Friday, May 04, 2007

Mag Bag: At Discover, Children Art the Future

Mag Bag: At Discover, Children Art the Future
by Erik Sass

At Discover, Children Art the Future
Discover is putting the cover design for its October issue on the future of science in the ink-stained hands of some lucky elementary or middle school student. The mag is holding a national design contest open to students from the third through eighth grades. While it sounds dicey, given their Photoshop skills, today's students might just put some graphic designers out of a job.

According to the magazine, "the winning entry, to be selected by Discover's editorial team, will be the design that best captures the wonderment and possibilities of science." The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 20, 2007. The winning artist and six finalists will be profiled in the magazine and online. Contest details are available on the Discover Web site.

The contest is designed in part to spread awareness of the magazine among a new generation of potential readers, following a wide-ranging revamp of the magazine by publisher Bob Guccione Jr. He acquired Discover in October 2005 from the Walt Disney Co., then spent much of the past 18 months revitalizing its readership and ad base, discarding the "junk" circulation it inherited to make it more appealing to Madison Avenue.

"Taking this unprecedented step--given the importance of a magazine's cover--underscores our commitment to raising this discussion," said Guccione. "There's no better snapshot of the future of science in America than what a child sees and perceives science to mean today."

Guccione Jr. is also in talks with his father, Bob Guccione Sr., to acquire Omni, the seminal science and science fiction magazine that spawned a new category of consumer magazines, including Discover. Time Inc. launched Discover in 1980, partly in response to the success of Omni, and Guccione Jr. recently told MediaDailyNews he would like to revive it as a "high-gloss science fiction quarterly" early next year. Omni ceased publication as a monthly print magazine in 1996, and a Web version of the magazine was disbanded in 1998. Time Inc. sold Discover to Disney in 1991.

Hearst Launches 3 Mobile Ventures

Three of Hearst Magazines' titles delivering home and lifestyle advice to women--Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful and Redbook--are launching mobile-content services targeting women 35+ in partnership with Crisp Wireless. The sites, specially designed for mobile format, include interactive features like calculators, quizzes, downloadable wallpapers, search and user-generated content.

Stacy Morrison, editor in chief of Redbook, explained: "Cell phones are how a woman stays connected to friends and family, keeps herself organized, and now, with our new mobile sites, she'll be able to use her phone to actually make her life easier."

Content areas at Redbook and Good Housekeeping include recipe libraries with related grocery lists and nutrition facts, diet and exercise tips, and an array of lifestyle advice. Redbook also features "Mommy Strategies," where user suggestions team with interactive features. Good Housekeeping's content includes a searchable list of every product with the mag's seal of approval and an exercise calculator. House Beautiful offers a "Design Dictionary" and paint calculator.

This news follows the recent announcement that CosmoGirl and Popular Mechanics, both published by Hearst Magazines, will be creating digital content, including video, in partnership with Fox Television Studios. The first video content for CosmoGirl is a drama about three female best friends during their junior year of high school.

Source Magazine Files for Bankruptcy

The bad business practices of former management have left a cloud hanging over the Source--at one time widely regarded as "the hip-hop Bible"--according to the magazine's current publisher, Jeremy Miller, who was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Manhattan court Friday of last week.

The court papers allege that the misuse of magazine funds by founder David Mays and president Raymond "Benzino" Scott caused the magazine's advertisers to jump ship. The two men were fired in 2006 amid revelations of corruption and falling newsstand sales. In addition to dipping into the magazine's funds, they allegedly issued bad checks, put people unrelated to the magazine on the payroll and failed to deliver issues to 140,000 subscribers. Industry insiders also buzzed about rumored fraud in the millions of dollars, including unreported travel and jewelry purchases.

The Source has been in court a lot lately. In October 2006, a former editor in chief won $15.5 million in damages from the magazine in her lawsuit for wrongful termination. The case also suggested widespread sexual harassment at the company. Kimberly Osorio was fired in March 2005 after filing a gender discrimination complaint against the founders. Although the federal jury decided in Osorio's favor on the wrongful termination charge, they dismissed a related sexual harassment charge. Michelle Joyce, a former marketing executive, had joined Osorio in alleging sexual harassment.

AARP Set To Host First Hispanic Event In Puerto Rico

AARP is about to host the first national Hispanic-themed event in its history, the Feria de la Segunda Juventud or "Festival of the Second Youth," May 5-6 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The festival--sponsored by UnitedHealth Group, Banco Popular, Walgreens, Kimberly Clark, Pfizer, Univision and Rums of Puerto Rico--is expected to attract over 9,000 attendees, with an array of celebrity speakers and performers including Gloria Estefan and Jose Feliciano. AARP President Erik Olsen remarked: "This two-day festival celebrates much more than the boomer and 50+ community--it's about family, intergenerational relationships and helping our members live a full, healthy life." AARP has over 1.2 million Hispanic members, according to Olsen.

PBS Picks Up "Wired Science"

PBS announced it will pick up "Wired Science," a production of KCET/Los Angeles that's co-branded with Wired, with the first episode set to air nationally on October 3, 2007. The one-hour episodes will air once a week for 10 weeks, covering new developments in science and technology with the magazine's trademark attitude and forward-thinking aesthetic. The series will also have a substantial Web presence hosted on the PBS site, including streaming video, articles and audience interaction features.

Home Refocuses With May Issue

Home is refocusing its editorial content on remodeling and home makeovers beginning with its May issue, publisher Hachette Filipacchi announced this week. The revamp includes the introduction of new front-of-book sections like "Your Home" and "Mini Makeover." Donna Sapolin, Home's editor in chief, says: "The remodeling market has almost doubled in size over the past decade, and our readers are at the forefront of this upward trend." Also in the redesign are more prominent referrals to the Web site; new font; new logo; a "What We'd Do" section from the editors; and a "Make It Green" feature.

Ladies' Home Journal Issues Commemorative Stamps

To celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2008, Ladies' Home Journal is offering a collection of 12 first-class postage stamps with famous vintage covers from 1903-1951. The covers were designed by some of the era's best-known illustrators, often with seasonal themes. Archival issues of the magazine, one of the nation's oldest, are a repository of cultural history illustrating the lives of American women in the 19th and early 20th century.

Cynthia Leive Re-Elected President of ASME

Cynthia Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour, has been re-elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors. Roberta Myers, editor in chief of Elle, has been elected vice-president, while Adam Moss, editor in chief of New York, has been elected secretary, and David Willey, editor in chief of Runner's World, has been elected treasurer. Marlene Kahan is the executive director of ASME.

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