Nineveh Madsen: From News Anchor To Launching Her Own Media EmpireSeptember 12, 2018
Swede Nineveh Madsen, founder and CEO of HER Magazine, is at the forefront of the ever-evolving news industry, helping shape next-generation media and empowering women with her digital publication HER Magazine.
Before immigrating to the United States as a child, Madsen was born and raised in Linköping, Sweden, where her extended family still lives. Her parents, who are Assyrian (a small Christian minority in the Middle East) lived in Iraq and fled to Sweden in the 1970s to seek political asylum from Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“The reason they chose Sweden was because they have a really great program for refugees and people who need to claim political asylum and need protection from their own government,” Madsen said.
Her parents raised her in Sweden until she was six; when her father got a job with Ericsson as an engineer, he had an opportunity to work in the United States. Madsen’s family settled in Carlton, Texas and then spent the next decade splitting their time between the United States and Sweden.
After studying broadcast journalism at California State University, East Bay, Madsen started her TV news career with NBC in Yuma, Ariz., and then moved onto Fox, where she worked for nearly a decade.
“The goal was to either be an anchor in L.A. or New York, but my plans changed because I saw technology changing,” she said. “I saw an opportunity to jump ship, take the skills I had in broadcast and build a business.”
Madsen noticed that the attention was going online and that people wanted to consume content on their own terms. They no longer wanted to tune in at a certain time to watch the news on TV. They wanted to hop on their smartphones and read news at their own convenience.
“They are the ones who have the master key to consuming content,” Madsen said.
Changes she recognized in the ever-evolving industry caused her to re-evaluate her role as a TV news anchor and ponder ways in which she could ride the next-generation media wave.
“I was tired of reporting with this doom and gloom,” she recalled. “We are entering an era with a new consciousness. People want to be inspired and empowered. I saw an opportunity, and I had a desire to create in that space and to use my creative talents in a positive way.”
Madsen no longer wanted to read a teleprompter, speak in a newscaster’s non-regional dialect and report on depressing topics like murders.
“People don’t want to watch people like that anymore,” she said. “They want the realness. They want to emotionally connect with you.”
Madsen wanted to be herself and to showcase authenticity in the media.
Launched originally as You Magazine in 2014, Madsen still was working as a TV journalist at the time, anchoring her own afternoon show.
“It was the dream job for most anchors,” she said. “Yet I felt really unfilled, because I was talking about things that really didn’t matter to me. And I thought, ‘If it doesn’t matter to me, it doesn’t matter to the people listening.’”
To launch the digital publication, she tapped into Utah’s female community, women she had connected with over the years as a journalist. The publication, which is all about empowering and lifting up women, was launched on a shoestring. Madsen designed it on her iPad, hired a photographer and spent less than $500 to get it off the ground.
Since its birth four years ago, Madsen has funded the digital publication as a soloprenuer, doing work with other media companies and then reinvesting the money she earns in the magazine to continue to build upon HER’s brand platform.
“There is a misnomer out there in business that people quit jobs and they are an overnight success,” she said. “And that’s just not the case.”
With a mission to “unmake tradition,” HER Magazine now is focused on creating quarterly digital magazines along with publishing weekly stories on the website.
“The goal is to do daily content, YouTube videos, Instagram stories and what not,” she said of her plan for down the road.
This month HER Magazine is launching its first set of products and will start monetizing on its readership. The publication will sell T-shirts with empowering slogans to help spread brand awareness and online courses to help empower business women, along with an array of products through the Amazon Affiliate program.
“Our audience wants recommendations on business tools and e-courses, and they come to the trusted source,” Madsen said.
Instead of operating like a traditional media outlet, relying on advertising and feeling beholden to sponsors, HER Magazine is embracing a next-generation media philosophy of making money with e-sales.
Moving full-steam ahead, Madsen has plans to expand the HER Magazine team and create more content.
Head on over to HER Magazine to read its fall issue.