Staying “In The Zone”

 by Cheval John

When people hear of Huntsville, Texas, the first thing they think of is “prison city”

because it is the headquarters of the

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

But they fail to realize that there is more to the city than what meets the eye.

For example, it is home to Sam Houston State University, a Carnegie Doctoral Research University that have over 17,000.

These same students would believe that there is nothing to do when they first arrive here,

but would later discover that there is more to do

thanks to a magazine called In The Zone (ITZ).

ITZ is a free monthly entertainment magazine that was founded in 2006 by D.J. Schafer and Jason Naavasard.

It has articles about places to go, sporting events, fashion, movies reviews and a lot more.

“We had quarterly magazines for senior lifestyles…” Schafer said. “The only thing that we didn’t touch was the college.”

The founders held focus groups to find out the type of content that would be suited for the magazine.

They even allowed the participants to write down the possible name of magazine.

After looking at the responses, they came up with the name “In The Zone.”

From there, Schafer built the logo overnight and the first issue was launched in May 2006.

“We decided to start the first issue in the summer instead of the

first day of school because it allowed me to work out the kinks to everything,” Schafer said.

Over time, the magazine has gained popularity among the students, but like any business, it has seen it’s ups and downs.

Naavasard left the magazine last year and they

brought in Mallory Collins as their outside sales representative earlier this year.

Since she joined, the magazines have reached new heights and the team

are looking forward to new opportunities that will come their way

in the fall because of new students that will attend the university.

“You have to re-market yourself every year and target the new comers,” Collins said.

For more information about ITZ, visit their website at

About Cheval John

Cheval John is the Founder and CEO of Vallano Media, LLC, a marketing agency which helps small to mid-sized businesses use social media correctly to build a loyal following and in the process become more profitable. Cheval is also the host of "What's The Word?" a podcast about finding out what inspires people to choose their respective careers and how social media impacted their lives and business. He is the author of two books including the Amazon Best-Seller, "8 Lessons Every Podcaster Needs To Learn." He has spoken at Social Media Week Lima in Ohio and at Social Media Day Houston 2017 about topics around live streaming and podcasting. Cheval has been featured in media outlets like Ebony Magazine and was named a Houston Top 25 Social Media Power Influencer in 2016 and 2017.

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