Passion & Love of Journalism: the Bob Guccione Jr.’s speech on The Crisis Myth

Passion is what is missing in our journalism business today and most of those who own the media today are the wrong owners. Listen to what Bob Guccione Jr. has to say on the status of journalism today and what is lacking and what is needed to create great journalism. Mr. Guccione will be our guest in class tomorrow to answer your questions and listen to your comments about his speech. Be there.

Click here to hear his lecture at the closing event of the first ever ACT Experience in Oxford on Friday Oct. 22, 2010.


About Samir "Mr. Magazine™" Husni, Ph.D.

Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine™, is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer of Journalism at the School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Husni is the author of the annual Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 28th year. He is also the author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today's Marketplace published by Hamblett House, Inc. and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine, published by Kendall Hunt, Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, published by Kendall Hunt, and co-author of Design Your Own Magazine. He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of the magazine groups of the Morris Communications Company, Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader's Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, Sail Magazine, American Airlines Publishing, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Finnish magazine group Sanoma Magazines, Southern Progress magazines, New South Publishing, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Vance Publishing Corporation, the Florida Magazine Association, The Magazine Association of Georgia, the National Society of Black Journalists, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the American Press Institute. He is "the country's leading magazine expert," according to Forbes ASAP magazine, "the nation's leading authority on new magazines," according to min:media industry newsletter; and The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "the planet's leading expert on new magazines." Dr. Husni has been interviewed by major U.S. media on subjects related to the magazine industry. He has been profiled and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as the major newsweeklies and a host of trade publications. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, PBS, and on numerous radio talk shows including National Public Radio's Morning and Weekend Editions. Dr. Husni has also served as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving major media corporations including Time Inc. and American Express Publishing among others. He has been a judge of The National Magazines Awards, The Evangelical Magazines Association, The City and Regional Magazines Association, and The Florida and Georgia Magazine Association Awards. Dr. Husni is the President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations. Dr. Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. When he is not in his office reading magazines, Dr. Husni is at the newsstands buying magazines.
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36 Responses to Passion & Love of Journalism: the Bob Guccione Jr.’s speech on The Crisis Myth

  1. Katie Keatley says:

    I agree with Bob Guccione Jr. when he says that “passion will save a magazine.” People who used to take risks with their magazines and truly believe and trust in them, making them successful. Today, however, people “are fueled by fear too often.” They have a lack of trust in themselves, which shows through their magazines. Unless people regain that sense of passion and start to really care about the content and value of a magazine, they are not going to be as successful and intriguing.

  2. Angela Rogalski says:

    I think Bob Guccione, Jr. is an inspiration. I totally agree that the content of the magazine, whether print or in some digital form, is what’s important. Not the format. The technology of today should be a catalyst for us to become better; for our ‘corn flakes’ to be the most flavorful out there. We should strive for our readers, bring them the passion that Mr. Guccione speaks of in the video clip. For what will topple us over that precipice is mediocrity, just like Mr. Guccione said. We can come up with the most innovative and designer-savvy format that a human being can think of, but without something innovative and savvy to say…without something passionately worthwhile…we haven’t got anything but the emptiness on the downside of that precipice. Kudos to Bob Guccione, Jr. I am so glad that I was able to hear his very inspiring words from the ACT Experience.

  3. Matt Daniels says:

    I disagree that the content is the most important part. I believe layout and design is more important. If what you are saying is not reflected by the way you are saying it, you aren’t communicating effectively. When someone speaks, it’s often not WHAT the person says that conveys the message, rather, it is usually the person’s voice inflection and tone that gets the point accross.

  4. Stephanie Wales says:

    I think it takes more than just passion and love to move any form of media forward. Just because someone is passionate about a particular job does not mean that they have the determination, motivation, and pure drive within them to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. I found this speech a bit hard to follow since it was so informal and full of his personal opinions, but Guccione had some good points overall about how to build and rebuild a good magazine. The lecture tomorrow should be quite interesting.

  5. In a world where we are surrounded by shoddy journalism and advertising techniques we have people like Guccione who are trying to be a light in a dark place. In my opinion in wont be long until we have more people like him and Tyler Brule in editor and chief positions across the U.S. The people who are running the industry may be getting closer to their grave each year, but that does not necessarily mean they will take the publication with them.

  6. Wanda P. says:

    YOu have to love what you do and dont let it just love you. If you doing a job you dont have the passion for dont do it no one is making you do anything you do not want to do.

  7. Kells Johnson says:

    The theory of quality in content that Guccione implies is very true in my opinion. There is no crisis or true takeover of the media by other forms of innovated media, there is simply evolution. People will think of many new, different forms of the media, and other intimadated companies should hop onto that band wagon. His simile of quality being like a box of corn flakes is brilliant because it is a very clear example of why many magazines die or fail. Their quality is not good! This is the era of surprise, and if editors or journalists want people’s attention, they have to give them something to look at. If we are not courageous and provocative, then we cannot expect to survive in today’s media.

  8. Jean Phillips says:

    Well, that speech was certainly uplifting. While I agree that content should be the most important aspect of a magazine, I believe that anymore people believe that format is the more important of the two. People are grabbed by flashy layouts, not by the type of in-depth reporting that Guccione published in his long running column about AIDS.

    Certainly there is a subset of people that excellent, not mediocre, reporting still appeals to, but I’m afraid that they are being left in the dust by our increasingly shallow culture.

  9. anbeam says:

    I really enjoyed everything Bob Guccione had to say. I wish there were more journalists like him out there these days. I do think that a good magazine needs a good layout and image in order to attract its customers, but I also think that content is much more important. Bob Guccione seems to understand the importance of in-depth journalism. In his speech he talks about having a passion for his trade and I love that. Many magazines you can buy these days show no passion for good reporting but are instead over-the-top flashy; once you open the pages, there’s really nothing there. Guccione, however, describes journalism as a way to investigate and discover, and thats why I really enjoyed about him.

  10. Jackson Boyd says:

    Hearing Guccione speak about what magazines need to do in order to thrive in the present day was very interesting and gave me a lot of insight into what it takes to be successful in what is said to be “a dying industry.” Guccione’s comments about passion and courage were well stated and unique. I, like Guccione believe that courage is a must in the world of Journalism. How can we as journalists be successful if we don’t take risks? He did a great job of putting “journalism” in perspective. It seems to be on the downfall because people do not want to report or cover stories that could, in turn, cause controversy and/or put one’s reputation on the line. Present-day journalism seems to lack a certain uniqueness and passion that is needed in order to to thrive. Guccione knows what it takes to be successful and he has taken all the right steps in his career in doing so. He has not been afraid of opposing opinions nor has he backed down from a controversial topic. Guccione’s words were inspiring and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing what he had to say.

  11. Sidney Bayles says:

    I agree with everything that Bob Guccione had to say. If you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, then why do it at all? Readers can sense inspiration in a magazine and if they don’t see it, then they won’t want to continue reading it. I do believe that there should always be something grabbing at the readers attention. If the layout is more flashy than the content, then spice up the content more to appeal to the readers.

  12. Joshua Bryant says:

    I like Bob. He comes off as not only intelligent but someone who could fend off two or three would-be muggers at once. Passion is missing, but not simply in journalism. Passion is missing in many aspects of the professional world. With the market place flooded with BA’s and BS’s and the rise of the middle class, mediocrity seems to have a stranglehold in many different professional fields. Especially the ones calling for creativity and bravery. Journalism students, in my opinion, want the recognition and less of the production of something daring and brave.

  13. Stevie Farrar says:

    Anyone who doubts the future of print need only listen to Mr. Guccione’s speech to come away fully convinced that print is nowhere near dead. Mr. Guccione’s focus on passion and instinct in the magazine industry makes one realize that this media is just like any other business. Failure is imminent; crisis will occur – but with passion for providing interesting content and quality information, good things will come, even if it takes a try or two. It was so refreshing to hear Mr. Guccione’s dismissal of political correctness in order to replace it with the hard truth – wasn’t the desire for fact at the heart of journalism anyway? When taking in Mr. Guccione’s life and comments as a whole, the lesson of courage he learned from his father is clearly evident, and maybe it’s a message we all can learn a little from.

  14. Nicole Miller says:

    I very much enjoyed Bob Guccinoe’s speech that we watched in class. I think that Bob is a very positive influence on Journalism students and professional Journalists. It is nice to hear every once that there is more than just hard work and following directions to be a good Journalist. My favorite part about Bob’s speech is when he informs the audience that one has to be very passionate about his or her work to be successful. Also, I found it interesting how Bob mentioned how Journalist these days a merily reporters, and not Journalists at all. Bob said a good story has to come from someone who is very courageous and not afraid to lay everything on the table for the public even if it is going to upset people. The fact that Bob did not graduate high school and is a very successful and respected Journalist says a lot about his courageous and passionate views towards his work.

  15. Brittany Stubbs says:

    My favorite thing Mr. Guccione said in his speech yesterday was, “If you find you’re doing something unpopular, you’re doing the right thing.” Not only does this apply to journalism and media today, but to our everyday lives. Being college students, we especially feel pressure to conform to what our friends or greek affiliation finds acceptable but it is important every once in awhile to step back and make our own judgments and decisions against the crowd. Mr. Guccione shared his experience trying to find the truth behind a story and how he risked a lot to do it but thats what being a good journalist takes: Using your knowledge but also your instincts. I admire him not only as a writer for this, but a person.

  16. Emily Bain Manifold says:

    Bob Guccione said that genuine passion is what should fuel you and it was evident in his speech that HE had genuine passion. He was very uplifting and inspirational and he made me WANT to be a journalist and he made ME excited about the future and he helped me to not be intimidated by technology.
    I liked the way he used the Corn Flakes and the Farmer and Tool metaphors to help us understand the business and to not be afraid to take charge and use technology as our tool. We must not let technology be our boss, we must make it our tool.
    My favorite thing he said is that some magazines should go away and be lost!!!
    He said be like magazines. And I think after listening to his speech we will all strive to further produce quality magazines that we think reflect the world and that make the people of the world THINK!

  17. Robert Heard says:

    I agree that passion is what is missing in Journalism. The last thing that people want to read or listen to or see is something that is dry and not creative. In order to produce great quality media, the creation process must be driven by passion. Passion will guide the author to making high quality content, and ultimately will attract more and more readers and followers. Without passion, journalism will fall off the map.

  18. Abby Abide says:

    One of the interesting points of Guccione’s speech is the idea that technology should inspire not intimidate us. It seems like a lot of the topics we discuss on the blog is where the technology is going. We have also learned about how the change in technology has supposedly hurt print journalism. Our focus should be more on how that technology can inspire new styles of journalism.

  19. Alexandria Joy Gryder says:

    I have to say I teared up a little during this video like Mr. Guccione said people have. He believes in what he does so passionately and you can tell through his words. I do believe that when you love something you get better at it not by trying but just by living. When you love something you make it work without exceptions. Mr. Guccione has. I agree that most magazines should go away. We have so many that aren’t fueled by passion and love for print. Only the passion for money and fame. With people like Dr. Husni and Mr. Guccione there are always going to be magazines that survive and mean something to people because they know how to do what they do best. Sell it.

    Alexandria Joy Gryder

  20. Ellen Graves says:

    Bob Guccione’s talk was very inspiring! His focus on having courage and passion really made me remember why journalism is so exciting in the first place. He shared great insights about the industry and it was obvious of his commitment to his life’s work. After hearing all this talk of failing industries, it was quite refreshing to hear his encouraging words! Thanks Dr. Husni for allowing our class to hear him!

  21. Bracey Harris says:

    “We should all wake up excited,” this was probably my favorite quote by Guccione Jr because it serves as a guide not only for those in the magazine industry, but those in any career. It calls to mind what Dr. Husni said on the first day of class if you can go the whole semester sitting by the person next to you and not knowing their name you are not meant to be a journalist. We have to value what we produce and charge enough for it, and make it better. This is probably some of the best advice I’ve heard for the magazine business along with that of Dr. Husni’s advice. Guccione is truly a revolutionary and I admire his strength for honoring his commitment to the ACT Experience, despite his loss. You can really tell he has a passion for the business, and is speaking from the heart. He didn’t go into logistics or try to talk over people’s heads, he only expressed the need for passion and courage in the industry.

  22. Candace Coleman says:

    From his talk with us in class, to this wonderful speech given during the ACT experience, I see a passion in Mr. Guccione’s words that succesfully supports his message. If only every major owner of every media outlet had the same enthusiasm for their work, the role of journalism would be stronger than ever. I am motivated to keep on the track that I am on in the hopes of being a part of the reconstruction of broadcast journalism in the future.

  23. Quanterrius Ward says:

    Guccione is definitely right about journalists needing to be passionate and courageous, but those two traits alone won’t be enough to save magazines. What a journalist needs more than anything is an understanding of the current culture. Without that understanding, one will not be able to deliver a message in a way that resonates with the general populous. However, such an understanding is very difficult to obtain due to today’s culture being divided into numerous subcultures. Thus we have individual magazines becoming increasingly more niche and unable to reach high sales because of their unattractiveness to people outside of their core consumers.

  24. Drew Moak says:

    Bob Guccione Jr is definately passionate about the proffession of journalism. He is very energetic and thoughtful about the world of journalism in today’s world. If there is any doubt about if print journalism will survive, he is the kind of guy that will convince you it will. His determination and will to succeed have made him one of the most inspirational and most successful people in the world of journalism.

  25. Peyton Thigpen says:

    I agree with Mr. Guccione entirely. I think at the end of the day that content really is what matters. You can have amazingly innovative design and layout, but if your content is still uninteresting, then no one is going to want to read it. No one would like to read a unique and innovatively designed article about something like mating habits of the South American spotted moth. Your content has to be interesting. I do think that design and layout are becoming more and more important. However, I agree with what Mr. Guccione said in that there really is no crisis at all. People have just lost the ability to make their writing interesting. As aspiring journalists we must strive to learn how to write interesting material that readers are actually going to want to read. And this ability definitely will come out of a passion and sense of courageousness in writing.

  26. Sealy Smith says:

    Bob Guccione, Jr. is obviously a very interesting person who is able to inspire his audience through his intriguing lectures. His audience is definately able to tell that Guccione is extremely passionate about what he does. He obviously has been through his share of struggles, but he obviously doesn’t give up on his dreams very easily. He is a man full of drive and I don’t know how anyone could not feel even a little inspired after listening to him. He comes across a little rough around the edges but that’s what makes him so intersting.

  27. Taylor Harrell says:

    Mr. Guccione’s speech both in class and in the video that we watched in class was very inspiring. Listening to him speak really made me feel like majoring in journalism was most definitely the right path for me. He spoke with so much passion about the business and did not beat around the bush when he was talking about media owners that had no business being in the industry, much less owning a portion of it. I could tell that Mr. Guccione is a very educated and intelligent man. He knows what will make money and how to develop devoted consumers. Every point that he touched on were all ways to design, run, and sell a successful product. I loved when he used the analogy that referred to magazines as living organisms that grow, get sick, and must flow with the current of the people that need it. Magazines are growing and changing every day and in order for a magazine to stay successful, the owner must keep up and change along with his or her’s product. Mr. Guccione understands everything that an owner must be responsible for and accomplish in order to own a thriving company that revolves around journalism, if more of the journalism industry had his insight on things then there would be no more talk of the print business disappearing. Mr. Guccione’s speech was inspiring and definitely motivated me to become the best journalist that I can be.

  28. Nelson Duke says:

    I think for someone to be a good journalist you need to have passion for it. There are several journalist who don’t like to do it, but the great ones are the ones who die for the occupation. Passion is important to being a great journalist and I’m glad Mr. Guccione Jr. spoke about it in this blog.

  29. Madison Hill says:

    I really liked Guccione’s statement that everything comes back to if the product is good. “Can you hold someone’s interest?” is the theme of journalism. There can be all kinds of excuses for a magazine’s failure but the truth is, if you can’t make your customer feel like they’ve made good use of their time with your product, you have already failed.

  30. Natalie Moore says:

    It have really enjoyed listening to what Bob Guccione had to say about journalism in both class and from the video. He is definitely very inspiring and I hope to always keep in mind what he had to say. Passion has to be a huge part about what journalism is lacking today. So many in our future are about getting the story out there that they have forgotten to take risks and push boundaries in the business. With media growing and changing so rapidly we need to continue to be passionate to keep readers interested.

  31. Brittany Rose says:

    I really enjoyed Mr. Guccione’s speech from ACT and his visit to our class. He has come a long way on his journey through journalism and has been successful. He is the true meaning of his father’s quote ” Great journalists, do great things”. I pray that he has the strength to continue on with his career as his father would want him too. Rest in perfect peace Mr. Bob Guccione Sr.

  32. Jory Tally says:

    I really enjoyed watching and listening to the video of Bob Guccinoe. He has the right thoughts about where our media is going. It was a very inspiring video. It made me want to have motivation with my future of journalism. If you don’t have passion with anything in your life you are not going to get far and this applies for journalism as well. Passion and inspiration makes you go far in life and this video is encouraging. It uplifted my thoughts of the media and makes me want to try even harder with my future in the media.

  33. Hayden Sowers says:

    Bob Guccione Jr. is definitely someone that I would want to go to war for print with. Needless to say the man loves his print media and everything about it. He speaks so truly about if you give someone a magazine they never seem to give it back to you. Even if it doesn’t interest you by the cover you will still take a peek inside and read an article or two. He also says that you need to have passion for what you do and I think that goes for any job occupation you choose. If you have passion and love what you do you will have a successful career in whatever occupation you go into.

  34. Ariel Ladner says:

    Bob Guccione is probably the most inspirational speaker I have ever encountered when it comes to his passion and drive for his job. He defines what I think to be one of the most important things in life and that is having passion for your career and enjoying what you do. The content of the magazine is truly what is important. It must grab the audiences attention and hold it. He made so many important points on his love for the magazine and that truly inspired me.

  35. Christy Greer says:

    I am not a journalist major, but rather a Marketing major, and I found his speech to be rather inspiring. It made me doubt what career choice path I am making and if it is right for me. He is so passionate about the business of Magazines and print, which is completely evident with this speech. His father just died, and he flew to a conference shortly after, if that doesn’t show his passion, I don’t know what does. He loves print and will back it to the day that he dies, which is amazing. He looks to the past for the future, which is incredibly wise.

  36. Lauren McMillin says:

    I feel like the points that Guccione makes are ones that people already know but that they desperately need to be reminded of. It makes perfect sense that what we need to focus on is the content that we provide our readers, whether through print or some other form of technology. What it all comes down to is whether or not what we produce sparks interest in the audience. If people truly appreciate and show interest in a certain topic, they will be drawn to it. This applies to any form of publishing, and it holds a higher level of importance than a product’s design and overall appearance. What goes right along with content is the necessity for courage. If companies, not only in journalism, hope to grow and expand, then they must show courage and that they truly desire to bring change and development. Finally, I agree 100% with Guccione that people should be enthusiastic about what they get to do each day, for if they are not excited about it, then no one will be.

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