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Posts Tagged ‘Mental Floss’

Steven Kotok Shares Some Felix Dennis Memories

Steven Kotok, a long-serving employee at Felix Dennis‘ various media enterprises and current CEO of The Week and Mental Floss, was among those who shared fond reminiscences for a recent theweek.com tribute following the colorful magnate’s passing. Speaking today via telephone with FishbowlNY, Kotok was kind enough to add a few more.

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“My first memory of Felix is back before Maxim was launched,” Kotok recalls. “It was a 12-person company in 1997 and this guy wandered up holding the plastic part of a six-pack of beer, that had three or four beers left in it. And some Doritos.”

“I was working away in the office at 7 p.m. or something, and he offered me a beer and Doritos. That was the first time I met him,” he adds. “He was a person who just, absolutely, did not want to stand on ceremony or pretense. I think if he had been an assistant, he would have behaved the exact same way. He didn’t know how to be any other way.”

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RIP: Felix Dennis

DennisPublishingLogoIn the U.S., Dennis Publishing’s footprint had been reduced to The Week and Mental Floss. But it is of course for the vertiginous rise of Maxim magazine that the company’s flamboyant chief executive chairman Felix Dennis will be most remembered here.

With news that Dennis passed away over the weekend at age 67 after a long battle with throat cancer, the fond reminiscences are starting to be shared. From a piece by The Guardian‘s David Hepworth:

Although Felix loved the company of journalists and photographers, he never made the mistake of getting hung up on editorial. When Maxim was at its height in the United States, I sat with him while he went through a new issue, purring over every page of advertising, pulling out a gatefold and cackling, “You know how much they paid for that?”

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Mental Floss Expands Digital Team

Mental Floss has made a few moves involving its digital team. Details are below.

  • Erin McCarthy has been promoted from deputy editor of digital to managing editor of digital. Before joining Mental Floss, McCarthy worked for Popular Mechanics. She’ll continue to report to Mental Floss’ editor, Jason English.
  • Nick Greene has been named McCarthy’s successor as deputy editor of digital. Greene comes to the magazine from The Village Voice.
  • Hannah Keyser joins Mental Floss as a staff writer. Keyser most recently served as a web editor for Honest Cooking and a writer for MLB.com.
  • Rebecca O’Connell has been named a web producer. O’Connell was most recently part of Mental Floss’ marketing team.
  • Josh Moore, previously Mental Floss’ associate art director, has joined the magazine’s digital team.

Cover Battle: 2013 Cover of The Year Poll

You had to know you wouldn’t be escaping 2013 without one final award. As you know from FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle, we’re big fans of magazine covers. Below are some of our favorites from the past year.

We know you’re doing the least amount of work possible before the holiday break (no, ordering a DVD of Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style doesn’t count as work). Why not take a minute to vote for your favorite? Just in case you were wondering, The Atlantic won last year’s contest.

The Cover of The Year winner will be announced next Monday, December 30.

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The Week Publications Adds Three to Sales Team

The Week Publications, parent of The Week and Mental Floss, have added three staffers to its sales team. Below are the details.

    • John Guehl rejoins the company as director of digital sales development. He previously served as an account director for The Week and TheWeek.com, from 2007 to 2012. Guehl most recently served as executive sales development director for Bon Appétit.
    • James Alfieri has been named Northeast director. Alfieri most recently managed almost half of The Economist’s top 20 corporate accounts.
    • Matt Estrada has been named Southwestern director. Estrada comes to The Week Publications from Say Media, where he served as a senior sales executive.

Cover Battle: Businessweek or Mental Floss

Welcome back to another FishbowlNY Cover Battle, where we ask you, “When was the last time you called your mother?” Or maybe we just ask you to pick which magazine cover you like best.

This week we have Bloomberg Businessweek taking on Mental Floss. For its latest cover, Businessweek featured an illustration of the Grim Reaper/Death, who — if we had to guess — appears to be have ended up that way because of a nasty smoking habit.

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Cover Battle: The New York Times Magazine or Mental Floss

Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This time around we have The New York Times Magazine versus Mental Floss. The Times Magazine went with an adorable photo of a dog licking a chubby baby. It’ll be tough to beat this cover, because who doesn’t like dogs and babies? If you answered “me,” please know you’re a bad person.

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Felix Dennis and His Magazines are Doing Great

Here’s what we know about Felix Dennis — the eccentric owner of Dennis Publishing: He and his magazines are doing great. Well, at least the ones he once owned or currently owns, including The Week and Mental Floss. We know this because that’s what he tells David Carr of The New York Times, in an interview.

Dennis told Carr that there are a lot of haters out there, but that’s mainly because they’re jealous. “I have sold at the top of market several times,” explains Dennis. “Nobody remembers how long I’ve been at this. I love the media game. Love. It.”

The publisher then explained that his magazines are doing well because he understands everything better than everyone:

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Mental Floss’ Jim Kaminsky: ‘I Finally Found a Useful Outlet for That Kind of OCD Behavior’

Mental Floss, the magazine packed with information that can stump pretty much anyone you know, has a new guy tinkering under its hood. Jim Kaminsky is the title’s new Editor-in-Chief, and the first issue under his guidance hits newsstands tomorrow.

We got a chance to preview the issue, and from the looks of it, Kaminsky already has the magazine humming. Mental Floss’ Sept./Oct. issue is filled with entertaining and engrossing features that are sure to gain it new readers.

Kaminsky told FishbowlNY via email that when he came aboard, the magazine already had these things, he’s just been doing some fine tuning.

“The core idea of Mental Floss is so strong: the fantasy of a perfect liberal arts education between the pages of a magazine,” began Kaminsky. “The voice springs from that. It’s as though you’re hanging with your smartest and funniest pal, the one who wears geekiness on his sleeve, but is lovable and awesomely fun to be with. Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur, the magazine’s founders, nurtured that voice over the course of a decade, so everything I’m doing with it is just an amplification of what was already there.”

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Mental Floss Magazine Hires Editor-in-Chief

Mental Floss, the bi-monthly magazine chock full of odd facts (Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day), has hired James Kaminsky as Editor-in-Chief. According to The Cutline, Kaminsky has previously worked at Playboy, Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal.

Will Pearson, C0-Founder of the magazine, is hopeful that Kaminsky’s background will help the title expand beyond its typical reach. “We’re looking to introduce this magazine to more people, and I think he’ll be an editor who can fine-tune it to reach a larger audience,” said Pearson.