Take the Express to the Press
Red Herring is one of those publications that make the magazine publishing community swoon. Ah, to pick it up from the newsstand and feel the noticeable weight of an issue reaffirms our faith that magazine publishing is by no means on the decline. This monthly mag is T-H-I-C-K, chock full o' ads!
In some respects, the magazine's bulk eventually became its curse. "Three years ago, we were a monthly magazine, averaging about 148 pages, with a circulation of less than 75,000 subscribers," recalls Fran Fox, Red Herring's vice president of manufacturing. By 2000, the magazine's girth bulged with issues ringing in at an impressive 634 pages. Its print run multiplied five-fold, and circulation quadrupled. "However, some readers actually complained that we were giving them too much for their money," Fox exclaims.
Red Herring's dimensions, along with its desire to provide more timely news, contributed to the magazine's decision to go bi-weekly. Certainly, the hope for additional sales opportunities had something to do with it, as well, and in September, the magazine officially became a treasured, twice-a-month mailbox treat.
Doom and gloom
When Red Herring's staff of editors, writers, art directors and production staff learned of the change in frequency, anxious feelings ran amok. "Sure, we were all very nervous about what this would mean to us," recalls Fox. "At that time, late hours and working weekends were the rule, not the exception, and we knew we had to really take a look at what we had been doing to produce this magazine and what we would have to do differently if we were going to keep our sanity and our jobs."
To complicate matters, the magazine's printing contract with R.R. Donnelley & Sons' Pontiac, IL, plant was due to expire by year-end 2000. Indeed, the magazine's future seemed destined for change and pressed for time. In the end, though, it was this simultaneous chain of events that enabled the magazine to come out on top.