The Maggies Close the WPA Conference with an Evening of Publishing Execellence and Politics
The big winners were IT Architect for best overall b-to-b magazine and Diablo for best overall consumer magazine. Nails won for best trade-magazine cover design and Edutopia won for consumer publications. There were 85 Maggies winners culled from over 2,000 entries, representing 400 magazines.
But to attend one or more of these rollicking black-tie events is to realize the incredible spirit that western magazine publishers bring to their work. There is cheering, chanting, clapping and when winners are announced, roars of approval. It is very different from the staid and proper Neal and National Magazine Awards.
The Maggies, sponsored by the Western Publications Association, are different too for their overt politics: Each year, emcee Peter Craig, chairman of the event and one of the important figures in West Coast publishing, opens the event with a political stage-setter. This year, Craig said this:
"There is a battle going on in this country, a battle over the intentions of the founding fathers and the meaning of the Constitution, especially the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Referring to the recent extension of the Patriot Act, Robert Byrd, a Constitutional scholar and the longest-serving member of the Senate, quoted from Benjamin Franklin, ﾑThose who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ Add this to the executive branch’s belief
that they are above the law and a Justice Department that wants to review the Web pages and search queries on Google, AOL, Yahoo and MSN, and we have a country traveling quickly down the road away from the path set by the founding fathers."
Meanwhile, the WPA’s annual Two-Day Publishing Conference, held in conjunction with the Maggies, brought Western publishers together for a variety of publishing seminars. Noteworthy in particular was a VIP panel featuring moderator Craig, Professional Media Group CEO and Folio: founder Joe Hanson, ABM CEO Gordon Hughes, Elle publisher John Rollins and Network Communications CEO Dan McCarthy.
The free-form session touched on a lot of issues, from the role of editors to startups to the fund-raising challenges and ultimate shutdown last year of Rollins’ music magazine, Tracks.
"Citizen journalism, such as blogs, has turned media from a lecture to a conversation," Hughes said, adding, "editors are responsible for b-to-b’s future. This year and in the future you take on a burden that you probably never imagined. Editors are the real link between the user and the brand."
For his part, Rollins described the multimedia success Elle is having, in particular with fashion show videos on its Web site and the Bravo television show "Project Runway." As he described the trouble he had with Tracks, particularly the fact that the performance lagged the business-plan’s timetable for profitability, thus causing investors to back out, he might have considered what Hanson described as Hanson’s Law, which he explained just prior to Rollins: "The cost of a new magazine will always be more than budgeted, even if the budget was set up to accommodate Hanson’s Law."
One other bit of wisdom imparted by Hanson:
When an advertiser calls to ask if the February (or March, etc.) issue closed yet, the proper response is: ‘Do you want to get in, or out?’
More than 350 attendees and over 20 sponsors were present at the conference. For a complete list of Maggies winners, visit www.wpa-online.org.