That the magazine industry, struggling as it may be, is nonetheless doing serious damage to the environment was the conclusion of the four speakers at the “Can We Make A Green Magazine” panel held in FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre Thursday night. The discussion, organized by Catherine Talese and Michael Grossman, photography director and designer director at The Society of Publication Designers, respectively, featured presentations by Todd Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics, Scott Stowell, design director of Good and proprietor of design studio Open, Gary Cosimini, business development director for Adobe, and Frank Locantore, director of Co-op America’s Magazine Paper Project.
Paglia spoke first, admitting, “Magazines are not the worst use of paper, nor the largest.” However, the medium is responsible for the destruction of 200 million trees worldwide per year, 63 million in the United States alone. Paglia also took a shot at the industry’s “Green issues.” “I cringe every April when all those Green Issues come,” he said. “I liked it the first time, even when they were printed without recycled paper. But now it’s the third time and they still aren’t using it,” citing Sports Illustrated and Vanity Fair as offenders.
Were the other three any more positive?
Nope. Good‘s Stowell, who said he knew less about the subject than the other three panelists, told the three-quarters full room he had three goals: 1) make readers into subscribers, 2) conserve resources — Good‘s paper is 100 percent recycled, and 3) do more — two billion magazines are destroyed a year after not being sold on newsstands. He mentioned going to Hudson News after the vendors took the first issue of Good off the stands and bribing them to buy back the copies.
Cosimini, the man responsible for helping develop many of Adobe’s products during the past 20 years, showed ideas his company is working on to move magazines online. Indigo, a computer design program, connects over the Internet to add interactivity and action to the page. He compared Zinio to “taking a publication and faxing it to the screen,” an assessment we agree with. He also said that current computer processors produce as much heat per square centimeter as a rocket nozzle. We have no idea what that means or why it’s relevant, but it sounds awesome.
Of all the presentations, Locantore’s made the most business sense. Reducing the size of a publication by one-fourth to one-half an inch saves four to eight percent in production price. He cited magazines including Good, Fast Company, Plenty, and Everyday With Rachael Ray as those that are doing it right. “Using recycled paper isn’t any more difficult than producing a magazine without it,” he said.