Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Modern Maturity: When Having It All Is Too Much

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Modern Maturity: When Having It All Is Too Much

Article excerpt

At first glance, editing Modem Maturity, the largest paid circulation magazine in the country, seems like the dream job. But J. Henry Fenwick, editor of the 22.5 million-circulation magazine, is worried.

Since 1985, the magazine's circulation has grown by about two million a year, almost doubling in size. With so many readers, Fenwick says, it's impossible to meet all their needs, and he anguishes over being "too generic."

Selective binding, technology that enables a magazine to deliver separate messages to various parts of its circulation, may be his salvation.

By year's end, Modern Maturity will test selective binding for editorial use. Down the road, marketing applications may follow, according to deputy publisher Charles Allen. The staff learned just how diverse its readers' editorial interests are in an attitude/readership study completed last year. For months they have been poring over the data and wresting with how to apply it editorially.

For example, the December/January issue included articles written for both new and experienced grandparents. But in accompanying illustrations, the magazine portrayed a grandfather in his seventies, something that may have turned off younger readers, Fenwick now realizes.

So the April/May issue's special report on fraud was developed with different emotional and stylistic angles. one article reveals the experiences of con artists and victims, another tests readers' vulnerability to scams. …

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