SIPA October Member News

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Grimes, McGovern Represents Culture Magazine in Sale to B2B Vets Bill Springer, Matt Thomas


Former SIPA board member Bill Springer (pictured) and Matt Thomas have acquired Culture Magazine and related properties. Culture, published six times per year, is the authority on the artisanal cheese industry. Other assets include bi-annual special interest publications sold on newsstands, industry events around the country, and digital newsletters. The first issue under the new ownership will be in November. SIPA member Grimes, McGovern & Associates represented Culture in the sale. 

Springer and Thomas bought Culture from sisters Stephanie and Lassa Skinner, who founded the magazine 11 years ago. "It's hard to believe Culture is a teenager—but it's wonderful that Bill and Matt, two super fans of cheese and the specialty food industry, are ready to take Culture to the next level," said Stephanie Skinner.

Thomas joins Culture after 15 years with the Specialty Food Association, producers of the industry leading Fancy Food Shows. Springer comes to Culture after 21 years at Diversified Communications, most recently as executive vice president of the company's U.S. event and media business.

Said Springer: "Culture is one of those rare assets that everyone at all levels of the industry feels connected to. From cheese mongers at local and large retailers, to small creameries to international players, (and cheese loving consumers), Culture speaks to everyone.  We look forward to working with the cheese community to build Culture into an even more important voice for the industry."

Beta Testing Methodology at Money-Media

Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media, a Financial Times company, sent in the following note:

Money-Media has pursued a beta testing methodology for new product launches. The latest test was a roaring success. The new product targets professionals working in the property and casualty insurance industry and is called P&C Specialist. The beta test was launched in Oct 2018. We ended the beta test and implemented a paywall in April 2019. The transition was successful with over $160k of corporate licenses sold in the four months following the paywall. We are now hiring full-time staff and have confirmed that P&C Specialist will be a permanent product, allowing us to focus more resources on its continued growth.

Fink will be at BIMS Nov. 11-13 and available to talk more about this initiative. We also will be writing about it in a future SIPAlert Daily.

Ristagno Quoted in a Digiday Article on Apple News+ 

Rob Ristagno of The Sterling Woods Group was quoted in a Digiday article this week headlined Apple News+ Launches in the UK with The Times and Hearst on Board.

Apple has rolled out its publisher subscription service, Apple News+, to the U.K. some six months after announcing it in the U.S., the article began. For access to over 150 magazines and newspapers, readers have to pay just £9.99 ($12.29) a month. In the U.K., News Corp's The Times and Sunday Times and Hearst UK titles—like Cosmopolitan, Elle and Esquire—will now sit alongside The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and Vox, titles that were announced for the U.S. launch in March.

"It seems that it hasn't hurt publishers as much as expected, but not for the right reasons," said Rob Ristagno, CEO at consultancy The Sterling Woods Group. "Mainly it has been a relative failure with consumers so the cannibalization hasn't been as great as expected."

 Quartz reporter Huang Leaves for Money-Media's Ignites


Echo Huang, a reporter for Quartz in Hong Kong, is leaving to join Ignites Asia, a Money-Media, Financial Times publication, reported Talking Biz News. She had been with Quartz for three years. Some of her coverage focused on electric cars, space commercialization, and China's film market.

Ignites Asia is an online source of news, business intelligence and analysis for and about the asset management industry in Asia. Huang holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Hong Kong.

Remembering Robert Williford 

On LinkedIn this week, Stephanie Williford, CEO of EB Medicine, wrote a short take on her father Robert, who died in 2012. (He founded the company.)

Honoring our founder, Robert Williford, on his birthday today. He would have turned 70 this year. We miss you, Robert. Thank you for building a company grounded in #evidencebasedmedicine and strong values. We are honored to continue your work. #RIP #Veteran #entrepreneur 

If you have any news, hirings, transactions, awards or anything else you'd like fellow members to know about, please email me at Thank you!

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…