Mag Bag: New Harvard Magazine Blends Gossip, Power Pieces

Harvard Mag Dishes Gossip for Alums

A new magazine targeting Harvard alums, 02138, aims to deliver a mix of light gossipy features and more weighty, brow-furrowing fare to its well-heeled readers. To promote the new bimonthly, named for the Cambridge zip code, the first issue was mailed free this week to 50,000 Harvard grads. Publishers hope they will pony up $36 a year for a subscription. On the cover of the first issue: actress Rashida Jones, a beautiful Harvard grad, and the daughter of Quincy Jones.

As you'd expect from the birthplace of the National Lampoon, Harvard produces a substantial number of eccentrics, scandal-prone plutocrats and dashing celebrities--all covered in the dishy "Vanitas" section, described as "Page Six for the Harvard set." (It's also a playful tweak of Harvard's motto, "Veritas," Latin for "truth.") The first issue also carries a list of 100 influential grads, "The Harvard 100," which gleefully revels in the university's grip on the global elites of business, politics, academics and entertainment. Included in the list are George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke and Bill Gates--noting, of course, that Gates dropped out his junior year.

Advertisers in the first issue include Polo Ralph Lauren and Mercedes--and overall, the mag's prospects look good, provided it can generate enough interest among the pool of 320,000 Harvard grads. This may be a bit trickier than it seems. Although Harvardians are undoubtedly proud of their school, that may reflect their own sense of personal achievement, rather than the kind of communal "school pride" you find in big state schools or small liberal-arts colleges.

Conde Nast Launches Golf Digest Index

This month, well-to-do readers of Conde Nast's Golf Digest will receive the first issue of a biannual companion publication, Golf Digest Index. Index is being mailed to Digest's wealthiest 300,000 subscribers, eschewing the technical details of golf instruction in favor of more lifestyle features. According to Publisher Thomas Blair, the focus on travel and lifestyle will allow the magazine to attract more luxury-goods advertisers, including "luxury automotive, apparel, luxury goods, [and] private aviation."

Chrysler Sponsors Fortune's Battle of the Bands

As part of a national effort to boost the automaker's profile, Chrysler is sponsoring Fortune magazine's sixth annual "Battle of the Bands," a national competition for amateur musicians who lead double lives as good corporate citizens. Taking place October 6-7 at Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chrysler is using the Fortune music smackdown to launch the 2007 Aspen, with coverage including the sponsorship, signage, displays and additional branding of the "People's Pick" award presentation.

Chrysler will also be featured prominently in Fortune, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0, where content will drive traffic to a special Web site touting the event and the Aspen 2007.

Utne Readers Will Now Read Utne Reader

After acquiring the magazine from Lens Publishing Co. in June, Ogden Publications is rebranding Utne by reverting to the alternative magazine's original name, the Utne Reader. The change is part of the mag's return to its old mission--to be a digest and aggregator of the best articles from alternative media.

Bryan Welch, publisher of Ogden, said in a statement: "We're moving the magazine gently in the direction of being the gleaning tool for the media in general, including for all the voices online who are saying fascinating new things, bringing in new ideas that aren't getting covered in the mass media yet." Founded in 1984, the magazine has an unaudited circ of about 225,000.

Ad Boom for Dennis

In a generally soft ad market for lad mags, Dennis Publishing's flagship titles are enjoying an ad boom this fall. Ad pages for the November issue of Maxim are up 26.6 percent from the same month last year, topping 101. Meanwhile, the September, October and November issues of music mag Blender are breaking revenue records for those months--up 19 percent, 23 percent and 30 percent on a year-over-year basis. Overall, the first 11 months of 2006 have ad pages up 11.6 percent and revenue up 41 percent.

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