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How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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ParentMap.com Seeks Pitches on Fertility, School Security, Child Development and More

ParentMap-ArticleParentMap, a free Seattle-based mag, has been providing parents with the information “they need to be the parent they want to be,” for the past 11 years, according to managing editor Natalie Singer-Velush.

The pub features a wide range of pitchable parenting content, including articles on education, tech and health. The mag’s digital component, ParentMap.com, is also ripe for pitching. All of the site’s departments are open to freelancers. Here are the sections to keep in mind:

ParentMap.com offers daily content on topics such as discipline, food, fertility, travel, school security, health, child development and more. There isn’t much of a Seattle-area focus online; most stories are national in scope. The only local section is “Out & About/Weekend Family Fun,” which offers museum roundups and weekend event picks. Payment ranges from $75 for a guest blog (for example, a 500-word first-person parenting essay) to $300-$400 for a reported article.

For more, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: ParentMap.

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Has Time Inc. Gone Too Far With New Cover Ads?

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 1.52.21 PMLast week there was, understandably, some buzz about Time Inc.’s decision to sell small cover ads. The news, on the heels of Time Inc.’s split from Time Warner Cable, broke that a small Verizon ad (a line of text in the bottom corner of the cover, potentially right below a mailing label, reading “For best results use Verizon see P. 23″) would appear on the upcoming issue of Time and Sports Illustrated.

The addition of marketing messages to the front cover is in direct opposition to the American Society of Magazine Editors’ (ASME) very first editorial guideline, which states clearly:

1. Don’t Print Ads on Covers
The cover is the editor and publisher’s brand statement. Advertisements should not be printed directly on the cover or spine.

This procedure ensures that editorial integrity remains intact and isn’t influenced by advertisers. Over on one of our sister sites, FishBowlNY, Chris O’Shea was outspoken about the paradigm shift:

“Obviously this is just the beginning. Eventually magazine covers will look like NASCAR cars, completely covered in ads. It’ll be like a fun, sad game — try to figure out what magazine this is!” he wrote.

Read more

Pitch Parents, Parents.com With the Modern-Day Mom in Mind

Parents-ArticleParents, which focuses on millennial moms, is on the hunt for fresh new writers. The monthly mag offers plenty of opportunities for freelancers — it’s 70 percent freelance written, after all — who can write from personal experience in a friendly, nonjudgmental tone about everything from potty training to breastfeeding.

And if you’ve got experience writing for the Web (and can turn copy around quickly), you shouldn’t hesitate to send your pitches to the pub’s online counterpart, Parents.com:

A majority of the site’s readers are pregnant or moms with babies, so pregnancy and infant coverage are of particular interest. Deputy editor Diane Debrovner advises freelancers to clearly define which section of the website they see their piece fitting into when they pitch: “Getting Pregnant,” “Pregnancy,” “Babies,” “Toddlers & Preschoolers,” “Big Kids,” “Parenting,” “Food,” “Health” or “Fun.”

For more on what editors want, read: How To Pitch: Parents.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Glamour Magazine Launches Beauty-Focused Digital Site, Lipstick.com

Photo via Glamour.com

Photo via Glamour.com

The recent announcement that Glamour has launched its own beauty-focused digital site, Lipstick, might not be earth-shaking news but it’s yet another sign that venerable, legacy print outlets are coming to grips with the hard facts that most of their readers continue to live online. Read more

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