Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nostalgia fails to reanimate Philly publishing

Saturday Evening Post stays in Indiana; where's Colliers?

Nostalgia fails to reanimate Philly publishing


In 2011, medical publisher John Elduff of Berwyn bought the former Collier's Magazine title at auction and then boldly re-launched the old middlebrow-culture and investigative-reporting publication as a doctors' office monthly. A few long, glossy print issues featuring a mix of vintage pieces, politics, first-person and medical reporting, though Elduff never did get around to posting anything investigative. I haven't seen updated issues lately, and the Collier's website doesn't seem to have been updated since Obama's reelection.

The next year, the Indiana-based publishers of the SerVaas family's Saturday Evening Post, which had been based across Independence Square from the seminal N.W. Ayers ad agency and ran a sprawling publishing plant at Curtis Park in Delaware County and a paper mill in Newark, Del., back in the days when it was the biggest magazine in mid-1900s America, said they were going to move their editorial operation back to Philadelphia and expand beyond its recent Geritol-type coverage to add new fiction and reporting. Several literary readers called, eager to learn where they could apply.

But while Post boss Steve Slon, formerly of Rodale Press in Lancaster County, did indeed enrich the Post's story mix a bit after a New York literary-party relaunch, "we never did open the office in Philadelphia," staffer Erica Rath acknowledged when I called for an update in the fall of 2013. I've asked Collier's Elduff his future plans, but he's kept quiet; last I heard from him was after my Post column ran, when he asked me if I thought the Post people might be interested in joining forces. Tough business, he said.

See also the attempts to revive The Evening Bulletin, once Philadelphia's most popular newspaper. The most recent effort, a conservative-leaning daily set up in the 2000s by past Vanguard Group investment banker Tom Rice, did manage to bring print daily papers backed by auto-dealer and private-school ads to the Main Line and Center City for a few years, but Rice had a tough time selling ads in the late recession, nd not even the Web site remains.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter