Behind the Scenes with San Diego Magazine

Behind the Scenes with San Diego Magazine

San Diego Magazine is one of our favorite local publications! From learning about other awesome local companies to the best place to grab a beer, we're thrilled with the work that they continue to do!

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with Jim Fitzpatrick, the CEO and Publisher of San Diego Magazine! Jim was kind enough to answer a few questions about the history and growth of magazine. Here's the latest:

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become the publisher of San Diego Magazine? 
I was previously the publisher of Entrepreneur magazine in Irvine, California. After eight years there, I began looking for an opportunity to own a magazine. A mutual friend of the founders of San Diego Magazine (SDM) and myself introduced us. SDM was struggling and they needed to sell. In 1994 we put together a deal and I acquired the magazine.

How did you grow San Diego Magazine into a multi-media marketing company?
What's your formula for success? The first steps were to redesign the magazine and provide content that had a broad appeal to San Diegans. The only product we had at the time was SDM so I began looking for additional revenue streams. We began creating events which offered relationship marketing opportunities for our advertisers and we developed the custom publishing division producing magazines for other organizations. Also, we were one of the first media companies in SD to have a website. I sold the magazine in 2005, managed it for the new owners for three years, and retired in 2008. In 2010 I reacquired the magazine. At this time digital media had grown dramatically. We redesigned the website, offered digital magazine subscriptions, developed four e-newsletters, and created a social media department. We created new events and today, do twelve events per year. We reignited the custom publishing division and today, produce seven other publications as well as designing and building websites. The formula for success is marketing 101, find a need and fill it, and hire good people.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in growing San Diego Magazine?
What advice would you give to yourself 10 or 15 years ago? Today’s challenge is to make people aware that all print is not dead. Subscriptions to the print SD magazine have grown 30%. My best advice to myself 10 or 15 years ago would have been to find the very best people and let them do their job.

What recommendations do you have for young professionals getting into journalism and marketing? 
Journalism – do it for the love of the trade. Marketing – Build on the basics of fulfilling a need and have a thorough understanding of all of the tools available today.

What's your favorite San Diego spot?
There are too many to name just one.

Anything else you'd like to add? 
We are all very fortunate to be in San Diego, not only because of the world’s best climate but also because of the many opportunities offered by our now diverse economy. When I first acquired SDM the local economy was defense industry and real estate based. Today we have a diverse economy and are one of the major innovation markets in the world. We recently launched a new magazine, HATCH, a magazine about the innovation born in San Diego.