A portrait of Highlights Magazine following the creation of the cultural phenomenon’s 70th Anniversary issue, from the first editorial meeting to its arrival in homes, and introducing the quirky people who passionately produce the monthly publication for “the world’s most important people,”…children. Along the way, a rich and tragic history is revealed, the state of childhood, technology, and education is explored, and the future of print media is questioned.
Highlights magazine for children is still going strong after seventy wonderful years. The family-owned company that first put its magazine in Doctor’s and Dentists’ offices in 1946, is still creating stories and activities for children with 44 pages of advertisement-free fun and adventure. Considered an iconic publication for children, Highlights has delivered over one billion issues to children in the United States and abroad.
A dedicated team which boasts of a child-centered agenda, works tirelessly to produce the magazine twelve months in advance. Every detail is approached as a labor of love and each contribution to the magazine is purposefully scrutinized so there is never a risk to the prospective child who reads it. With offices in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio, the editors and creative staff come together and feed off of each other’s expertise and creative energy in order to develop crafts and recipes, and to choose pictures and stories that are reflective of the diverse audience that eagerly anticipates the next issue. Kent Johnson, the CEO and a direct descendant of his great grandparents who founded the magazine, states that while the company is totally aware of the current technological influence on children, he still feels that their basic philosophy for entertaining children remains steadfast and competitive within the market. Over the years, the magazine has grown internally and externally, and the adventures of Goofus and Gallant and the advice column, Ask Arizona address ever-present concerns that children have with a changing society.
Currently being featured at the Dallas International Film Festival, “44 Pages” is a must-see for all ages as it goes behind the scenes to show how very special this childhood staple has been to millions of families, and is still going strong today due to its dedicated team of child-friendly advocates that shine brightly in a family-oriented atmosphere!
INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR TONY SHAFF
Directory Tony Shaff knew there was an impactful story behind the 70-year life of a magazine that was developed for children by adults whose main purpose was to inspire a child to be a better person. Listen to the interview as he describes the nine-month journey that he shared with the family-owned company as they worked tirelessly to produce “44 Pages,” the 70th Anniversary edition of Highlights Magazine.