Free Magazine Review: Montgomery Monthly (August 2013)

It is time for another Free Magazine Review. Look upon our works, Ye mighty … and despair.

What’s it called? Montgomery Monthly

P1050151What is it? The subhead says, “The key to your community.” I was unclear that my community was locked, but I guess a lot of white people around here do try to live in gated communities if possible. But those white people are probably not the target audience for Montgomery Monthly, as you’ll see shortly.

Where’d we find it? They mailed it to us. No, seriously. We’ve talked before about how a nice-looking free magazine is expensive to produce. You want it to look classy so that people will keep it around and so you can charge a lot for ads. But if you’re adding media mailing to an entire city? I don’t see this thing sticking around for very long, even if their cover features a model every month.

What’s the deal? This thing appears to be owned by a British company called Hibu, and was mailed to us from King of Prussia, PA. So, it’s got that going for it. We can assume from the title that one will be produced each month (until they go out of business). The editor appears to be a 20-something lady named Jourdan Cole (we’ll have to assume that’s how her name is really spelled). She uses her “Message from the Editor” column to introduce herself as “the new editor,” but we’re unclear if she is taking over from a previous editor or if this is the first issue ever. We’ve never seen another issue and, as you can tell, we’re pretty into picking up free magazines when we see them around town. But if she’s fronting like she’s just the “new” editor and it’s really the inaugural issue, why not welcome everyone to the new magazine? What are you hiding Jourdan?!?

What sections do they have? A note from the editor; “Around town” (which you’d think was the calendar, but that’s another section); Gotta Go! (which is also like a calendar); “Snapshot” (“community residents share their photos with readers”) and something creatively called “And Another Thing…” On the table of contents page, they assure you that they are willing to publish things that you send them.

Who advertises? The back cover’s a 2/3 page ad for a plumbing and air conditioning repair place. They’ve got some full page ads, including one for a car dealer. The entire inside front cover and entire inside back cover are full pages house ads begging you to please contact the publishers and tell them what you think of their magazine. This doesn’t bode well for their ability to sell ads.

What’s interesting in this issue? Yeah, um, about that. Sigh. Not a lot. This thing is pretty bad. The first article is about the food bank. We’re fans of the food bank. We give them money. You should give them money too. Go do it now. We’ll wait.

The article offers a byline for Jaime Robards and describes her (or him) as a “community contributor.” But at the end, the article offers Jaime’s email address and it’s to an address at OK, so this person what? Works at the food bank? What is Feeding America? Do I have to Google this to see who is writing about our food bank? Why can’t the magazine just say who is writing the articles? This isn’t a writer for Montgomery Monthly, so if you’re dealing in contributed stuff, just identify the authors. It’s not that hard.

The “community” section is really three items: There’s a new CEO at Baptist East (the white flight hospital), that same hospital won an award, and the Council on Aging is having a fund raiser. So, the “community” section is three press releases trimmed to fit around some gigantic ads.

Schools? Private school cheerleaders went to cheerleader camp. Private School #2 has graduation. Private School #2 also used Skype one day so that 7th graders could talk to some people in Norway. Amazing. Now you know what’s going on in, um, two private schools. They have cheerleaders and they graduate and they have the Internet. Totally worth the tuition, ya’ll.

The good looking guy on the cover is a model and the cover story (by Jourdan!) is about the Alabama Beauty Awards. Evidently, this is a thing. It is actually happening tonight. The article says they are expecting 500 people to attend their, um, gala, which is at the Embassy Suites downtown. All ten of the models shown to go with the story are black. Is this a black models thing? I mean, I’m not surprised that modeling is racially segregated (everything else is), but I’m not reading a story about models, no matter how lubed up they are. Sorry Montgomery Monthly, I’m skipping a few pages here.

All in all, the events calendar isn’t laughable, I guess. I wish more publications (free or otherwise) would write more about what is happening in the academic research at local universities. We’ve got a bunch of professors here in town. What do they do besides teach? Are they publishing things? Going to conferences? This elevates the intellectual life of a city. We should care about these things and they are also often interesting.

For example, did you know that Alabama State has a Center for NanoBiotechnology Research? I did not. Evidently Turkish scientists are coming here to do vaguely-described experiments about nanogenomics. And evidently the best photo the Montgomery Monthly could find to illustrate this cutting edge international scientific collaboration was clip art of a book with its pages being turned — in what appears to be a law library. The last paragraph is the most interesting: These people are coming here on the dime of the Turkish government. I wonder if they think they are getting their money’s worth.

All in all, we’ll keep leafing through this magazine about our city if the Brits keep mailing it to us from King of Prussia. Otherwise, not worth picking up if you see it in a stack somewhere. A weak effort that will probably be finished by next spring.


7 responses to “Free Magazine Review: Montgomery Monthly (August 2013)

  1. I found your review very entertaining. I used to work for hibu, the magazine is a new product that is suppose to be focused on the community for which it is published. It is a monthly publication that is mailed to upper income homeowners only. It was a hard sell, print advertising is on the way out.

  2. Mary–

    I hope that you don’t have proofreading responsibilities for any publication.

    • Sorry to be late to the game on responding to your comment Jay. We have been out of town. But what I meant to say when I saw this was: Hahahahaha.

  3. I’m the editor of a locally-owned, locally-produced, locally-printed monthly in an area that Hibu just moved into. Loved your review.

  4. I first saw this post months ago and thought it was hilarious. It turns out your prediction that the magazine would fold by the spring may be exactly on target. I came across an article yesterday on our local newspaper’s website, reporting that hibu is shutting down the hyperlocal magazines.

  5. I stumbled across this blog while looking for details on my competition; I am a former editor of a free magazine (in another city, in another state) and really think you need to expand this nationwide. Painfully truthful and, even while I hope my work would have received a better evaluation, you gave me a good laugh!

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