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VIDEO: The ineffable magic of print

In one of my favourite FIPP interviews to date James Oseland, Editor in Chief of Rodale’s Organic Life, shares with us how it’s possible to maintain a passion for print while embracing new digital revenue streams. We caught up with him at FIPP Congress last year to find out exactly how the new brand was progressing.

We live in a VERY interesting moment right now (0:02)

All of us consume massive amounts of information digitally on our phones, on our tablets, on our desktops, on our laptops even. But there’s something so special – a really kind of ineffable magic if you will – about the print product. And how we as readers, as consumers of information, relate to the print product. For me, my idea is that’s a very, very extraordinary thing that cannot really be effectively be translated to the digital sphere. 

On print drowning out the digital noise… (0:43)

I think that print absolutely drowns the noise out. For us at Rodale’s Organic Life what we strive to do every single issue is to create for our readers - for our audience - with our print product, a kind of slow food if you will. Something that will allow them to turn out all of that noise, all of that constant information streaming in, and just sit down, quietly some place, maybe even in their bathtub, open up a copy of what we create and SLOW. DOWN. 

Just really appreciate, get in, laser like, and absorb the beauty of the print product – that’s not possible with anything digital. 

1.5m uniques per month strong (1:28)

However we do have digital as well… Because it’s 2015 and because we’re a new brand, we have been very proactive in thinking about all sort of platforms. We have a very robust website that is 1.5m uniques strong per month, we have a very robust social programme: on Facebook we have over a million likes and that’s only a few months into our existence.

Plus we’re figuring out all sorts of other fun ways of bringing our energy into the outside world. We’re doing our first event later this month – our farm to fork food festival – and other thing that we’re doing is we’re starting a whole line of online courses, something that’s part of a larger company-wide initiative called Rodale U, our first effort in that area. It’s a course about meditation. 

Making ecommerce easy (2:33)

There absolutely are plans to explore [ecommerce]. I mean you know, first and foremost in my history: I’m a print editor. For me I’ve never been like one of those editors whose like oh my goodness all of these new forms I don’t know what to do with it. I see it quite the opposite. I see it as a way of just furthering our storytelling, bringing the essential magic of what we do at our heart through all of these different mediums.

At Rodale we’re very lucky to have a built in etailing site: rodales.com. It’s been around for 2 years, and everything you can buy from food, clothing, gardening materials, are exactly the kinds of things that we highlight at Rodale’s Organic Life. So it’s a very, very natural synergy. We think of Rodale’s.com as our etailing site, so in fact it already exists for us.      

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