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Dylan Stableford

VIDEO: There's No Way on Earth You'd Launch a Magazine Called 'The Atlantic Monthly' in 2009

Dylan Stableford Sales and Marketing - 04/09/2009-10:11 AM

A recent interview Rex Hammock conducted with Samir "Mr. Magazine" Husni at the University of Mississippi. As Rex notes, anytime Husni speaks, there are plenty of headline-worthy soundbites. Here's one:

"If you are starting a magazine today, there's no way on earth you are going to call it 'The Atlantic Monthly' because they'd think you are starting a magazine about the Atlantic Ocean."

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Dylan Stableford

Does Forbes.com Really Publish 5,000 Articles a Day?

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 04/08/2009-11:17 AM

Last week, I wrote a brief story (“Forbes Rolls Out Mobile Reader Application for BlackBerry”) about the latest magazine to focus resources on tapping the growing number of smartphone users.

What caught my eye, however, was this line (bolded for emphasis) in the footer of the press release:

About Forbes.com

Forbes.com (www.forbes.com), home page for the world’s business leaders and the No. 1 business news source in the world, is among the most trusted resources for senior business executives, providing them the real-time reporting, uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and community they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning. Throughout the business day Forbes.com publishes more than 5,000 articles, delivering the best of Forbes journalism and that of its selected partners with all the immediacy, depth and interactivity that the Web allows. Forbes.com is part of Forbes Digital, a division of Forbes Media LLC. Forbes.com and affiliated properties—ForbesTraveler.com, Investopedia.com, RealClearPolitics.com, RealClearMarkets.com, RealClearSports.com, and the Forbes.com Business and Finance Blog Network—together reach nearly 42 million business decision makers each month.

Five thousand articles? Every business day? Really?

Considering the multiple reports of layoffs at Forbes Media (they never got back to us on that) I found that number curious, and high.

I asked Forbes to clarify. Here was a spokesperson’s response:

This is the combination of staff-written, freelance contributed and partner supplied (from Oxford Analytica to newswires).

I asked Forbes to break it down further. Here’s what they said:

We do not break this out, but according to Editor Paul Maidment, the site publishes content 24/7 by editorial staff in the U.S. and bureaus in London, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing.  It includes staff-written, freelance contributed, and content supplied from numerous content partners—including consultancies like Oxford Analytica and McKinsey; business schools like Wharton, Harvard Business, etc; media companies like paidContent and Venture Beat; and wire services (including Reuters and AP) as well as specialist contributors across 10 Editorial Channels and 70-plus sections within those channels.

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Dylan Stableford

Magazine Beef: Publisher Issues Press Release Warning Rival Will Fold

Dylan Stableford - 04/08/2009-09:40 AM

Two weeks ago, Harris Publications pulled the plug on King magazine, one of two hip-hop titles the company publishes—the other one being XXL.

Now, Harris is going on the offensive. In an undated press release sent to media buyers and posted on the Animal New York Web site, XXL claims Giant, a rival title published by Radio One, “will fold in the near future like King and Blender.”

The last two issues had less than twenty total ad pages and as a savvy media professional you can calculate their total revenue per issue and that it isn’t nearly enough to come even close to break even.

XXL points to Radio One’s omission of Giant in a recent trade advertisement as proof of the company’s “lack of support and investment in the title.”

“Bottom line: One has lost faith in Giant’s ability to attract consumers.”

In the release, XXL urges media buyers to “take a hard look at your print partners and invest with those that are credible, viable, proven and trusted.”

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Dylan Stableford

VIDEO: Stephen Colbert Eviscerates the Newspaper Industry

Dylan Stableford Association and Non-Profit - 04/02/2009-10:48 AM

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a Lobby - Newspaper Lobby
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest


Colbert, explaining what a newspaper is to "my younger viewers": "A newspaper is like a blog that leaves ink on your hands and covers topic other than how much you love Fall Out Boy ..."

Now, now. Don’t laugh too hard magazine industry, you could be next ...

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Dylan Stableford

Live on Twitter: The 2009 FOLIO: 40

Dylan Stableford emedia and Technology - 04/01/2009-07:54 AM

Today, we’re going to announce the 2009 FOLIO: 40—our prestigious annual list of industry innovators and influencers—online. (The April issue, which is mostly devoted to the list, will hit mailboxes in a few days.)

Rather than just toss the profiles up on the Web and point users to a landing page or RSS feed, we’re going to try something different this year. Beginning at 9:00AM EST, we’ll be announcing the list, all 40, one by one, on the FOLIO: Twitter feed (@foliomag). If you have a Twitter account, click here to add FOLIO:.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still follow along here …

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Dylan Stableford

Page Views for Print Magazines?

Dylan Stableford Audience Development - 03/26/2009-09:18 AM

DeSilva + Phillips, the New York-based media banking firm, published a report yesterday on the state of celebrity media. If you’re in the business of celebrity media—particularly the print side—it’s a must read. Spoiler alert: The outlook is, uh, not so good.

You can read FOLIO:’s full synopsis of D+P’s report here.

But here's one interesting point I didn’t include in the write-up. On page 12, Ken Sonenclar, the author of the report, makes an interesting argument—and possibly invents a new metric–for celebrity magazine publishers wrestling over the ad dollars fleeing print for the Web:

"Celebrity magazines offer a degree of reach that even the dominant websites should envy. The best way to view this is via the language of the Web, where many celebrity magazine “page views” dwarf web page views. Consider US Weekly. In a four-issue month, the magazine will publish 384 pages (96 pages/issue). Taking the magazine’s recent average circulation of 1.9 million, and assuming a conservative pass-along multiplier of three, yields in excess of 2 billion page views for US Weekly per month. That is seven times the page views of TMZ, the Web site with the most page views."

Calculating page views for print magazines. Did we just invent a new, viable metric here? Or is it merely the last (faint) gasps of desperation for a dying medium?

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Dylan Stableford

Postmaster General Asks Congress to Allow USPS Five-Day Delivery Schedule

Dylan Stableford Audience Development - 03/25/2009-12:02 PM

John Potter, the head of the U.S. Postal Service, went before Congress today to deliver a 6,577-word statement on the state of the USPS, and, of course, to ask for help.

For those of you who don't have the time to read 6,577 words in one sitting (Potter clearly hasn't heard of Twitter), here are some highlights:

  • The Postal Service “is experiencing a very serious financial crisis because of the downturn in the economy.”
  • “Mail volume is running 12 percent below 2008 levels.”
  • “The gap between revenue and costs has become a chasm, widening each day.”
  • “We are facing losses of historic proportions.”
  • “Our situation is critical.”
  • The losses are “not indicative of any lessening in the actual or perceived value of the mail.”
  • “Stability, by itself, cannot be our goal.”
  • “Assuming that we achieve our planned $5.9 billion in savings, the Postal Service is still projecting a loss of $6 billion in 2010. This follows last year’s loss of $2.8 billion, and, in 2007, a loss of $5.1 billion.”
  • “Current law does not permit us to adapt our service offerings to a changing business environment. The Postal Service, which does not receive taxpayer subsidies, is required to operate like a business, but the law constrains us from taking the businesslike actions necessary to fully and properly align our institutional cost base with reduced and evolving customer demand. Having the flexibility to change delivery frequency will overcome one of our structural barriers.” Translation: five days of mail delivery, instead of six.
  • And, perhaps tellingly, just 40 of those words were devoted to the USPS Web site:  “We are improving our Web site, usps.com, making it easier for online customers to access our service—quickly, easily, and conveniently. A clean new look, easy-to-navigate features, and expanded functionality will make usps.com a more valuable growth channel than ever.”

Click here to read the full statement ...

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Dylan Stableford

Will Newspapers Go Non-Profit to Save Themselves?

Dylan Stableford Audience Development - 03/25/2009-09:05 AM

The Non-Profit Times?

That’s what one senator, at least, would like to see happen.

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Maryland) introduced legislation that would allow newspapers to become non-profit organizations in an effort to help the faltering industry survive.

The bill, called the Newspaper Revitalization Act, would allow newspapers to operate as non-profits under 501(c)(3) status for educational purposes:

Under this arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements, but would be allowed to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns.  Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

This isn’t a new idea. Anya Kamenetz, author of a book called Generation Debt (which is about loan-riddled college kids, not the sucking newspaper industry) suggested in a 2007 article—published, somewhat ironically, in Fast Company—that newspapers should go the way of NPR:

Take the old Gray Lady. She's no less shining an example of New York's cultural heritage than the Metropolitan Opera. So why shouldn't the Times, like the Met, turn itself over to a philanthropic foundation that could invest in long-term quality over quarterly revenues? Whether the future is digital, dead trees, or a combination, the foundation could protect the Times' highly trained staff, research resources, reportorial traditions, archives, and matchless global brand.

In the article, an industry analyst calls the proposal "a wonderful idea that nobody is going to endorse." Well, now we have at least one.

Unlike newspapers, the magazine industry is not quite at Defcon 5 yet. And, like it or not, newspapers are considered by people like Cardin—and for that matter, Obama—part of the fabric of America, like apple pie, baseball and government bailouts.

But the bigger question is, can it work? Should it? And would this approach have saved, say, the Seattle Post Intelligencer from print extinction? And could it save, say, newsweeklies?

Not sure, but it’s not a bad conversation to have, either.

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Dylan Stableford

Editor Blames Plagiarism on 'Limited Staff'

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 03/23/2009-13:37 PM

According to a report today in Ocala, Florida Star Banner, there are at least 20 examples of plagiarism in stories and columns written by Ocala magazine editor Heather Lee, spanning a period of four years.

In an e-mail to the paper, Lee said the plagiarism was unintentional, and hinted that it was a result of the magazine being understaffed.

Oh, boo friggin’ hoo.

Here’s her e-mail, in part, as printed in the paper:

Producing 17 issues a year is a huge responsibility, especially with a limited staff and little to no freelancers. Many times I'm working and researching dozens of stories months and months ahead of time collecting data, ideas, thoughts, quotes and the like from every resource possible. All of this goes into a running file that I keep on my desktop, referencing, revising and cutting as it gets closer to deadline. I do my best to keep detailed notes as to where the items come from and I believe that as I work through the files, getting closer to finished copy that I amend all the information to be in my own voice. So when I say that I never intentionally reproduced someone else's work as my own, I'm being truthful.

What do you think? Is being overworked a good excuse for plagiarism?

You can weigh in here …

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Dylan Stableford

More Than Half of Adweek’s Hot List Had Declining Ad Pages in ‘08

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 03/23/2009-10:47 AM

The 2009 Adweek “Hot List”—recognizing 10 “consumer magazines with a recent track record of standout advertising revenue and page performance”— is out.

The “Hot List,” along with Ad Age’s A-List and the National Magazine Awards (and FOLIO:’s Eddies) represent the highest honors a consumer magazine can get in any given year.

The Economist, a bit of an anomaly in the bludgeoned newsweekly category, tops this year’s List, with gains in ad pages (4.4 percent) and circulation (9.2 percent).

Interestingly, though, just three other magazines (Elle, Women’s Health, Everyday with Rachael Ray) on the list turned in increases in ad pages in 2008. The rest—People (down 12 percent), Real Simple (-18.6 percent), Men’s Health (-11.5), Family Circle (-13.7), Vogue (-9.7) and New York (-6.3 percent)—all saw declines.

Even in magazine awards season, it seems, there are shadows before light.

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Dylan Stableford

'We Need You to Do Something That’s Never Been Done Before'

Dylan Stableford B2B - 03/19/2009-10:23 AM

The three-day FOLIO: Summit wrapped up in Chicago yesterday. Here are some leftover quotes in our notebooks from keynotes, sessions and chatter in the exhibit hall.

“This is, without a doubt, the worst.”
—Tony Silber, GM, FOLIO:, on how this recession compares to others

"We try to lead with technology, not bleed with technology."
—Scott McCafferty, co-founder, WTWH Media

“People actually read Discover; people who get Sci Am put it on their coffee tables to impress their neighbors.”
—Henry Donahue, president, Discover Media

"If you think you're in control of the content your users or readers are accessing, you're fighting a losing battle."
—Scott McCafferty, co-founder, WTWH Media

"We don't have any money. We don't even have a line item in our budget for digital. We use interns."
—Joan Henderson, publisher, Oklahoma Today

"This perhaps seems like old hat, but can we do these things better? Probably, yes."
—Molly Meloy, VP of marketing and business development, CFO Group, on getting back to sales fundamentals

“CNBC has been the PR Newswire of the New York Stock Exchange for years.”
—Jim Malkin, CEO, Source Media

“The Governor’s Suite takes on a whole new meaning in Chicago.”
—Dylan Stableford, senior editor, digital, FOLIO:

“Our businesses in media have a social, moral and ethical obligation to host that conversation.”
—Malkin on the backlash over AIG bonuses

"When they find you through organic search—that’s the Holy Grail."
—Bob Carrigan, CEO, IDG

“We shouldn’t be talking about church-state anymore. We should be talking about quality content that fills a niche.”
—Malkin

“There are turf wars—still.”
—Howard Roth, eVP, Bonnier, on the sales commission structure governing integrated ad packages

“We're not interested in kids playing Chinese strats learning their first tabs.”
—Peter Sprague, Premier Guitar, on maintaining quality circ

“Advertisers say to us, ‘We need you to do something that’s never been done before, create advertising that’s never been invented, something that’ll get us in the paper.’”
—Jay Lauf, publisher, The Atlantic

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Dylan Stableford

Follow the FOLIO: Summit on Twitter

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 03/17/2009-13:41 PM

It's not exactly at the Twitterati buzz-level of South by Southwest, but FOLIO: editors and attendees are updating their Twitter feeds live from the FOLIO: Growth Summit in Chicago this week.

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