MEDIA PROFILE: Amid market woe, Kiplinger's proves a smartinvestment of time

Since its 1947 launch, Kiplinger's has kept an upbeat slant - even in down markets - and an open ear to PR pros. As such, finds Matthew Arnold, the family-run personal finance title has become a top pitch target.

Since its 1947 launch, Kiplinger's has kept an upbeat slant - even in down markets - and an open ear to PR pros. As such, finds Matthew Arnold, the family-run personal finance title has become a top pitch target.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance provides a soothing presence amid the tumult of roller-coaster markets, supplementing bare-fisted financial reporting with genteel ruminations on mutual funds, luxury cars, time-shares, and other lifestyle topics for the well-to-do investor nearing retirement. The monthly magazine has its origin in founder and presidential adviser Willard Kiplinger's weekly newsletters to opinion leaders, launched in 1929. The monthly, which first published in 1947, remains a family publication, with Willard's grandson Knight Kiplinger serving as editor-in-chief.

It entered its present incarnation in 1990, rebranding from Kiplinger's Changing Times to its present name to take advantage of an increasing business-media focus on personal finance in the boom years of the 1980s.

The magazine, which rivals Money and SmartMoney, has seen paid circulation jump from 1.2 million to 1.4 million over the past year as it purchased the subscriber base for Individual Investor, while readership stands at more than 3 million. And Kiplinger's reaches decision makers and moneyed consumers. Its well-heeled, highly educated, mostly male readership boasts an average age of 48, and a median income of $59,805.

Its features-heavy formula offers many pitching avenues. As most of the magazine is closed 10 weeks before its newsstand date, pitches should be delivered four months ahead, though more topical segments are subject to last-minute decisions. An editorial calendar listing forward features can be found at kiplinger.com/magazine.

The Ahead segment, which focuses on emerging economic and tech trends, is edited by executive editor Janet Bodnar and written by senior associate editor Melinda Dovel Wilcox. It is the last to go to bed, typically a week before closing. In addition to big-picture trend stories, such as an analysis of the atmosphere for small investors and a look at shrinking severance packages, recent articles have included quirky shorts on Geekcorps, a computer Peace Corps, and US Airways' bid to become the first airline in space. Wilcox also covers retirement and workplace issues, while Bodnar writes the Kids and Money column, which is syndicated through newspapers nationally.

The Investing section, edited by senior associate editor Manuel Schiffres, advises readers on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Recent articles have explored the booming post-9/11 security-services market and the soaring share price of JetBlue. Schiffres prefers e-mail to phone pitches, and recommends pitching reporters on the section directly. "I'd rather ideas filter up from them, as I just don't have time to read every pitch that comes in, he says.

The Managing section, edited by editorial director Kevin McCormally, examines long-term money management issues, such as retirement plans and insurance policies. He specializes in coverage of tax issues and authors the annual Kiplinger's Cut Your Taxes guide.

The Spending section offers advice on leisure pursuits and luxury products, and is often planned well in advance by senior editor Robert Frick. Recent topics covered include time shares and home sales. Frick also puts out the magazine's December car-buyers guide.

Cover stories are chosen from strong contenders for section leads. Retirement-related topics are hot, as the magazine's average reader approaches retirement age.

In addition to the magazine, whose overall editorial team is led by editor Fred Frailey, reporters also provide exclusive content for kiplinger.com, headed by editor Mark Solheim, and for the four-weekly or biweekly newsletters sent to subscribers, which focus on taxes, agriculture, and the California and DC regional industries.

Bodnar says Kiplinger's is very open to story ideas and receptive to well-honed pitches, but pleads that PR execs study it closely. "They should know what we cover and pitch the appropriate editor, he says. "We're not a business title. We don't do showbiz journalism, so we're not interested in CEO profiles or who's moved where. We're interested in people's pocketbooks."

"We try to give our readers articles with actionable advice, adds Schiffres, "so pitches should too."

Jennifer Ackman, an Edelman SAE, has successfully pitched stories to the magazine's personal tech writer, Michael Martinez, for two clients.

"The best way to work with him is to get to the point and put it in the subject line if you are pitching via e-mail, says Ackman. "Be quick to respond to his questions, she adds, "and if he's reviewing product for you, he'll be fair and honest."

CONTACT LIST
Kiplinger's
Personal Finance
Address: 1729 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel/Fax: (202) 887-6488/331-7255
E-mail: gmayers@kiplinger.com
Web: www.kiplinger.com
Magazine editor: Fred Frailey
Kiplinger.com editor: Mark Solheim
Section editors: Janet Bodnar (Ahead), Manuel Schiffres (Investing),
Kevin McCormally (Management), Robert Frick (Spending)

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