Deep think of the week: Can women’s magazines produce serious journalism?

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Elle EIC Robbie Myers says yes — and I wholeheartedly agree!

Basically, if you’re saying women’s magazines don’t care about good writing, you’re saying women don’t [either], because that’s who reads women’s magazines.”

So why do women’s fashion/lifestyle magazines always get the short shrift when it comes to credibility and seriousness? It’s now time for a rethink. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence and is a voracious reader to boot, I think it’s doing a disservice to women readers anywhere (and in the magazine world, we are the bigger market than the men) to marginalize women in this way — because it is marginalization when we view the issues that are relevant to a group of people as “less than” or “other” and not important enough to be part of the main conversation.

Anyway, read the rest of Robbie’s interview here here.

And here’s the link to the article in New Republic: “Can Women’s Magazines Do Serious Journalism?” The title alone is enough to infuriate me, frankly.

Says the piece:

“Crowe didn’t ask other female editors in Wintour’s—or any other’s stead—because, as he put it, ‘unfortunately these are not the people editing’ truly excellent magazines. This reveals another pernicious assumption: that what women’s magazines publish is not as influential or important as what men’s and general interest magazines publish. How and when did this assumption arise?”

Unfortunately, this way of thinking is not limited to the foreign press. I’ve encountered journalists — men and women — who look askance and condescendingly at the fashion and lifestyle press as if what these were doing were not as important as their work. In my opinion, it takes the same amount of skill and chutzpah, if not more, to report about lifestyle subjects and make them come across as relevant pieces as it does to report “serious” news. And equally as important. Because more than the national headlines or the major stories, it is the “trivial” the fashion/lifestyle/cultural writing the sort that comes out in women’s publications when they report about everyday ephemera that makes an impact and resonates down the ages. Picture this: Two millennia from now, when archeologists are digging through our records of what our lives are like, it will be popular culture, as recorded in women’s magazines (among others) that scholars will look to for leads, the same way that archeologists now look at cave drawings and artwork on jar shards to know what life was like ages ago.

There is enough space in the journalism playground for both kinds of writing to exist.

The six major anxieties of social media

The six major anxieties of social media

How present are you online? My friends and I were just talking about this over the weekend and it seems that more and more these days, social media is taking over our lives. We are plugged in 24/7 that it seems as if our whole lives are spent online. Let’s see. I have Facebook, Instagram, Path, Vine, Tumblr, WordPress, Google+, LinkedIn. And this list doesn’t include emails and chats. What have you got? Friends are urging me to sign up for Twitter since that’s where most of the information breaks first, Pinterest for ideas and “because it’s fun”, Flickr because, hey, we all need another channel to post our food shots in!

And now, as if it isn’t enough that we need to keep up with all of these social media apps, now comes this article on the inadequacy created by these very habits! Ironic, isn’t it? Which begs the question, why don’t we just all unplug start being face-to-face social again?

It may be too late. At a recent company meeting where we were discussing where to go for a company outing, one of the ideas floated around was to go on a cruise around some islands in Thailand. We were told there might not be wi-fi. For four days. I don’t think I was imagining it when I felt everyone reconsider the idea. Four days cut off from the Internet seems like an eternity these days.

[image borrowed from nymag.com]

Serif vs Sans: The final battle

First it was the Capulets versus the Montagues; then it was Coke versus Pepsi; and the latest epic battle? Serif versus sans serif, of course.” — webdesignerdepot.com

I find it fun that font usage is still very much a point for debate, not just among publishing and design types, but even among ordinary folks, given the decline of print and the rising popularity of online publishing. Here’s a fun infographic on what to use for print or web. These are not hard and fast rules, of course. For instance, as someone who works in both print and web, I prefer using sans serif for titles and section headings as well as small text (like sidebars), for visual contrast to a serif body text. The only rule set in stone for typography, I think, is what they said in the infographic: “The best font choices are the ones where readers do not notice the font, but the message.” So next time you’re tempted to use some curlicued or cutting-edge font, think again. As in all things, in typography simplicity is key.

Serif versus Sans-Serif

Infographic borrowed from webdesignerdepot.com. Click this for the original article.

What I do at work

What I do at work

I consider myself a hired gun. It means I write what other people tell me to write about their product, company or service. Creative writers might think it’s hack work, but it’s really quite fulfilling — especially when I am able to come up with a great article or copy for, say, a pest control device in the morning and then write an in-depth analysis piece on environmental awareness in the afternoon and an article on a Spanish road trip another day.

This infographic shows just a bit of what I do everyday.

anc copywriting Everything You Need to Know About Copywriting [Infographic]

 

Wikipedia needs help

Wikipedia needs help

Can’t imagine a world without Wikipedia, can you? So I’m doing my bit. Let’s all do our share to keep it alive.

From Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views.

Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission efficiently.

If everyone reading this donated $10, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $10, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.

Thanks,

Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

 

This guy’s got game!

This is the best celebrity interview ever! Mila Kunis gets interviewed by BBC newbie Christ Stark during the Oz the Great and Powerful junket. But what happens is pure interview gold! This is the type of interview I wish I were able to pull off back when I was starting out and had my youth and inexperience as an excuse for not being prepared — and not caring about what the PR machinery wants me to do! Speaking of, I wonder what the off-screen PR people are thinking while this was happening. I would imagine lots of hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth!

What I like about this kid is that nervous as he was, he was able to engage Mila in a conversation, give us a glimpse of the real person behind the interview, and managed to ask her out three times! Way to go, dude!

Of course, I have no idea if this was staged or not — I hope not, because if it were, then there really is no hope for our sad, cynical media-saturated selves.