Tanzina Vega is leaving The New York Times to join CNN Politics. Vega had been with the Times for the past eight years.
During her tenure at the Times, Vega covered a variety of beats. Her work was especially admired when she she was named the paper’s first-ever race and ethnicity reporter. In January, the Times unfortunately (and wrongly) decided to dissolve the beat and shift Vega to the Metro desk.
“Tanzina, a reporter at The New York Times, will focus on the intersection of technology and politics,” wrote CNN Politics executive editor Rachel Smolkin, in a memo. “She’ll look at innovative ways the 2016 campaigns are using technology, the evolution of micro targeting and new twists in voter registration. She’ll also mine the blending of technology and politics beyond the beltway, from grassroots movements to civil rights to hashtag activism on social media.”
Vega starts April 20.
Time Inc. won’t be boosting Sports Illustrated’s video presence after all. According to The New York Post, talks between the publisher and CineSport — a sports video platform — have broken down.
A source told the Post that Time Inc. was looking for ways to bolster SI’s digital offerings, and talks were progressing. Then suddenly — as often happens with these kinds of things — nothing. “I thought Time Inc. was buying it and it was a done deal — and then they were not buying it,” said the source.
For what it’s worth, it seems like CineSport is still interested. Its founder, Gregg Winik, told the Post, “We are big fans of the Time and Sports Illustrated brands,” which is another way of saying “Nothing is over!“
On the heels of Mashable hiring its first-ever fashion reporter, the site has named Miriam Kramer its first space reporter.
Kramer comes to the site from Space.com, where — for the past three years — she served as a staff writer with a focus on space exploration, rocket launches and scientific discoveries. Prior to that Kramer served as a contributor to Popular Mechanics.
Kramer begins her new role in April.
Amy Keller Laird was promoted from executive editor of Women’s Health to editor-in-chief in September 2014 after Michele Promaulayko left the Rodale pub the month prior to become the top editor at Yahoo Health. The former deputy editor at Allure has settled nicely in her new role and already made some changes to the mag’s front-of-book and expert Q&A pages, particularly in response to the speed at which her social-media-obsessed readers are consuming news.
On the digital side, Keller Laird admits to looking for innovative ways to get those all-important clicks — let’s face it, like every other publication out there — but says she won’t do so at the risk of straying from the magazine’s straight-shooting voice and reputation as an authority on all things related to women’s health. Here, she answers five questions for us, including why this former Manhattanite is now firmly on team Brooklyn.
FBNY: You arrived at Women’s Health in 2011 as executive editor after spending most of your career as a beauty editor. What skills did you bring to that new position?
Keller Laird: Allure was a very research-intensive place, even though the magazine is all about beauty. I worked there for five years as the beauty director. The editor-in-chief [Linda Wells] had come from The New York Times so we reported on beauty [with the same editorial standards]. Those skills transferred to editing health, fitness, food — really delving into a topic beyond what the press release says. Let’s really talk to an independent expert; let’s not rely on the hype and the buzz.
There’s an aesthetic to being a beauty editor that has helped me out at Women’s Health, especially in my role as editor-in-chief, in terms of looking at art and trends. I covered the runway shows for many years, and I edited a lot of film so you start to see what makes good film, what doesn’t make good film, what’s going to resonate with readers, what’s going to really show the image you’re trying to portray. I think that has translated.
Also, the fact that as a beauty editor you work with [advertising] a lot, you get to understand the business side of a magazine, and you understand pitching these bigger, broader ideas that will take the brand to the next level. I did that a lot at Allure, and then I did that here as an executive editor, and obviously now as the editor-in-chief.
FBNY: Now that you’re in charge, what are some changes you’ve implemented?
Keller Laird: The magazine has been doing great over the past five years, but I think it was time for a refresh. For instance, one of the things we’re doing is [revamping] our FOB news section, ‘Scoop.’ We can’t just report on news anymore. With social media, as soon as something happens it’s all over everyone’s feed. If a study or survey comes out and then two months later I put it in the magazine, it’s like, ‘I’ve already read this.’ What we’re doing is taking the news and turning it into something our reader can interact with. We take a survey, and we turn it into a pop quiz in the magazine. We are doing these fun things called ‘Let’s Talk About One-Night Stands’ or ‘Let’s Talk About Pot in the News,’ so we can open the conversation and not just rely on one study.
We used to have Q&As throughout the magazine with some of our big experts. We have a couple of the doctors from the show “The Doctors” as our experts; we have Kathryn Budig, who is our yoga expert; and Keri Glassman as our nutritionist. These are big names and we’re kind of burying them in these tiny Q&As, so we’ve brought them together in a section called ‘Ask Anything.’ We’re letting their personality come through in their answers, and we’re just featuring them more prominently to show we have this robust group of experts who are advising you. We also added an item into that section called ‘Asking for a Friend,’ based off the concept of somebody asking an embarrassing question, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m just asking for a friend.’ We have a rotating comedienne [including Whitney Cummings, co-creator of “2 Broke Girls”] who will do that every three months, just to add a little humor, a little quirkiness, something unexpected. I think that’s really part of my overall goal, for the magazine to be [unlike any other] women’s magazine. We always want to be provocative and innovative.
FBNY: What does your digital strategy look like?
Keller Laird: Digital is very important to Rodale. I hired Lisa Chudnofsky, who’d come from MTV, as our site director and she’s awesome. She brings a different perspective and dynamic. She’s also great with video, and there’s a push companywide to create more and better-quality videos because how-to videos are just so big. What Lisa and I are working on together is how can we do them differently? How can we give them the Women’s Health spin? We tell it like it is. We’re straight. No B.S. We recently did a post, and it was about our editors trying hairstyles from Pinterest and showing the actual results. Basically, it’s like everyone goes on Pinterest and posts these hairstyles and they say, ‘Oh, it’s so easy to create,’ and then our editors created them, and it was hilarious to see the results. We’re coming at it from a ‘Here’s your no-B.S. guide to beauty.’
We have also gone back to our health roots. We had been doing a lot of sex and love content, and we’re still doing that because that’s popular and it’s clicky, but some of our most popular posts recently have been about signs of cancer you didn’t expect. People are clicking on that. We are really trying to vary what we put up on the Web, just as we are a varied magazine. We are a lifestyle brand. We cover all things, and we want to make sure we deliver what the reader wants. We obviously want to keep our unique ties and have things people click on, but we also want to be a trusted source, and people know they can get that at Women’s Health.
Keller Laird: We do have our popular franchises like ‘Workout Wednesdays,’ which is something we do on Instagram where we give an image of a move and we ask people to do it and post pictures of themselves. We’re also doing something called #WHStrong, where we ask our readers to give us a picture of them doing something that is strong. We’ve been getting these amazing photos. We put them in the magazine every month on a page called ‘Get More Women’s Health’ and people are doing yoga poses underwater and they’re paddle boarding in a handstand — it’s kind of like a give-back to the reader.
FBNY: Finally, just for fun, what’s your favorite part of New York?
Keller Laird: I live in Williamsburg. I was always one of those people who lived in Manhattan and I was like, ‘I’m never going to Brooklyn.’ And now that I’ve lived there for five years, I love it and I’m never going back to Manhattan. My husband owns a company there, an ice coffee company called Grady’s Cold Brew [pictured above]; the factory is there and we go there a lot in the summer. We put up tents, hang out, have a few drinks, and the kids can run around. It’s a very hipster playground kind of scene because the kids are playing around on concrete. But it’s home, and it’s family.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
AgencySpy: The NBA’s March Madness campaign reminds people that while college basketball is fun this month of its season, the NBA is fun every month.
TVNewser: BuzzFeed and Al Jazeera must share seats at the White House Briefing Room. Life is often unfair.
FishbowlDC: New proof that congress is just a bunch of drunks.
The announcement that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative health reporter Meg Kissinger will serve as DePauw University’s 2015-16 Eugene S. Pullam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism is extra-special for two reasons.
Kissinger, who graduated from DePauw in 1979, is coming back to the campus where she was once editor-in-chief of The DePauw. And her tenure will reconfirm the solid advice she once received from mom. From today’s announcement:
\"Somewhere up there, my mother surely is smiling,” says Kissinger, who majored in political science as an undergraduate. “It was she who told me, lo, these many years ago that I shouldn’t go to the University of Missouri because I needed to be ‘a big fish in a little pond.’ Though I nearly fainted when the station wagon pulled up to the back door of Lucy Rowland Hall, I learned to love what DePauw offered me in the ensuing four years. I’m thrilled to be ‘swimming back’ to the place that taught me to believe in myself. And I aim to motivate students in the same way my DePauw professors inspired me.”
Kissinger returns to the school with a Pulitzer nomination, a pair of George Polk Awards and a life’s worth of newspaper experience.
Midwest Living is proud of its regional roots, and the magazine seeks to showcase all that is great about living in the Midwest, from its dining and travel options to its homes and gardens.
The best way for potential freelancers to get an in with a magazine is generally through the FOB. Midwest Living provides another option, a particularly interesting one for those who have harbored dreams of being a secret shopper:
Prospective freelancers would be wise to get their foot in the door by being a story scout, a role that can be compared to mystery shopper. Scouts are assigned to check out a place, usually incognito, and asked to submit a written report and corresponding photographs for a potential story. “Whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant or an event, we want someone to go out there and be part of it and come back and let us know that ‘Yes, this is a good thing.’ That is really where the bulk of our freelancing is,” said [travel editor Amanda] Glazebrook.
For more, read: How To Pitch: Midwest Living
The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.
The re-release of Blade Runner led Guardian contributor Danny Leigh to engage via email with actress Sean Young. And in something of a pleasant surprise top the journalist, she agreed to participate in an an electronic interview.
From his piece:
Young is now 55. Though she works regularly, her films rarely involve red carpets. In the past decade only one of her films has had a U.S. cinema release: a low-budget rustic horror called Jug Face. Otherwise, the answer to the question of \"where is she now?\" is a rented apartment in Astoria, Queens. The play is a six-week run of the comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike being staged in a town called Northport, an hour’s drive from New York, population 7,401.
The good news for Young is not only, per her subsequent email to the journalist, has he not written sh*t about her. In fact, The Guardian profile piece allows Young to lay out a sadly familiar road map for a pretty young actress in Hollywood. The topography includes an angry, spurned studio mogul and a reported on-set romance with James Woods that Wood insists never happened.
At another point in the email back-and-forth with Leigh, Wood wrote: “Oh sh*t, this is for the <em<>Guardian?” Apparently, the actress still remembers – less than fondly – a bit of 1991 coverage by the paper.
[Photo of Young, circa 2010: Charles Edwards/Shutterstock.com]
HBO and Vice are expanding their partnership in a deal that will span the next four years. HBO is labeling this its “most expansive programming deal ever,” so please prepare for your life to be changed forever.
The deal includes a Vice daily newscast, featuring five half-hour shows a week, for 48 weeks per year; a bump in the weekly Vice documentary show, from 14 episodes to 35; and 32 Vice specials, which are described as “in-depth examinations of pressing topics.”
Shane Smith, Vice’s founder and CEO, was unsurprisingly dramatic about the announcement.
“This deal, simply put, allows Vice the freedom to go after any story, anywhere we find it – and to do so with complete independence,” said Smith, in a statement. “Over the the last few years, our relationship with HBO has morphed from a great business partnership into a transformative brand-builder. This groundbreaking deal will create a new voice in news.”
Like we said, prepare yourself.
Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This round features More versus Vogue.
More’s latest cover features Game of Thrones star Lena Headey. The actress told More that she’s addicted to getting tattoos, which is something you kind of have to say when you have a bunch of them.
Vogue’s cover, meanwhile, features Serena Williams doing what Serena Williams does: Dominating.
So readers, which cover is better? You can vote, comment, or do both.
Last month’s event at City Winery’s NYC location on Varick Street was SRO. So too is this weekend’s repeat in northern California, when a second group of patrons will get the chance to pair half a dozen wines with half a dozen Spike Lee movies.
From a report in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
\"Spike’s films are so powerful that they have a terroir,\" said City Winery founder Michael Dorf…
\"In He Got Game, there’s an emotional scene about generational change and the father-son dynamic,\" Dorf said, \"so we went for generational change in a winemaking family\" and selected Catena’s Malbec.
The movies and wines selected for this the Sunday night event may be a little different than those sipped in Manhattan. Dorf has been a long-time fan of Lee, dating all the way back to when he launched The Knitting Factory in the mid-1980s.
Lee will discuss each movie highlighted, and bring along for further enjoyment his personal DJ. The events are designed to help promote the filmmaker’s latest offering, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.
Jazmine Hughes has been named an associate digital editor for The New York Times Magazine. Hughes is a contributing writer at The Hairpin and previously served as a web producer for New York.
Hughes’ work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic and more.
In a memo to staffers, Times Mag editor Jake Silverstein said Hughes joining the team was “Great news for the magazine.”
For the second year in a row, President Obama has been left off of Fortune’s “World’s Greatest Leaders” list. That’s… Something.
The President didn’t make the cut of 50 people “judged on their leadership within their professional domains, industries, or fields of service or governance,” but Taylor Swift did.
The President didn’t make the cut of 50 people “with vision who moved others to act as well,” but Jimmy Fallon did.
The President didn’t make the cut of 50 people who have “the courage to pioneer,” but adamant pro-lifer Pope Francis did.
When reached for comment on Fortune’s omission, Obama replied “What list?”
Brad Dunn has been named senior VP, chief digital officer for Athlon Media Group/Parade.
Dunn is a veteran of the Parade brand, having served as executive editor of the magazine for eight years when it was owned by Advance Publications.
Dunn has most recently served as a consultant for AMG since last September.
At AMG, Dunn will report to Tracey Altman, AMG’s executive VP of sales, marketing, digital and content.
After last week’s head-spinning scene, where my lunch dates caused the most rubbernecking I’ve ever witnessed on a Wednesday at Michael’s, today I was more than happy to dine and dish with a trio of smart, savvy women whose accomplishments elicit applause, not raised eyebrows.
I was joined today by Katherine Nicholls, CEO of Niche Media and Mandi Norwood, the company’s SVP and editorial director. This afternoon’s confab was arranged by Cynthia Lewis, who, besides being the hardest working woman in publishing, happens to know just about everyone. A squadron of folks stopped by our table to say their hellos (Jack Kliger, Mickey Ateyeh and Jon Steinberg among them) before getting down to business at their usual perches, because lunch at Michael’s is never just about lunch. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
Katherine Nicholls, Diane Clehane and Mandi Norwood
Katherine and Mandi have transformed what has always been a stable of glossy, eye-catching lifestyle publications — Gotham, Hamptons and Ocean Drive among them — into a luxury brand that is equal parts substance and style. Niche Media is a subsidiary of Greengale Publishing, LLC and publishes city-specific publications which, in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, include: Aspen Peak, Boston Common, Capitol File, Los Angeles Confidential, Michigan Avenue, Philadelphia Style and Vegas magazines. The titles have a combined annual distribution of 4.6 million copies nationally. Katherine, who joined the company in 2007 as its chief marketing officer, has risen through the ranks as COO and president before assuming her current position last year. British-born Mandi, who edited her first magazine at the tender age of 25 and has topped the masthead of several publications at Hearst and Condé Nast, came on board in 2011. Working as a team, they’ve seemingly achieved the impossible in this era of rapidly shrinking (and vanishing) print titles. Not only have their books gotten thicker with ads over the past year (I needed two hands to pick up the latest issue of Ocean Drive), but they’ve added to their stable of regional titles with the very timely launch of Austin Way last fall. “There was a big gap in Texas,” said Katherine of the company’s decision to launch their first new title in five years. “There’s a huge benefit to being the first in this incredibly exciting market.”
In relaunching the brand, explained Katherine, it was important to develop and refine a collective mission statement for the titles. After canvasing the editors that helm each book, she came up with the three C’s. “We’re connectors, we captivate and celebrate with a conscience” is now the guiding principle. Lest you think the books aren’t focusing on the visual aspect of capturing an audience, Mandi told me that Niche Media’s Ann Song, vice president of fashion and creative, has “taken our content to the next level, made it sing and look super-stylish.” All the better to appeal to that “incredibly important” fashion crowd.
Each book is edited, said Mandi, with editorial covering “national trends seen through the local lens.” To wit: the upcoming ‘Women of Influence’ issues for each title, which will feature an impressive array of accomplished women, all with a connection to that respective area. NBC’s Tamron Hall is Philadelphia Style’s headliner, Arianna Huffington will be featured on the covers of Capitol File and Austin Way and Renee Fleming will grace Gotham‘s cover. (Full disclosure: I profiled the rest of the influential women for Gotham.)
Last summer’s special Arts issue featured original works by Peter Max across 10 covers, which were later auctioned off by charitybuzz.com and raised $100,000 for the Humane Society of the United States. It was a huge success, and Katherine told me the concept has been given a more local point of view this year. In July, the Art of the City summer issues will feature works of emerging artists from all 11 region on the books’ covers, with in-depth profiles inside. Each book will contribute to a local 501C3 organization benefiting the arts. “A lot of magazines do these big events selling themselves,” said Mandi. “We’re not about that. We have to have a reason for doing things. We want to make a difference.”
Katherine told me Niche Media gets forty percent of its audience through a significant investment in verified data from Nielsen Claritas and reaches the “aspirational reader,” its strategic distribution model in haute hotels, restaurants and resorts. With a “core target” of affluent readers aged 35-55, I asked Katherine where millennials fit into the brand’s overall strategy. Clearly, the magazines’ sleek, lively websites attracts younger readers who will find exclusive and constantly refreshed content there. But both Katherine and Mandi believe that it’s the magazine’s informed point of view and expertly curated content that lures younger readers from their mobile devices to actually picking up a magazine. “There’s a level of insider knowledge and expertise [in the magazines] that they can’t get from social media,” said Mandi. To that end, virtually all of Niche Media’s editors live and work in the cities they cover year in and year out. “We’re in the Hamptons all year,” said Katherine. “We don’t just come drop in for the season. Over the winter we held small business seminars for the locals there. We’re very engaged with the community.”
When dessert arrived (Fern Mallis’ red velvet birthday cake served up by Michael’s GM Steve Millington), Mandi and Katherine offered an intriguing assessment of the future of magazines. While other executives might bemoan the decline of print, Mandi and Katherine beg to differ. “If I had a crystal ball, I’d say bookstores will come back — not in a big way — but they will come back,” predicted Mandi. “In the not-so-distant future, there is going to be a new cachet about publishing, books and bookstores.” Katherine offered what would seem to be the best case for Mandi’s prognostication: “Any time we have a job opening, a hundred millennials apply trying to get out of working for digital companies. It’s their dream fulfilled to work for a magazine.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Fashionista Fern Mallis celebrating her birthday (thanks for sharing your cake!) with three pals including Mickey Ateyeh. Fern is going to be plenty busy in the next few weeks with her upcoming interview with Tim Gunn for the 92nd Street Y and her new book, Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons. Saks Fifth Avenue is throwing her a chic soirée next month. See you there!
2. Peter Brown
3. Cheri Kaufman
4. Jack Kliger and Greg Osberg
5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman
6. Katherine Nicholls, Mandi Norwood, Cynthia Lewis and yours truly
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and a well-heeled blonde gal we didn’t get to meet
9. Sara Beth Shrager
11. Uber agent Boaty Boatwright
12. David Poltrack of CBS
14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew
16. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky
17. Playbill’s Bruce Hallett
18. Attorney Bob Barnett
20. NBC’s David Corvo
21. DailyMail North America’s CEO Jon Steinberg
23. Mark Makepeace
24. Philip Tedeschi
26. Peter Feld
27. The New York Post’s Richard Johnson, Chuck Pfeifer and Michael Mailer
29. The Wall Street Journal’s David Sanford and Lewis Stein
Faces in the crowd: The dashing Theo Spilka, who we learned bikes to and from his office at Firmenich every day. I asked him how he fared during this snowy season and he admitted that “the snow did get in the way.” I finally met one person that just might be a tad happier than I am that this endless winter is finally coming to a close.
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
TVNewser: Bill O’Reilly said he thinks NBC should — and will — bring Brian Williams back. That O’Reilly, such a softy.
TVSpy: If you’re going to act a fool, maybe don’t do it places where there are hundreds of cameras around.
PRNewser: Ok Go’s shitty music is featured in another ad. Enjoy, everyone.
A few weeks ago, there was all sorts of online fury hurled in the direction of Deadline co-editor-in-chief Mike Fleming Jr. when he failed to credit the website Latino Review for a Spider-Man-related scoop. Kellvin Chavez started off his March 2 item by revealing that he had been working for weeks on confirming the news; but nowhere in Fleming’s same-day post was that reporter’s work mentioned or linked.
Fleming will likely tell you that he was separately working on the same scoop track all along, and that once Chavez posted, he shared what he had been preparing. But the rule of the Hollywood biz Internet is that if you get beaten to the punch, no matter whether you’re already in the same ring, it’s common courtesy to acknowledge the journalist who officially broke it first.
Cut to 6:30 p.m. PT last night. In the wake of the perceived Spider-Man slight and other similar situations involving Deadline, the Twittersphere was primed to attack. That’s exactly what happened within moments of Deadline’s other co-EIC Nellie Andreeva posting a very clumsily headlined article about a mainline trend in this year’s TV pilot season.
A majority of the objectionable and shocking observations in Andreeva’s piece come from the talent agents and personal managers she sourced. Things like:
“Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.
However, thanks to the terrible headline, some additionally awkward Andreeva commentary paragraphs and the overall need of a feature like this to be handled with extra-special editing care (which it apparently wasn’t), all social media hell broke loose. There would have been bedlam no matter what; but the extra level of animosity directed at Deadline in the past 24 hours has a lot to do, also, with the site’s perceived elitism.
Furthermore, Deadline’s decision to stick with the casting industry jargon term of “ethnic/ethnics” and use that term throughout without quote demarcations only served to compound the outrage.
Problem #1: University of Pennsylvania student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian has, for decades now, chosen to release its annual April Fool’s issue way before April 1. So from that straight-up calendar end, there’s no way for folks to be aware that it’s one big annual joke.
Problem #2: On Twitter (and in the unwitting Vanity Fair pick-up), blogger Joanna Robinson uses the term “Updated” when it really should be “Corrected.” Updated would apply if, say, a rep for the school or Watson had confirmed further details of her post-Brown Penn plans. Corrected is the term to use when there was never a chance in Harry Potter hell that this was true.
Problem #3: The name of Watson’s “publicist” in the Daily Pennsylvanian gag item was a dead giveaway. As noted by philly.com’s Nick Vadala:
\"Kingsley Pennyton\" is the fakest British name ever conceived. And, not only that, but there’s one primary result for that name in Google — the Daily Pennsylvanian’s article.
According to Vadala, the other major outlet fooled early by the Watson item was the International Business Times AU. Amazingly, the bylined reporter for the student newspaper Watson item, Shoba Babu, is… real.
P.S. The “JOKE ISSUE:” portion of the headline above was added sometime after publication.