OLD Media Moves

Consumer Reports planning redesign

October 20, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Consumer Reports editor Kim Kleman said Saturday that the magazine is planning a major redesign, and she recently completed a nationwide tour talking to readers about what needs to change in the magazine.

Consumer Reports “is a pretty dense magazine, and that’s coming from the editor,” said Kleman, who spoke Saturday at the fall Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Kim KlemanKleman said that she’d like to more white space in the magazine, which has 4.3 million subscribers, and more of an explanation of how Consumers Union, its parent, conducts its research on various products that are written about in the publication.

In terms of coverage, Kleman said she envisions the publication adding more stories about health care and consumer issues that don’t revolve around products. With the health care coverage, Kleman said she foresees coverage about deconstructing drug company advertising.

Kleman also noted that the magazine’s problems earlier this year with a story on car seat safety, which was later retracted, resulted in “no discernable” loss of subscribers. “But we can’t do it again,” she quickly added. “What we are doing now is making sure it doesn’t happen again.”

She urged journalists in the audience to convince their publications to provide more consumer coverage.

“I think it’s a great idea for newspapers to have ‘action’ reporters who respond to reader complaints,” said Kleman. “I think it resonated with people. I think the best stories in journalism are consumer stories. I see a strong consumer element in every story.”

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