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Andrew Russo

Anne-Marie O’Neill’s Journey From Newspapers to People to

Anne-Marie-O'Neil-articleIt is a difficult task to move halfway across the world. However, Anne-Marie O’Neill did just that when she left Time in Sydney, Australia, to begin working at People in New York. (Her background included a stint as national correspondent for all of Rupert Murdoch’s metro daily newspapers.) After serving as a writer and editor for several years doing hard news and features, the transition to celebrity journalism was “easy and fun,” said O’Neill.

When the celeb grind got to be too much for the mother of twin boys, she made another move within Time Inc. to work on Real Simple as deputy editor. Of her varying editorial roles, O’Neill said:

Having a background as a reporter, getting training on newspapers, was incredibly valuable and has been valuable my entire career, whether it’s reporting on fashion or beauty, or anything. What I’ve always loved about this job is the variety, so I never felt stuck in a particular niche. I’ve always felt like I can apply the skills that I’ve earned and learned to whatever’s thrown at me. I’ve been lucky to have that kind of training.

Now, the print veteran has made yet another transition. She moved to the West Coast to help launch parenting/lifestyle site, where she serves as general manager.

For more on O’Neill, including her thoughts on traditional journalism, read: So What Do You Do, Anne-Marie O’Neill, General Manager of

Sports Illustrated for Kids Seeks Stories on Young, Local Athletes

For sports writers looking to pitch to Sports Illustrated for Kids, their best bet at a byline might be finding a story in their own hometown. Instead of proposing a feature on a major league baseball player or big-name football star, freelancers should pitch the sports mag, whose target readers are boys ages 7 to 15, a profile of a star athlete on the local level.  Newly installed managing editor Mark Bechtel says:

If a freelancer says, ‘Hey, there’s a 13-year-old kid who is a great young basketball player, and he’s got some sort of charity that’s sending sports equipment to kids in under-developed areas’ — that’s something that we’re not going to know about [and would want to cover].

Freelancers should also send pitches to the mag’s digital component, Online editor Dante Ciampaglia notes that the site is held to the same high standard of the print publication and wants stories that highlight “the fun side of sports as well as things like good sportsmanship.”

For more tips, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Sports Illustrated for Kids.

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.

New You Seeks Freelancers Who’ve Covered the Medical Beat

The mission of New You, a new lifestyle magazine for women that targets the often-underserved 35-and-up demographic, is “providing credible and accurate information on how to be relevant as you age,” says executive editor Ruchel Louis Coetzee.

The quarterly magazine is open to freelance pitches across all sections, but those freelancers who have written well-reported health pieces are especially of interest:

[Coetzee] notes that journalists who are familiar with medical terms and can provide writing samples of articles that focus on the medical subjects discussed in the publication (e.g. cancer, probiotics and stem cells) are encouraged to send pitches for the “Medical” department.

For more information on what New You editors want, read: How to Pitch: New You.

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., a Lifestyle Site for the Baby-Boomer Generation is not the hub for people seeking advice on hearing aids and assisted-living facilities; it’s a site that caters to grandparents who are as young as 52, says editor-in-chief Ellen Breslau.

Freelancers will be pleased to hear that no section of the site is off limits to pitches. However, Breslau admits it’s “gotta be a ‘wow’ pitch,” as the site already has 15 regular contributors.

Breslau also warns against sending in pitches that deal with disciplining grandkids or how to get along with adult children. As for dos, Breslau says:

People should think in terms of modern-day grandparenting and aging. People are much more vibrant and active and healthy these days. They travel, and they have second and third careers. We are really speaking to that person.”

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Brain, Child, the Literary Mag for Mothers, Adds Poetry, Expanded Reviews Section

Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers launched in 2000 and has been lauded for its award-winning content. When editor-in-chief Marcelle Soviero took the helm in 2012, she said one of her goals was to keep the “major tenants of the magazine” in place. That is, she would continue to publish short stories, essays and features that offered a “cerebral experience” for its readers.

There have also been some recent changes that are providing new opportunities for freelancers, such as a forthcoming poetry section, for which Soviero is eager to find freelancers and established poets. In addition, a broader reviews section means writers should send pitches on books with a motherly, literary angle. Just make sure you have an understanding of the magazine. Soviero said:

Brain, Child doesn’t publish the typical how-tos and product reviews found in many service-oriented parenting magazines and websites. Pitches should have a literary quality. Perspectives should be parent-focused rather than child-centric.

For more on what the editors want, read: How to Pitch: Brain Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers.

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.

What One Freelance Writer Learned After Taking the Leap to a Full-time Career

contract-salaried-blogThere are a lot of freedoms that come with being a freelance writer. You have the flexibility of choosing which publications to target and the types of stories to pitch. Not to mention you get to work from the comfort of your couch — in your pajamas, if you want.

However, as writer Amanda Layman Low discovered, the benefits of making the jump from a freelancer to a salaried position helped her not only become a better writer, but also learn more about herself. She was also able to stress less about finances. Layman Low says:

When I was a full-time freelancer, every moment was an opportunity for more income, more ideas. I never stopped working. As a salaried technical writer, I work from 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, with no worries about missing an opportunity and losing out on a bunch of money over the weekend.

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Focus Groups Helped With the Early Success of Essence

Essence has been in circulation for over four decades and was under some controversy nine years ago when founder Edward Lewis sold the remaining shares of the company to Time Inc. In his new book, The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, Lewis discusses how the magazine became one of the leading publications for black women. Lewis spoke with Mediabistro and discussed the early days of Essence and the state of black media today.

Lewis credits focus groups with contributing to the magazine’s early success — these voices helped with everything from what appeared in its pages to the name (Sapphire was quickly rejected). Several years later, Lewis turned to former editor-in-chief Susan Taylor to speak to its target audience face-to-face:

I said, ‘I want you to travel the country, listen to what black women have to say, bring that back and translate that into the magazine.’ Susan became an icon. People thought she started the magazine. She got so many ideas from traveling.

To read more about the history of Essence and how Lewis helped launch Latina magazine, read: So What Do You Do, Edward Lewis, Founder of Essence Magazine?

A Relaunched Good Seeks Multimedia Pieces With an Emphasis on the ‘Global Citizen’

It is rare to see a magazine return to print after stopping the presses, but Good has done just that, returning to magazine shelves in the last quarter of 2013.

Rather than focusing on chasing news stories, editorial director Joshua Neuman says that the magazine has a stronger interest in the idea of the “global citizen.” Since its relaunch, the magazine has become more open to pitches from freelancers for both its online and print components. In fact, the magazine is now comprised of 80 percent freelance content and Neuman says he accepts “as much as possible.”

Each issue is focused on a theme, such as urban sustainability or waste, so it would be in writers’ best interest to pitch accordingly and provide supplementary content. Neuman says:

We are invested in telling stories across various multimedia platforms and exploring new ways of telling these stories. The multimedia content should be intrinsic to the story being pitched. Ultimately, a strong story or irresistible idea has the best chance of being accepted — no matter what medium or media.

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High-Profile Clips, Networking Help Pave the Way to a Celebrity Ghostwriting Gig

Writers willing to forego a byline and venture into the world of celebrity ghostwriting should know that the work is fiercely competitive. But there are steps you can take to help break into this profitable market.

Before writing the life and times of Steven Spielberg or LeBron James, a writer who seeks to enter the celebrity ghostwriting field needs to be considered a credible journalist with more than a few stories published in respected publications. According to Madeleine Morel, a literary agent who only represents veteran ghostwriters:

You really have to get your name out as many places as you can. The more you can build your inventory of published material, the better chance you have of being taken seriously.

Another important aspect of celebrity ghostwriting is networking with other freelancers. Michelle Burford, a best-selling writer, recommends reaching out to colleagues and offering to take on any projects they decide to turn down.

For more tips on how to get your own celebrity ghostwriting gig, read: How to Land a Celebrity Ghostwriting Gig.

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.

Pitch The Root Stories on Faith and Happenings in the Western United States

The Root, the news website that reports on today’s world from the perspective of African-Americans, aims to not only publish timely, thought-provoking stories, but also to be a “part of the conversation that’s going on in the [black] community,” says managing editor Lyne Pitts.

Writers are encouraged to join that conversation by pitching relevant stories on politics, pop culture, sports and entertainment. But there are other untapped themes that Pitts hopes to expand upon — and could very well get your pitch a second look:

Our folks are people of faith. If you look at any survey, the majority of African-Americans consider themselves churchgoers. We don’t talk about the importance of faith in people’s lives and we don’t have people we go to as freelance writers in the faith community. I think that’s important and that’s an area where we could see some improvement.

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