Corrections or additions?
This article by Richard K. Rein was prepared for the April 30, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On New Magazines
Faithful readers will recall that just a month or two
ago we concluded our little discussion of how to create a community
newspaper and how to think critically about the final product. We
noted that, once a community is defined and an editorial scope is
determined, the actual process of putting together a single issue
requires the reasoning prowess of a typical fifth grader.
For that reason no one should be too surprised that in the brief period
of time since that discussion, I have encountered three new publications
serving our central New Jersey market. Just to exercise our critical
thinking — and not to tell any other publisher how to run his
or her business — I think we should take a look at them. Before
we do, though, let me repeat the observation made in the last column
of our ongoing "media watch:" publishing people can dish it
out, but they often can’t take it.
We received the equivalent of icy glares from two of the publications
we "reviewed" in our March 19 column, despite the fact that
we had major praise and only minor criticism for each. And we also
got a few long faces from some of our own U.S. 1 staff, who felt they
had been publicly chastened for putting out a paper that wasn’t as
entertaining as "U.S. Fun" had once been. That said, and hoping
that the newfound entrants in the media wars won’t take this too personally,
here we go:
which appears to be a quarterly, since the issue I saw was "Spring
2003, Issue 2." The cover proclaims that is dedicated to "arts,
culture, & living" and above the logo, which is rendered in the
style of New York magazine, are other towns within its orbit: Trenton,
Bucks County, and New Brunswick.
The staff box inside notes that the magazine is published by Media
Resources Group LLC of 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road. What I like
is that the fourth name listed in that box, editor-in-chief Gary R.
Wien, is the same as the sixth name, production assistant Gary R.
Wien. Welcome to the business, friend. I have been here 19 years as
editor and publisher and two weeks ago I earned the title of refrigerator
As always, I wonder what vision the editor has for the paper and how
much control he or she has to implement that vision. This issue of
Princeton magazine, oddly, has an excellent collection of pieces on
New Brunswick’s cultural and social scene. But how do you explain
the fawning tribute to the new Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village,
written by the editor-in-chief, no less? Maybe the full-page ad on
page 13 helped create that vision.
And then there is an appreciative — but not fawning — portrait
of editor George Taber, owner of the New Brunswick-based NJBiz Magazine,
written by Diana Lasseter Drake. No problem there, except that no
one bothers to tell the reader that Drake toiled for many years as
an employee of Taber. It’s a grain of salt that readers deserve when
evaluating an article.
you will love Bucks, which is both bigger and glossier — Town
& Country in its heft — and packed with color photographs. Bucks
is based in New Hope, but it is showing up in upscale mailboxes in
Princeton. The magazine’s editorial director, Richard Jaccoma, proclaims
in the premiere issue that the magazine is "regional, not provincial"
and that it considers its "suburbs" to be New York, Philadelphia,
and of course Princeton.
That may sound like a reach, but the first issue acquits itself nicely
with a photo feature on Princeton architect Robert Hillier’s Bucks
County home. And a mini-portrait of actress Blair Brown, who just
completed a run in "The Tempest" at McCarter, reveals that
the actress has a country home in Sergeantsville, on the New Jersey
side of the river.
The biggest challenge for this editor may be that he reports to not
one but two publishers — the co-founders of the magazine are high
school classmates from a quarter century ago who are now publisher
and creative director and publisher and advertising director. Most
editors would prefer cleaning out contaminated refrigerators to reporting
to two publishers.
based in New Hope, but which started appearing in a news box on Nassau
Street just last month. Unlike the other two publications, this one
is printed on newsprint. Its editor (or at least the person who writes
the editorial introduction on page 2) is also the president and publisher:
This publication concentrates on the visual and performing arts, with
some dining, movies, and destinations thrown in. Because of its apparent
low overhead and lean management at the top, it would get my bet for
still being around in another year or so.
that’s about to launch a new publication of it own. We shall see.
Corrections or additions?
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