Good Magazine Hits the Stands

What would you do to try and change the world? If you are Ben Goldhirsh and you grew up with ink in your veins because your dad ran a magazine, you might try that. Ben and friends have started Good, which seeks " to create entertaining media that attracts broad audiences to content that matters." The Mission: "To stimulate the culture of good by creating dialogue around things that matter." We couldn't find it on the stands yet, but the website more than lives up to its name- it's good. . Content ranges from Ben Jervey's "Chasing Zero"- living in New York with a zero carbon footprint; Remarkable portraits- short and interesting bits; well-known writers like James Surowiecki, with a long piece on America in the world; even a very interesting blog that is kind enough to pick up TreeHugger. There is lots more that is interesting, well-written and provocative. We like print magazines a lot, but did wonder why someone would try this instead of starting with a web-based version. So did Felix Gillette of the Columbia Journalism Review:

"FG: I think you're the only 26-year-old I know who is starting a print magazine. Why not just start a Web site like everyone else?

BG: I should also tell you that we're going into the pay phone business. I'm kidding. We all talked about it a lot, and went over the numbers, and tried to make sense of it. There's a lot of logic behind a Web magazine. But there's also a real beauty in having a tangible product. By no means are we shorting the Web. We see the future as the Internet. I think eventually this magazine will really almost be like one of the better newsletters for this community of people that gives a damn. That can be serviced on the Web, with events, with opportunities, with career stuff, with more of a MySpace framework."

Another very telling and remarkable feature of the print magazine: when you subscribe, 100% of the subscription fee goes to a charity of your choice. Why? "most magazines do not make money on subscriptions or newsstand sales. Traditionally, the best way to get a bunch of new subscribers is to send millions of pieces of unsolicited mail – junk mail – to people who might have some interest. We don't like junk mail, and we don't like the thought of spending millions of dollars on it. So we came up with the idea of giving away all subscription fees and allowing subscribers to choose which organization they would like to support."

Who could pass that up? We wish the charity list was a bit longer (we like Architecture for Humanity and suspect that the cover statement [blank] like you give a damn owes them something at this time) but will made do with Room to Read.

There is an old saw that asks "how do you make a small fortune in publishing?" and the answer is "start with a large fortune". We hope that is not true in this case and congratulate Ben and his team on this very good start. ::Good Magazine

UPDATE: Well, we wanted to subscribe but they won't let us- they only accept subscriptions in the United States. That is NOT good.

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