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MEDIA (TRADITIONAL) | Publishing
improper.com

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Founded Year

1991

Stage

Dead | Dead

About Improper Bostonian

Improper Bostonian publishes a bi-weekly magazine and website for local lifestyle and celebrity news.

Improper Bostonian Headquarter Location

142 Berkeley Street 3rd Floor

Boston, Massachusetts, 02116,

United States

617-859-1400

Latest Improper Bostonian News

The Improper Bostonian Shutters After 28 Years

Apr 26, 2019

The Improper Bostonian, a regional lifestyle magazine, closed its doors on Thursday after 28 years in print. “While this news might be surprising, the company has had a great run and we’re hopefully leaving this incredible city better and brighter since our inception in 1991,” said owner and publisher Wendy Semonian Eppich in a statement posted on the Improper’s that followed with a long list of thank you’s to readers, staffers and clients but didn’t give any indication as to why the decision was made. Editor Matt Martinelli tells Folio:, however, that “for a little while now, they’ve been operating at a loss and things would be done around the edges—a cut here or there. It’s not like we were this booming editorial staff and there was a lot of fat to cut.” Martinelli posted on Twitter that “While the owner’s decision to close was multifactorial, it was not really because of a decline in print readership, as no matter what, the newsboxes were mostly empty every two weeks.” He also confirmed with Folio: that the circulation had been cut by 10,000 this year, but the decision to do that wasn’t because there were that many unsold copies;  management had just been looking for ways to lower print costs. “You do that with the expectation of saving X-amount of dollars, but then the price of paper skyrockets.” As of Dec. 31, the 24 issues/year magazine had a total circulation of 70,626, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Of that, only 175 were paid and verified subscriptions and the rest were distributed through local Boston newsboxes or in retail locations. For those that had subscribed, the magazine offered first- and third-class subscription models at $75 and $29.95 annually, the former coming to subscribers’ mailboxes the week of publication and the latter arriving a few days after the release date. “We weren’t losing print readership except of our own accord when we cut circulation to try and save money,” Martinelli explains, “but ultimately, we would have had to do more digitally—and we should have been doing more digitally for a long time—but it would have meant more of an investment, and investment when you’re operating at a loss isn’t the best.” He continues that there were other ways that his team considered reducing those printing costs, such as no longer being paperbound and instead having a staple in the middle, but there was “a real hesitance to change the quality of the magazine” by the owners. There had also been proposals to lower the frequency of the magazine, but they were not approved at the management level either. “At one point there was the thought to go all digital and save all of the print costs, but a business can’t be run just off impressions on digital display web ads,” he says. “You can employ maybe half a person. The return on that is so low with Facebook and stuff like that.” Martinelli, who has held the top editor position since August 2017, and before that, joined as its managing editor in 2013, is one of eight full-time staff on the editorial-side in addition to the dozen in-house staff on the business-side, which doesn’t include the dozen or so other freelance writers who he says have contributed to the magazine for years—some since its launch. He also said that while it was not publicly announced, there had been conversations around looking for new ownership. But based on what he was told, one potential buyer that got pretty close to closing the deal, ended up falling through earlier this week. “They were pretty quick at that point to pull the plug,” he says. “They made the decision to close on Tuesday and they informed the staff on Thursday morning.” Semonian Eppich, whose brother, Mark Semonian, founded the magazine in August 1991 and served as its CEO until his departure in 2000, took over as publisher in 2003. The magazine has remained under family ownership since its launch and covered everything from food and fashion to arts and entertainment. It also featured several nationally known cover stars with ties to Massachusetts, like actress Mindy Kaling, Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The editorial team had been working on what was supposed to be the next issue featuring actor Jason Mantzoukas, which Martinelli says had already been shot in-house and was nearing completion. However, Thursday became the staffers’ last official day and they were all given a week’s worth of severance. “I hope we offered something good to the city in the time that I’ve been there and hope people saw the value in what we did and what we covered,” he said. Semonian Eppich had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication. I've been walking into @theimproper office since 2012. Like a lot of print magazines, we did a lot with a little. So proud to have been a part of this very talented, scrappy, resourceful team #ontothenextone https://t.co/Cx6IbkeU3r

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