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The Atlantic's Bradley Invests in New Alum Magazine

By Casey N. Cep, Crimson Staff Writer

Media mogul David G. Bradley is taking on a new sector of the publishing world, investing in 02138, an alternative to Harvard Magazine slated to debut within six months.

In an e-mail to The Crimson, Bradley described himself as being “reasonably new, and not all that expert in, the magazine world.” But Bradley is no stranger to the realm of publishing. In 1999 he took control of The Atlantic and has been running the National Journal Group since 1997.

02138 was started by Bom S. Kim ’00 and Daniel M. Loss ’00—the same duo who founded the student-run news magazine Current as undergrads.

“It is a real blessing to have his support as a partner and mentor as we tackle the challenges ahead,” Kim wrote in an e-mail.

Bradley said it was his faith in Kim and his interest in “an enterprise that takes us deeper into the very hard world of retail magazines” that inspired the investment in 02138.

But Harvard alumni are a very small market, about 300,000, and one already served by the free, bimonthly publication Harvard Magazine, which is distributed to graduates, faculty, and all Harvard staff.

John S. Rosenberg, editor of Harvard Magazine, is not worried about the competition 02138 might create and said that his strategy is “not to pay any attention to other prospective publications.”

Bradley said he is confident that 02138 will be successful, despite Harvard Magazine’s 108-year monopoly on the market.

“02138 will fare well; but as to the fortunes of Harvard Magazine, I’m certain that 02138 will be a boat that leaves no wake,” said Bradley, who is a graduate of Harvard Business School.

In an effort to distinguish 02138 from its rival, Kim said that he hopes the magazine will become “the Vanity Fair” of alumni publications. If its preview issue is any indication, 02138 will be less academic and more provocative in its journalistic approach. That teaser issue featured an alumni poll on whether or not University President Lawrence H. Summers ought to be ousted from his post.

02138 distributed four-page preview issues to graduates during last year’s Commencement week ceremonies, and originally was planned to debut within two months. Now with Bradley’s backing, its first issue will appear in Spring 2006.

Another article in the preview described “The Harvard 100,” which was a list of Harvard’s 100 most powerful and influential alumni.

“Harvard is the prism through which 02138 will view the world,” Kim said.

According to the promotional materials for 02138, over half of the university’s alumni are millionaires—a narrow but lucrative market for advertisers. They will also charge subscribers $36 per year.

Kim said the new magazine will be an interesting approach to alumni news.

“We will deliver compelling profiles, cover important stories, and even break some news,” Kim wrote. “All, we hope with wit, sophistication, and style.”

—Staff writer Casey N. Cep can be reached at cep@fas.harvard.edu.

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