“Did we lose money? Of course! Doesn’t every new business?” said Freeze Magazine President Thea L. Sebastian ’08, referring to the financial difficulties her publication has faced over the past few months.
Freeze—a Cosmopolitan for collegians, complete with sex tips, quiz, and fashion shoots—was intended to reach other Boston-area schools as well as Harvard, but the premiere edition faced problems with distribution. Policies at other schools barred Freeze from marketing its wares on those campuses, Sebastian said.
Without the additional audience, Sebastian said her magazine ran into financial trouble. For the next issue—scheduled for a September 2006 release date—the editors are looking for new distributors and new advertisers to help raise revenues.
According to The Boston Globe, Sebastian invested over $8,000 in her project, which she says she’s still trying to recoup.
“We believe in our determination to make this a success, and we fully expect to make back that money. This won’t happen overnight... but we’re here to stay,” Sebastian said.
In the meantime, Freeze is looking to distribute back issues at Harvard and around Boston to increase visibility.
Sebastian says to expect several content changes for the next edition.
“We’re holding on to our features—Sex and the University, Ask a Guy, horoscopes, etc.—but are also adding lots of new things,” Sebastian wrote in an e-mail. “We’re including more fashion items, a few more serious pieces, movie reviews, guides to nightlife, and an awesome inside-a-new-relationship piece about which we’re really excited.”
MAKING A SCENE
Scene Magazine has faced similar growing pains, though theirs have centered more on incorporating “constructive criticism” in crafting the magazine’s second issue, according to co-editor-in-chief Rebecca A. Kaden ’08.
Scene, a society-style glossy that featured students modeling Brooks Brothers clothing and a peek into one junior’s suite at the Ritz-Carlton, faced blistering criticism upon its release last December. Several op-eds in The Crimson accused the Scene editors of misrepresenting the social and cultural scene at Harvard.
“Our goal, in the broadest sense, was to publish a magazine that would interest Harvard’s campus,” Kaden wrote. “We certainly believe we accomplished that.”
But Rebecca J. Hammer ’06, creator of the “Scene Magazine is Bullshit” facebook.com group, wrote in an e-mail that she took issue with the magazine’s lack of minority representation.
“Pretty much everyone I know agrees that Scene Magazine is completely ludicrous in its skewed portrayal of the Harvard community,” Hammer wrote. “[V]ery few of the magazine’s models are minorities, and most of them are pictured wearing expensive clothes in elite surroundings (hello, Ritz Carlton).”
According to Kaden, Scene’s editors have taken this type of criticism in stride.
“People across campus were interested, and reacted, which is a fantastic thing both for the magazine itself and in helping us craft the second issue,” Kaden wrote.
“We have taken all our feedback and tuned the content and style of the magazine,” Kaden added. “The original vision is certainly there, but it will only be better.”
Scene’s second issue is expected to be released during spring reading period.