Okie dokie. So, for those who aren’t aware: the first three weeks of the program focus on Magazine publishing, and the second three weeks focus on Book publishing. For both sessions, we’re put into groups to create either a Magazine Brand or a Book Imprint (one per session, according to focus, obviously). And each of these 10-person groups are miniature replicas of the Editorial and Publishing teams (aka, content vs business) that put together actual brands and/or imprints. And the roles given to each person (which weren’t negotiable) reflect roles that people in the industry have. The groups and roles were supposedly assigned to us based on interests and experience (from our application, resume, personal statements, etc), but I’m not entirely certain on how true to that explanation they stayed. But with 100 students, we couldn’t all get what we want.
Personally, I’m more interested in book publishing, but I’ve been hoping to be pretty open about magazine work and learning more about it in order to see what opportunities there are. Because you never know, right? Maybe magazines are my calling! In any event, for the next three weeks, my role is Consumer Marketing Director for the Sports & Fitness Magazine Group. I’m pretty much in charge of both growing our audience and managing how we reach our audience. It isn’t anywhere in my comfort/skill zone, but at least I’ll learn something? Maybe. And Sports/Fitness is definitely not my cup of tea – but in all honesty I wouldn’t be surprised if we got the group assignments randomly.
In any event, I got to meet with my group today. One of my suite mates is in my magazine group (hallelujah!), and there are 10 of us total, one of whom is a guy (though, there are only about 6 males in the program altogether, so…ehhh). There were a lot of good ideas that were suggested but we narrowed it down to two! For the first: A lot of them (something like six/seven) all seemed to connect to a somewhat broad, but rather unique brand for real, everyday people who maybe can’t do the “regular” gym routine everyday, or are having a hard time maintaining the weight loss – and we’d cater to their physical fitness needs, but also their general wellness with emotional and mental health as well in somewhat broad strokes. Basically, we were working toward narrowing down to a brand that could include a lot of our ideas.
The other idea we looked at pretty closely was a fitness magazine brand geared specifically toward LGBTQ+ individuals – primarily females (to go against magazines like OUT and others that cater mostly to gay men). I’m still a little hazy on what exactly that brand would have as far as content goes, or how we might grow our audience specifically. It looked to me like the majority of us aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community in any way – and I personally felt a little uncomfortable. Not because I have anything against this specific community, but because I don’t actually feel qualified to produce content for them? I also don’t know how to reach them, and in my mind, I’m trying to look at each of these ideas via the lens of my role – how do I grow audience?
Anyways, it was the one we decided on (by vote, 6 to 4…) over the previous idea. And the longer I sit on it now, and the more I think about it… I don’t know, it seems more and more difficult. The audience would be a very, very specific, small niche, and just… it seems too narrow. It doesn’t help that the girl who suggested the idea appeared to be very involved in the LGBTQ+ community and I don’t think very many of us wanted to risk offending her by pointing to any of the potential issues in her idea. She continued to push it, in a passive aggressive, yet defensive way when it looked like the rest of us had kind of all looked into the previous idea. And while it was clearly stated that we could absolutely include LBGTQ+ themes and concerns in features, ads, etc. to that other brand, she was pretty set on pushing her idea as a whole brand of its own.
I think it can work, and if we push forward with it, I’m going to have to get behind it 100%. It’s just going to take a lot more work, and I won’t feel nearly as passionate about it as I would have the other brand idea. Group projects are difficult, for a number of reasons. All that aside though, I do want to say the first actual day in the program was pretty good. Exhusting though it was, I learned a lot, and I can tell it’s going to be a pretty info-heavy summer. (:
Other things of note: We had a fire drill in our dorm building today… I was not impressed. Also, I learned about the term “groutfits” (grey outfits) from my roommate (and fellow group member) Sara Jo.