Scientific American Body
The oldest continuously published magazine in America is
becoming a parent one more time. Scientific American magazine,
which already publishes SA Reports and SA Mind is now releasing
SA Body seeks to educate its readers on the science of staying
well. By giving its readers the most up to date information
on new developments that science is bringing to light.
“It brings together leading health professionals and
experienced journalists to explain the significance of new
discoveries,” said Editor in Chief John Rennie in the
letter from the editor.
SA Body promises to be a welcomed addition to a newly energized
science magazine field.
1. What do you consider the single most important achievement your magazine has accomplished in today’s marketplace?
At a time when launching new magazines is horrendously expensive, Scientific American BODY managed to attract favorable attention without a heavy marketing push, just on the strength of the editorial product itself.
2. Looking back, what was the most important hurdle you were able to overcome?
Between preexisting magazines and the Internet, consumer health information should be a glut on the market. Finding a fresh way to write about health that clicked with the Scientific American brand—by concentrating on the useful science of health—was the key to making this magazine work.
3. What was the most pleasant surprise?
Personally, it was a relief to discover that I could edit a health magazine and not succumb to paralyzing hypochondria.
4. What is the biggest challenge you are facing today?
The audience for SciAm BODY is different from that of the monthly SciAm magazine, but in both cases the challenge is the same: to engage readers by striking just the right balance between scientific depth and rewarding accessibility.
5. Imagine you have a magic wand and you can strike the magazine and make it human? Describe that human being.
BODY is the upbeat guy from two cubicles over, the one who brings doughnuts into the office and always remembers that news story from a few months before about whether we should be drinking more red wine or less. He’s the one who will listen to you at lunch when you confide that you’re worried about that mole on your arm, and who knows how to make going to the doctor seem a lot less threatening. He knows that laughter is the best medicine—wait, sorry, that’s the guy who is Reader’s Digest magazine…
6. The number of new magazine launches has been on a steady increase. What advice do you offer to someone wanting to start a new magazine?
Aside from “Don’t!”?
Create a magazine with a real soul behind it, not just a stack of marketing data. Make it something that readers can respect and want to embrace. This advice may not make for more successful magazines, but it would surely make for better ones—and if you’re an editor, in the end, you have to believe that’s what the world wants.
7. Finish this sentence: in 2011 your magazine will be…
… compulsory reading for members of the healthcare team in the next administration.