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6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments

As Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, once said, “One of the challenges for all freelancers, though, is it can be feast or famine.” Sometimes you could be raking in the assignments; at others, editors could be strangely silent when you want to hear from them the most.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, magazine veterans give tips on how to foster your relationships with editors to keep the assignments, and the paychecks, rolling in.

Read more in 6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments.

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O‘s Adam Glassman on the Worst Thing You Can Do in a Job Interview

If only he had enough hours in a day. That’s the most challenging part of Adam Glassman‘s gig as creative director of O Magazine, a post where he’s constantly navigating the worlds of graphic design and fashion.

And, of course, working for Oprah means that you’ll always have more interested candidates than open positions to fill. In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series, Glassman discusses the one thing that applicants do to sully their chances.

“First of all, I think everyone should do their homework. You need to know who you’re interviewing with — not just the human being, but also the publication,” he said. “And I can tell you numerous times people have come in and they’ve never picked up an issue of O Magazine. And I have to tell you something: that doesn’t fly. There are so few jobs out there right now for young people, and there are a lot of people looking for a job. The moment you say that to me, the interview is over, basically, in my mind.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Adam Glassman, Creative Director at O Magazine?

Trouble at Budget Travel

A spokesperson for the company says that the magazine is “not in bankruptcy at this time,” however, some sad news is coming out of that magazine with or without the official designation of bankruptcy.

An editor told a freelance tipster of ours that Budget Travel, which has been struggling financially for many years, “is going through a reorganization.” Until then, the magazine is unable to process past payments — including to freelancers like our tipster who is owed a few hundred dollars for a story nearly a year ago.

The editor went on to say that BT’s staff has been reduced to a “handful” and that the magazine may not go back to printing a paper copy until it has exited the reorganization.

Budget Travel was purchased by hedge fund manager Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr. in 2010 from Newsweek, which was at the time owned by the Washington Post Co. The New York Post estimated last fall that the magazine’s liabilities exceeded $1 million, and reported that the magazine’s paper supplier is owed money along with the company that handles its subscriptions.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that BT’s liabilities exceeded $1 billion. The error has been corrected.

Cubes: A ‘Better’ Look at Meredith

The MediabistroTV crew got an inside look at Meredith’s Midtown Manhattan lair. Meredith owns 12 local TV Stations and publishes magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Fitness, it also produces a nationally syndicated lifestyle show called, the “Better Show.”

“Better” co-host Audra Lowe showed off Meredith’s state-of-the-art TV studio that comes complete with a Mohawk red carpet that can withstand the nastiest celebrity spill, a green room the size of some Manhattan apartments and a test kitchen where Meredith’s staff of chefs dream up recipes to rival what mom used to make, only ‘Better.’

For more mediabistroTV videos, check out our YouTube channel, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Discover Announces New Staff Changes

Earlier this year, Discover magazine, purchased by Kalmbach Publishing, finally announced it was moving to Wisconsin from New York to be based with Kalmbach’s other titles.

About 20 edit and design staff were invited to move to Wisconsin; only two took Kalmbach up on its offer, Folio: reports.

So earlier this week, Discover announced its new staff lineup—13 new hires. The staff includes:

  • Two senior editors: Tasha Eichenseher, formerly environment editor and producer at National Geographic Digital Media
  • Siri Carpenter, founding editor of The Open Notebook
  • Kathi Kube, acting managing editor and former ME of Kalmbach’s Trains
  • Photo editor Ernie Mastroianni, from Kalmbach’s BirdWatching magazine
  • online editor Lisa Raffensperger
  • Bill Andrews, associate editor
  • Alison Mackey, senior graphic designer
  • Gemma Tarlach, associate editor
  • Breanna Draxler, staff writer
  • Elisa Neckar, editorial assistant
  • David Lee, copy editor.

It’s a good week, PR-wise, for Discover to announce these talented hires. Last week Discover bloggers Ed Yong and Carl Zimmer announced that they were taking their popular blogs to National Geographic (along with two other bloggers, not poached from Discover).

Cubes: Conde´Nast Shows Off Its ‘Lucky’ Side

Conde´ Nast recently hosted MediabistroTV at its Times Square offices. Style editor and network television morning show contributor Lori Bergamotto walked the crew through the offices of Lucky magazine revealing the hidden corners where nail polish and make-up are put through their paces, colors and fabric samples are checked by the art department, shoes and handbags await their close-ups and racks of outfits hang around waiting for their models.

Take a look at all the small parts that make up a big fashion magazine like Lucky.

Next Thursday MediabistroTV premieres, “My First Big Break: Ken Burns.” You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.

The Atlantic Expected To Be Profitable Third Year Running

Say what you will about the death of media (we know you will whether we give you the opening or not), The Atlantic is one property that has seemingly cracked the code on digital.

Minonline reports that the company is expected to be profitable for the third year running, thanks to increased digital revenues (up 33 percent!) from TheAtlantic.com and the company’s spinoffs.

TheAtlantic.com’s traffic rose 45 percent over the year, the company said, and Atlantic Wire’s more than doubled to 4 million uniques in October. The smaller Atlantic Cities saw a 197 percent traffic increase, for 917,000 unique visitors.

Year-to-date digital sales are up 34 percent, the company said, and in October alone, The Atlantic ran nine custom projects for big brands like Bank of America, Fidelity, IBM and Mercedes-Benz.

The company turned a profit in 2010 for the first time in a decade by “pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive,” a New York Times article said back then. At the time, the company employed about 100 business and editorial folks, and hitting 4.8 million monthly uniques was considered a coup.

This October, the site registered 12.5 million visitors.

Next Issue Media So Happy With Its Numbers, It’s Expanding

Next Issue Media is signing up enough customers to make it feel like expanding its catalog even further, reports Folio:.

NIM is a subscription service/app for all-you-can-read monthly digital magazines, created by a partnership between the five biggest U.S. magazine publishers: Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc, Meredith, and News Corp. Last month, the service doubled the number of magazines it offers to 72. Now, a new announcement is coming, Folio: says, that will name the first magazines to be added to the catalog from outside the five main publishers.

NIM has 70,000 paying customers, and about 70 percent of the readers who sign up for the free trial convert to paying customers, Folio: said. And this is only after being available on iOS for three months. (The app has, of course, been available on Android for longer, but the tablet market is still dominated by Apple.)

Publishers are also thrilled because NIM is helping them reach new audiences. Only 3 percent of the paying customers reading a certain magazine are also print subscribers. Another 13 percent were former subscribers who’d let their print subscription expire but came back for the digital edition, and 60 percent weren’t in the publisher’s database at all.

“These are the most established brands in the world and we’re reaching new people,” NIM CEO Morgan Guenther told Folio:.

No word yet on what new titles NIM is adding to its library, but Guenther hinted to Folio: that they would be titles that appeal to men and younger readers, since the catalog skews female for now.

Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does


As creative director for Elle, Joe Zee describes his as an “interesting, sort of nebulous title.”

“I work with all the visuals from cover to cover, so when you read the magazine, whether it’s the model, the celebrity, the styling, the fashion, the photography, all those things come into my play,” Zee explained in our Media Beat interview. “It’s really sort of helping to define a visual signature for the magazine.”

And @mrjoezee gets pummeled with questions daily from women trying to mimic the seemingly effortless style of their favorite celebs. The number one question he gets? No, not that white pants after Labor Day thing — seriously, are we still discussing that?

“I think the biggest question I get all the time is people want my job. How do I do what you do?” said Zee. “I love my job, and it definitely is glamorous after all these years. But there was a lot of years of no glamour to get to that point.”

Part 1: Elle’s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 3: How Elle’s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

The Top Reasons Editors Reject Pitches

The benefits of being a freelancer are plenty — flexible hours, working from home and being your own boss, just to name a few. But it brings its own set of challenges, and dealing with rejection might be the toughest one. A pitch that you’ve spent a lot of effort crafting could be met with silence, or a meager “Thanks, but no” response.  Luckily, not all hope is lost, and there’s always room to learn from your rejected pitches.

In the latest article for Mediabistro’s Journalism Advice series, freelance writer Kristen Fischer dissects some of the typical rejection responses that editors are known to give. Did you know that “we’re not assigning features at this time” is editor-speak for “Try pitching front-of-book pieces instead?”

For more on how you can learn from rejected pitches, check out The Real Reason Your Pitch Was Rejected. [subscription required]

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