FinePrint May 2010

In this issue:

FinePrint is a bi-monthly newsletter produced by MMPA as a benefit to its members. If you have news of interest to the MMPA membership suitable for print in FinePrint , please submit it to:

Look to the Future - on May 20th!

Be sure and attend the luncheon at the Summit and Expo on May 20th for a special announcement about some changes to your MMPA. It's time for some good news!

Design Director Extraordinaire

Matthew Bates is the design director of Backpacker magazine, overseer of the trade pub Snews, and manager of two photo editors and an assistant art director. He is also a husband and the father of three young boys, the latest of whom just made his appearance two months ago. Did we mention that in his spare time, Bates has also been helping Backpacker win awards, including five recent National Magazine Awards—most notably one for General Excellence—and a Silver medal in last year’s Society of Publication Designers awards program? Like the rest of us scrabbling out a living in publishing these days, Bates is a busy guy. So we’re all appropriately grateful that he is turning off his computer monitor for a couple of days and leaving behind the glories of a Boulder, Colorado, spring to head to Minneapolis, where he’ll lead the “Rediscovering Your Print Design Chops” session at the MMPA Summit on May 20.

We asked Bates to tell us about his work at Backpacker, about the challenges that today’s publication designers face, and about the precarious times of the magazine publishing industry.

Q. You’ve worked at Backpacker for seven years, and before that for travel, shelter and food magazines in New York. You know this industry. What’s different about what you’re facing right now?

Well, it’s a tough time for this business—everybody is facing a budget crunch. And the challenge is to not drop your quality, even though you’ve got fewer dollars. So we’re taking a different approach to things. We’re playing with how the staff is organized, we plan further in advance, and we’ve redesigned the magazine to be more flexible to the publisher’s needs, too. While we’re very protective of the Backpacker brand and of our readers, our advertisers are going through the same recession we are and we’re in a partnership with them. We all need to work together.

Q. Backpacker’s photography is amazing. How can you continue to get those great shots when your budgets are slashed?

Backpacker is a travel magazine that is about travel to places where very few people are—so we only have a small group of photographers who can get to those places, who can shoot for us. Besides planning further in advance, so we can take advantage of trips those photographers are already taking, we’re working with some young, hungry photographers who are very talented. We’ve also started using Flickr—it’s become a great tool for us. Maybe they’re not professional photographers, but they’ve been to these places we want to cover, and sometimes they’ve gotten great shots that we can use.

Q: Publishing people are all looking ahead, trying to figure out what comes next. What’s your take on that?

You’re right, we all are wondering about the future. But I believe print will be here into the foreseeable future. I won’t say every magazine out there will be here in five years, but I think people in our industry are coming to grips with the fact that print is now just part of our jobs—it’s not our whole job anymore. As a design director, I’m no longer just a print designer. I’m a brand manager. I’m the design director of the Backpacker brand. Right now we know we need a robust print product, a robust website, a great mobile app, etc. We don’t know what we’ll be adding to that. But it’s all content, and we’re all content providers. I think we’re learning that you can do amazing things in all of these media.

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Join Friends of the MMPA on LinkedIn!

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that is rapidly becoming the best place to strengthen and extend your network of trusted contacts and associates. Go to to join if you have not already.

And while you’re there, join the “ Friends of the MMPA” group on LinkedIn. It is turning into the most popular place to connect online with publishing friends in Minnesota. Membership in the group has doubled since December and the number of postings has increased as well.

You may know that we are unleashing a new MMPA website in the next couple of weeks. Look for a big announcement at the Summit. We will be integrating the “Friends of the MMPA” into the new MMPA website, and we will use these forums and postings to connect the roundtable communities that make up the various interest areas of the MMPA.

After you join LinkedIn and the “ Friends of the MMPA” group, you will be able to join as many of the community sub-groups as you wish. The groups are:

  1. Audience Development/Circulation
  2. Art, Design, and Production
  3. Editorial
  4. Digital and Web Publishing
  5. Marketing Support and Events
  6. Publication Management
  7. Advertising
  8. Freelance
  9. Publishing Vendors

As each community grows and learns how to use the LinkedIn postings to keep in touch and connect with others, we will look for leaders to serve as discussion moderators and roundtable facilitators. Each community will also have a home page on the new MMPA website.

So, sign up for LinkedIn if you have not already done so. It is painless and free. Then join the “ Friends of the MMPA” to get the most out of your membership.

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9 Hours to Career Success

If you haven’t signed up for the MMPA’s 2010 Summit and Expo, you might be making the mistake of your career. On May 20th, in just over 9 hours, we have a completely packed agenda aimed at integrating digital publishing into your daily operations.

This Folio-type show has some of the best in the magazine business heading to the mini-apple to share their secrets. You don’t want to miss this year’s Summit. It’s the best one yet!

While this year’s theme is “Looking Forward” the registration cost is looking the same as last year. Registration rates are just $250 for members and $50 for students. There are even more savings if you’re registering a group.

We pack a full day of career-expanding training into just one day to make the most of your professional improvement dollar. Where else could you get experts from the New York Times, New York Magazine, and Meredith (just to name a few) to train you or your staff without leaving the state? Take advantage of some heavy-hitting training and consider this opportunity to re-energize your staff into Looking Forward.

Pre-event registration will remain open until Friday. After that, feel free to show up at the event and we can register you at the door. Everyone will be there — so should you!

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