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Posts Tagged ‘Susan West’

Newly Launched Travel Mag Afar Raises Rate Base, Dumps Editor, Publisher

afarimage001.jpgAlthough it may seem like a crazy time to launch a magazine, travel pub Afar, which debuted this summer, proves that it can be done — and done successfully.

Today, the magazine’s publisher, Afar Media, announced it was raising the title’s rate base by 50 percent to 75,000 readers, starting with its March/April issue.

Along with a rate base increase, it seems like Afar is doing some staff restructuring as well. We noticed in today’s announcement that founder Greg Sullivan was listed as editor-in-chief, a position formerly held by Susan West. Folio reports today that West has left the company, along with founding publisher John Sheehy, whose position has been eliminated.

joediaz.jpgAlthough today’s rate base announcement didn’t mention those staffing changes, it did highlight some of the other restructuring and promotions going on at the fairly new company. Executive VP and managing director of digital operations Dan Orum has been promoted to president of Afar Media, co-founder Joe Diaz (pictured) is taking on the role of VP of sales and brand development and Derek Butcher has been named chief architect and chief technology officer. Afar is also bringing on consultant Dawn Drew, a former National Geographic Traveler publisher, to develop the magazine’s brand across platforms such as digital, products and live events.

Update: A spokesperson told us West’s departure was part of the magazine’s restructuring and Sullivan, Afar‘s founder and editorial director, has taken on her responsibilities.

Full release after the jump

Read more: Editor, Publisher Out at Afar Amid RestructuringFolio

How To Pitch: Afar

Previously: Afar Names Susan West Editor-in-Chief, Afar Publisher John Sheehy: Downturn Is Actually Helping Travel Mag Launch

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Afar Publisher John Sheehy: ‘Downturn Is Actually Helping’ Travel Mag Launch

The Afar team celebrates the mag launch at 632 Hudson last night in NYC. From left: Co-founder Joseph Diaz, editor-in-chief Susan West, publisher John Sheehy, founder and CEO Greg Sullivan, and executive director of travel Claude Girard. Photo by Shawn Ehlers Photography.

Filling an opulent townhouse with Moroccan fare, Basque wine and didgeridoo and capoeira performances, niche travel mag Afar introduced itself and its mission to deliver international editorial content for the “experiential traveler” at last night’s launch party in the Meatpacking District. In an era of cancelled conferences and Christmas parties, folded magazines and company-wide layoffs, the party certainly was transporting.

We spotted some familiar faces in the crowd, including Samir Husni (a.k.a. Mr. Magazine),’s Cyndi Stivers, and’s Dylan Stableford. We caught up with Afar‘s publisher, John Sheehy, a former Time Inc. publishing director who consulted on Dwell‘s launch, to hear first-hand why anyone would launch a print publication in this economy. Apparently, the industry’s current financial turmoil is of little concern to Sheehy: “The downturn is actually helping [Afar], because people are more selective about travel.” Ad pages account for 25 percent of Afar‘s 100-page launch issue, and Sheehy is bullish about the future. The bimonthly magazine hits newsstands August 18, and a Web site and social network component to the print pub is set to debut in early 2010.

Afar co-founders Greg Sullivan (CEO) and Joe Diaz said they came up with the concept for Afar after a five-week stay in India with no set agenda. Sullivan said they realized that this “beneath the culture” travel had no media representation, and they believe Afar can fill that niche need in the crowded travel mag market. Said Sullivan, Afar “should be a media brand that inspires this kind of [experiential] travel,” he said.

But can another travel mag really endure the journey to success in these hard publishing times? Sullivan (who, by the way, sank $10 million of his own money into this project) seems to have no doubts, saying, “It sure seems like we’re touching a chord here… We really think this could be a big thing.”

Check out photos from the event (didgeridoos included) after the jump…

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