Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chattin' Up the Editors

I've been making the rounds of the editors -- slowly, but I will get them all! -- at Atlanta Mag, basically having quick conversations with them about what they do, how they got to their current positions, their views on the industry now, and of course, any and all advice they can give to a young journalism kid. I also have shamelessly offered my help for anything.

It's been fun to hear how the editors have made their way in the industry -- and a little scary. Their stories confirm really how hard it is to be successful. I guess part of me -- the innocent five year old part -- hoped that opportunities would be available, even though I knew I would have to work hard. The economy and seeing the skeleton crew of a staff here has killed that hope.

But, there are other bits of hope still alive! People are still reading papers and magazines, even if they aren't paying for them or paying as often for them. There's still a market, it's just the matter of figuring out how to draw readers in and making it worth their time and money while balancing our own work loads and integrity.

The conversation I most enjoyed was with Rebecca Burns, former editor with a capital E. She currently heads up the website. Her insight into how the magazine developed the website into something sustainable and profitable opened my eyes and answered a lot of my questions. Atlanta Mag works really hard to balance online and print content, and I think they've done well for their audience. In general, the whole staff, editorial and marketing, works incredibly hard.

There's new content on the site in the form of blogs, extras to the print articles, contests and picture galleries, as well as a digital version of the book on sale for ninety-nine cents! Something that has also been successful is the Atlanta Magazine Insiders program. People can sign up to receive newletters, alerts and event offers. All of this is voluntary, and Rebecca says that they have been very careful not to force content on the public.

Having seen things from the inside, I have to say the staff is doing their damndest to make Atlanta Mag a great city pub and a profitable one, and I'm thankful for being able to work with and learn from them.

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