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Shaker Heights Outsources Production of 'Shaker Life' Magazine

Boom Inc., which has done projects for the city and the Shaker Historical Society, will produce Shaker Life for the next three years.

A contractor will produce, design and lay out Shaker Life magazine for at least the next three years.

The city agreed to a three-year professional services contract with Boom Inc. for $101,500. Boom is led by Deborah Edwards and David Meeker. Edwards has already worked with the city's Communications and Outreach Department on various graphic design projects and has also worked with the Shaker Historical Society.

Residents can expect to see six issues of the magazine in 2013, but the publication will be issued on a quarterly basis in the following two years. Communications & Outreach Director Victoria Blank asked Boom and another applicant to produce a new cover. She was wowed by Boom's results.

"They bring a contemporary and fresh look to the features (section) through design and layout elements that give the articles vibrancy and which entice the reader," Blank wrote in a memo to Shaker Heights City Council.

"The advertising placement demonstrates their expertise with paid advertising."

Selling advertising will be important — Blank admitted she wouldn't be surprised if revenues did not exceed expenses this year. The city made more than it spent last on the magazine last year, but it also released an additional issue for the Shaker Centennial celebration, allowing it to sell more ads for the historic event.

She said the magazine could expand its online presence for more ad revenue opportunities during the life of Boom's contract.

Jennifer Coiley recently left her position in Blank's department. She had designed and prepared the magazine since 2005.

Blank told council on Monday that a portion of Coiley's former salary would be applied to the Boom contract.

"We loved the examples that were brought forth and felt, in general, that this was a great way to diversify the talent that we have access to," said councilwoman Julianna Johnston Senturia, who heads the city's Communications & Outreach Committee.

Councilman and Finance Committee Chair James Brady said the committee had some questions about the allocation of the department's funds, but was glad that the money that paid Coiley would be applied to Boom's contract. Additionally, the flexibility of the contract's terms made it easier for the committee to present approval.

"Initially this is a cost savings for the city," Brady said. "At the end of the first year, we have an opportunity to do an analysis.

"Overall, we thought it was the right thing to do at the right time."

Mark Zetzer January 31, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Shaker Life is a nice magazine graphically. However, it has been looked upon with derision by some residents who would rather see fewer nonessential services like a City magazine in exchange for lower taxes and fees. If the magazine ever costs the City more to produce and distribute than it collects in ad revenue, then it should become an online-only publication, or a subscription-based print magazine. I'd subscribe, although I'd like to see a more journalistic approach than the usual coffee table plattitudes. Certainly the production talent exists to do so. Shaker is a grown-up community now; we can handle the warts if it means addressing rather than ignoring our problems.

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