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A Print Magazine Launch? What?!!! California Sunday Is Coming

By - September 15, 2014

CaliforniaSundayMag_Logo_JPEGA year or so ago Chas Edwards, a colleague, pal, and member of the founding team at Federated Media, came to my office for a catch up. I had heard he was cooking up a new venture, but I didn’t know the details.

Little did I know what Chas and his new partner Douglas McGray had up their sleeve – a new *print* magazine built specifically for California.

But…print is dead, right? Apparently not. Chas and MacGray have a thesis that California is ready for a well-written, beautifully designed print publication, and all that was standing in their way was the cost of circulation, a major impediment in today’s market. They solved that issue with a clever hack of today’s newspapers – California Sunday is distributed free inside selected California newspapers. In essence, they’re piggybacking the launch of their brand, adding a valauble new product to what is a staid and attenuated newspaper brand.

But that’s not the only asset the team is bringing to bear. California Sunday also has a successful event strategy – it’s folding McGray’s popular “Pop Up Magazine” series into the company as well. And it has built a studio to help brands execute content marketing inside the magazine’s pages. Oh, and it has some of the best talent in the state, from Michael Pollan to Farhad Manjoo, as contributors.

Back in 1991, I prototyped a magazine called “The Pacific” based on similar goals to California Sunday. Ten years later, I taught a course in magazine publishing with Clay Felker, the late publishing legend who retired to Northern California and always dreamt of creating a pan-state publication (he tried, and failed, with New West). Now Chas and Douglas are giving it a go, and I think they have more than a fair shot at making it work. And yes, I’m an investor!

California Sunday launches October 5. You can read more about the publication here, and follow its Twitter feed here.

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2 thoughts on “A Print Magazine Launch? What?!!! California Sunday Is Coming

  1. Not terribly long ago Thom Chambers had a small business called Mountain and Pacific that launched a series of pdf magazines called “In TreeHouses.” For a subscription fee you got the whole series, I believe it was 15 issues in all, about writing, creating, and entrepreneurship. A huge focus was on the layout and visual element of the publication.

    You could also request high-res versions of the files to run your own copies.

    Ultimately, other pursuits called him and the company was laid to rest.

    Still, though, I think there is a huge market for print magazines, so long as they are works of art that last well beyond their issue date, rather than the flimsy, stapled-together wrecks like Newsweek or Time.

  2. Dave Goetz says:

    Would love to see a success in print magazines again. We lost a way for young writers to learn longform when magazines died.