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Change Comes to Grit’s Landscape

It took 124 years, but Grit magazine finally did it. The publication was redesigned with the September/October issue.

The Ogden Publications Inc. title launched in 1882. It serves as a contemporary rural lifestyle magazine for individuals with two acres or more. Readers are not farmers, but rather people who value the rural lifestyle.

“We reached a conclusion about six months ago that we needed to redesign the magazine,” said Bryan Welch, publisher of Grit, Topeka, KS. “We gave ourselves a period of time to introduce the new concept to newsstands and to refine what we are all about.”

Grit now will publish bimonthly, a change from the previous monthly frequency. The format also will change from a tabloid-sized newspaper to a bound glossy. The cover price is $3.95 on newsstands. It will use Time Warner Inc. as its national newsstand distributor.

The demographics also have shifted from ages 60-80 to 30 to 70 year olds.

“It was obvious to anyone that the traditional Grit format was a holdover from an earlier generation of magazines,” Mr. Welch said. “The concept became obsolete and needed to be updated.”

Grit will be sold at general newsstands, bookstores and specialty farm feed and supply stores. The first redesigned issue will have a distribution of 150,000.

“We don’t maintain a rate base, because we are not looking at circulation as pertinent to the magazine,” Mr. Welch said. “Publishers get in the business of guaranteeing rate bases, and when certain circumstances occur they try to force ways to keep those numbers, and we would rather concentrate on what readers want.”

Changes occurred at the publication’s Web site at www.grit.com as well. Take ring tones, for instance.

“If you always wanted a cow mooing for your cell phone, then we’ve got that for you,” Mr. Welch said. “Our goal is to continue to have the staying power we have had and to also maintain the Grit identity and keep a solid presence in media land after more than a century.”

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