I am so happy to be done with the first section of this program. The magazine session was infinitely informative, and it was absolutely incredible to have the opportunities we did with the industry leaders we met and networked with. Our project turned out beautifully, even if the judges from our presentations today found that we “lacked passion” (yes I’m still bitter about that…).
Nevertheless, we learned a lot about the magazine side of publishing and I feel confident enough to say that while I don’t necessarily want to work in magazines (whether in editorial, advertising, design, or digital), I actually feel pretty well suited to do the jobs. Obviously some of the hard talents/skills would require some learning and training (I’m still struggling through InDesign and Photoshop. Never mind InCopy and all the other applications I might have to learn about), but everyone we’ve talked to has stressed the “be flexible” concept in working with magazines, because, due to the nature of the industry, everyone does a little bit of everything. Besides that, I feel like I have a fairly decent handle on what it means to embody a brand and to have all your work fit into a media brand in particular.
All that to say I feel like I wouldn’t be opposed to working in magazine publishing (whether in print or online or what have you), but it’s definitely still not my first choice. The pace of the work and the high stress level of the work are major turn offs for me, though manageable. Even worse is the emphasis made on advertising/business – it’s a business, first and foremost, and not so much about the content. And some of our speakers would have argued with that point, but the truth of the matter is that so much of the revenue for a brand (which allows a brand to continue existing) comes from the advertisers who want to partner with and/or advertise with the brand itself – in print or digital. And while I understand the nature of the industry, I don’t like it.
The presentations today were honestly all pretty good. There were some that were better than others, naturally. And ours was relatively okay. It wasn’t the best one, but it also wants the worst. I wasn’t exactly a fan of how the Q&A session with the judges morphed into a critique from the judges that no one in the groups could respond to. Moreover, I was frustrated with how harsh the judges were. They were, all three, higher ups at different publishing companies (such as Hearst Publishing Group, the umbrella company that is home to O (oprah), House Beautiful, Cosmo, HGTV, etc), and based on the way they critiqued the groups, it appeared that they were not aware that 1) these were hypothetical launch projects, and 2) 90% of us had no prior knowledge of the magazine publishing industry prior to the start of the program just over two weeks ago. Beyond that, the critique/feedback was, as our program director worded it, “very beneficial” but it’s hard to see the benefits of commentary that can’t actually be taken and incorporated into the project, because it’s not real, and it’s now over.
In any event, the groups that won had really awesome projects. Obviously everyone did a great, but I’m honestly not surprised that the top two groups were who they were. Their presentations were fabulous and their brand concepts were really well through out. That said, I also wish it hadn’t been a contest, because as much as the directors “wished [they] could give us all awards”, the awards just made the entire process antagonizing and demoralizing. Beyond that, they’re in charge of the program. If they wanted to, they absolutely could give everyone awards. But that’s neither here nor there, because I don’t have any power over things like this. (Yay, for being at the bottom of the totem pole!)
All of this sounds really negative and bitter, and yes, I’m a little upset at how little recognition was given to how hard everyone worked. But, I do admit that I know sooooooo much more about publishing (on the magazine side of things) now than I did on day one. And I’m really grateful for it (: This has been a really informative, eye-opening program so far, and I can’t wait to dive into the book session tomorrow/next week!
On a brighter note, most of our group went out to celebrate the end of the program and putting together a fabulous end product, and it was a lot of fun to just relax with friends (:
We have a “Career Day” type of set up tomorrow with a bunch of panels and speakers, and a brief overview of the book session before we jump into that on Monday. Then, it’s the weekend! I’m thinking downtown NY and Chinatown tomorrow/Saturday, plus an HTML workshop and maybe some shoe shopping with my roommate Sunday.