Unbound and determined

Magazines were once defined by the way their pages were “saddle-stitched” with staples or glue – not loose like a newspaper or sewn like a book. They were bound.

So Hearst, with Elle, Esquire, “O” and 18 other major magazine titles, came up with a clever motto for the concept of the magazine today: “Unbound.”

Hearst lobby

In the Hearst Building lobby

Here’s how unbound the company’s magazines have become. Content – traditional or sponsored – is varied with the needs of readers in each platform. For a print magazine, you want something that goes with a sofa and time; for mobile, you want quick. How consumers use the web keeps evolving. It used to be search-driven, he said. Now it’s driven by social. It used to be measured by page views. Now, it’s engagement – what the viewer does in response to viewing a page.

We’ve been hearing from all aspects of the magazine scene in New York. From Sid Holt at ASME, on the migration and disaggregation of ad dollars. From more recent W&L alums Leanna Murphy and Melissa Cook at People magazine, on marketing to readers.

Elyse Moody

Elyse Moody

And then there are the content folks, like Elyse Moody, ’07, who got a masters in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins, worked in editorial at Elle for three years, and is now at O, the Oprah magazine. Our visits started yesterday with a staff writer at Rolling Stone who does many of their Q&As with rock stars, Andy Greene. Drawn to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his hometown of Cleveland as a teenager, he came to New York to work for RS for free at age 22 – his “graduate school.” Now, at 33, he’s flying all over the place for profiles of the likes of Stephen King (in a recent issue) and James Taylor (upcoming).

Tomorrow morning, one last crafter of content: New Yorker staff writer Alec Wilkinson is meeting us early at the memorial site for John Lennon in Central Park, called Strawberry Fields. Then we check out and head home.

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