First envy

First envy: Rafat Ali of was nice enough to e-mail me news of a vaporzine he ran across and asks, “Why do magazines claim to be first”? (A reference to a previous post today.) Inspire Your World, according to the press release, will be the “first consumer magazine on volunteering and philanthropy.”

Before answering Rafat’s question, I have one to ask, myself: Can a magazine about “giving” ever be classified a “consumer” magazine? But I digress.

Now, back to the question, “Why do magazines claim to be first?” The reason is that people who start magazines believe that if they have not heard of something, then it must not have ever happened. So, if they come up with an idea for a music magazine for people over age 40 or a magazine about gadgets for young men and they go to the local newsstand and don’t see something like that, they naturally assume their’s will be the first.

Obviously, the publishers of “Inspire Your World” have never heard of Randall Jones, the erstwhile publisher of Worth Magazine. In March, 1997, he launched a magazine called The American Benefactor, a quarterly that was targeted toward philanthropists. Despite being launched by one of the most savvy magazine marketers, promoters and salesmen I have ever known, it failed to find an audience and “was folded into Worth” at the end of 1998, according to Folio: Magazine.