Inside Edge Debuts

Publication Parodied by Lampoon

More than 200,000 copies of Inside Edge, a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine for young men founded by two Harvard juniors, will make its international debut on newsstands today.

Last night, the Inside Edge gave a nationally televised kick-off party at the club Avalon in Boston, but the debut may have been upstaged on campus by a Harvard Lampoon parody of the magazine that was door-dropped to students yesterday.

The parody features a realistic Inside Edge cover and less-than-realistic "articles" such as an "exclusive interview with David Hasselhoff" and letters to the editor asking, "Is it acceptable to hold two babes in one arm?"

The fake magazine also had a page of "pick-up lines" with such classics as, "Your legs are like a 19th-century novel: long and sweet!" and "Did you see that article the other day in Edge?"

'Poonsters were ejected from the debut party late last night after distributing copies of the parody. The party, at which several Boston bands performed, was televised in part by MTV.

A press release from Inside Edge described the party as "an unforgettable evening where Rock and Soul will unite to overcome the forces of hate and prejudice."

Inside Edge is the first publication produced by S.H. Eliot Publishing Group Inc., a privately held corporation founded by Aaron M. Shapiro '94 and Jonathan K. Hsu '94 in January 1992.

The core staff consists of 30 Harvard students, along with writers from other Boston colleges and correspondents at more than 50 schools around the country.

The magazine is geared at male students age 15 to 22 and covers the men's perspective on sports, dating, entertainment, and current issues such as AIDS and racial tension, Shapiro said.

"This is one of the largest maga- zine launches in the past five years," he said. "More than 200,000 copies will reach 78,000 retail outlets in the U.S."

Shapiro said global distribution, which includes Japan, Korea, Australia, and Canada, will be handled by Warner Publishing Services, a division of Time Warner Inc.

Shapiro said he and Hsu started Inside Edge because they felt there were no magazines targeted for their interests.

"We were sitting around watching football, and we realized there was nothing out in the market aimed at our age," he said.

According to an Inside Edge press release, the premiere issue includes such articles as "The Number One Mistake Guys Make on a Date," and "How to Read a Woman's Signals to Make Your Move," which argues that "seemingly accidental physical contact is a vital sign that a woman is interested in a guy."

A black-and-white prototype for the magazine was created last summer and shown to various publishers until they had garnered $150,000 for promotion and public relations. "They were all very enthusiastic," Shapiro said.

While staff members are currently non-paid, Shapiro said a profit-sharing plan will go into effect if the publication begins to make money.

He said he plans to continue the publication after graduation. "This is a full-time job," he said.

Shapiro said women comprise one-third of the editorial staff and also hold positions in business and design.

"Female staff give the woman's perspective," he said.

Amelia H. Kaplan '96, who works in editorial and marketing, is one of the ten women on the staff.

"A couple of us do editorial. A woman heads design," she said. "We're here to give the alternative viewpoint-to keep things in check."

Kaplan said she believes Inside Edge is focusing on a section of the male society no other magazine has successfully reached.

"I think this is a whole segment of the population," she said. "The marketing is there. We're trying it out."

Shapiro said he is confident Inside Edge will meet the long-neglected need for a young men's magazine.

"This is a totally consumer-driven magazine," he said. "It is not published by 50-year-old people talking down to young America.