The first half of 2008 had 291 magazine launches, down 75 from the same period a year ago, according to Samir Husni, chair of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi, who’s also known as Mr. Magazine. But perhaps the most notable figure, Husni noted, was the sharp decline in regularly published magazines with a frequency of four or more per year. Last year, the first six months produced 132 new launches and this year, only 78 were counted. “It’s the biggest drop since I started tracking this information, back in 1978,” Husni pointed out. The biggest launch so far this year has been Open Air Magazine, a quarterly that runs in USA Today, said Husni. As for the remainder of the year, the Wall Street Journal’s luxury play WSJ. will debut in September, and Spry, a health magazine that will have a circulation of nine million and run in mainly urban newspapers, is also launching in the fall from the Publishing Group of America.