Wednesday, October 21, 2009

breaking news: expert predicts *rise* of journalism

i don't often follow the today show's kathie-lee gifford into the interviewer's slot, but i did yesterday when i caught up with bonnie fuller for a metro canada interview. she's been the editor of cosmo, glamour and marie-clare, amongst others, and is now relaunching hollywoodlife.com.

she had a lot of interesting things to say, not least of which was her optimism for the future of journalism. i agree with her completely - us journalists sell stories, not newspapers or TV time slots. it's not intrinsic to my work that trees die for me to make a living.

you can read the article on the metro site, and i'll paste it below.


Journalism will thrive again
JON TATTRIE
21 October 2009 05:33

With The September Issue, a documentary about Vogue’s Anna Wintour, premiering tonight (Bloor Cinema, 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.), Metro decided to take a look at the powerful women in the world of fashion journalism.

Bonnie Fuller scoffs at the predictions of journalism’s death. “I don’t believe it’s a dying breed. I think that we are in the midst of a major revolution,” the celebrity journalism giant says.

“There is going to be less print journalism, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a lot of journalism.”

The much-Twittering Fuller is working on a relaunch of HollywoodLife.com and has been editor-in-chief of US Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, YM and Flare magazines, and is a regular guest on NBC’s Today show.

“We’re in businesses,” she says of journalism. “When you have businesses, you have customers and you have to sell products in order to survive. It can’t be viewed as simply the work of good deeds.”

In other words, a free press is great, so long as someone is buying it.

A key part of her thriving media career is the Bonnie Fuller brand, as expressed in her company, Bonnie Fuller Media (Bonniefuller.com).

“It was my job to become an expert on my audience,” she says. “To do a good job at Glamour, Cosmo, Marie-Clare, you really have to think hard about your audience, getting to know them and understanding them.”

She’s “very excited” about what she thinks will be a boom time for new journalism after the recession.

“If you’re a student today looking at a journalism career … you can’t think about only going into traditional magazines and newspapers. You do have to think about the opportunities of the digital world,” she says. “I think traditional schools need to think about the new format. I’m not even sure that a lot of the schools adapted to the changes that were in print journalism. I don’t know how much they ever taught about celebrity journalism.”

Fuller’s “celebrity lens” style of journalism explores the world via Michael Jackson, the Balloon Boy and Jon and Kate. “The great thing about … celebrities today is that they come in all different ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ethnic groups. There’s always somebody that you can relate to.”

And whatever you’re dealing with, chances are a celebrity is going through the same thing. “If you’re trying to decide if you’re going to have a baby, well, there’s a female celebrity talking about whether it’s time for her to have a baby. If your marriage is in trouble and you’re wondering if you can go through divorce, you can look at Jon and Kate.”

Gossip is in our genes, she says. (Google her Bigthink.com interview for her take on the cavewoman roots of celebrity journalism.)

“Everyone used to talk about the weather. It was the one, standard conversation,” Fuller adds.

“Now, when you sit down by a stranger at a party, you can start a conversation on infidelity, sexual harassment and office romances just by mentioning David Letterman. Celebrities are better than the weather,” Fuller notes.
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