Magazine Dreams

Will San Francisco finally get the city magazine it deserves?

"Just getting out the door will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per issue. The printing bill is going to drive him crazy," says Jim Dowden, director of the national association of city magazines. "What he wants to do would be a lot easier on newsprint. That's why the alternative weeklies work so well."

Hartle won't discuss his investors; he'll only say he is privately funded. He understands the odds he faces, but he's still confident -- almost cocky -- about beating them. "People said the same thing about Hour. "How the hell are you going to do it?' Well, we did it. What we did in Detroit was the revolution. And based on that, what happens [here] is just evolution," he says. "San Francisco will be excited to have 7x7, and we will find the money to make it work. I can't say how, because it's magic. Elves. We're going all-elves, you know. They're bright, and mostly writers."

In contrast, San Francisco Editor Kelley boasts about all the real, quality freelancers he says the magazine is accumulating, with "the journalistic chops to do the kind of stories that will fire people up every issue."

 
A.J. Garces
 
The creators of Detroit's successful city magazine, Hour, are coming to San Francisco.
Paul Trapani
The creators of Detroit's successful city magazine, Hour, are coming to San Francisco.
Detroit native Tom Hartle and his wife, Heather, plan to launch 7x7 here this fall.
Paul Trapani
Detroit native Tom Hartle and his wife, Heather, plan to launch 7x7 here this fall.
San Francisco magazine Editor Bruce Kelley says he's ready for the competition.
Paul Trapani
San Francisco magazine Editor Bruce Kelley says he's ready for the competition.

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Yet just how much San Francisco will improve its editorial content remains to be seen. Kelley continues to publicly tout the possibilities, as when he recently agreed to appear on a panel covering the Bay Area magazine market held by the Society of Professional Journalists. "I don't understand why a great city magazine hasn't just dominated the region," he says beforehand. "I'm not going to dis my predecessors, but I think my magazine is starting to feel younger and more connected to the city. My hope is that people are noticing, appreciating, and agreeing. I'm certainly trying like hell to get people to see it that way."

He needs to work fast, though, because when the 7x7 prototype is unveiled in the coming weeks, Kelley -- and his advertisers -- will get the first look at the Hartle way.

As for competition from 7x7, Kelley is ready. "No matter what, we'll still take him in fashion and lifestyle. But I say, "Bring it on.'"

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