Professional Development Tour of
New York Magazines

June 2002

Study Guide

Five faculty members in magazine programs spent three days visiting New York magazines to update their knowledge and find out what magazine staff members were thinking about. The group included Abe Peck of Northwestern University, Ann Schierhorn of Kent State, Barbara Reed of Rutgers, David Sumner of Ball State, and Gerald Grow of Florida A&M. The tour took place June 10-13.

JOANNE PERSICO, President
GCN Publishing

The first day's meetings were held in the
conference room at American Business Media.

Brand extensions. Fewer magazines now stand alone. They are part of a cluster of brand extensions that include such ancillary activities as newsletters, seminars, conventions, spinoff publications, buyers guides, trade show copy, web material, email notices, and the like.

One of the major activities of many current magazines is coming up with new ways to provide service, under a trusted magazine's name (or brand), that readers are glad to pay for.

Persico said that they think of themselves as creating community within their industry, and doing so in whatever space they work with.

Serving the audience. Successful publishers look at themselves as information providers, not as publishers. What makes them successful is not producing a product (publishing), but identifying the needs of their audience and serving those needs (providing). "We are always asking: What is our mission? How do we serve our readers?"

Daily newsletters. Some business press journalists who had been accustomed to working on a monthly or weekly deadline now have to think of themselves as daily journalists. They have to do so because they are now putting out a daily industry newsletter.

Marketing skills. "Editors today need good marketing skills." They have to ask about every article, 'How does this fit with what the sales teams are doing? What makes someone pick up the publication?"

Ads as content. A lot of readers are interested in the ads as content. In a well-targeted magazine, ads contain useful information for readers.

Editors and brand extensions. The editorial staff is central in determining various brand extensions, e.g., seminars offered at workshops, what topics readers have to be interested in, what speakers to bring in.

InfoTaxi is an example of a brand extension. Regular internet search engines are often useless for business purposes, because they produce thousands of irrelevant hits. InfoTaxi is a proprietary search engine that is limited to a selection of sites known to have a high relevance to users in a specific industry.


SEAN FULTON
B2B Publishing on the Web

A few of the trade magazines that are members of
American Business Media.

Think resourcefully. Making money on the web is difficult. You have to think resourcefully. If you go along and do things the way others do, or the way your technical people want it, it can cost you a lot.

As an example of resourcefulness, here is a way to underwrite the development of a magazine's archives: Get a single company to be the exclusive sponsor for six months, promote this fact heavily, and use those funds to pay for developing the archives.

Repackage. They took a selection of Q and A on PC problems that had run in one of their magazines, made a 16 pg booklet that was half ads, polybagged it with Time Magazine and made "a ton of money" on it.

Custom publishing on the web. Another way to use the web profitably: Custom publishing on the web. InfoWeek might e.g., produce a sub-issue for IBM employees, containing only articles of interest to their employees. Then the publisher can sell ads to people who want to reach IBM employees.

Another example of custom publishing: Find out what demographic groups advertisers want to reach--say, among Chief Information Officers. How do advertisers break down that group?

Go to the editors of your trade magazines and ask them to identify the topics these readers most need to stay current on. Us this to produce free custom email newsletters for this group, with targeted copy and targeted advertising.

Church and state. This high degree of collaboration does not, however, lead to a blurring of the line between editorial and advertising, even on the web. The integrity of the brand has to be protected in readers' eyes. Fulton's guideline: "Ask: 'Would we do this in print?'"

Job stability. Fulton said that B2B publishing is a more stable job than working at a newspaper or for consumer magazines. There is less turnover and people tend to stay with the organization for long periods, presumably because such editors become more valuable as they develop expertise in the industry.

See americanbusinessmedia.com for white papers, surveys, research.


ARIC PRESS, Editor in Chief
American Lawyer Media

American Lawyer Media owns American Lawyer and other publications for lawyers. They serve 70,000 lawyers, produce a daily news feed, practice-specific websites, continuing legal education, and an online service where lawyers can search for expert witnesses. They have various ventures, including The Daily Deal for the investment industry and Law.Com.

In search of a business model for the web. "We are all confident that the web is the future, but nobody has a clue how to make a buck off it...We sort of understand the web as content, but not as a business model."

The people designing websites often want to do exciting things that have no relation to how the company makes a living.

Leaked information. American Lawyer sometimes faces an ethical question when a reader leaks a memo to them to use as the basis for an article about industry problems. They have to be careful not to incite the theft of proprietary information.

What he wants in a J-Grad. "I am a consumer of your [the professors'] services. I hire 3 to 5 grads each year from graduate schools. I look for willingness to learn, to work hard.I'm sometimes disappointed in what I am getting."

He complained that some recent grads don't know how to organize a story. He expects a story to have structure. Beginning, middle, end. Paragraphs that move from point to point.


BARRY GREEN, Circulation Director,
Hearst Business Media

Circulation directors ("circulators") have become a much more valuable and high-visibility role.

Circulation now includes more promotion and marketing than it used to.

They do a good business renting email names, $400 per thousand. List is not sent out; owner of list does the actual mailing of the electronic message, in order to protect the list.

In recent years they have increased their list rental by 25%.

He discussed electronic delivery of publications and pointed out that this raises new considerations. For example, if you send out a PDF version of your magazine--duplicating the magazine exactly on the screen, page by page--the back cover ad loses its value. Nobody is going to turn to the back cover of a PDF file!

Similarly, because readers can click directly from the contents to the page of the article, they do not page through a PDF file the same way they page through a magazine, and thus lose exposure to the ads.

A PDF magazine, then, may not work for advertisers as well as the print version does. This calls for a different strategy for displaying ads in online publications.

 


WHITNEY SIELAFF, Publisher
National Jeweler

Industry overview. During the dot-com boom, a lot of magazine companies grew rapidly by buying up titles, but acquiring debt in the process. The current magazine scene is dominated by large companies with large debt that are under pressure to produce profits during hard times.

Print lives. In spite of the internet, print and broadcast journalism have remained strong business models and will continue to be. "Run of press" = money from the print product--still dominates their magazine.

Comprehensive marketing. This is the cutting edge today: Comprehensive marketing and integrated marketing mixtures --combining shows, print, direct mail, and e-media. Comprehensive marketing includes being able, for example, to produce 8-page insets for advertisers and newsletters for retailers to remail (these are family-owned businesses that don't have time to create a newsletter on their own).

Questions in mind:

  • How does a magazine stay strong when the market turns down?
  • How do we get advertisers to keep buying during a slump?
  • How can our magazine compete against others trying to do the same things?

Trade shows. Trade shows are a major part of their business. Trade shows have about a 50% profitability. Their yearly trade show draws 16,000 vendors.

On the web. They have a big e-media presence. They use templates for their different magazines, designed for ease of use by readers, so they can get on, quickly find what they need, and get off. See www.national-jeweler.com

Mailing lists. The company owns 2.5 million user names, which they segment and sell as mailing lists.


RON CUMMINGS, VP Sales
Banta Publications

The business formerly known as printing. They don't mind being called printers, but they consider their business to be capturing, managing, and distributing customer information.

Banta's role has moved from being only a "printer" to helping customers take advantage of the full possibilities of their information by properly preparing, labeling, and storing it so that it can be located, reconfigured, and reused.

Four critical factors the publishing industry has to consider over the next 4 years:

  • Scale, size of the organization (lots of conglomerates now)
  • Talent - including new talent coming from J schools
  • Managing content - being able to manage it and create multiple revenue streams from the same content
  • Distribution - print or web or digital distribution (like PDF)

Shortening print cycles. One of the goals is to be able to manage and change the content right up to the time of printing [apparently using direct-to-plate technology, bypassing negatives and bluelines]. Previously, content was locked up about a month before printing, and material sat on the shelf during various proof and prep phases.

They encourage some publishers to buy their own $6,000 proof printers so they can approve their own color proofs right in their own offices, instead of passing them back and forth from the printers shop.

They are having to re-train publishers to complete all their proofing internally, and not to expect bluelines and the ability to make changes at that stage. Many editors are accustomed to being able to make blueline changes late in the process. The speeded-up printing process means that they copy has to be clean before the printer sees it.

Work cycles that used to take 10 to 15 days can be reduced to as little as 4 or 5 days. Using these methods, Rolling Stone recently cut a week out of their print cycle.

Their document management system is based on Quark.


Note on pronunciation: The first syllable of Banta is pronounced to rhyme with "John."


Tuesday June 11, 2002

MARK HOROWITZ, Articles Editor
JOANNA COLES
, Features Editor
New York Magazine

 

 
Student interns, New York magazine.

 
View from the balcony, New York magazine.

Horowitz has a background in movie magazines. The political column for Buzz. Then Senior Editor at LA Magazine. Briefly an editor at NY Times Magazine. 4 years now at New York.

Comes to editing from writing, which is not true of all editors.

New York is a city magazine, does a lot of service, mixed with journalism. Bit of a booster feeling. "You're in the center of the world," --this feeling has to come through even in issues on corruption. Listings (always a big issue how to do them).

Mix of good feature writing, service as fun and excitement (with good journalism in the service), weekly, and has a national readership--making it both a national and a city.

Being a weekly, it has a "news magazine" aspect to it, which is different from nearly any other city magazine.

"The story behind the story" is an angle they often work with.

New York invented the format for the modern city magazine, 1968.

Newsstand sales are a small part of their sales. Now about 25,000 which is only about 10 percent of sales.

The best selling issue by far is "The Best Doctors" which has a very plain cover.

Readership. Age 44, 30 percent live in suburbs, reasonably high income -- we know exactly who our readers are. "We do things that flatter them into thinking they are younger and groovier than they are."

Coles wants to see more articles about people her own age. Less of the "50 big bars" articles.

Voice of the magazine. Knowing, skeptical, self-absorbed, full of Schadenfreude and bitterness, also self-deprecating air, wise-cracking reasonably sophisticated, acknowledging that it is difficult to live in NY. A kind of identity of the New Yorker, about being something different from the rest of the country.

Horowitz: In addition the the underlying voice of the publication, all great magazines have the voice of the 4 or 5 best writers for the magazine at the time. There may be some tension between these two that gives the magazine vitality. Voice of magazine can vary from decade to decade.

One of the voices of NY is Michael Wolff, columnist of "This Media Life."

Critics, columnists, star writers become known to readers. Alex Williams, Jennifer Seniors. 25 years ago: Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin.

Advice to writers. Coles stressed the importance of writers for getting their own ideas. Important to read local papers and follow what is going on. Know the context of the current world. Have greater context than the topic at hand. You are always writing in the context of the economy, or 9-11, of NY history, of the world situation.

The only way to get this perspective is by reading widely.

Coles worked at a major British newspaper and got quizzed each morning about the morning's news stories in competing papers. You were expected to have a tremendous amount of background knowledge about current events and cultural history.

Many students do not understand how much work it takes to write a good magazine feature.

Collaboration. A magazine is an incredibly collaborative process. It is amazing how much a good editor can improve a story. And how different editors can add to a story. (Coles)

Story form. Horowitz said that some stories find their own organic form, and when they don't, he likes to see them in this form:

  • an opening scene
  • nutgraf (People's "billboard") that nails down what the article is about
  • more scenes, emphasizing human stories
  • a definite ending

 


NORA RAWLINSON, Editor in Chief
FRED CIPOREN, Publisher
Publisher's Weekly

Reed Business Information has 120 titles. Formerly Cahners Business Information.

Many trade magazines have editors who came out of ad sales and need help building the journalistic qualities of the magazine. This might be an opportunity for faculty to provide training seminars.

What is a trade publication? A trade publication is not about the professional activities of the reader, but it moves the business the reader is in.

It is extremely important for a magazine to understand what business it is in. Publishers Weekly originally thought they were in the book review business, but Nora taught the magazine that they were in the business of helping librarians decide what to buy.

Publishers Weekly is the largest review medium in the world. They are the foundation for book reviews in all other media.

"PW is not necessarily about books. It is about the business of publishing trade books--books that go to bookstores." Not textbooks, scientific, technical.

PW invented the term "best sellers list."

PW's audience is actually not publishers but booksellers -- and that fact is missing from their title.

Library Journal. They recognized that Library Journal was not a journal for librarians, but a vehicle for selling the library market to publishers and vendors, and they re-positioned the publication accordingly. They helped teach librarians to think of themselves as a market and how to think and respond like a market.

Criticas--A recent publication, "An English speaker's guide to the latest Spanish language titles."

Profitability. The LJ group is the most profitable -- around 42%. School Library Journal runs an amazing 62% profitability.

But they address a mature audience -- there are not that many new libraries to grow into. This is not a business that can expect continued rapid growth.


ED NAWOTKA
Editor of the email Publishers Weekly Daily

They now produce 4 email newsletters, directed to booksellers around the country.

The newsletters notify bookstores everywhere what author is appearing on national TV or radio, etc, with click-throughs to related websites, and the ability to click to book orders from Ingram.

They try to focus on mid-list--titles that are not getting a lot of promotion -- because booksellers will already know about the most heavily promoted items. He relies on PW editors for this information, as well as booksellers around the country.

"Beyond the best-seller list" = idea of the newsletter.

The email newsletter makes PW far more personal. It is easier for booksellers to feel free to contact the newsletter than to contact PW.

There are 3 to 5 ads in an issue. Generates about $1000 a day and pays for the operation.

These email newsletters are "brand extensions" of PW.

Publishers use this newsletter to get out news quickly. When Stephen J. Gould died, the backlist publisher took out an ad.


STEVE ZEITCHIK
Editor, PW NewsLine

Grad of Columbia J school.

Wishes he had more emphasis on story and structure when he was a journalism student. Wanted highly specific advice on writing.


BOB DANDLIS
Circulation, Publishers Weekly

 

Direct mail responses have been going down everywhere, from a previous 1.2% down to 0.7% percent for PW ($199 year).

Overall average cost of acquiring a new subscriber is $63 on a $199 sub rate. This is considered an outstandingly good rate. Fortune pays more than $100 per new subscriber. It is not unusual for it to cost the same as the subscription rate to acquire a new subscriber. Adding telemarketing can bring the cost up to $83-93.

Blow-in cards are cheapest way to acquire new subscribers --but response has been going down and is now around .08 percent, and .05 percent for bind-in cards.

This audience of librarians has a high pay-up rate. Doctors have a poor pay-up rate, lower than nurses (sense of entitlement).


BOB SILVERS, Editor
New York Review of Books

Start-up. Started during a strike at the NYTimes, which was the only time a magazine could start without captial. 1963

Got nearly 1000 letters of encouragement after the first issue -- and they used these potential subscribers to raise money for establishing the magazine as a regular publication.

They made money starting in the 4th year and it has made money since.

Bought by Hedemann with the guarantee that he would not interfere with the editorial content.

Hedemann has built the book publishing arm and strengthened advertising.

Content. "Weird combination" of book reviews in which the books themselves are occasions for serious considerations of the subject. Many books require searching reviews. Sometimes uninteresting books lend themselves to great reviews of the topic.

Many of the books are on serious political and international topics. Many reviewers have strong concerns and opinions on the topic.

Book reviewing allows entry to almost any subject.

"We do what interests us."

They have a sideline of publishing books that are out of print, now up to 120 titles. They also publish collections of articles that were published in the review.


Basics. 125,000 circulation
21 times a year
extreme loyalty in subscribers
Sells 19,000 copies on the newsstand. Difficult to get circulation companies to carry it. So they built up their own distribution network in bookstores.

40% of readers are academics

84% renewal rate, which is the key to their success. But that means they have to replace 16% of their subscribers each year. This requires promotion -- ads, ad exchanges, mailings.

NYRB proves that you can have a profitable magazine without much growth.


Wednesday June 12, 2002


JOE TREEN, Executive Editor
People Magazine

Magazine writing. "My crusade is to promote magazine writing techniques at journalism schools."

It is relatively easy for People to find good correspondents --reporters in the field--because they are doing something close to newspaper work. It is also relatively easy to find fact-checkers. These can come out of J-schools or newspapers.

"What's hard is finding a writer." Most people write short choppy sentences, inverted pyramid, they don't use literary techniques or focus on people or tell a good story.

The People article. The bread and butter of People magazine is the 2-page, 800-word profile.

Story structure. The standard People profile is based on extensive research, is exhaustively fact-checked, and is edited repeatedly. It has the following typical structure:

  • Anecdotal opening: an opening story or scene that has its own appeal and its own "kicker" ending that moves it to the next section.
  • The "billboard" paragraph which explains what the story is about and why we are reading it now.
  • The body of the piece, built around a human focus with more stories.
  • The bio, near the end, which in effect covers the information "She was born in..." and goes chronologically through the life. The  People formula assumes that readers will be interested in these facts only if they are interested enough to read this far.
  • A definite, satisfying ending.

[Notice how closely this resembles the story form described by the editors of New York.]

News vs. magazine writing.

Q: What is the difference between news and magazine writing?

A: Newspapers give the story away as fast as possible. They want to get you into the story by the facts alone.

Magazines want to entice you into the story by their writing. News structure uses an inverted pyramid style. Headline, deck, nutgraf, quote, then the rest. No ending. There is no reward for reading to the end. News has a short, choppy writing style. One-sentence grafs.

Magazine: more literary wiring style, more "sprightly."

Magazines tend to have a voice, a limited defined perspective, not all-knowing, more fun and friendly.

Newspapers want to tell the facts and magazines want to tell the story.

The Best American Crime Writing, edited by Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook (Pub date: Aug. 13, 2002), raises the question of what happens to magazine stories when they are removed from magazine layouts.

[There might be a research project here: influence of magazine layout on reader evaluation of a magazine story.]

The basics. People magazine grew out of the People section of Time magazine--after an editor's wife remarked that the People section was her favorite section.

93% of the newsstand buyers of People are women.

35% of the readers are men, mainly through pass-along. That makes People the No. 5 magazine in male readership, behind Readers Digest, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and TV Guide

Pass-along is 10 readers, cf. to Time which has a pass-along of 2.

Around 45% of sales of People take place at the newsstand. Circulation is 3.7 million weekly. Newsweek abt 3 million, Time about 4 million.

People has no staff photographers; all are freelance.

People is still the most profitable of the Time Inc magazines.

It is very much a photo driven magazine. "If we don't have the pictures, we don't have the stories."

They get about 30,000 pictures a week sent to them electronically. They are having to set up a major tracking system for the pictures. Metadata has to include who is in the picture, who took it, what the rights are, what resolution it is, so all of this can be searched.


GARRET YANKOU, Art Director
InStyle Magazine

Staff of abt 120. A group of 10 gets together to do a yearly forecast. Because the magazine is not news oriented, they can forecast contents long in advance.

Hardly any men read the magazine. About 97 percent female. "We always think about what readers want."

Early in planning a story and its layout, they ask: How are you going to guide a reader through the story?

InStyle, though a fashion magazine, shares the Time Inc mentality: everything is thoroughly researched and fact-checked. The magazine contains a lot of facts, and they are all checked.

"Everyone gets along pretty well, so we're pretty accommodating." Staff members want to hear from anyone who has questions about anything at all, or who is bothered by anything.

Photo re-touching:

"We do a lot. We are known for doing a lot. It is definitely a big part of the art department's job to make certain the celebrities look OK."

Where are the limits? "We don't change something someone was born with, such as a mole. I also don't like flopping photos."

"I would never move someone from one spot in the photo." Would not cut them out of a photo and put them against a different backdrop.

Would never take a head and put it on another model's body.

"You don't want to make it look fake. If someone is heavy, we might crop the photo differently, rather than trying to change them."

Readership

  • 97% women
  • Readers make a lot of money -- a lot higher than Vogue.
  • pretty well educated
  • 33 years old

Newsstand sales go to somewhat younger women, about 30

Newsstand sales about 950,000, compared to 600,000 subscribers.

The company does not want more subscribers, which is a rare, smart thing. We make a lot more money off newsstand sales. Subscriber cost is about $25. Subscription rate has been kept high. Harper's Bazaar is now offering a bargain-basement $8 per year subscription, as is Esquire.

The Cover

We do a lot of research, which is a Time Inc thing. Some focus groups: "Will you buy the magazine if this person is on the cover?"

Once they brainstorm a theme for an issue, the editors write up cover lines for those stories, and they sometimes run these by a focus group.

The biggest factor is finding out what are the biggest selling cover lines. Editors and designer will use this info to help decide the prominence and order of cover lines.


KATASHA HARLEY, HR College Liaison
Time Inc.

Katasha Harley introduced the various internship programs available through Time Inc. magazines.

The nine-week, paid, summer Time Inc. Editorial Internship Program is the one most familiar to magazine teachers and students. It takes applicants for the position of reporter/researcher, photo editing, photo lab, and graphic design.

Several magazines in the organization have their own internship programs, including InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, and Teen People.

The STARS Program is an eight-week, paid, summer internship for college or high school students with the business department of a magazine.

The Time Inc. Business Scholar Summer Intership Program is a nine-to-twelve-week, paid, summer internship "designed to attract talented diversity candidates" who have "a strong desire to pursue a career on the business side of magazine publishing."

The Time Inc. Logan Associate Program is a paid, one-year, full-time program similar to the Business Scholar program.

Time Inc. also has a program for hiring trainees in production departments of magazines and a program for recruiting MBA graduates interested in the business side of magazine publishing.


ISOLDE MOTLEY, Corporate Editor
Time Inc. Magazines

Time Inc. Magazines
Time
Sports Illustrated
People
Entertainment Weekly
Fortune
Money
In Style
Real Simple
Time For Kids
Sports Illustrated For Kids
Sports Illustrated For Women
Teen People
People en Espaņol
FSB: Fortune Small Business
Business 2.0
Mutual Funds
Southern Living
Progressive Farmer
Southern Accents
Sunset
Cooking Light
Coastal Living
For the Love of Cross Stitch
For the Love of Quilting
Parenting
 Baby Talk
Health
In Style U.K.
In Style Australia
In Style Germany
Time Asia
Time Canada
Time Atlantic
Time Latin America
Time South Pacific
Wallpaper*
Who Weekly
Popular Science
Outdoor Life
Field & Stream
Golf Magazine
Yachting
Motor Boating
Salt Water Sportsman
Ski
Skiing
Freeze
This Old House
 TransWorld Stance
 TransWorld Surf
 TransWorld Skateboarding
 TransWorld Snowboarding
 TransWorld Motocross
 TransWorld BMX
 Ride BMX
 Skiing Trade News
TransWorld Skateboarding Business
TransWorld Snowboarding Business
 TransWorld Surf Business
 BMX Business News
 Amateur Gardening
 Amateur Photographer
 Angler's Mail
 Cage & Aviary Birds
 Chat
 Country Life
 Cycling Weekly
 Horse & Hound
 NME
 Now
 Shooting Times & Country Magazine
 Woman
 Woman's Own
 Woman's Weekly
 Woman Feelgood Series
 Woman's Own Lifestyle Series
 Woman's Weekly Home Series
 TV & Satellite WeekTVTimes
 What's On TV
 Mizz
 Mizz Specials
 Webuser
 Caravan Magazine  

  The Guitar Magazine
 VolksWorld
 World Soccer
Beautiful Homes
 Bird Keeper
 Cars & Car Conversions
 Chat Passion Series
 Classic Boat
 Country Homes & Interiors
 Creating Beautiful Homes
 Cycle Sport
 Decanter
 Essentials
 Eventing
 Family Circle
 Golf Monthly
 Hi-Fi News
 Homes & Gardens
 Horse
 Ideal Home
 Land Rover World
 Livingetc
 Loaded
 Marie Claire
 MBR-Mountain Bike Rider
 MiniWorld
 Model Collector
 Motor Caravan
 Motor Boat & Yachting
 Motor Boats Monthly
 Muzik
 19
 Now Style Series
 4x4
 Park Home & Holiday Caravan
 Practical Boat Owner
 Practical Parenting
 Prediction
 Racecar Engineering
 The Railway Magazine
 Rugby World
 Ships Monthly
 Soaplife
 Sporting Gun
 Stamp Magazine
 The Field
 The Golf
 Uncut
 What Digital Camera
 Woman & Home
 Yachting Monthly
 Yachting World
 Aeroplane Monthly
 Superbike
 Women & Golf
 Shoot Monthly
 Hair
 Wedding & Home
 Woman's Weekly Fiction Special
 International Boat Industry
 Farm Holiday Guides
 Jets
Tie Life Inc.
 Oxmoor House
 Leisure Arts
Sunset Books
 Media Networks, Inc.
 First Moments
 Targeted Media Inc.
 Time Inc. Custom Publishing
 Synapse
 Time Distribution Services
 Time Inc. Home Entertainment
 Time Customer Service
 Warner Publisher Services
 This Old House Ventures, Inc.
TimePix

Joint Ventures
 BOOKSPAN
 Essence Communications Partners
 European Magazines Limited
 Avantages S.A.

Time Inc. magazines operate on journalistic standards that require thorough research, fact-checking, and editing--even in the lifestyle magazines.

Staffers are prohibited from accepting gifts of any significant value or lavish travel from the companies they write about, or anything else that might create a conflict of interest.

5 magazines report to her:


InStyle
Teen People
Real Simple
People en Espaņol
Sports Illustrated for Women

She is also connected to

Health
This Old House
Cooking Light

...because they fall under lifestyle magazines.

She meets with the business side, is closely involved in top hiring decisions on the editorial side.

John Huey has the same relationship to the weekly, business magazines and Sports Illustrated.

She was the original editor of This Old House and later of Martha Stewart Living. Earlier, she was editor of Life  in its last two years.

Start-ups. Time Inc. formerly had a start-ups group that came up with one new magazine per month. That approach has been abandoned, and now they look for people who have great new ideas in any part of the company. The startup process is now decentralized.

O.J. What did the company learn from the controversy that followed the publishing of a darkened photograph of O. J. Simpson on the cover after his arrest? -- If there had been a black editor in the room at the time that cover was designed, the staff would have had a better understanding of how it would impact readers.

On her mind:

  • Do readers have the same expectation of editorial integrity for lifestyle magazines like InStyle as they do for Time?
  • How will they integrate the newly acquired British magazines into the Time Inc. organization?
  • How much manipulation of images and words should be allowed? Should all the lifestyle magazines be held to the Time journalistic standard?
  • How can they get more minority staffers at the table where they are empowered to make decisions?

SHERYL HILLIARD TUCKER
Executive Editor
Money Magazine

She emphasized being a team player and how many writers do not understand that role. If someone is not a team player, they themselves do not get the help they need to succeed here.

Her goal is to manage people "up" -- to find their strengths and interests and match those to the organization.

Interns: initiative, research, balance

She told of an intern who took charge of a story with flaws, re-reported it, fact-checked it, cleaned it up, helped with writing and transitions, and put herself in a position later to be hired by the magazine.

Downside: sometimes up and coming young people don't know how to say no and get overwhelmed with requests for their work.

Interns have to be able to do research.There are opportunities in research and reporting. Their feature on the 50 smartest women in business was researched entirely by interns.

Money requires a much deeper level of reporting than most related magazines.

If a brief story recommending a stock has two people quoted, it probably has 20 people interviewed.

Money as a brand. "Money is no longer a magazine; it is a brand that stands for the ultimate of investment advice --in various media."

Tucker also does books, newsletters, PR reports.

"Credibility is our biggest commodity."

Readers are very loyal. Renewals are high. Readers are getting richer.

Reader research has its limits. What their readers want in every story in every issue is "5 Stocks You Should Buy Now."

Readers could not have told them to do an article on college scholarships, but once the story ran, it received a strong reader response.

Tucker was joined in this presentation by Glenn Coleman, Assistant Managing Editor, Money.


LUCY MAHER, Features Editor
People.com

The final stop of the tour was the offices of People.com, yet another corner of the magazine world that seems to be staffed almost entirely by women under 35.

Maher explained that People.com produces much of its own content. The editors come up with the ideas and farm them out to a stable of freelancers they regularly work with. They do not seek freelance submissions.

People.com also reprints some material that appears in the print magazine, though it tends to use less than an entire article, and the site will sometimes develop its own angle on the story.

People.com is considered profitable, though, as Abe Peck pointed out, that depends on the accounting method used. People.com appears to be credited with the magazine subscriptions that are made through its site--which is a more generous credit than most sites would receive.

Advertisers are charged by the number of clicks on the page holding their ad, and they typically contract for a certain maximum number (and fee).

 


Magazines as a presence in New York

Even in New York City, magazines managed to stand out. Advertisements for magazines appeared everywhere. Bus kiosks, for example, held many ads for coming issues.

This huge block-long billboard panel appeared on the second floor, on the outside of the offices of Hachette Filipacchi Media, naming and picturing their magazines.

The picture below shows only the left half of one of the two wraparound billboards on the building.


The main reading room of the New York Public Library.

This breathtaking space was filled with the vibrant, humming silence of people writing, studying, carrying out research, using their laptops--and reading.

Libraries are undergoing changes parallel to the changes in the magazine industry. Print media now share space with electronic media, and librarians ponder some of the same questions about the way print publications will be affected by new media, new users, new needs, and a changing world.

 


Let me close with a bit of history:

A visit to the Metropolitan Museum turned up many wonderful examples of graphic communication throughout history-- of which the modern magazine is a recent example.

This Akkadian cylinder seal from the ancient Near East around 2200 B.C. was a device for publishing a small page of combined graphics with cuneiform text. Copies were made by rolling the engraved cylinder across a bed of clay. A modern imprint of this cylinder seal appears to the right.

The cylinder shown above is about two inches high.

 

Though apparently used mostly as seals (signatures), the carved cylinder and its clay impressions contained the right elements to be considered to be the magazine of the ancient Near East.

With the ingenuity and innovation that have always been characteristic of the publishing industry, ancient Babylonians soon (about 2000 B.C.) devised a way to publish large amounts of information more than two millennia before paper was invented.

The cylinder above--which is about a foot wide--contains a proclamation whose cuneiform text could be imprinted over and over, without errors of copying, onto blanks of soft clay.

Rolled out, it would produce a clay publication close to 11 by 17 inches in size, making it possibly the world's earliest tabloid press.

Imagine the problems its makers had with research, writing, editing, proofreading, approvals, printing, storage, and distribution of 11-by-17-inch clay tablets!

Modern magazines follow a long tradition in graphic publication. Over the centuries, graphic designers have grappled with the problems of placing text and pictures together into a meaningful whole. Some of the earliest solutions resemble today's publications.

This Egyptian slab from the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2500 B.C.) shows a vivid illustration, text in columns grouped into different widths, text running around an illustration, and what appear to be a headline and a caption -- all standard devices in modern magazine design.

--Original in the Metropolitan Museum


Early failure in the magazine field. Was the editor of this seven-inch wide Paleolithic scribed stone able to focus the intent of the publication well enough to hit the target audience? Apparently not.

This item shows what can happen when editors get too far ahead of their readers and advertisers. In this case, the publication came about 8,700 years before the invention of writing, 12,200 years before the invention of paper, and although graphic images were being used with great brilliance in Paleolithic caves, people lacked the tools to mass produce engraved stones of this type. Besides, nobody advertised on them.

This stone could be whimsically considered a magazine failure of the Paleolithic Age.

--Original in the
Metropolitan Museum

 



Text by G. Grow. Photos by G. Grow, except for logos and magazine covers, which came from company sites on the internet. Lucy Maher supplied the photo of herself.

Index of Professional Development Tours of Magazines