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Just the Right Time for a New Magazine

March 10, 1994|PAUL D. COLFORD

Every year around this time, journalism professor Samir A. Husni steps forward to announce how many new magazines vied for space on the crowded newsstands during the previous year. In 1993, the University of Mississippi mag maven says, there were 789 new books--the largest number he's seen in nine years of monitoring the industry.

Every cause, hobby, lifestyle and sexual persuasion has a magazine as publishers seek to define audiences narrowly enough so as to be indispensable not only to these readers, but also to corresponding groups of advertisers.

This is an especially busy period for start-ups. In the next few days, three new publications will emerge, giving further evidence that there's always room for another magazine.

Poz--slang for HIV positive--is a new lifestyle and service bimonthly for patients, relatives and friends leading AIDS-affected lives. The April / May premiere, scheduled for release on Tuesday, presents a frank cover profile of Ty Ross, a former Los Angeles fashion model who is HIV positive and also happens to be Barry Goldwater's grandson.

In an interview, Bob Hattoy, the outspoken AIDS adviser to the Clinton administration, accuses the White House of lulling people with AIDS "into a false sense of dream-like, utopian hope."

A back-of-the-book section, "Poz Partner," lays out practical advice on health-related clubs, newsletters and overseas travel restrictions.

Poz combines the slick, the probing and the helpful in a clean package shaped by design director J. C. Suares, who was responsible for the look of 7 Days, the now-defunct New York weekly. Sean O'Brien Strub, publisher and executive editor, says the start-up represents an investment of several hundred thousand dollars--a sum that will soar as he follows through on plans to mail 70,000 unsolicited copies of Poz' 100,000-copy print run to AIDS-affected households.

The 35-year-old Strub, who is HIV positive, has sold a life insurance policy to help launch Poz. "The magazine is being done as a business," he says, "but it's unlikely that it will break even in my lifetime."

Mouth2Mouth is aimed at older teen-agers by Time Inc. Ventures, a magazine development division of Time's ink empire. Scheduled to reach newsstands on Monday, the celeb-driven Mouth2Mouth features Shaquille O'Neal and Cindy Crawford pawing each other on the premiere cover, joking with each other on a pullout poster and talking to each other on four other pages.

Mouth2Mouth is graphically busy--a let's-have-fun assemblage of star-gazing puffery (Adam Sandler, Ashley Hamilton), unexpected finds (a first-person confession from prison inmate Amy Fisher, who says she did it all "in the name of love") and filler, such as "How to Spot Fake Breasts Without Squeezing."

Based in Beverly Hills, the magazine was founded by editor-in-chief Angela Janklow Harrington, a former Vanity Fair writer and daughter of literary super agent Morton L. Janklow. It enters an especially competitive field that includes YM and Seventeen, as well as Welsh Publishing's new Quake and Hachette Filipacchi U.S.A.'s new Tell. Time Inc. Ventures reportedly has scheduled a second issue for late summer.

EcoTraveler is designed to reach environmentally conscious vacationers. In the March / April premiere, Peter Matthiessen reports on a visit to Siberia's Lake Baikal region; other pieces showcase the rugged beauty of Labrador and a lush Virgin Islands resort where the sheets are made from organic cotton processed without dyes or bleaches and the carpet from recycled plastic containers.

EcoTraveler, published by Skies America International Publishing & Communications, based in Tualatin, Ore., will publish every other month through 1994 and switch to a monthly schedule next year.

West Point, Bad and Good: Collier Books has published a trade paperback edition of John F. Marszalek's "Assault at West Point," the basis for Showtime's new made-for-cable movie about the 1880 court-martial of Johnson Whittaker, one of the first blacks admitted to the U.S. military academy. The book was originally published in 1972 as "Court-Martial" by Charles Scribner's Sons, and was long out of print.

In what may be less a trend than a coincidence, the legacy of West Point is also explored in three new titles. "The West Point Way of Leadership" (Doubleday / Currency) by Col. Larry R. Donnithorne (Ret.), a former strategic planner at the academy, describes how the secrets of principled military leadership can be applied to any organization.

"The Class of 1846" (Warner Books) by John C. Waugh, a former Christian Science Monitor correspondent, focuses on the class that produced the largest number of generals in West Point's history, tracing the careers of Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, George McClellan, George Pickett and other Civil War leaders.

"Honor and Duty" (Knopf) is Gus Lee's autobiographical novel about the struggle of a Chinese-American cadet during the Vietnam era.

Ink is published Thursdays. Paul D. Colford is a columnist for Newsday.

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