Leader Profile: Global Vision
One of the first things you notice when walking into Lynda Hammes' office at Foreign Affairs is an Ellie, the pachyderm-ish sculpture recognizing excellence in magazine publishing given out each year by the American Society of Magazine Editors. From there, Hammes is glad to show you other recent awards: the Communicator Award from the International Academy of Visual Arts (for excellence in marketing and advertising), Min's Best of the Web 2012 (for premium digital content) and an Eppy from Editor & Publisher honoring the magazine's mobile website.
Such laurels—especially the digital ones—may seem surprising for a 90-year-old publication whose print edition sports a text-only cover, but the magazine has long proven itself adept at straddling the line between specialized journal and accessible, transmedia product looking to steer the global conversation.
"[Our content] is not in the form of an esoteric journal article by the world expert on X; it's also not a whitepaper or bureaucratic document," Hammes points out. "It's a readable and accessible piece of journalism, or an essay, by the thought leader himself or herself. ... That's what gives Foreign Affairs its power."
Foreign Affairs is cooking up a re-design for 2013—which, among other things, will bring images to its cover for the first time—but Hammes was holding most details close to the chest when Publishing Executive paid a visit in November. "The idea is the same great content in a new bottle," she offered. "It's still going to be a beautiful object and artifact—people keep Foreign Affairs for a long time—but it's [about] distinguishing one issue from the next. That's one of the goals."
There was still plenty to talk about, though, from the magazine's first iOS app to its recent efforts to build on a remarkably robust revenue base by expanding into new products and platforms.