A story of great NEED

Happy anniversary! In the year since we last talked with NEED, the Minneapolis-based humanitarian magazine has chalked up some mightily deserved successes. The 25,000-issue quarterly has secured distribution at Barnes & Nobles and co-ops like the Wedge and Mississippi Market. It won a gold Ozzie for "Best Use of Photography" at the Folio Awards, and rumor has it, a copy of the latest issue wound up in the hands of an impressed Bill Clinton at a recent conference. NEED also was named one of 15 finalists in Min magazine's one of the 15 "Hottest Launches" of 2007, a year when some 700 to 900 new magazines debuted; the winner will be announced Nov.13. And this Thursday, the magazine co-founders Kelly and Stephanie Kinnunen will learn if they won an Excellence Award from the Minnesota Magazine & Publications Association. It'd be a particularly sweet prize for this powerful magazine: The awards banquet coincides with NEED's first anniversary.

Progress in a year of NEED: Of course, all the accolades in the world mean less to the Kinnunens than on-the-ground success. And they've had plenty of that. Stephanie Kinnunen told me that Mercy Ships, free, floating hospitals featured in the first issue, had trouble convincing some people to come aboard because patients only went there as a last resort -- that is, they came and, because of the severity of their late-stage ailments, died there. Not great PR for the effort. But "when volunteers started bringing copies of the magazine with them to reach out to the people, they show them the story and -- voila -- people come to the ship happily," she said. "No need to read the story, just seeing the before and after was enough." Read more on NEED's successes.

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