not the only window into an online user’s soul.
2. At least one overly leveraged publisher will get squeezed this year, resulting in a rapid crumbling of a rapidly-constructed platform company.
3. Publishers will begin to worry less about “extending the brand” and instead launch new brands to capture new audiences.
4. Value-add will, once and for all, be shed from a publisher’s vocabulary, if only out of necessity. Nothing is free, everything has a price.
5. There will be some dramatic and broad e-media strategy shifts as publishers become more comfortable with their audience’s online content habits.
6. There will be a noticeable rise in smaller, strategic, bolt-on deals—especially in the e-media sector—from large and small companies alike.

NAME: Dan Trombetto
TITLE: Art director, FOLIO:
2008 PREDICTION: 2008 will be the year that the few remaining Quark users finally see the light and come over to the world of InDesign. We will see one of the most controversial covers of all times hit the newsstands—one that makes each and every one of us question reality as we (think we) know it. Also, FOLIO: magazine will feature NO purple on it's covers (but a pink/black color combo will be used liberally).

NAME: Dylan Stableford
TITLE: Senior editor, digital, FOLIO:
2008 PREDICTION: Here goes, bros:

1. Radiohead launches a magazine, and subsequently struggles to build subscription and advertising revenue with its failed pay-what-you-want model. Thom Yorke quits as editor.
2. Revenues for Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn surpass those of Vanity Fair.
3. A magazine launches a really cool, expensive online product that makes absolutely no money or business sense, but is written about, breathlessly and incessantly. It then folds.
4. Samir Husni shaves off the moustache, quietly. He then grows it back, and counts it as a launch. 
5. I finally snag a dream lunch date with Martha Stewart. I pick up the check.
6. The American Magazine Conference is held in October in San Francisco. Pool-gazing editors complain. The MPA apologizes, and schedules 2009 for Cancun.
7. FOLIO:'s rotating cast of bloggers becomes the Huffington Post of the magazine industry. As editor, I develop misplaced accent.

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Dylan Stableford

Bryan Monroe Sounds Off on Imus’ Return

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 01/03/2008-15:12 PM


At the 2007 FOLIO: show, I met Bryan Monroe, the editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines. His name, though, I already knew as the National Association of Black Journalists president, or, more to the point, the guy who held Viacom and NBC’s feet to the fire over the Imus/Rutgers’ women/”nappy-headed ‘hos” debacle. Since Imus’ recent return to the airwaves, I thought posting the video interview above now seemed prescient.

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Dylan Stableford

OK! Magazine Breaks 'Intimate,' 'Exclusive,' 'Major' Pregnancy Story

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/19/2007-18:55 PM

If you haven't heard, Britney Spears' 16-year-old sister, Jamie Lynn spears, is pregnant. The story, first reported by OK! magazine, was picked up by, well, every media outlet in the entire world.

Here's the e-mail OK! publisher Tom Morrissy sent to advertisers this afternoon to remind them it was OK! who did the intrepid reporting, and that now is a good time to advertise in the magazine:

From: Tom Morrissy
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007
3:21 PM
To: [REDACTED]
Subject: OK! Breaking News

Dear Advertiser,

OK! Magazine does it again with another major scoop that is sure to be the hot topic this holiday weekend. Our exclusive, intimate interview with Jamie Lynn Spears discussing her pregnancy was the lead story on all the news outlets this morning including:

• Lead story on The Today Show
• Cover of the New York Post
• Lead Story on TMZ
• Cover of USA Today's Life section
• Lead story on People.com

This exclusive caps an extraordinary year of "gets" for OK! Between the first photos of Larry Birkhead and daughter Dannielynn, Eva Longoria's wedding, and Britney's photo shoot "meltdown," OK! proves once again that we are the source for breaking celebrity news around the world!

Don't Miss Our Next Hot Exclusive: Fast-Close Opportunity!

OK! has the exclusive interview and photos of Emmy-winner Katherine Heigl's wedding in our 1/14 issue (on sale 1/3). As proven with our Kate Walsh and Eva wedding exclusives, this is sure to deliver bonus circulation! Contact your OK! sales representative for a quick opportunity to kick off the New Year with buzz for your brand.

Have a great holiday!

Tom

Tom Morrissy
Publisher
OK! Magazine

NEWS. ACCESS. STYLE.
OK! Magazine | 475 5th Avenue | New York | NY | 10017


How the publication of a story that gets so much national attention–effectively rendering the buying of the magazine completely unnecessary–signals a good opportunity for advertisers to "kick off the New Year with buzz for your brand" is beyond me, although I suppose that's why I'm not the publisher of OK! magazine.

UPDATE: It appears the OK! servers are not handling the traffic crush too well, as the site is up and down (sort of like Britney's pop career?). It also appears that People.com bought "OK magazine" as a Google keyword, displaying a link under search results that reads "JAMIE SPEARS PREGNANT."

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Dylan Stableford

Readers Argue Where to Place Ascend Blame

Dylan Stableford B2B - 12/18/2007-16:33 PM

"Downfall." "Volatile." "Implosion." It's a story that has, as one industry insider observed, the appeal of "trainwreck." Tony Silber's account of Ascend Media's fall from grace, despite being published last week, is continuing to draw heated comments from a largely anonymous gallery.

Like these:

Submitted by Anonymous:

The founders of Ascend have the worst track record and as we know, history always repeats itself. There was no other possible ending to this story with these guys at the helm.


Submitted by Anonymous:

The demise of Intertec ... did NOT happen under Bishop's watch as commented by someone here. Cam fought hard at Intertec against a naive and greedy attempt by a board with no publishing experience to transform Intertec into a "dot-com" company, was ousted because of his resistance to what everyone at the company knew was a crazy and stupid plan, and was ultimately proven correct when the dot-com crash killed Intertec.

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Dylan Stableford

Facebook vs. MySpace

Dylan Stableford emedia and Technology - 12/18/2007-09:51 AM

With all the talk of social networking in 2007-including the Beacon debacle-I've been following with interest the monthly traffic growth of Facebook and LinkedIn as they continue to chip away at MySpace's lead and market share.

It's a Web 2.0 pennant race!

Alongside the usual suspects, note that Flixster, the site that allows you to share movie ratings with friends, is having an enormous year.

AOL Hometown, down 22 percent versus November 2006, is not.

The latest unique visitors (in thousands), as provided by Nielsen Online.

Nielsen also provides the top 10 blogs in terms of traffic. The top five on this list-like Blogger and Wordpress-are not blogs, per se, but free blog hosting companies. The exception is TMZ.com, whose traffic was flat when compared to November 2006—the month, you'll recall, that Michael Richards' racist tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club was caught on tape and posted to TMZ.

 

UNIQUE AUDIENCE
6-Nov 7-Nov %CHNG
Myspace 53,596 57,390 7%
Facebook 11,634 21,975 89%
Classmates Online 12,236 11,466 -6%
Windows Live Spaces 8,824 9,504 8%
AOL Hometown 9,810 7,644 -22%
LinkedIn 1,576 5,443 245%
Club Penguin 2,224 4,398 98%
Reunion.com 4,743 4,085 -14%
AOL Community 6,035 3,455 -43%
Flixster 807 3,357 316%


UNIQUE AUDIENCE 6-Nov 7-Nov %CHNG
Blogger 22,562 33,638 49%
WordPress.com 2,937 12,043 310%
Six Apart TypePad 9,065 11,027 22%
TMZ.com 8,981 8,865 -1%
LiveJournal 3,662 3,422 -7%
Thatsfit 1,324 2,640 99%
Gadling 683 2,425 255%
Engadget 1,121 2,387 113%
Xanga.com 4,221 2,283 -46%
Gizmodo 1,078 2,101 95%

 

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Dylan Stableford

Digging Through the Now-Free New York Times Archive

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/17/2007-14:07 PM

Inspired by a pair of archive diggers in other industries, I recently took a spin through the New York Times now-free online archive. (NOTE: It's not entirely free; see comments below.)

Armed with search terms like "magazine" (81,099 results since 1981), "Internet" and "Graydon Carter," here are a selection of results—some dated, others oddly prescient:

January 1, 1981: Earliest result in archive for "magazine."

Mr. Shafir also came under fire when he defended assigning a plainclothesman caught taping a closed news briefing given by the ministry's Police Division. The taping was said to be for a police magazine.

July 1, 1981: The return of Vanity Fair.

ADVERTISING; Vanity Fair's Return Set

For the last 45 years, the only sign of Vanity Fair magazine, the sophisticated darling of the Roaring Twenties, was the monthly notation on the spine of Vogue that said: ''Vogue (Incorporating Vanity Fair).''

It was the Condé Nast Publications' way of protecting its copyright against the day it might resurrect Vanity Fair.

Now, following the success of its new Self magazine, the company says the day has come, and that the magazine of ''wit and critical intelligence'' that sparkled for 22 years before dying in the cold of the Depression, will return as a monthly in January 1983.

The initial circulation of the new Vanity Fair has been set at 250,000. The cover price will be $2.50. No publisher has been selected yet but there is an editor in chief, Richard Locke, currently deputy editor of The New York Times Book Review.

January 31, 1981: "Falwell Wins Court Curb On Penthouse Distribution"

Federal Judge James C. Turk today prohibited Penthouse magazine from distributing its March issue at the request of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of Moral Majority, who says a Penthouse interview with him was obtained by deceit.

September 8, 1984: "Anna Wintour Is Wed To a Child Psychiatrist"

Anna Wintour, creative director at Vogue magazine, was married yesterday to Dr. David Shaffer, chief of the child psychiatry department at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Judge Elliott Wilk of New York City Civil Court performed the ceremony at the couple's Manhattan home.

The bride, who has retained her name, is a daughter of Elinor Wintour and Charles Wintour of London. She was formerly a senior editor at New York magazine and deputy fashion editor at Harper's & Queen magazine in London. She attended Queen College in London.

August 15, 1987: "WINTOUR LEAVING BRITISH VOGUE FOR HOUSE & GARDEN"

Anna Wintour, the editor who changed British Vogue from a quirky, insular fashion magazine to a slicker international publication, is coming back to New York to become editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. She starts Sept. 9. ''I've missed New York terribly,'' Miss Wintour said yesterday in a telephone interview from London.

Anna Wintour, the editor who changed British Vogue from a quirky, insular fashion magazine to a slicker international publication, is coming back to New York to become editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. She starts Sept. 9. ''I've missed New York terribly,'' Miss Wintour said yesterday in a telephone interview from London. ''I'm enormously looking forward to coming back.'' Her new job is not her only cause for celebration. Two weeks ago, Miss Wintour, who is married to Dr. David Shaffer of New York City, gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Kate.

November 2, 1987: First appearance of Spy magazine.

Honing the Rapier to Skewer Yuppies

First came the horror stories of young stockbrokers too poor or shaken to order radicchio and warm goat cheese salads at their favorite track-lighted restaurants. Then came the jokes: What's the difference between a 28-year-old arbitrager and a pigeon? At least the pigeon can still make a deposit on a BMW.

By now, it seems, it is open season on yuppies in New York City. (For camouflage, some are rumored to be scratching the Ferragamo signatures from their shoes.) Recently, some of the more trenchant observers of the New York scene were invited to indulge in a little yuppie-bashing. They seemed eager to oblige.

''It's fun to look into their eyes in the subways,'' said E. Graydon Carter, co-editor of Spy magazine, which has made just about every identifiable group in the city an object of its biting sarcasm. ''It's nice to see the overdogs getting their ears clipped a bit.''

April 17, 1990: "Lack of Ads Kills 7 Days Magazine"

Just two years after it was started with great fanfare, 7 Days magazine has ceased publishing.

In a tense meeting yesterday at the weekly's newly renovated offices in lower Manhattan, the publication's owner, Leonard N. Stern, told the staff that even though 7 Days covered New York City's social and political happenings in a ''stylish and provocative'' way, it could not generate the advertising support it needed to survive.

October 22, 1990: "Media Market Languishes as Buyers Disappear"

July 13, 1992: "Vanity Fair Is Hot Property, But Profit Is Open Question"

Vanity Fair may be the hottest magazine on the market, but does it make money? For all that has been written about the monthly magazine that Tina Brown led to prominence before being named editor of The New Yorker, almost nothing has been said about its profitability.

January 25, 1993: "Vanity Fair Is Doing Nicely, But Out of the Spotlight"

February 9, 1994: "Spy Magazine Can't Find Buyer, and Closes"

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Dylan Stableford

Did 'Blackberrying' Kill Blueprint?

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/13/2007-15:24 PM

To most media watchers, when a magazine folds, it's always fun (if evil) to see how the parent company and its executives spin it ("We're shifting focus to the Web, y'all!" a familiar refrain). When a Martha Stewart magazine folds, it's even more fun.

Yesterday, the diva of all media gave her television show's studio audience her pie-baked take on Blueprint two days after its shuttering:

"The world has changed. By blogging, they get information. By texting. By BlackBerrying. By surfing the Internet. Even using their cell phones to retrieve information on the go! So to keep in step with this very dynamic Blueprint audience, we've decided to change the Blueprint format from just the magazine, fusing it into a new group of ideas."

WWD adds: "She deftly avoided any hint of a retreat, saying simply that the company had 'changed Blueprint's format' to live on as a blog and a 'featured entity' for Weddings. As for the magazines spread out in front of her, Stewart said cheerfully: 'These issues just might become real collectors' items!'"

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Dylan Stableford

BusinessWeek Reorganization: Editor Stephen Adler's Memo

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 12/13/2007-01:13 AM

BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler's memo to staff yesterday regarding an extensive editorial reorganization at the magazine:

Colleagues:

For the past three years, we’ve been moving progressively toward integrating our print and digital operations – by increasing reporters’ contributions to Businessweek.com, combining our overseas bureaus and copy-desk teams, and seating together everyone within a given coverage area. Today we complete this vital transformation by creating a single editorial organization for BusinessWeek. The new structure will enable us to collaborate more effectively, take greater advantage of everyone’s abilities, learn new skills, and serve our readers and Web users better.

Under this new structure, one chief editor will supervise all work in print and online in a particular coverage area. Each chief will report jointly to Executive Editors John Byrne and Ellen Pollock, both of whom will continue to report to me. Here’s the lineup:

News Chief: Brian Bremner

Finance/Personal Finance Chief: Frank Comes

Small Business Chief: Jim Ellis

Tech Chief: Peter Elstrom

Science Chief: Neil Gross

Corporations/Workplace Chief: Mary Kuntz

Innovation Chief: Bruce Nussbaum

Global and Policy Chief: Chris Power

The chief editors will get in touch with everyone who will work within their groups later today or tomorrow. We’ll phase in the new structure between now and Jan. 1. Let’s plan on a staff meeting for early January to discuss all this further.

In other new assignments springing from this reorganization, Dan Beucke will become BusinessWeek.com News Director, reporting to Brian Bremner; and Suzanne Woolley will become Senior Editor for Personal Finance, reporting to Frank Comes.

While we’ll all be working together editorially regardless of delivery platform, we’ll continue to sweat the production details that enable us to create both a topflight magazine and a first-rate Web site. Recognizing the special skills required to excel in these two very different media, I am appointing Ciro Scotti as managing editor of the magazine and Martin Keohan as managing editor of the Web site to ensure that we preserve the highest possible quality as we produce each product – and that we meet our various deadlines.

Ciro joined BusinessWeek in 1978, after reporting stints at daily newspapers. Since 2005, he has been an assistant managing editor, deftly overseeing production of the magazine, writing the very best cover headlines, and casting a sharp editorial eye over all our copy. Previously, he was a senior editor, responsible for the copy desk and for government and sports-business coverage. Ciro will continue to report to Ellen Pollock.

Since 2003, Martin has served as director of editorial operations for BusinessWeek.com, skillfully ensuring collaboration and efficiency among the news and channel editors, copy desk, art department, production, and technology. Prior to his role with BusinessWeek.com, Martin served as editorial director for BusinessWeek Events, where he created the BW50 Forum and the CEO Summit Series. Martin will continue to report to John Byrne.

Unfortunately, in connection with the reorganization, a small number of our editorial colleagues will be leaving BusinessWeek. It’s exceedingly difficult to part with valued co-workers, and decisions to eliminate positions aren’t made lightly. I want to thank those who are leaving for all their good work and wish them well in new endeavors.

Despite the challenges of the past few years, our journalism has been extraordinarily strong, and both readers and online users clearly have taken notice.

– Our total magazine readership was up 3% in the last MRI tally, to over 4.9 million, more than at any time since 1998;

– Newsstand sales were up 25% in the latest report, while most of our competitors were down or flat;

– We achieved a new online usage record in November with 64.7 million page views.

As our new organization takes shape over the next couple of weeks, I’m confident that it will build on these achievements and create exciting opportunities for the BusinessWeek team. Congratulations to all on their new assignments.

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Dylan Stableford

Did ‘Pay-at-the-Pump’ Revolution Doom Magazine?

Dylan Stableford B2B - 12/12/2007-11:32 AM

Customers who become conditioned to fast-moving, customizable, immediate digital experiences, eschewing human interaction. Advertisers who want to reach them. Magazines struggling connect both. Sound familiar?

Except it’s a story that, for once, has little to do with the Web. This week, Newport Communications announced that Roadstar, a magazine that serves the trucking industry, is folding. Among the reasons: truckers—like the rest of Hyundai-driving America—are paying at the pump with credit cards, bypassing the truckstop sales clerks and thereby the kiosks where Roadstar is freely distributed.

Instead, Marty McClellan, Newport VP and Roadstar’s publisher, says the company is putting its resources behind something called “Pump Topper,” a “fuel island advertising program" that carries messages to truckers “as they are fueling,” as well as its other trucking title, Heavy Duty Trucking. And, of course, the company is developing a trucking search engine for the Web.

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Dylan Stableford

A Blueprint for Failure?

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/10/2007-18:59 PM

Whatever your feelings are on Martha Stewart and her brand-happy offerings, it's clear that this morning's shuttering of Blueprint after just eight issues continues the recent trend of publishing companies having a short-leash on launches, and a decidedly low tolerance for failure.

If true, this unattributed quote, as reported by mediabistro.com's FishbowlNY, is also telling:

"The magazine was billed as a 'fresh, fun guide to personal style'... but staffers were told that MSLO had 'misjudged the market.'"

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Dylan Stableford

Internal Memo: Cam Bishop Out as CEO at Ascend

Dylan Stableford B2B - 12/10/2007-16:37 PM

A change has been made at the top of Ascend Media. CEO Cam Bishop is out, Vicki Masseria, former group president of CMP Medica, is in.

The internal memo:

Roger Dusing
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 11:06 AM
To: All Ascend Team
Subject: Important Company Announcement
Importance: High

All Ascend Team,

This morning, the company is announcing that effective immediately, Vicki Masseria is assuming the role of CEO of Ascend Media. As has been previously discussed, the company continues to refine its focus in the healthcare sector. This, coupled with the increasing complexity of healthcare markets and government regulation, has defined the need for a seasoned healthcare industry media professional. Vicki brings 25 years of experience in B2B, including 23 years in the healthcare field. Most recently, Vicki served as Group President of CMPMedica USA where she was in charge of the U.S.'s fifth largest portfolio of healthcare publications as well as a large medical education business. As head of CMPMedica USA (formerly Miller Freeman), she and her team were active in both organic and acquisition growth, and completed five acquisitions and integrations since 1990. Vicki received her bachelor's degree from Ohio University, has attended graduate publishing programs at Northwestern's Kellogg School and Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, and has also served as Vice-Chair of American Business Media's (ABM) Healthcare Council. Vicki will be visiting each of Ascend's offices during the next two weeks, starting with Overland Park on Monday, December 10th. In addition, as part of this process, Cam Bishop will continue as Chairman of the company where he will work with Vicki as well as the board of directors on strategic matters through a transition period.

Roger Dusing, SPHR VP Human Resources
Ascend Media
7015 College Blvd. Ste.
600 Overland Park, KS 66211

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