BOSTON — UNLIKE best-selling magazines that are primarily vehicles for advertisers, environmental magazines ``are going to be forced to be reader-driven,'' says Samir Husni, magazine analyst at the University of Mississippi. ``With very few exceptions you're not going to find a huge advertising market for environmental products to support the magazine,'' says Dr. Husni. The magazine's content, he says, will make or break it.
Here's a look at two new ones.
First out in summer 1988, Buzzworm - the southern name for the rattlesnake that warns and demands immediate response - is for readers interested in global conservation, especially survival of wildlife and cultures. Packed with gorgeous photographs rivaling those in the National Geographic, the magazine is published in Boulder, Colo., by founder Joseph E. Daniel, a freelance photojournalist.
Articles have dealt with such controversial topics as using chimps for AIDS research and harvesting exotic game on overpopulated ranches in Texas.
Unique to the magazine is a ``Connections'' section, which lists volunteer projects and job opportunities. An annual list of ``Adventure Travel'' includes such extravagant getaways as scuba diving in the Galapagos and dog-sledding in the Arctic.
``It's a well-done magazine,'' says Husni, ``from the photography to the articles to the service telling everything going on in the country.'' Success will depend on getting devoted readers, he says. ``If the reader buys it, it is going to survive.''
No kidding, that's the name of this new bimonthly devoted to down-home environmental practices - from smarter kitchen design to wise buying at the supermarket. It's an easy-to-read consumer guide, full of colorful charts and news bits. The editors take bold aim at irresponsible products (with too much packaging, for instance) in their ``In the Dumpster'' column and praise smart products in the ``Keepers'' section.
The magazine is made from what would have been garbage: recycled paper. Unlike the high-gloss paper used in most magazines, the pages in Garbage have less glare, making them easier to read.
Publisher Patricia Poore doesn't agree that advertisers are turned off by the lower-quality recycled paper in her magazine. ``That's an industry assumption. These advertisers are trying to give an environmental message.... They will have to realize that to be consistent ... they will have to put up with (recycled paper).''
Although response to the new magazine has surpassed her expectations, Ms. Poore is not satisfied: More than half of all magazines on newsstands go unsold, and wind up as (nonrecyclable) garbage. She plans to take aim at this aspect of the magazine industry in an upcoming issue.
Husni finds Garbage a good complement to Buzzworm, but says that it does ``too much preaching.... You read it and you get this really guilty feeling.'' He finds the name opposing the magazine's intentions. ``Why didn't they call it `Anti-Garbage'?'' he says. ``Why didn't Buzzworm or Garbage just call their magazine Environment?''