Cable Neuhaus is not a conservative, but he has steered the editorial direction of right-wing magazine Newsmax for the last two and a half years. During that time, the magazine has broadened its readership and improved its content. He talks with PRWeek about the niche that Newsmax fills for readers and how he works with PR professionals.
PRWeek: Since you've come on board, has the magazine broadened its reach in terms of coverage?
Cable Neuhaus: I don't think we've broadened our reach, I think we've changed the way we approach our subject matter. It's basically the same subject matter, somewhat refined. We've completely re-carved the magazine, if you will. It's simply a different magazine with the same name - even the logo has changed actually - but it's a magazine that appeals to people who have a very high appetite for political news, especially, as I say, somewhat conservative, leaning Republican, political news. Yet we cover lots of other stuff, always from our perspective, though. Knowing that our readers are conservative, we always apply what we think of as a conservative filter to every story, even if it's a story about something like new batteries that have been developed …
PRWeek: Do you consider Newsmax a form of advocacy journalism because it is considered a conservative publication?
Neuhaus: I wouldn't say we're advocates, no. Occasionally, we are and I would say that most of our stories are played down the middle but, slightly, as I say, to the right. We have a big Web site here, www.newsmax.com, which I do not run. But, it's a big, powerful, American news site which appeals, again, to conservatives and Republicans but I would say it appeals more to them than the magazine does. In a way, the magazine is more modulated in its tone…some people liken it a bit to Fox News Channel. You can watch Fox News and really get all you need in terms of your daily news fix, but, if you are conservative, you are more likely to get excited about the way they cover the news. It's simply a matter of story selection and editing, and I would say that a very light spin in some of their stories where they know [viewers] have very strong opinions and they can align themselves with their [viewers]. I think we try to do that…we're Newsweek, if you will, for people with a more conservative, independent-thinking point of view.
PRWeek: Do you think that's part of what's contributing to the success of the magazine in terms of…revenue growth and increasing Web traffic?
Neuhaus: We'd have no reason to exist if it weren't for the fact that we have stalked out this space for ourselves. Let's face it…it's hard to justify a news magazine in print these days, obviously. It is not, for most companies a good, profitable business. But, we have found a niche, a territory, where our readers discover a magazine, ours, that they believe speaks to them…[My] Republican friends in media…who will say to me, ‘You're in a really, really good space because conservative Republicans, especially, will be willing to spend money to support a print magazine that takes their side,.' And, basically, that's what Newsmax magazine does.
PRWeek: In terms of how you work with PR professionals, and you are a political magazine, do you work directly with the PR industry taking pitches or do you use them more as an outlet to provide sources?
Neuhaus: We take pitches. Most of the pitches that are meaningful to us…are pitches for the back of our magazine. The back of our magazine is called MaxLife…which is softer news and more the news you can use, to use a familiar term. So, that's where we cover trends, lifestyle, technology, a lot of health reporting, some financial money reporting, and pitches work for that part of the magazine pretty well, and we do take them. The front of the magazine is basically political, about domestic news and policy and foreign news policy development and trends. There isn't really a lot of opportunity, in my opinion, for publicists to pitch that part of the magazine, but the whole back of the magazine, MaxLife, is wide open. We've even talked about spinning out MaxLife as a stand-alone magazine some part down the road.
PRWeek: Jumping back to how the magazine has changed over the past few years, this year, specifically, how has an election year affected the magazine in terms of readership growth and expanded coverage?
Neuhaus: Well, [there has been] expanded coverage, for sure, because when we do surveys…more than anything [readers] like the politics. They read all kinds of other stuff in the magazine and we have our own columnists. They seem to like the columnists. Two of our marquee columnists are [aide to President Clinton] Dick Morris ... and [former Nixon aide and celebrity] Ben Stein. Both of them write monthly columns for us…they are extremely engaged in the magazine because they can't find another that is their pal, that is their friend. We are their friend. And, a lot of conservatives feel that the mainstream press is simply there to attack their values, and we appreciate their values as a magazine.
Name: Cable Neuhaus
Title: Editorial director
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.newsmax.com