Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You've Got a Friend in Magazines


To say that my first two weeks as an ASME intern have been informative is a gross understatement. Coming from an English background rather than a journalism one had me nervous to begin my summer at O, The Oprah Magazine, but our three days of training with the program did more for me than I could have imagined. In addition to learning technical skills like fact checking and copyediting, I was able to see an overview of the industry from the people at its very core.
One of the things I found most interesting about why the magazine industry continues to grow despite cutbacks in other forms of journalism is that people actually enjoy and appreciate ads in magazines. They don’t find them annoying, but rather an integral part of the experience. People look to magazines for advice and guidelines, and seeing a product advertised in their favorite publication actually carries some weight. I’ve always been more interested in the editorial side of magazines than the business side, but this new piece of information gave me an interesting perspective on the way magazines inject themselves into people’s lives.
Almost every person in the industry I’ve met with over the past couple of weeks has had the same question for me: Why do I want to work in magazines? Well, aside from the fact that I’ve found it to be a genuinely good time and am eager to go to work every morning, there is something about the way that a person’s favorite publication becomes a friend of sorts that I find immensely appealing. Through a person’s favorite publication – whether it’s a news magazine, lifestyle magazine, or even a fashion magazine – you can actually reach out to him or her in a way so direct it’s as though you’re talking face-to-face.
What I love about working magazines (and women’s lifestyle magazines in particular, O being an incredible example) is the potential for causing real change in the world through your readers, on both a small scale and a large one. Readers may look to a magazine for advice on how to dress, where to travel, or what to read, but can still be struck by a particularly moving story. Any form of journalism can call attention to personal and global issues, but only a magazine – a source of all kinds of wisdom, a trusted companion to cuddle up with over a cup of tea – has such a power to reach out and grab the heart of its readers and instill in them the motivation to cause change.

-Madeleine Frank, Harvard University, Intern at O, The Oprah Magazine

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