We may be tucked away in West Cambridge, but Sky & Telescope is the oldest, most successful consumer astronomy magazine on the planet! But surprisingly, there was no mention of S&T in your wonderful article about the state of magazine publishing in Boston (“Short shelf life,” CW, Winter ’04). Since 1940, S&T has been a profitable and growing venture. In addition to publishing the magazine, we publish two annuals (SkyWatch and Beautiful Universe), operate an astronomy-tour business, license our magazine to international partners, publish astronomy books, manufacture astronomy-related products, run an award-winning Web site with full e-commerce capability, and produce high-end gallery art of astronomical images. We are also developing a cell phone application, Mobile Sky Chart, which will be available via Verizon’s Get It Now program. This spring, we will launch Night Sky magazine (www.NightSkyMag.com) to reach a broader audience of “beginner stargazers.” We are constantly in “innovation mode,” and I truly believe being independently rooted in Boston gives us a fresh and interesting perspective on the publishing business and the freedom to take risks. We ain’t going noplace–Boston is our home.
Vice President, Marketing &
Sky & Telescope
I wish your article on magazines, which also mentioned some newspapers, had mentioned Women’s Business. Now in our sixth year, we believe we have a story that should be told. We have been successful since day one. Women are a leading source of business in the Boston community, and we recognize that and work to have businesses realize women’s contributions. In Massachusetts, women are 55.9 percent of the population and hold the majority of the wealth, yet in the media they still don’t get visibility. That’s why Women’s Business was born. I hope you’ll keep your eye open for your issue of Women’s Business.
Elizabeth B. Wrightson
Jeffrey Klineman’s article about the Boston magazine landscape is an excellent read and one I can personally relate to since I’ve seen my share of start-ups over the years fail, one after the next. Meanwhile, my own publication, Weekly Dig–one that he neglected to mention–actually thrives in this environment and outlasts them all. In fact, we produce more content in a month than almost all of the monthlies and quarterlies mentioned combined; have attracted writers from the likes of The Boston Globe and the Boston Phoenix; and incubated our own writers who later went on to write for publications such as Urb, Transworld Stance, Spin, Alternative Press, and so on.
It’s my opinion that the real problem with the Boston magazine scene is publications like POV, DoubleTake, and even The Atlantic Monthly, that live to be fiscally irresponsible, relying heavily on philanthropic bailouts instead of good business practices, while catering to the cultural elite simply for the sake of, well, catering to the cultural elite.
Maybe Klineman should read our interview with Errol Morris, or a recent submission by Howard Zinn, to see just how vibrant this great city’s magazine scene can be, even if it lives in disguise as a weekly newspaper.
So, from my perspective, while big publishing giants may not find a home (or success) in Boston and its surrounding areas, those committed to creative and unique editorial content, quality photography, and interesting information, do indeed have publishing opportunities. We at Cape Cod Life are looking for new opportunities all the time in and around the Boston and eastern Massachusetts area. Any ideas?
Cape Cod Life Publications