Turning The Page
John Squires Moves Publishing Into the Future
by Nicky Tiso ’10
John Squires arrived in New York City in the early 80s as a recent college grad with the proverbial 500 bucks and a suitcase to his name. Years later, as executive vice president of Time, Inc., he is working on one of the publishing industry’s biggest challenges – keeping magazines thriving in the era of electronic media.
Squires is the brother of Portland attorney Wendy Squires ’76, who he affectionately calls “the successful member of the family.” He attended Evergreen from 1977-80 before transferring to the University of Washington where he earned his B.A. Although lured by Seattle’s cosmopolitan culture, Squires credits Evergreen with preparing him for the adventures and success that have followed.
“Evergreen taught me how to learn,” he said. “It gave me the tools to manage my own academic career and the interpretive skills to deal with complex issues. Between Evergreen and Seattle, I was pretty much prepared for the world.”
Coming from Pocatello, Idaho and craving the big city bustle, Squires says his move to New York was destined. “I had the curiosity, I had the drive, and I had a lot of good people helping me,” he said.
Landing in New York, Squires took a six-week publishing course at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., from which he gained the notion of a career in magazine publishing. Pursuit of that goal landed him in a leadership role at Time, Inc. running the News division, which includes Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money magazines.
Last June, Squires was asked to take on what media blogger Peter Kafka calls “this impossible task – figuring out a digital strategy for Time Warner’s publishing unit.”
The task, which will benefit all magazine publishers, is to develop magazine content for electronic reading devices, to help shift the revenue stream away from excessive reliance on advertising, to do all this in a manner that persuades readers to pay for the content they enjoy – all in a recessive market.
Talking about the future both of Time, Inc. and publishing as a whole, Squires speaks from the threshold of the new era he’s helping usher in.
“We’re working on how to build the magazine form of the future, electronically, which is different from what you see us do online. We’re talking about something that is more immersive and purpose-built for reading, not just an information source the way web sites are.”
With this new assignment, Squires reports he is learning how to network all over again. “It’s healthy, it's good. If this works out the way I think it’s going to, we’re going to have a pretty amazing new business story to talk about. It would be really cool to hear what students would think about that.”