Monday, January 28, 2013

Houstonia Magazine launches for Houston

Houstonia Magazine is a name I've been hearing a little about here and there, but today we know a little more about this upcoming title. I had blogged that Houston Press managing editor Cathy Matusow took off from the paper after 10 years. Then I just read in the current issue of Texas Monthly that Houston Press staff writer John Nova Lomax also left (Lomax wrote an article in the current issue of Texas Monthly). Both Press refugees are now at Houstonia Magazine.

Houston has had local magazines come and go over the years and I'm sure the Internet is not exactly creating a positive climate for more to pop up. However, if Houstonia is anything like a Los Angeles Magazine for H-Town, I'm in. When I've been in LA, I've enjoyed that magazine and obviously have no tie to the place.

Houstonia Magazine sent me a press release today on its upcoming April launch where we can learn more:

Today, SagaCity Media President Nicole Vogel announced the full editorial and art staffs for the April launch of Houstonia magazine, a new monthly publication aimed squarely at the residents of America’s fourth largest city. The brainchild of two Houston natives, and with a staff packed with top local talent, Houstonia is poised to become an indispensable publication for the Houston area’s 6 million residents, as well as the city’s only paid monthly title with content solely produced by and for Houstonians.

The subscription-based magazine, which will be available at over 700 checkout counters and newsstands throughout the metropolitan area, is the latest title from magazine publisher SagaCity Media. Led by CEO Nicole Vogel, a native Houstonian and Duchesne High School graduate, SagaCity publishes dozens of regional titles, including the award-winning Portland Monthly and Seattle Met. Still, Vogel says, Houstonia is special.

“This is my hometown,” she says. “It’s always been my dream to create a magazine as smart, creative, unique and exciting as the people who call this place home.” Accordingly, says Vogel, Houstonia is determined to give readers “the smartest, most informative and entertaining take on their city” and to deliver it to all Houstonians, “no matter what part of town you prefer, what lifestyle you prefer, or what device you prefer.”

Scott Vogel, a former Washington Post editor as well as SagaCity’s cofounder and editorial director, is particularly proud of the journalistic talent that he and his sister have recruited for Houstonia, whose staff includes award-winning editors and designers from the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press and more.

“As a kid growing up here,” he says, “I never saw a magazine that came anywhere close to capturing the spirit and complex charm of this place. And 30 years later, in my judgment, that’s still the case.” Houstonia aims to change that, says Vogel. “We want to do everything in our power to give this city a magazine it can be proud of, and I think we’ve amassed the talent and resources to make that happen.”

To that end, the Vogels hired esteemed local journalist John Wilburn to be editor-in-chief of Houstonia. Formerly the managing editor of the Houston Chronicle, and most recently its opinion director, Wilburn is very excited about his new assignment. “The chance to capture, between magazine covers, a city as muscular, diverse, and energetic as Houston,” he says, “offers an irresistible lure for those of us who love colorful storytelling.”

“I think we're creating Houstonia at the perfect moment in time,” says the mag’s executive editor Cathy Matusow, a former managing editor of the Houston Press. “People who live here are finally realizing that we have a distinctly Houston identity that makes us us. Figuring out how to define that identity is, I think, Houstonia's most important mission.”

Wilburn and Matusow preside over an editorial staff that includes Houstonia’s food editor and restaurant critic, Robb Walsh, a three-time James Beard Award-winning writer and the author of several noteworthy books on Texas food and cooking; and managing editor Kerry Howley, a former senior editor at Reason magazine and contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and other national titles. Arts editor Michael Hardy is a former freelance journalist who has written for The American Scholar, the Boston Globe and the Houston Chronicle, and associate editor John Nova Lomax, formerly with the Houston Press, is an award-winning writer whose Houston roots go back three generations. Pete Holley, formerly a reporter at the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, is also an associate editor, while web producer Daniel Derozier previously worked in Houston-area and Texas politics, where he specialized in creating digital strategies for political campaigns and advocacy groups.

Houstonia’s design team will be led by design director Chris Skiles, who returns to his hometown after award-winning stints as art director for Maui Time Weekly and associate art director for Seattle Met, SagaCity’s sister publication. Deputy art director Alese Pickering, meanwhile, was previously the associate art director of 5280, Denver’s city magazine, as well as a freelance graphic designer.

Watch for the exciting debut of Houstonia this April. Subscribe today at www.houstoniamag.com or sign up to be notified the moment we're available—in print, on the web, or on your iPad or favorite device.

About SagaCity Media

SagaCity Media Inc. is the parent company of Seattle Met, Portland Monthly, Aspen Sojourner, Park City Magazine, Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine, Portland Bride & Groom, Seattle Met Bride & Groom, Out Aloha, Out City and 18 other custom and editorial publications. Seattle Met and Portland Monthly are both currently among the top 10 biggest-selling city magazines in the nation, and are the no. 1 selling magazines in their respective markets, over all national and regional titles.

8 comments:

  1. So, the Vogels are going to create a unique magazine that's going to "capture the spirit and complex charm" of Houston that no one's been able to do in the past thirty years by hiring the same people who have been writing in Houston about Houston for the past thirty years? Nothing like someone swooping in out of town, cannibalizing the talent from established publications, and hoping that people will pay for the same content they've been getting for free. At least now there will be ANOTHER glossy mag for Houston's rich and presumptuous to find all their favorite Plastic Surgeon's ads in.

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  2. Are the rich and presumptuous women in other cities obsessed boob jobs as much as they are in Houston?

    Anon above has a good point, why should we expect anything different with this mag?

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  3. There used to be a lot more Houston magazines in the past. Then the web came.

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  4. Well, good luck to those former Houstonians, breezing in from the ever-so-chic PNW, to show us how much more trend-obsessed Inner Loop Houston has become now with it's overpriced real estate, sushi joints on every corner and $15 hamburgers. I suppose if there's now a market here for all these things, they hopefully can convince people to pick up their wallets and buy a subscription to fund their next magazine in Austin a year later.

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  5. Do these departures from the Houston Press indicate any trouble there, or just that these new guys are paying better salaries?

    And on the same subject, is Richard Connelly still at the Press? I haven't seen anything by him in a long time. If he has departed, does anyone know to where?

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  6. The Houston Press' owner Village Voice Media split recently. Employees now run the newspaper part of the company. That's caused some to jump ship.

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  7. Since writing this piece, Houstonia has lost its publisher, editor, food critic. And they hired a women who sold cars to its top position after searching for months. Meanwhile returns are huge, subscriptions haven't budged, and the website remains vacant. How's it working out?

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