Forum Communications Co. newspaper brings magazine into the fold

Forum Communications Co. newspaper brings magazine into the fold

By Brady Slater

Forum News Service

DULUTH – Minn. — Patrick Sherman recalled someone once asking him if there would be enough stories for  his startup magazine about Northland women.

“We believe everyone has a story,” Sherman said.

Nineteen years after starting their popular magazine, The Woman Today, Sherman and his wife, Glenda, have decided to retire and let its next chapter unfold with the Duluth News Tribune.

The News Tribune took over The Woman Today and two other publications Thursday when it announced it will manage and operate the three magazines, including Moms & Dads Today and Duluth-Superior Living.

“We’re excited to have three excellent publications come into our family,” said Duluth News Tribune publisher Neal Ronquist, calling the acquisitions “a chance to evolve and grow as a multimedia entity.”

The purchase of the magazines was finalized by Forum Communications Co. of Fargo early in the day. Forum Communications owns the News Tribune, which will assume publication with the upcoming January/February 2016 issue of Moms & Dads Today and Duluth-Superior Living.

The Woman Today is the oldest of the three acquisitions, having started publication in 1996. Moms & Dads Today and Duluth-Superior Living came along in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and are published in flip-format with each title holding a cover on the same, reversible magazine.

All three magazines are distributed freely, notably found as staples in area supermarkets. Each of the magazines also has a corresponding website.

The Shermans operated under the company Page Me Publications. Patrick Sherman talked to the News Tribune about the sale of their magazines.

“I have mixed emotions selling something we started from scratch,” he said. “But I’m excited for the future growth of the magazine.”

The magazines publish 23,000 issues each month, Sherman said, reaching south to Cloquet, north to Two Harbors and radiating throughout the Northland. He said he believed the News Tribune would enhance distribution and the social media presences of the magazines, and called the move the best fit for readers, advertisers and the magazines’ full-time employees.

“We are thankful for the opportunity and the trust the Shermans are placing in us to be stewards of these publications,” Ronquist said. “Our goal is to build upon something that is highly successful and take it to the next level.”

Ronquist said the News Tribune will operate the magazines as a division of the newspaper and the magazines will be printed by Forum Communications Printing, a division of Forum Communications.

The magazines’ three-person staff will be absorbed by the News Tribune — one of the keys to the deal, said Ronquist, who explained that the newspaper had considered a start-up magazine before choosing the course to acquire existing publications.

“They’re experts in the field of magazine publication,” Ronquist said. “We’re really leaning on their experience and talents to take us into the future.”

The magazines each publish six times per year, toggling so there is a new publication each month. The Woman Today began 19 years ago as The Area Woman, borrowing the name from a magazine published by Sherman’s brother Mike in Fargo. It grew into its own identity, the 66-year-old Sherman said, as it featured Northland women presented in an influential manner. Glenda Sherman was the magazine’s self-taught designer and editor, showcasing women in a way that grew to appeal to everyone. Sherman, a retired Maurices executive, recalled seeing men tucking the magazine into their gym bags.

At heart, Sherman said, the magazines are community oriented, featuring all walks of life and the good things people and organizations do in the Northland.

“We never saw east, west, central,” he said. “We saw one community that works together.”

Ronquist called himself an admirer of the magazines and said the content will retain their sharp focus.

“They’re very focused on their topics,” he said. “We believe there’s a strong future in these types of publications.”