Tough sledding for Indianapolis Woman mag

Dateline: Fri 10 Dec 2010

"Printer suing Indianapolis Woman publisher for $271K"

http://www.ibj.com/printer-suing-indianapolis-woman-publisher-for-271k/PARAMS/article/23952

Scott Olson at the Indianapolis Business Journal reports  on troubles for the local, women-oriented magazine and its publisher Mary Weiss.

Here's the skinny:

"A printing company in northeast Indiana is suing the publisher of Indianapolis Woman magazine for $271,196 in overdue printing costs.

"Huntington-based Mignone Communications Inc. (in northeast Indiana) filed suit against Weiss Communications Inc. in Marion Superior Court, alleging the Indianapolis-based publisher has not paid several bills, some of which are three years old.

"Mignone lists 12 invoices in its complaint ranging from Nov. 29, 2007, to Jan. 28, 2010. The costs include printing charges for Weiss Communications’ flagship publication, Indianapolis Woman, as well as St. Louis Woman, which it also publishes."

Ouch.

Weiss maintains, according to the story, that her firm has been hurt by the loss of the general manager in St. Louis (which mag is up for sale) as well as the loss of a $500,000 ad contract with the Indiana Department of Health. (WHY is the state spending half-a-mil to prop up a magazine? I don't get this...)

As with newspapers, I have a lot of empathy for those trying to publish and edit and write for and design, etc., a local magazine. My old friend Shari Finnell, who is a fine person, is the editor-in-chief; before Shari, it was another old friend, Donna Mullinix, who ran the show. Both women worked at the Indianapolis Star, and Finnell started out at the News. One always hopes one's colleagues have a soft landing when they move to another venue. Alas, 'tis not always the case. Other former News and/or Star people also work for the Woman.

As for the magazine's merits -- and Weiss' claim that circulation is 150,000 -- there are some red flags.

I always pick it up when I see it at the grocery or drug store; after all, it's a freebie. The articles are usually soft and ight and light-weight. It seems pretty obvious that there are legit questions about the rationalie of targeting a woman's audience in this day...but hey, Weiss has survived 17 years in this racket, so she must be doing something right. However, what's the story on that claim of 150,000 circulation? We all know publications fudge their figures; I suspect this one is somewhat inflated. Although maybe that many are printed...hence the failure to pay bills and the lawsuit.

Overall, one has to ask if this lawsuit is not a very bad sign for the future of the publication.

Thanks to IBJ for staying on top of this, and for a tipster-reader for sending the link this way. Good luck to staff and publisher at the mag, and good luck paying that bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Much as I devoutly hope for the prosperity of the printed word industry, publishers who hope you will confuse "press run" with "circulation" don't help their cause.

The Star hopes folks will think that every copy printed will be regarded as circulation, and the ABC has grown flacid on this score. Indianapolis Woman, though a handout, is counting the same way. Why? Because ad rates are based on delivering readers, just as broadcast rates are predicated on listeners and viewers.

But y'all know this.

Do plastic surgeons and realtors really need another place to advertise? Indianapolis Monthly covers all these bases ad nauseum.

2010-12-11 06:46:05

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Tom hits a home run

The Audit Bureau is corrupted too, Tom. But at least paid circulation is more reliable, whatever that number is. There are some exceptioons; special-interest publications, Nuvo, etc.

Ms. Weiss has been dodging this bullet for years. I strongly suspect she's been propping it up with her own money. She's allowed. But she has to pay her bills, or creditors come calling.

It's an age-old formula, and it shouldn't be a surprise.

2010-12-11 07:44:18

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

I would pay for a subscription to Indianapolis Woman magazine if it were not available free at Marsh.

The magazine promotes and celebrates the good work of local women. That's important. And while it's true that there are "soft" articles and plenty of ad pages, there's also good stuff, such Patti Denton's food column each month.

Mainly, however, I have remained a loyal fan because an article in the magazine's first year had a profound positive impact on my life. Sorry to be mysterious about that, but I'd rather not divulge the topic.

2010-12-11 09:52:23

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Mary Weiss does fill the gap left when the Star jettisoned the women's department (which covered much more than "women", of course, as its "lifestyle" remake admitted).

Sorry she can't make a go of it.

Neither could Lorene Burkhardt, whose Indy Register bit the dust a few years ago.

The "life" of the city goes unrecorded these days.

2010-12-11 12:20:44

ruthholl [Member] said:

Good points all, and especially well taken on the life of the city going unrecorded.
When Myrta ran features, the Star did a story once on the best private clubs (country clubs, really), their costs, stellar members (who's who), how the Woodstock membership was often contested in a divorce, etc.
I felt I had actually learned something I did not know. NOt growing up here, not being from money, etc.
We talked about doing a "movers and shakers" all the time, but never did. I'd love to see more of that; who is really calling the shots, behind the scenes.
I agree, the Woman has its place...but I fear that place is slipping away fast...

2010-12-14 02:50:02

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