Sunday, November 20, 2005

New Savoy Magazine Goes on "Hiatus"

Well, it looks like I'll get paid when the moon turns to


New Savoy Magazine Goes on "Hiatus"

November 14, 2005

Underfinancing Halts Black Lifestyle Monthly

The new Chicago-based incarnation of Savoy magazine, which debuted in February, is on "hiatus" and unable to pay its contributors, but plans a Web edition in December, publisher Hermene Hartman told Journal-isms.

"I was underfinanced from the get-go," said Hartman, Publisher of the Chicago weekly N'Digo. "I'm waiting on some dollars to come in." Savoy's last issue was dated June/July.

"I can't pay writers and I can't pay staff. Advertising is wonderful; reader response is wonderful," Hartman said Sunday. The lifestyles publication had an unaudited circulation of 325,000, she said.

Savoy, which aspired to be a "black Vanity Fair," was the flagship publication of Vanguarde Media, whose publications were auctioned in bankruptcy proceedings last year. Others in the Vanguarde stable were Heart & Soul, a health and fitness magazine, and Honey, which described itself as "a fashion and entertainment magazine aimed at stylish urban women."

Hartman bought Savoy for $600,000 from the Jungle Media Group, a small New York publishing house that won the magazine at auction in May 2004 for $375,000 plus the assumption of consumer liabilities. Hartman hired as editor Monroe Anderson, a Chicago-based veteran journalist who had worked at Ebony, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago's WBBM-TV.

Hartman said the publication ran into higher-than-expected postal expenses when it failed to qualify to mail at magazine postal rates. "We missed it by a month. We were out of publication for a full year," she explained. "We were mailing out at full postal rates, and magazine status is half of that."

Hartman's debut issue in February featured Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and his wife, Michelle Obama. It ran 116 pages and carried 14 articles, features and columns. It planned to publish 10 times a year, with combined issues for June/July and December/January, as Target Market News reported then.

Anderson is editing the online edition of Savoy, which will be posted at, Hartman said. Writers who are owed money will be paid when "some dollars come in," and subscriptions will be honored, she said.

Of the other Vanguarde products, Honey was bought at auction in May 2004 by a company headed by Philmore Anderson, a former record company executive who has not yet relaunched the magazine, and Heart & Soul reappeared on Oct. 7. [Added Nov. 17: Anderson said he was still assembling financing for the magazine and "we'll be publishing in '06."]

The health and fitness publication had been purchased at auction by Baltimore-based Twenty-First Century Group. Publisher Edwin V. Avent told Journal-isms Sunday that "we had similar issues" as Savoy with its postal costs, but "you have to have enough capital to deal with it. It's something you have to budget."

The next Heart & Soul issue is scheduled for February/March, and after that it will publish every other month, Avent said. As reported last month, Yanick Rice Lamb has returned to the publication as editorial director.

Posting of material below was delayed until Nov. 16:


writebrother said...

I say you pull a Suge Knight and go "negotiate" with them and get your money. All joking aside though, that's wack that they stiffed you like that.
All those Vanguarde properties were a mess and I'm not sure why new owners thought they could bring them back from the dead. Good luck brother

Lawrence said...

That's laughs! I just might have to get a ruling from small claims and then go into their office and start taking pens and pencils until it adds up! Maybe if the publisher has rims, I can get those? lol

Writeprocrastinator said...

Amazing, I literally haven't seen "Savoy" anywhere else other than on your blog. My late uncle gave my father a magazine a few years before he passed on with Duke Ellington on the cover. The publication was circa 1968 and it was called "Sepia" if I remember right.

This was about eleven years ago and I glanced through the magazine, it struck me as a watered-down version of "Ebony" and I think my uncle said that it didn't last much longer beyond that issue.

I can't remember if it was a Johnson publication or not, but I can't imagine a non-Johnson publication gaining any traction with the over-thirty set. Then or now. A magazine needs major advertising money to survive and...