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Ellies 2007: So What Do You Do, Cindi Leive, Editor, Glamour?

Though 'ASME has a unique role to play right now' amid mags' Web fever, its newly re-elected president still deems print mags 'the mothership'

By Rebecca L. Fox and Emily Million - May 1, 2007
ellies_hardware.jpgLeading up to the May 1, 2007 National Magazine Awards, is publishing a special package of our popular interview series, "So What Do You Do?," with daily interviews of selected nominees, ranging from well-known to obscure. Today, we chat with newly re-elected ASME president and Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive.

See our other interviews with Ellie 2007 nominees: Adam Moss, Editor, New York; Joyce Rutter Kaye, Editor, Print; David Granger, Editor, Esquire?; Moisés Naím, Editor, Foreign Policy; Jay Stowe, Editor, Cincinnati; Ted Genoways, Editor, Virginia Quarterly Review; Mark Strauss, Editor, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Name: Cindi Leive
Position: Editor, Glamour
Resumé: Editor of Self from '99 to '01 prior to coming to Glamour
Birthdate: Jan 21, 1967
Hometown: McLean, Virginia
Education: Swarthmore College
Marital status: Married to film producer Howard Bernstein
First section of the Sunday Times: The magazine
Favorite television show: 30 Rock
Guilty pleasure: American Idol. Go, Jordin!
Last book read: Fish: The Basics, by Shirley King. I was looking for a recipe. Before that, Lawrence Wright's Looming Tower.
2007 Nominations: Two (Personal Service and General Excellence)

The last time Glamour won an Ellie was for General Excellence in 2005. As editor-in-chief, what was that experience like, and how is being nominated this year different so far, if at all?
That experience was completely surreal, because it was the first time Glamour had been nominated for any Ellie in almost a decade. Also, I was about 10 months pregnant and not expecting to be up on stage. To be nominated again is an enormous thrill. I'm incredibly proud of our staff.

What do you think of your chances for Glamour's two Ellie nominations this year? How does being recognized in these categories reflect Glamour's objectives as a magazine, and your goals as its editor?
Well, our chances are obviously slim because it's a pretty stellar roster of nominees. But, I love that we're nominated for being excellent and personal -- it sums up the combination we're going for every month.

You've been president of ASME for almost a year now. What have you been trying to accomplish in that capacity, and what has that role afforded you the opportunity to do that other editors may not have a crack at doing/ trying?
Working with ASME has been an honor. This is a time of intense change for our industry, so our focus has been on positioning ASME to respond to that -- from recognizing online journalism at the National Magazine Awards, to creating updated new ASME guidelines for digital media. I do think ASME has a unique role to play right now, because editors more than ever want to learn from one another. Everyone I know is asking each other, "What's working for you?"

What challenges do you face as ASME president? How does your ASME position intersect your role with Glamour?
I¹m lucky that once a month, at our board meetings, I get to learn from my most accomplished peers. I feel like I walk out of the room a better editor every time.

You actually began your magazine career at Glamour as an editorial assistant. When did you know you wanted to become an editor-in-chief? How did your move to Self as editor-in-chief fit into your progression towards your role at Glamour today, and what does it mean to you to be back where you started?
Self was a blast to edit. And, I was never as in shape in my life as when I worked there! But, Glamour's my dream job. I think young women are just about the most interesting audience you can edit for, and I love that we can find the Glamour angle -- of empowering women -- in basically any story, from beauty trends to the Don Imus thing.

"Magazines are some of the strongest brand names in the country, and people trust us. A lot of industries would kill to be able to say that."

Take us through a typical day in your life. (Please be specific as you can -- "Wake up @ 8:30, watch the Today show," etc....)
I get up really early to run. I'm not naturally a morning person, but it's the only time I can find to exercise. Then, I read the news online, do the headless-chicken routine of getting my kids up and dressed, go to work, and spend the day with my staff. Editing happens mostly at night, at home -- I don't like closing my door to edit during the day. I always feel like I'm missing something!

How do you feel about the state of the industry, and what are the greatest challenges it faces?
The explosion of digital media and the need for magazines to expand beyond pure print are the big issues, of course, but I believe many magazine companies will come out of this period more successful than ever. Magazines are some of the strongest brand names in the country, and people trust us. A lot of industries would kill to be able to say that.

What steps are you and the Glamour staff taking to adjust to the current media landscape and the growing role of the Web? How are you guiding ASME through the challenges posed by online media?
At Glamour, we've rejiggered our staff and reassigned positions to the Web and other multimedia projects. At ASME, we're launching programs to help editors figure out how to do 12 jobs at once without ever neglecting what is still usually the mothership -- the print magazine.

What will you be wearing to the Ellies?
God only knows... ask me Tuesday morning!

[Rebecca L. Fox is's managing editor, service and features. She can be reached at rebecca AT mediabistro DOT com. Emily Million is a freelance writer in New York City.]

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