Followers of my blog know that I started Jump! Mag just under a year ago, because I was so frustrated at not being able to find decent magazines for my 10 year old daughter. We had been used to the excellent magazines for her age group in France when we lived abroad and on our return found nothing similar. For a girl who has outgrown the pink phase, isn’t interested in boy bands or reality show celebs, the available mags were simply boring.
‘Why would I want to look like Selena Gomez’, she asked when reading an article titled Get Selena’s Style. ‘I have my own style’.
I started Jump! Mag after talking about it on Mumsnet with many others who had noticed the same thing. I had a vision of a magazine that would be fun and informative, that would give girls advice on typical problems such as bullying, without being worthy or patronising. I loved the idea of girls contributing, and so set off to see if anyone would read it.
And read it they have. Not thousands of hits a day, but in respectable numbers.
Once I settled in our new home, I carried on working on Jump! Mag, running it with the help of many wonderful people who contribute articles and suggestions for articles, who pass it on to their friends and relatives and generally keep my spirits up. The most rewarding comments have come from pre-teen readers, such as this one
My mum hooked me up with jump mag so at first I thought it would be very educational and boring. I’m so wrong aren’t I AMAZING. it is education in some places but it is very good to read
I have decided to take a leap and see if Jump! Mag can go further. My vision is for Jump! Mag to be a kind of Huff Post for kids. With news reports, rewritten in a child appropriate manner, funny videos, daily comics, amazing facts and so on.
If you are a web designer or graphic artist, don’t laugh at my terrible mock-up of the front page please.
When I had my recent No Tech Day, I read the book by Ernesto Sirolli on entrepreneurship. Central to the book is the theory that no one can be a successful entrepreneur alone, as to be successful one has to be skilled in the areas of product development, finance and marketing.
‘We have never met a single human being in the world, who can make it, sell it, and look after the marketing’
As you can see, my skills do not lie in web or graphic design, so that will be passed on to someone else.
Developing a website takes money, and that is where the next part of the Ernesto’s advice comes in. The finance. No point in developing a great magazine for girls, if no one wishes to pay money for it. There are several ways of financing a project like this, after the initial investment for developing the website.
Advertising is not an option, for several reasons. Ideologically, I have always seen Jump! Mag as a place free from pressures of society, and advertising is a large part of that. What kind of advertising for pre-teens would be acceptable? I also don’t want to add to the pressures for the parents, of their children saying, ‘I saw this really cool gadget on Jump! Mag. Can I have it?’ From a business POV, I don’t think it would work anyway, as the users are not the ones holding the credit cards.
Subscription would give parents the chance for a small monthly fee to allow their kids access to certain areas of Jump! Mag. Without subscription, girls could still access some articles, while some of the more involved (and for us expensive to produce) content would be behind the ‘paywall’.
The main difference between Jump! Mag and content providers like Huff Post would be that we would pay experts to write our articles. Teachers, scientists, psychologists, art historians… we value the work of those who write for us, and would like to pay them for this work. Doing this would enable us to create joined up content, with clear series of articles on one topic.
We’d like to introduce peer to peer counselling, where girls can ask a question and have it answered by their peers. This would be strictly moderated, and conclude with expert advice from a trained counsellor, who would also provide advice on bullying. How to deal with cyberbullying, and how to use the internet and social media safely, would be another hot topic.
We’d like to include games to teach girls to code, as seen on this great website. We would offer study guides, presenting the themes of the national curriculum in an engaging manner, written by educators. Craft tutorials, health and style tips and recipes – often presented by the pre-teens themselves would also be a part of our new site. In short, a one stop shop for girls to read about what they are interested in.
The next step is to find out how many people would be actually willing to pay for this, and to do this, I have set up a short survey. Please take a few minutes, even if you don’t have girls old enough to read Jump! Mag yet. We need lots of responses, so please share the survey with your friends and followers.
A comment on the survey asked about the ethics of taking articles from girls and not paying for them. This is something that I have considered and wanted to make clear that no one will be making a profit based on the work of the girls. Paying them to work for Jump! Mag would be wrong, not to mention illegal.
My proposal is that for every article that Jump! Mag publishes, we will donate a set ‘fee’ to a charity which benefits girls. This charity would be chosen by Jump! Mag on a yearly basis.