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Posts Tagged ‘Constance C.R. White’

Vanessa Bush Named Editor of Essence

Vanessa Bush is officially taking over editor-in-chief of Essence. Bush had been acting editor since Constance C.R. White was fired in February. Prior to that, Bush served as Essence’s executive editor since 2011. She has been with the magazine since 2000.

“Vanessa’s more than 10 years of experience as an editorial leader at Essence will ensure continued success for the preeminent African-American women’s media brand,” said Martha Nelson, Time Inc.’s editor-in-chief, in a statement. “She has the full support of Time Inc. to execute on her vision to honor this loyal and cherished audience.”

Bush has her work cut out for her, as some have claimed that Essence has been suffering from an identity crisis for several years.

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Essence Continues to Have Problems

Essence magazine continues to suffer an identity crisis. Ever since Time Inc. purchased it, readers have accused the title of not addressing black womens’ concerns and including too many white people, in editorial sections as well as ads.

If that wasn’t enough, in April of last year, a (white) managing editor — Michael Bullerdick — had to be disciplined for posting racist images on his Facebook page. And before that, Constance C.R. White had to repeatedly defend the magazine for hiring Ellianna Placas, Essence’s first white fashion director.

The rocky road continued in February of last year, when White was fired for what she claimed was her insistence on Essence maintaining a black woman’s point of view.

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Constance C.R. White Says She Was Fired Over Clashes with Time Inc. Editor

Constance C.R. White, Essence’s editor-in-chief until she was fired early last month, has some strong words for Time Inc.’s editor, Martha Nelson. White told Journal-isms that she was forced out because she wanted black women to be central to Essence, but Nelson did not.

White claims that she wasn’t given any explanation for being fired, but the main problem was that she wouldn’t tolerate what she considered the minimization of black women in Essence:

When was the last time you saw Essence in the community advocating for or talking with black women? No more T-shirts with a male employee’s face on it being distributed at the [Essence] Festival.

I had a certain point of view about black women being central to this magazine. The boss didn’t agree with me, and the president [Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications] didn’t agree with me. It became an untenable situation.

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Essence Reassigns Managing Editor after Racist Facebook Page Leaks [Updated]

Michael Bullerdick, the Managing Editor of Essence, has “accepted a position in another division” after racist and extreme right wing posts on his Facebook page were leaked. According to Journal-isms, Bullerdick posted images of Al Sharpton labeled as a “race pimp,” and videos by such noted conservative nut jobs as James O’Keefe.

Essence learned of the posts when Journal-isms sent the pictures to the magazine on Friday. At first, Constance C.R. White, Essence’s editor, issued the following statement:

As editor-in-chief, I’m responsible for all editorial content for Essence. I hired Michael to manage the production schedule of Essence. As head of production, he does not attend editorial idea meetings, nor does he get involved in the editorial direction of the magazine.

So he’s free to be as offensive and crazy as he wants to be! Well, not really. Shortly afterward, a spokesperson for Essence said, “By mutual agreement, Michael has accepted a position in another division.”

Hope that division is cool with Bullerdick’s idea of social media fun!

UPDATE:
Here’s a Media Beat segment where we asked White about the flak she caught for hiring Bullerdick and Elianna Placas before him.

[Pic via Journal-isms]

Michelle Obama Graces The Cover of October Essence

According to Essence, Michelle Obama is one of the most influential black women in 2011, and we couldn’t agree more. The First Lady is featured on the cover of the magazine’s upcoming October issue (all by herself Oprah! Imagine that!), and inside she delivers a great message to young girls and women everywhere: That life is as good as the work you put into it.

“My story to young people around this country and around the world is, don’t look at me as the First Lady first; look at me as Michelle Obama, a girl who grew up on the South Side of Chicago,” she tells Essence. “Because I was there, and this is attainable.”

C’mon! How could you ever say anything bad about this woman? We love her. If you’ve got a problem with her then you’ve got a problem with us.

Mrs. Obama also provides the magazine with exclusive photos from her trip to Africa and gives other insights on her journey to essence.com as part of its diary feature.

Constance C.R. White, Essence’s Editor-in-Chief, said, “Michelle Obama is the quintessential Essence woman; impressively defining herself on her own terms.”

The issue hits newsstands September 12.

Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.

If you’ve spent any time as a freelance writer, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of chucking in that endless pitch-follow-up-pitch-again cycle for the steady paycheck and free A.C. of a staff gig.

But if you’re thinking of sending your resume to Essence, you better bring a little something more than knowledge of AP Style to the table.

“One of the things that will make you successful at Essence is to have a vast curiosity and openness, number one,” said editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “Number two, you have to have a love and a passion for Black women and their lives and an understanding of that, an understanding and appreciation for Black women’s struggles and issues and challenges, as well as an appreciation for Black women’s triumphs and successes.”

Having climbed the publishing and fashion ladders herself, White also revealed what she would tell her younger self: “You’re never gonna get rich being a journalist,” she said.

Part 1: Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

Part 2: Constance White: ‘Essence has always had a diverse staff’

This video can also be viewed on YouTube.

Constance White: ‘Essence has always had a diverse staff’

Whether it’s Marie Claire and Mike and Molly or airbrushing at Newsweek, readers are using the Web to talk back to their favorite mags like never before, and not even legacy pubs like Essence are safe.

The stuff hit the fan for the Black women’s bible in 2010 when it hired a white fashion director, and a similar controversy erupted recently over its hiring of a white managing editor. So, in the second installment of our Media Beat interview, we asked editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White to address whether the criticism was valid.

“My take is that Essence has always had a diverse staff,” she said. “That was last year… and I’m moving forward.”

White said her main focus in the fashion section, and all of the book, is to focus on what the reader wants, not to reflect the opinions of her editors.

“If you start to think of it as an editor as necessarily your concept of the situation, you can really get off-track. What we really do and what I really encourage my editors to do is be a proxy for the reader.”

Part 1: Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

Part 3: Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.

This video can also be viewed on YouTube.

Constance White: ‘Essence Has Always Had a Diverse Staff’

After watching the fracas over Essence‘s hiring of a white fashion director in 2010 (and white managing editor more recently), we had to get newly named editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White‘s take on both. What does she think of those who say non-Black editors can’t truly cater to the needs of Black women?

“My take is that Essence has always had a diverse staff,” she said in our Media Beat interview. “That was last year… and I’m moving forward.”

White said her main focus in the fashion section, and all of the book, is to focus on what the reader wants, not to reflect the opinions of her editors.

“If you start to think of it as an editor as necessarily your concept of the situation, you can really get off-track. What we really do and what I really encourage my editors to do is be a proxy for the reader.”

Part 1: Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

Part 3: Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.

This video can also be viewed on YouTube.

Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

For many writers, 41-year-old Essence is a dream publication. Long legacy of compelling features, excellent pay rate, prestige — but how the heck do you actually break in?

“The first thing you think about is what are Black women thinking about. What’s important to Black women? And that is really the crux of what we do at Essence, and therefore if you’re pitching us, that’s what you should be focused on too as a writer,” says editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White in our latest Media Beat interview.

And, although it isn’t easy to nail the mag’s voice, it is possible for newbies to score with the right pitch.

Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan, Alice Walker, a lot of them got their start, had their early careers in Essence and are now writers that we turn to,” says White. “At the same time, we want the new Alice Walker. Who is the new Maya Angelou? They are in the pages of the magazine as well, and we’re looking for them.”

You can also view this video on YouTube.

Part 2: Constance White: ‘Essence has always had a diverse staff’

Part 3: Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.

Time Inc. Names New Editor-in-Chief of Essence

John Huey, Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc., has announced that Constance C.R. White is the new Editor-in-Chief of Essence, effective March 21st.

White comes to Essence from eBay, where she served as Style Director, Brand Consultant and Spokesperson. Her responsibilities there – designing content aimed at women – will surely serve her well at Essence. White has also had quite the career in fashion, working as a Style Reporter for The New York Times, Executive Fashion Editor for Elle, and Associate Editor at Women’s Wear Daily.

Michelle Ebanks, President of Essence, said of White joining the team:

As a visionary and consummate communicator, Constance has established an unparalleled connection with women across multiple platforms. She is passionate about the needs of black women and making sure that they have the tools to make their boldest dreams come true.