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Dylan Stableford

Tina Brown Headed to Magazine Editors Hall of Fame

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 09/04/2007-02:00 AM

Like Barry Bonds' eventual spot in Cooperstown, Tina Brown's induction to the Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame was inevitable, making today's announcement by the American Society of Magazine Editors a forgone conclusion. The induction has fueled speculation that Brown -- the former editor of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and short-lived Talk and author of the bestselling Diana Chronicles -- may be quietly mulling a return to the magazine industry, something she has denied.

What was a surprise, though, was the concurrent announcement of Jack Kliger, Hachette's president and current MPA chairman, as the recipient of the Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Kliger has been around for three decades, but his recent history at Hachette has been decidedly uneven, marked by the abrupt shuttering of popular teen title ElleGirl and scandal/failure of the controversial import Shock -- one of the blackest eyes on the industry in recent memory.

Brown and Kliger will be feted in January in New York.

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Dylan Stableford

Is Sports Illustrated Losing Potential Writers to ESPN?

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 08/31/2007-02:00 AM

Sports Illustrated recently hired a pair of senior writers with newspaper pedigrees - the New York Times' Damon Hack and Jim Trotter of the San Diego Union Tribune - away from their respective papers. (Both were African-American, notes Journal-isms' Richard Prince, tripling the total of black senior writers on staff.)

But SI group managing editor Terry McDonnel faces stiff talent recruitment competition from ESPN, where its multiplatform cache is too splashy to pass up. Take, for instance, the explanation given by columnist J.A. Adande, who McDonnel tried to lure after Adande took a buyout from Los Angeles Times: "I wouldn't say I 'turned down' Sports Illustrated because I'm not sure it ever came to a formal offer. Yes, Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Terry McDonnel called me when h found out I was leaving the Times. I was flattered that SI would think of me, and McDonnel had some intriguing ideas for what I could do for them. But I couldn't continue to appear on Around the Horn in that scenario."

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Dylan Stableford

Elle Kills Owen Wilson Q+A

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 08/30/2007-02:00 AM

With the news out of Hollywood concerning the shocking apparent suicide attempt by A-list actor and partyboy Owen Wilson, the crass touting of "Exclusive!" news about Wilson and promotion of subject experts (Radar's editors are available for comment!) -- and the eschewing of his family's pleas for privacy -- were to be expected. (Us Weekly doesn't exist in a sphere, after all.) What was unexpected, though, was Elle magazine's rather classy decision to kill a Q+A with Wilson it had conducted weeks before the actor's alleged binge-y overdose.

WWD reports
that the piece slated for its December Hollywood issue was killed by editor Roberta Myers: "Obviously the circumstances have changed significantly," she said.

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MPA Recycling Campaign: Small Steps To Help Combat A Big Problem

Marrecca Fiore Design and Production - 03/09/2007-03:00 AM

No one would ever describe me as an environmentalist. I have a deep appreciation for the beauty and tranquility of the Rhode Island coastal community in which I grew up and would love to see it preserved for generations to come. But I also think the noise and the garbage and the graffiti is a small, but important, part of what makes New York the greatest city in the world and I really wouldn’t want to see that change either.
That said, I think the Magazine Publishers of America has the right idea in mind with the recycling campaign it launched earlier this week. The campaign is simple and straightforward. It doesn’t preach doom and gloom. All it does is remind readers that they can toss their magazines into the bins with the rest of their recyclables.
Currently, only about 20 percent of magazines are recycled. Some of that may be due to the fact that people don’t realize magazines are recyclable, says MPA CEO Nina Link. She may be right. I had no idea magazines were recyclable and I’ve always tossed them in the trash. That’ll soon change, however.
In addition to its recycling campaign, MPA is also encouraging its members to use more certified paper in their publications. Certified paper is paper harvested responsibly and in an effort to keep the world’s forests healthy.
By placing one of the two logos MPA has designed for its recycling campaign and using more certified paper (for more information on certified paper and certificate programs visit magazine.org and click on the environmental section), publishers, in very small ways, can do their part to help combat very big problems such as global warming and air pollution.

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Tony Silber

The Decline Of Vanity Fair

Tony Silber Consumer - 03/08/2007-03:00 AM

For the second year in a row, Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue features a photo shoot that includes naked woman and fully-clothed men. This year’s March issue is for a story on The Sopranos, breathlessly hyped on the cover as the “best show in TV history.” Umm…hyperbole, anyone?

On the fully-dressed Tony Soprano’s lap is a nude woman, her face turned away from the camera. On Tony’s left is one of the other male characters, also fully dressed.

Last year’s Hollywood issue featured Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley nude on the cover with the issue’s guest creative director, Tom Ford, who was fully clothed. Rachel McAdams was also supposed to be on the cover, but she declined to appear nude. Anyway, that issue generated a lot of attention for its approach, most of it negative, so it’s surprising that Graydon Carter decided to reprise the approach this year.

There’s always been a sort of sleazy, misogynistic side of Hollywood culture—it’s a worldview and it’s very distinct and it pervades the movie business at a certain level. It seems to me that in the last several years Vanity Fair has to an increasing extent become about that aspect of Hollywood rather than the sometimes-transcendent art that the industry also creates.

Maybe it’s just me, but I used to look to Vanity Fair for great reporting and stories that offered new and valuable perspective. I used to view Graydon Carter as one of the great journalists of his time—he created Spy and he made Vanity Fair a profitable business where even Tina Brown did not. Now Vanity Fair is too often about shameless movie-star puffery. And I have a hard time getting beyond its dirty-old-man covers.

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Matt Kinsman

When Blogs Go Bad

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 03/06/2007-03:00 AM

Few examples of blogging gone wrong are as prominent as the recent case of Jim Zumbo, former hunting editor of Time Inc.’s Outdoor Life the second largest outdoor magazine in the U.S. In a February 16 blog post (since removed from the Outdoor Life site), Zumbo expressed his thoughts on so-called “assault rifles” by saying, “Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them…I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist rifles.’” The response was swift, and not just from the NRA. The post generated more than 2,000 comments, most of them negative. Hunting and shooting chat rooms buzzed all over the Internet. The post was made on a Friday evening, and by Sunday afternoon, Zumbo had posted an apology. Unfortunately for Zumbo, the damage was done. His TV show, “Jim Zumbo Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel, was put on permanent hiatus. His longtime corporate sponsor, Remington Arms Co., dropped their relationship with him. And Outdoor Life, pressured by advertisers and readers alike, accepted Zumbo’s resignation. Zumbo has since apologized, but of course that doesn’t have as much impact in the blogosphere as the original comments. Zumbo, a longtime hunting and outdoors personality, has had his career severely damaged. Outdoor Life has a black eye, both for being the conduit for comments perceived as insulting by its readers and its advertisers, but also for caving to the pressure and severing ties with one of its longtime editors so rapidly. With blogging now a de facto part of just about every editor’s job, expect this scenario to play itself in other publishing categories, again and again.

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Internet Aggregation Etiquette

Marrecca Fiore emedia and Technology - 02/16/2007-03:00 AM

In the Internet space, there are no competitors. Publishers have realized that to best serve their audiences online they must aggregate their own content, as well as the content of others, including their competitors. However, one rule of thumb remains, if you’re going to aggregate someone else’s content, you must link back to the story you’re citing.

Let’s face it. None of us want to drive traffic off our sites. However, if readers come to know our Web sites as the place where they can get all of the news and information they’re looking for, they’ll visit us daily AND hit the backspace key after reading the articles we link to.

I bring this up because a couple of weeks ago Folio: ran a story in its newsletter that received a lot of pick-up from bloggers and news Web sites – for this we’re grateful. However, one site referenced our story, gave us credit, but didn’t link to the story itself.

To me, this does both a disservice to the site’s readers, as well as to the news organization (in this case us) that wrote the story. Look at it this way, if they had linked to the story, the reader could have hit the link, read the story and then gone back to the news aggregator’s site. Instead, if they wanted to read the story, they had to physically leave the aggregator’s site and go on to Foliomag.com. If anything, the aggregator probably hurt themselves by neglecting to link to the story.

The other day I picked up a story from a competitor (I’m a former newspaper reporter so it pains me to do this) and I linked to the story. It’s common courtesy. We got scooped. It happens. But it would have been a disservice to our readers had we not shared the news with them. Publishers: Keep aggregating. It’s clearly the best way to keep your readership informed. But when you do it, give credit where credit is due.

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Matt Kinsman

Stumbling Into Video

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 02/13/2007-03:00 AM

Don’t have video on your site? That’s so 2005. Or at least, that’s the popular thinking. SI.com re-launched last month with a video-heavy design (including a video box moved to the top of the page) and CarandDriver.com recently debuted a program that lets viewers take a virtual test drive.

However, turning video into a sustainable business model is proving to be a challenge. Even Google has stumbled by briefly featuring an Allstate ad in a Charlie Rose clip that blogger Scott Karp called “as interruptive, untargeted and utterly old school as anything mass TV advertising has ever inflicted on viewers.”

Video may offer a temporary spike in both viewers and advertisers but video by itself won’t keep them coming back. “Video for the sake of video will yield very modest increases in new visitors but most b-to-b video isn’t very good,” says Paul Calento, vice president of marketing at InfoWorld.

Calento says there is a four step process to making multimedia work: 1) start with the Deliverable of what you want to sell—video, podcasts, mobile; 2) The Measurable, the ROI component; 3) The Nice To Have—things like co-marketing that add to scale of program and sometimes validate the price point; 4) The Gotta Have—such as incorporating a piece of an advertiser’s existing buy that they already understand into the multimedia program. “If you do that, you’re not selling $5,000 programs, you’re selling $50,000+ programs,” Calento says.

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Bill Mickey

Google Dumps Mags From Print Ad Sales Program

Bill Mickey Sales and Marketing - 02/12/2007-03:00 AM

Remember last winter when Google announced their print ad sales program? The search company bought ad space in magazines and newspapers, chopped it up into smaller sizes and began selling it to its AdWords customers. Well, Tom Phillips, with the somewhat incongruous title of director of print ads at Google, sat for an interview with Paidcontent.org’s Rafat Ali at the DeSilva + Phillips Media Dealmakers Summit last week and revealed magazines no longer fit the formula.

Phew, I think.

Newspapers, however, have become the preferred partner for their program. “One of the things we learned was high frequency was better. Daily newspapers are a better partner for us than other media,” said Phillips.

Phillips added that the program is about to graduate from alpha to beta mode sometime this spring, with roughly 30 newspaper companies, and their large metropolitan dailies, on board. The program has, he said without offering details, “exceeded our own benchmark by two-and-a-half times.”

He also noted that just because newspapers are in a slump doesn’t mean there’s no potential left. “This is a $47 billion market in the U.S. We think it’s been beaten down so much there’s some value we can bring back.”

The value of the program, says Phillips, will essentially be twofold. Newspapers potentially get advertisers that wouldn’t normally think to use that medium, and the marketers will be able to fine-tune their campaigns with better impact measurement tools.

According to Phillips, the newspapers enter available inventory into the program and sit back and wait for the bids to roll in. The papers are offering inventory sizes and sections that don’t already have national advertisers in them.

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Online Ad Spending Expected To Increase, Time To Monetize The Web

Marrecca Fiore Sales and Marketing - 02/06/2007-03:00 AM

Marketing firm Outsell’s 2007 ad spending report shows that online ad spending is expected to grow almost 18 percent this year and, as I’ve said before, now is the time to monetize the Internet.

Among the findings of the report, which surveyed more than 1,000 ad executives, are that advertisers are expected to boost their spending on sponsored content by 38 percent, on trade or b-to-b Web sites by 30 percent and on Webinars by 28 percent. Advertisers are also moving their money into vertical search, to grow by 18 percent, and their own Web sites, to grow by 17 percent.

But the survey also found that advertisers are planning to reduce spending slightly on pay-per-click advertising, in part, because of the click fraud problems that have surfaced. This serves as a message to publishers that now is the time to find meaningful ways to measure Web metrics and to come up with a meaningful system for pricing online advertising. As advertisers gravitate away from print and into the online arena, publishers should stop offering online advertising as an addendum to print and look for ways to fully monetize the Web for what it is worth. More...

Linda Zebian

We Could All Learn A Little Something From Gq, And I'M Not Talking Shirts

Linda Zebian Consumer - 02/01/2007-03:00 AM

Yesterday I interviewed Scott Carlis, executive director of marketing at Conde Nast’s GQ, for an event marketing story for the March issue of Magazine Event Strategies. GQ really has it right. It knows its audience and it knows what its readers want and what forms of media they are most responsive to.

GQ has not one, but two Web sites, men.style.com/gq and GQ Connects. The GQ Web site is fairly traditional— chock full of editorial content and ads. But it’s the GQ Connects Web site that’s leading edge. This completely promotional site is where GQ readers can go to find out about promotions, contests and events, get style advice from an expert and download weekly podcasts.

GQ Mobile is a huge part of the GQ Connects site. The magazine polled its readers and found that 100 percent of them own a cell phone so it’s no wonder that after it launched in March of last year, GQ Mobile became one of the magazine’s strongest event marketing tools. GQ sends “text-vites” to readers who submit their mobile phone numbers online, keeping them up to speed on GQ’s latest events and contests. They extend their marketing efforts even further into vertical marketing programs by targeting various regions sorting by area code.

Sure a publishing house like Conde Nast has the resources and funding to launch new initiatives at their leisure, but mobile programs are quickly reaching medium and smaller-sized publishers. The truth is, if your readers have cell phones, then you should be looking into mobile options that best suit you and your advertisers.

Check out the March issue of MES when it comes out next month to see how mobile marketing has paid off for GQ, and what other tools they use for marketing and promoting their events.

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Matt Kinsman

2007 Neal Awards: The Usual Suspects?

Matt Kinsman Design and Production - 01/30/2007-03:00 AM

American Business Media announced the finalists for its 2007 Jesse H. Neal Awards today. Considered the “Oscars” of business journalism, the Neal Awards, now entering its 53rd year, represent the best of b-to-b journalism.

So how come “the best” always seems to be the same handful of large publishers? A look at this year’s finalists reveals some familiar names: Nielsen Business Media (seven nominations), Hanley Wood (10 nominations), McGraw-Hill (eight nominations), Crain Communications (five nominations) and Advanstar Communications (12 nominations?!?). Some of the usual magazine standbys are here as well: Ziff Davis’ Baseline (Grand Neal Winner in 2005), Nielsen’s Editor & Publisher and Advanstar’s Medical Economics.

I’m not writing this because these aren’t worthy finalists (they are, and all do excellent work), nor because Folio: didn’t make the list (well, not entirely anyway). But aren’t there more b-to-b publishers doing notable work than the same old big guys?

Two years ago, when covering the 2005 Neal Awards, an attendee told us, “I’m not saying they’re not deserving but it’s getting to be like the Academy Awards. It would be nice to see some new blood up there.” Doesn’t seem like much has changed.

The Neal judges should be commended for including some fresh faces this year such as Phoenix Media Network’s Produce Business (nominated for Best-Staff Written Editorial or Opinion column) and James Informational Media’s Aggregates Manager (nominated for Best How-To Article or Subject-Related Series of How-To Articles). But it’s time more smaller b-to-b publishers start feeling the love.

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