Innovation, Chinese Capital, and California Dreamers Together in Singapore

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Chances are you've never heard of Christopher Theodore, Hajnalka Hogue or The Reader Magazine. That may soon change as what is one of the largest circulation publications in California may get a lot bigger.

"The power of print has never been more evident than with The Reader Magazine", said Dr. Samir "Mr. Magazine" Husni, Professor and Director of The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississipi on his blog last month (, which included an interview with co-founder of The Reader Magazine Chris Theodore.

After a decade and a half of no one noticing this relatively small (390,000 circ.) California magazine, suddenly they are. In November 2014, Christopher Theodore was one of twelve persons invited to a Jeffersonian Dinner in the home of philanthropist Jeff Walker, to discuss the future of journalism. Also in attendance were Pulitizer-Prize winning journalists, the former President of CBS News, and chairman of one of America's largest media companies.

At the time, Theodore and co-founder Dr. Hajnalka Hogue were six months away from finishing what amounted to two years of intense research of the U.S. local advertising market and a business planning process that outlined in detail what it would take to scale The Reader to be able to reach every American at no cost, permanently and profitably. It would create the largest magazine in the world and the first in US history to be mailed to every American.

"We haven't spent much time hoping to be big for the sake of it. We've always first wanted to provide people what's missing in media-- which is hard to articulate, easier to sense and feel, and nearly universally experienced in the global north. People want political truth, they want courageous reporting and stories that bring them face to face with what matters most," said Theodore. "I think people want a peaceable revolution in a lot of institutions, including media", he added.    

To insure their principles survive scale and are baked into the DNA of the company, The Reader became a Certified B-Corp, ( and spent months articulating a social impact strategy with specific social, economic and environmental impact goals ( and

Their goal is to create, Hogue says, "the most politically influential local media channel in nearly each of 1,000 zones of 120,000 households across the U.S.," each zone producing an average of $4,000 of new, monthly contracted advertising revenue each week until a company revenue level of $5 billion is being maintained, and project $2 billion in revenue in five years.

With $140 billion spent on local advertising in the U.S. in 2014, the current lack of any market leader, and its under-served nature-- there are 1,588 U.S. small and mid-sized businesses for every 1 local media advertising provider-- the $5 billion in revenues represents a 3.5% market share, not an unreasonable projection for a company which intends to create the sales infrastructure to provide innovative local advertising to all 27 million American small businesses.

In April, Theodore was invited to attend the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. His hope was that the ideas discussed there, and the energy of the event, would find its way to the 390,000 readers who are mailed a printed Reader Magazine, "which is what happened", he says. Today through Friday, Theodore is attending the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore for the same reason and to meet potential Asian investors.


About The Reader Magazine

The Reader Magazine is a California benefit corporation, certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. A benefit corporation is a type of for-profit corporate entity, that includes positive impact on society and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals. Learn more at

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