Making Niche Publishing History: The Philadelphia Magazine Story


Bernard McCormick’s “The Philadelphia Magazine Story” has some magazine publishing insights to teach us.

Every once in a while it’s important to look back where we came from in order to understand where we’re headed. Acclaimed writer, editor and publisher Bernard McCormick recently published a “bookazine,” The Philadelphia Magazine Story, about a magazine–but it’s also a fascinating glimpse into the history of niche magazine publishing, too.

The Philadelphia Magazine Story is a moving tribute to the publishing of Philadelphia, a magazine pioneer 60 years ago. As one of the first regional/city magazines in the nation, the magazine broke through the barriers of the time to emerge as a powerhouse. McCormick takes us through the tumultuous 1960’s to the excess of the 1980’s to today’s media world –with keen insight into truly great publishing.

With a dedicated editorial team that “found each other,” Philadelphia carved their niche and gave readers their very own window into an intriguing world of breaking news, taboos, drug lords, politicians, celebrities and even Main Line housewives—through more than five decades in the greater “City of Brotherly Love.”

McCormick is quick to inform that his bookazine was most definitely a collaborative effort. Many of Philadelphia’s distinguished writers and editors from the formative days contributed essays both personal and factual about that heady time—when magazines in general burst onto the media landscape and into nation’s collective consciousness.

Full of black and white photos from behind the scenes, with the “Mad Men” editorial staff as well as many of the magazine’s colorful and edgy cover shots, The Philadelphia Magazine Story recognizes the art of publishing niche magazines well and the people who work relentlessly to produce a top quality product—in every issue, every time.

Over time, McCormick and others saw the potential in expanding to other cities quite successfully. The lessons learned at Philadelphia made publishing history and our niche magazines of today are all better for it.


Diana Landau, Niche Content WranglerAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is Content Wrangler of Niche Media. A former corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast who sometimes gets carried away.



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