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MPA Digital Conference: ‘Magazines Are Not About Providing Cafeteria-Style Content’

In the day’s final panel, “Magazines and Social Media: What Makes Sense for Your Brand,” big-winner and NYmag.com’s general manager Michael Silberman moderated a discussion between Cynthia Farrar, founder and producer, Purple States TV, and Associated Content’s CEO, Geoff Reiss. The group focused on the place of citizen journalism in the online world of magazines.

“We’re magazine guys because we’re control freaks,” Reiss said. “The question comes down to, how do you get comfortable with a different kind of content? … There’s a risk to what is perceived as giving the inmates the keys to the asylum.”


Associated Content, which features almost 400,000 pieces of content, employs a complicated series of metrics to determine what it should “bid” on an article. While the quality of citizen journalism might be less than an article from a “professional” writer, “capturing the passion that different readers bring is important,” Reiss said.

Farrar, whose site tapped five random individuals to cover the presidential primaries through a series of online videos, said her stars “became characters” and the audience responded.

She also stressed that publications need to understand their place when using citizen journalists. “Magazines are not about providing cafeteria-style commentary,” she said. “They have a shape and we need to preserve that.”

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.