Monday, October 6, 2008

Magazines: Survival of the Fittest

I had the opportunity to attend one of New York’s Center for Communications’ fabulous seminars this past week titled Magazines: Survival of the Fittest. The panel included Trisha Calvo, Executive Editor of Shape, Carla Levy, Executive Editor of SELF, David Willey SVP and Editor in Chief of Runner’s World, and Bill Stump VP an Brand Editor of Men’s Health and was moderated by Jeff Bercovici a blogger on

The panel discussed the imminent issues fitness magazines face in the digital and green future. Each panel member was interesting and informative, and it was a treat to get to listen to the editors of some of my favorite magazines speak! They discussed how their lives and jobs mixed, what they look for in candidates entering the magazine industry, going green, and David Willey even gave some tips on how to treat shin splints! (Ice, of course.)

Here are some highlights, quotes from the panelists:

“People are getting busier, and are stressed out with their current economic situations” said Bill Stump of Men’s Health, “but what we try to advocate in all of our publications is the idea that working out can reduce stress.

“It doesn’t work anymore to slap your September issue online,” said David Willey of Runner’s World. “You have to make it an interactive community with distinct features.”

"We look for candidates that are flexible and able to adapt to unique job requirements," said Trisha Calvo of Shape.

"Being interested in fitness is certainly not a requirement to write for our magazine," said Carla Levy of SELF. "We don't ask people to drop and give us 20 push-ups during the interview, but there is a self-selection, and our staff is really mostly interested in a healthy lifestyle."

"Look. Nobody on the Men's Health staff has a six-pack," said Stump. "But the important thing is that we are all trying!"

The most exciting part of the discussion was when it turned to talk of a green future for magazines. Runner's World's new issue is their first ever "Green Issue," so Willey was eager to discuss their attempts to go eco-friendly as a business and as athletes.

"The new issue is printed on partially recycled paper," he said. "We have also eliminated the practice of poly bagging magazines. This issue, last year, was due to have 20,000 wrapped in plastic. If we are going green, we have to eliminate this."

"Being eco-friendly is really another realm of a healthy lifestyle. Our magazines have a very big stake in going green, partly because we're so focused on healthy living," said Levy.

"Going green is not just a virtuous or trendy thing anymore," Willey continued, "It is a business thing, a reality."

I suggest everyone grab the November issue of Runner's World when it hits newsstands (make sure to recycle, or even read it online!) I got it at the seminar, and it really is a great look at how the average athlete can become greener.

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