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Posts Tagged ‘So What Do You Do?’

Paul McKenna on What Makes a Great Interviewer

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Paul McKenna has worn many hats during his eclectic, impressive career. He’s an international best-selling author, a hypnotist, a self-help guru and, now, a TV host.

On his new show McKenna (currently streaming on Hulu) he interviews media moguls like Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Harvey Weinstein, Rachael Ray and Randy Jackson to find out “what makes them tick.” In our latest So What Do You Do column, McKenna gives advice to up-and-coming media pros and shares his thoughts on what makes a great interviewer:

I’m not a journalist. So I haven’t come from conventional journalistic training, which is to go for the jugular, you know, sneak one question in under another, try and get the other person [to] expose something. I’m just fascinated and curious. I think 25 years in the trenches, working with the most challenged of people you can imagine, has given me an ability to have a politely inquiring manner, I hope. I think you get more from people if they feel that they’re being genuinely listened to and understood, and that they don’t need to be on guard.

For more from McKenna, including how a chance encounter on Simon Cowell‘s boat resulted in his latest gig, read: So What Do You Do, Paul McKenna, Best-Selling Author, Hypnotist and Host of Hulu’s McKenna?

Mediabistro Course

Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentStarting August 6, learn how to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Taught by Barbara Clark, a book agent and publishing consultant, you will learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, the proper protocol and etiquette for seeking literary representation, how to send queries and more. Register now!

Marcy Bloom on How She Became Condé Nast’s Youngest Publisher

Marcy-Bloom-ArticleMarcy Bloom is a publishing veteran, having worked at numerous glossies like Self, GQ, Teen People and Lucky. After taking a year off to volunteer abroad, Bloom hit the ground running with her current gig as senior vice president and group publisher of Modern Luxury.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, Bloom talks with Mediabistro managing editor Valerie Berrios about the changing landscape of modern advertising and how she became Condé Nast’s youngest publisher while at Lucky:

One [reason was] putting a lot of pressure on myself. [Having] a lot of amazing mentors, and quite frankly, Condé was such a great experience for me. We loved what we were doing at GQ. I learned a ton from the brand and my bosses there. And when you’re loving what you’re doing it’s easy to grow and work hard, and so with a lot of support from my management and the corporate management — they really put me [in that position at Lucky]. I think if you work hard and your intentions are great and you know what you’re looking to accomplish, people respond.

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Boy Genius Report’s Jonathan Geller on the Benefits on Anonymity

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Jonathan Geller has already lived an incredibly full life, and he’s not yet 30 years old. The founder of Boy Genius Report (the uber-popular mobile tech site) dropped out of high school his sophomore year to pursue a career in the music industry, which eventually led him to write an anonymous column for Engadget. This, in turn, led to the creation of BGR.com.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, Geller talks about writing for Engadget at 17, almost being sued by Cingular and the benefits of anonymity:

I stayed anonymous because at the time I was doing both music and [writing], and I didn’t want to be known in both worlds. I also liked the hype and marketing opportunities and uniqueness of being anonymous. I was this 17-year-old kid running the site, and the head of AT&T thought there were 1,000 people behind it, and he’s trying to come after me. Everyone in the tech industry feared me. By the time BGR got acquired by PMC, I decided to finally out myself. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I wanted to be a visible figure and the public face of my brand.

For more from Geller, including his advice for people starting a career covering tech, read: So What Do You Do, Jonathan Geller, President and Editor-in-Chief of Boy Genius Report?

Jeff O’Connell, Veteran Editor of Men’s Mags, Shares His Celebrity Interview Techniques

Jeff-O'Connell-ArticleJeff O’Connell, editor-in-chief of Bodybuilding.com, has had an illustrious career in fitness journalism. Starting off as a staff writer at Muscle & Fitness, O’Connell eventually worked his way up to EIC. He also served as executive writer at Men’s Health, has co-written a New York Times best-selling workout book with LL Cool J, and penned his own title, Sugar Nation, in 2011.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, O’Connell talks about the inauspicious start to his career, how he finds his most fascinating human-interest stories and his advice on interviewing celebrities:

So much of it is making the other person comfortable, especially if you do a celebrity interview. They’re so on guard, they’re so wary to begin with. I’m a very laid-back person, so I think that helps me, because sometimes people relax when they’re with me… whereas if you’re kind of intense and aggressive, they tend to recoil from that. Something that I thought would be a liability when I got into this business, which was being kind of shy and quiet and a listener, in many ways has actually helped me along the way. Don’t assume what you think are your weaknesses won’t help you at some point.

For more from O’Connell, including his best writing and editing tips, read: So What Do You Do, Jeff O’Connell, Award-Winning Writer And Editor-In-Chief of Bodybuilding.com?

Bevy Smith, Host of Fashion Queens, on Her Magazine Career

Bevy-BlogBevy Smith, host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens, has worn many hats during her varied, impressive career. She started off in magazine advertising, working with big-name glossies like Vogue and Vanity Fair. She later became Rolling Stone‘s senior director of fashion advertising.

Smith’s career took a 180 after leaving the magazine world and she hasn’t looked back since. In our latest So What Do You Do column, Smith talks about becoming a TV personality, how Andy Cohen became her champion and how her networking skills helped kick off her career reinvention:

When I quit Rolling Stone, I quit with the idea that I was going to pursue TV and I was going to write. As soon as I quit, I went to South Africa, Zambia, Brazil and Costa Rica for three months. I had an amazing time and cleansed myself of my corporate life.  When I came back, I got a phone call from my dear friend Mimi Valdés, who at the time was the editor-in-chief of Vibe. She said, ‘We would love to have you back.’ Whenever VH1 or BET needed someone to come on and talk about the fab life of XYZ R&B or hip-hop star, I wanted to be the person from Vibe that went on. So I did that and I built up my reel, and that’s also how I started writing.

For more from Smith, read: So What Do You Do, Bevy Smith, Host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens?

Demetria Lucas Explains How Her Blog, ‘A Belle in Brooklyn,’ Was Born

Demetria-Lucas-ArticleDemetria Lucas‘ road to reality TV stardom is an unusual one. She started as a writer and a journalist, working for the likes of Honeymag.com, Harlequin and BET Books, before her uber-successful blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, exploded onto the scene. Dubbed the “black Carrie Bradshaw” by the Washington Post, Lucas’ career took off.

She has since worked as the relationships editor and dating columnist at Essence, written two books and now stars on Bravo’s Blood Sweat and Heels. In the latest interview for Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do series, Lucas reveals how her writing career prepared her for the TV spotlight and how she came to start her blog:

Sex and the City was still on the air, and black women who watched it took issue like, ‘This is New York City. There are amazing people of all colors here, including fabulous black women with great careers. Why isn’t there one on the show?’ I was looking for a site, a book, something that filled that gap. I complained to one of my writer friends about it and he said, ‘Well, you’re a writer. Why don’t you write it?’ That’s how A Belle in Brooklyn was born. I started doing it on MySpace and it quickly became popular. Then I went to a networking event and pitched the idea of writing about dating and relationships as a single black woman in Brooklyn to the editor of Honeymag.com. She loved it. The first piece I did for her site got around 4,000 visitors and she called me like, ‘Oh my God. We’ve struck gold.’

For more from Lucas, including how she uses social media to interact with her fans, read: So What Do You Do, Demetria Lucas, Writer and Reality Show Star?

Transgender Advocate Janet Mock on What She Learned at People.com

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After writer and former People.com editor Janet Mock came out as transgender woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article, she made it her mission to raise awareness about the social injustices experienced by the trans community and to give young trans women an outlet via social media to share their personal stories.

Mock, whose memoir Redefining Realness was released this month, recently spoke to Mediabistro and discussed what she learned during her early days in digital media:

People.com was a stepchild of People magazine, which was the juggernaut. They were creating… the mold and creating what social media is and communicating [immediacy] to readers… And so that’s how my career was. It was sitting in a cubicle. I wasn’t a features editor. I didn’t write long-form pieces that I thought I would be writing. I was writing smaller blurbs, learning to sharpen language, and communicate what readers actually wanted and how to entice them to click on things without sensationalizing.

To hear more from Mock, including her take on the Piers Morgan controversy, read: So What Do You Do, Janet Mock, Writer,Transgender Advocate And Author?

Ebony.com’s Kierna Mayo on Digital vs. Print

kierna-mayo_articleKierna Mayo has been in the business of reinvention for well over a decade. After co-founding Honey magazine back in the ’90s, which struck a chord with a lot of young, hip-hop-loving African-American women, she hopped from one major mag to the next, until setting her sights on all things digital.

Today, Mayo is the editorial director of Ebony.com, a site that “felt and operated more like an afterthought as opposed to a key component of the editorial output of [Ebony],” said Mayo. Now, thanks to an eye-catching redesign, headed up by Mayo and her team, Ebony.com’s traffic has increased by over 500 percent.

As part of the “Digital Media” week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Mayo discusses how she became known as the go-to girl for reinvention and what skills she transferred from print magazines to digital:

Creating and re-imagining websites seems to have become a sweet spot for you. What sensibilities did you bring over from magazines to the online world?
I brought my entire skill set, including my intuitive sense about audience and visual impact. Those are very important magazine skills when you’re a packager — someone in charge of cover lines or selecting the strongest image. I did have to unlearn this notion of a three-month window to create, develop and refine. The three-month window can become a three-minute window online. I often encourage peers who’ve made careers in the print world not to be intimidated by the crossover to digital. I feel like I deal in the alternate universe with magazine purists on one side who are conditioned to holding their bylines in their hand as opposed to clicking on them.

To hear more from Mayo, including how she handles Internet trolls and her thoughts on aggregated content, read: So What Do You Do, Kierna Mayo, Editorial Director of Ebony.com?

Keija Minor, Editor-in-Chief of Brides, on Her Legacy

keija-minor2Keija Minor has gone through quite a few career reinventions in her life. She started out as a corporate lawyer, decided it wasn’t her passion, and then took a major pay cut to became an intern at a startup magazine, Travel Savvy. Boy, did it pay off. Minor went from intern to EIC in three years, then, after stints at Niche Media and Uptown magazine, on to Condé Nast, where she is currently editor-in-chief of Brides.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Minor talks about taking a leap of faith in her career, her advice for freelancers pitching to Brides and her unique position at the top:

You are the first African American to hold a top title at a Condé Nast publication. Is that something you think about?
I think the industry has been changing generally just over the years, as all of corporate America has been changing, to some degree, to reflect more women and more diversity. I think with the title at Condé, you know, it’s fun to be the first. It’s exciting to be the first in any sort of category, and it’s an honor. But I don’t wake up every day thinking, ‘Okay, you’re the first black woman to hold this title.’ I think about, ‘What are you going to do to move the magazine forward?’ At the end of the day, yes, I will have been the first, but I also want to be the woman who knocks it out of the park as an editor.

To hear more from Minor, including what she thinks of Anna Wintour, read: So What Do You Do Keija Minor, Brides Editor-in-Chief?

Hamish Hamilton On What It’s Like to Direct the VMAs

HamishHamiltonAs a live event director and producer, Hamish Hamilton has been behind some of the most watched shows in history. He recently directed the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show, the 2013 VMAs (aka Miley Twerk-Gate) and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Hamilton explains how he prepares for these enormous productions, and what happens behind the scenes:

At the 2013 VMAs we had the most disastrous, monumental technical breakdown 30 minutes before we went on air. The entire stage, which was supposed to rotate 360 degrees, became jammed. We were faced with the very real possibility there would be no show. It was one of those moments that’s kind of a nightmare; something you think isn’t ever going to happen. I just went cold. But you just deal with it. You know, when you have a lot of really great people thinking calmly, out of the box, and working as a team to do something difficult, that’s very important. It’s actually bizarre because a lot of people don’t even notice, the program isn’t usually affected — and we had Miley Cyrus and the twerking incident, which kind of overshadowed everything!

To hear more about how he manages the pressures of such huge productions, read: So What Do You Do Hamish Hamilton, Director Of Some Of The World’s Biggest Televised Events?

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