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The Magazine for Magazine Management: We’ve Seen Many Weeklies, And This Is Not One Of Them

We’ve Seen Many Weeklies, And This Is Not One Of Them – magazines with “weekly” in name that aren’t weekly

Byline: GEOFF VAN DYKE

What’s in a name? When it comes to magazines, not a lot.

In Sports Illustrated, for instance, we expect to see sports, illustrated. When we pick up O, The Oprah Magazine, we count on seeing Oprah. Food & Wine should feature … well, you get the idea.

But sometimes the name of a mag blatantly muddles the truth. Take Tennis Week. Founded in the swinging ’70s as Tennis News, Tennis Week announced two months ago that it would be publishing 11 issues in 2003. Eleven! It’s not even a monthly at this point.

It should come as no surprise that magazines with temporal designations in their names sometimes fudge their frequency a bit. Newsweek, The Week, and eWeek, all of which publish 51 issues a year, come close to hitting the weekly mark. Us Weekly is a little more slack; it publishes just 40 times a year. And if you read the fine print on Entertainment Weekly’s TOC you’ll find this: the book is “published weekly, except biweekly the last issues of January, June, August, and December, with an extra issue in September.”

So, in the interest of accuracy, should Entertainment Weekly become, say, Entertainment (Not Quite) Weekly? (An EW spokesperson says readers sometimes forget that there’s a double issue before an off-week, but generally they are aware that the magazine doesn’t, in fact, come out every week.)

And what of The Atlantic Monthly, which published monthly from 1857 until 2001, when it switched to 11 times a year? This year, The Atlantic, as it’s commonly known, dropped its frequency to 10 times a year. (Historical trivia: The Atlantic dropped the word “Monthly” from its cover from April of 1981 to October of 1993.)

As for Tennis Week, which published 56 times a year when it was launched, a variety of factors led to its dramatic decrease in frequency, including the professional tennis-season schedule, ad schedules (clients don’t advertise after the season’s over), and production costs, according to founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief Eugene Scott. By reducing the mag’s frequency from 15 times in 2002 to 11 this year, Scott says he will cut costs by about 11 percent.

Still, there’s that sticky name issue. Scott says he’s thought about changing it. “We worry about the confusion,” he says. “It’s an interesting conundrum – changing the name back or losing 29 years of a brand name. Tennis Week magazine is not like IBM, so maybe I’m kidding myself. But in our world, Tennis Week means something – it’s an aggressive, thoughtful, independent voice – and if all of a sudden you change it to Tennis News, it might lose some of its edginess.”

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