J500 Media and the Environment

The Supposed Greening of Magazines by kimwallace
April 14, 2008, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

Taken from mediabistro.com: FishbowlNY

cover_vanityfair_146_040208.jpg1. To no one’s surprise, Vanity Fair‘s annual ‘Green’ issue wasn’t very green at all. Condé opted out of using recycled paper and no mention of VF‘s environmental practices was made in the magazine. Frank Locantore of the Magazine PAPER Project pointed out to Folio: that Every Day With Rachael Ray, by contrast, uses 85 percent recycled paper.

2. Women’s Health is bulking up its environmental content. The mag will be teaming up with the Environmental Media Association to appeal to environmentally conscious advertisers and will debut a new column, “In Focus Planet”, written by Alexandra Cousteau. Cousteau — the granddaughter of explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, will see her column debut in the July/August issue.



5 Comments so far
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Ah, yet another “gesture” from a big media company. About as refreshing as the gulp of fresh exhaust I got today while riding my bike behind some 19-year-old’s SUV near campus.

Mr. Frank Locantore has really been offering to help Conde Nast clean up their act for 8 straight years? If they had taken him up on that offer, they could have been an environmental leader in the magazine industry. His “what they can do” section was a little short – what about water/soy based inks? What about urging readers to recycle their mag?

I hope that Women’s Health with their new EMA-approved “awareness-raising, celebrity-studded events” don’t forget to plan the events to be eco-friendly, too…

~ Sarah H

Comment by shemme

But Sarah, 8 years ago, eco wasn’t “in.”



Comment by kimwallace

So this strays from my usual optimistic “at least they’re doing something” sentiment, but Women’s Health’s heart of green can’t be too pure because I was just lamenting about the gross amounts of paper being circulated by that magazine in particular. We got a teaser magazine in the mail– probably about 20 pgs– that told us all about the 15 or so mini-magazines that we could get for free just by going online. I understand the marketing tactic but it makes me cringe to think that in addition to the magazine that goes to subscribers, now this little teaser generated who knows how much paper and all of the minimags sound interesting so I wouldn’t be surprised if people ordered more than one. I still don’t know how I feel about paper-based marketing (it’s so damned effective sometimes) but it does surprise me to read that someone in the magazine does in fact realize that environmental issues are worthy taking note of. Just a big disconnect to me.

-Sonya English

Comment by Sonya

Yeah, but every magazine, WH included, engages in paper marketing tactics/direct mail. It’s easy to delete an email without reading it, than it is to throw away paper mail without opening it.

It’s interesting, because I get very “in the middle” when it comes to magazines—the idea of newspapers losing steam because of the Internet isn’t a big deal to me—newspapers generate a lot of daily waste paper. But magazines—they have more value because of the strength of paper and the pass-along/keepsake value of them. You should see how many back issues of seven different magazines I have in my overflowing apartment. Maybe there are just necessary evils for a business that maybe you and definitely I am going into.

How can we eliminate the use of paper without eliminating an entire medium/job market/readership market (How many 80-year-olds do you know who use the Internet to read their daily news, as opposed to the actual paper?)

Comment by kimwallace

I subscribe to two Ogden publications, The Sun, Dwell, and Domino. I am not saying the magazine industry should disappear, but the argument you use about job markets is the same one people use to defend the coal industry and PVC factories. I think your arguments about longevity and access are stronger.
In regards to Vanity Fair, I was in their green issue last year. They have some amazing articles in their green issues but beyond that, they don’t change a thing. I was kind of amazed at how large my carbon footprint got on that shoot. But it was quite an amazing experience.
It’s interesting to know Rachel Ray’s recycled content is so much higher.

Comment by j500

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