LMFF: The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation

Posted March 22nd, 2013 by in

The Fashion Industry Forum 2 – The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation, part of the business event series at the 2013 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week

The Fashion Industry Forum 2 – The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation, part of the business event series at the 2013 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival

 

A handful of Australia’s leading fashion writers and editors gathered this week to speak about how the changing media landscape has impacted on fashion journalism.

As part of the business event series at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Fashion Industry Forum 2 – The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation invited the industry influencers to share their thoughts on the topic.

From highlighting the fundamental expertise and skills required to succeed in the current fashion media marketplace to the challenges they’ve faced with the introduction of digital technology, the experts shared an interesting perspective on the current state of journalism in the fashion sector.

Speakers included:

  • Damien Woolnough, currently Fashion Editor at The Australian (soon to be Deputy Editor of the new ELLE Australia)
  • Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia
  • Janice Breen Burns, Fashion Journalist and Author
  • Melissa Hoyer, Fashion and Media Commentator
  • Kim Wilson, Executive Fashion Editor at Herald Sun
  • Rae Begley, Found and Director at Little Hero PR

Here are three things I learned about fashion media:

1. Traditional journalism will prevail

Damien Woolnough opened the conversation by saying newspapers are “no longer the monolithic voice” in the media landscape. “But there will always be room for an authoritative and respected voice in the media.”

In this changing media landscape Breen Burns is going back to her grassroots of fashion writing – quality editorials and long form journalism. With the launch of her new online publication Voxfrock she feels “getting away from the idea of the bedroom blogger” and opting for authenticity will succeed. “Traditional journalistic skills are going to be as important now as they ever were,” she said.

Hoyer still borrows skills and techniques from her old newspaper writing days and said that even though online is growing, “we still want short, sharp fixes of news today”.

While the panel said that graduates don’t have to come from a specific media course to be a journalist, they all agreed that traditional education is still important for landing work in the media.

2. Measuring audience engagement is difficult

Media, including fashion journalism, now relies on being instantaneous and interactive. But publishers and publicists are struggling to measure and interpret the value of online activity and readership.

Begley said there aren’t yet tools available to measure the value of social media and admits that is it is a challenge managing clients’ expectations when it comes to new media. “They don’t always understand the power it has,” she said.

Some clients also have the misperception that social media is the only channel that matters, adds Begley, pointing out that traditional mediums such as print, TV and radio are still among some of the strongest voices in the media landscape.

Across the board, the panel agreed that one of the biggest challenges in their business is communicating to clients what the return on investment (ROI) is on purchasing advertising space and being present on social media platforms.

Is a ‘like’ or a retweet more valuable than a page impression?

3. Journalism is not dead; it’s changing.

Hoyer said she was “sick” of hearing people speak about changes to the media industry in negative ways.

Media is exciting, she explained, because we are now working in an industry that is reacting to what our readers or consumers want.

“Media and journalism is not dead. It’s just the way we produce and consume it that has changed,” she said.

McCann agreed and noted that one of the biggest changes for publications nowadays was that they have to think carefully about what the value is for the reader – it’s not just about ticking boxes.

Editorial staff also have to be more accountable, in terms of keeping up with the latest technology and trends, added McCann.

For Vogue Australia, today’s editorial team works across the print magazine, its digital editions and the website. Journalists have become ‘multitaskers’ who know how to analyse data and produce content across a range of platforms.

Wilson said her role at Herald Sun has changed “dramatically”. Gone are the days where she could file copy purely for newspapers – now it’s all about creating stories for multiple platforms in what has become a continuous news cycle.

Although Wilson technically works part-time, she described her role as “a 24/7 job”. She’s tweeting, instagramming and checking international news feeds all before arriving at work on an average day.

But Wilson said she is excited “to be part of this new wave” even though she doesn’t know where it’s going to take her. “Having the dialogue with people that are interested in what you’re doing is fascinating,” she said.

Did you attend this Fashion Industry Forum? How have changes to the media industry impacted on the way you do journalism?

Zoe Foster talks beauty writing

Posted November 21st, 2012 by in

She’s enjoyed ten years working in the beauty industry. She’s had an outstanding magazine career and worked for publications including Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR, primped.com.au and Mamamia. And she is an award-winning novelist.

She is Zoe Foster.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Zoe at a beauty workshop held by Revlon at Myer, Melbourne. I took the opportunity to have a chat to her about her career as a beauty journalist.

Beauty guru Zoe Foster speaking at the Revlon/Myer makeup workshop. | Photo: Sharon Green

Beauty guru Zoe Foster speaking at the Revlon/Myer makeup workshop. | Photo: Sharon Green

When Zoe first started out in her journalism career she did not know that she wanted to be a beauty writer. She studied media and communications at university and on graduating she landed her first magazine gig at kid’s title Mania, before moving on to Smash Hits. She was then approached by Mia Freedman and asked to work as a beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, which Zoe says came about in an interesting way. “The reason Mia hired me was very telling – she said ‘you don’t know anything about this [beauty] and that’s going to bring a great tone to the magazine’.”

Zoe admits that this was the best way to start out with beauty writing, by knowing nothing about it at all, because it forced her to research harder and find out more about products. From her experience working in magazines, Zoe unveiled her passion for beauty and her willingness to share that information with others.

“I started my blog Fruity Beauty back in 2005, and blogging was very primitive back then. But it seemed to me like a good way to have a one-on-one conversation with women, because you learn so much as a beauty editor. You meet so many experts in the field and you learn so much. I just didn’t find there was enough space in the magazine [to explore all of this] so I took it online. You’re learning, you’re learning, you’re learning and as you go, you change what you think about things. So you’ve got to pick and choose what you think works for you.”

For those wanting to break into beauty writing Zoe advises keeping on top of the latest beauty trends, and attending makeup workshops and events is a great way to start. She recommends speaking to makeup artists as they are an excellent resource that aspiring beauty writers have access to at a makeup/beauty counter or at a department store. “A makeup artist can teach you so much, if you just sit down and have your makeup done. There are so many things you can learn from them.”

Zoe also believes it is vital to stay abreast with what is happening in the beauty industry. “Just keep writing. And keep reading – there are so many good blogs out there that you can read. To be a good writer, you’ve got to be a good reader.”

Me with the lovely Zoe Foster. | Photo: Sharon Green

Me with the lovely Zoe Foster. | Photo: Sharon Green

Following an exciting career working in magazines, Zoe seems to have carved her niche. She’s forged her own path, made a name for herself, and is now enjoying working on independent projects. “I’m always writing. I’m writing my sixth book at the moment. I’ve always wanted to have a column and write books and I’ve finally moved that way. So beauty is something I do for fun now. I write on Fruity Beauty and just have fun with it.”

Her book Amazing Face is a bible documenting all the tips and tricks Zoe has learned as a result of working in the beauty industry. “I wanted to realign how everyone was thinking about beauty. And it’s kind of got me back to basics. But a lot of women just need to get back to basics.”

But what is it about Zoe that makes her so likeable? Her quirky writing style, bubbly personality and impressive career undoubtedly have a lot to do with it. And, perhaps, the fact that she is taking things in her stride and is, as she puts it, “just having fun with it”.

Why the future of journalism is entrepreneurial

Posted April 19th, 2012 by in

The future of news is entrepreneurial, not institutional. I believe journalists must become entrepreneurs
– Jeff Jarvis, American journalist and associate professor of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The idea that news, and journalism, is moving into the entrepreneurial space is nothing new. Since the introduction of web journalism and online news, the way in which we create and disseminate content has changed. American journalist Jeff Jarvis and many others have shared this sentiment and spoken about the shakeup of the structure of news moving away from being dominated by large corporations and making way for new and smaller startups. This is not a discussion about the fate of news and journalism but rather one that looks to the optimistic future of it and how it will be built. Today, it’s not uncommon to come across many journalists that once worked for “the institution” but have now moved on to freelance careers or started their own business based on their newsgathering and production skills.

Broadcast journalist and TV presenter Marverine Cole. | Image credit: Clive Blair Photography

British broadcast journalist and TV presenter Marverine Cole says gone are the days where journalists start at a mainstream media organisation and stay on for 20 to 30 years. She sees future journalists with a mix of experience on their CV, with long and short contracts across a range of media. “Jobs are so few and far between these days that it’s inevitable people will have to be innovative about the way they get work and not be so choosy about what they do,” she says.

“The field of broadcast journalism is so much tougher out there now, so being multi-skilled is essential. Generally you’ve got to be a chameleon. It means then that you’ve a better chance of maintaining a source of income in one area if and when a contract ends elsewhere.”

Cole enjoys the variety of work that comes with freelancing. She runs an award-winning beer blog, presents TV news programmes, produces radio documentaries, conducts PR and media training and manages her own promo video company Funf Media with her husband. “It’s a big difference from when I was in a staff post as a Grade 5 Broadcast Journalist at the BBC where I was told what to do, what not to do, and when to do it. The freedom is great and I’m earning a great deal more than a Grade 5.”

Callum Scott, an associate professor at Melbourne University and Deakin University in Australia, has been freelancing for a number of years and teaches creative entrepreneurship to media and communications students. Scott enjoys the dynamic pace of the freelance lifestyle and hunting down the work himself. “I like working as a freelancer because I’m not a team player and freelancing is wonderfully unpredictable, which keeps me on my toes.

“I was simply sick of working for people and having to play by their and the company’s rules. Freelancing affords me the luxury of never having to compromise.”

Scott believes there are many opportunities available for the entrepreneur but warns that “it’s not a game for the faint hearted”. A freelancer needs to learn to think creatively, as well as critically, he says.

Multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook. | Image credit: vimeo.com/adamwestbrook1

Adam Westbrook, a multimedia journalist, blogger and media lecturer based in London, left his mainstream media job in September 2009 to embark on a freelance career and hasn’t looked back since. Westbrook enjoys the freedom that comes with being self-employed and having the opportunity to work on multiple creative projects simultaneously. “Being self-employed I’m in total control of what work I do and who I do it with, and in control of almost every minute of my working day. If I’m not excited by a project or a story I don’t have to do it. I think a lot of people end up freelancing as a stop-gap while they look for a ‘proper’ job, but they’re overlooking an opportunity to use this freedom and control to create something remarkable doing what they love.”

While Westbrook never considered himself to be much of “a business person”, he started exploring entrepreneurship because he was excited by all the opportunities he could create.

“This is a unique time we’re in where anyone can start a web-based business for less than $100 and the audiences and communities that you can create are growing. And when you start at it, you realise that entrepreneurship and journalism can sit side-by-side: they’re both extremely creative, and at their best are about helping people.”

Almost three years into freelancing and Westbrook is not only making a decent living but also living the lifestyle he wants. But despite his own success, he warns that taking the entrepreneurial route is not for everyone. “It’s always a risk, and you have to be comfortable with uncertainty, and the fact that most ideas fail. And that’s not for everyone.

“But if you don’t think you have a business mind, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to create something. Five years ago I didn’t think I had a business bone in my body. If you have an idea for a project that you can’t get out of your head, just start, and start small. You’ll learn everything you need along the way. As Chris Guillebeau says: “Failure is a real possibility. Regrets are optional”.

 

 

What are your thoughts on the future of journalism as entrepreneurial? Have you taken the plunge and gone freelance? Did you succeed? Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

Civic journalism and why it matters

Posted October 12th, 2011 by in

I attended a public lecture at City University, London yesterday to hear Heather Brooke speak about civic journalism and why we need it.

What is civic journalism?
Before we jump into the key points made at the discussion, I want to clearly define what civic journalism is. Civic journalism, at its heart, is a belief that journalism has an obligation to public life – an obligation that goes beyond just telling the news or unloading lots of facts, according to the Pew Centre for Civic Journalism. It follows the notion that journalism can help empower a community or disable it. Civic journalism provides the people with the information they need to function in a democratic society.
Democracy Place defines civic journalism as “an effort to reach out to the public more aggressively in the reporting process, to listen to how citizens frame their problems and what citizens see as solutions to those problems… and then to use that information to enrich news stories.”

Heather Brooke | Image credit: http://heatherbrooke.org

Modern media is “morally bankrupt”
Heather Brooke opened the discussion on civic journalism and why it matters with this bold statement: “journalism is suffering an identity crisis.” She’s accused the modern media of being “morally bankrupt” and having lost touch with its core function of holding the powerful to account. “The ultimate moral bankruptcy of modern journalism is it’s forgotten its core purpose of informing the public.”

Journalism is one of the most important ways to change society and challenge power, noted Brooke. But she argued that “proper” journalism has been usurped by marketing, PR, and selling products, and journalists no longer look at courts, schools, and local councils – the very things that comprise civic life. “When profit becomes the main reason for journalism, journalism loses its public purpose,” she said.

Brooke said there is a real lack of “challenging journalism” today, highlighting the lack of reporting of justice in courts, as an example. The Royal Courts used to have 25 dedicated reporters. Currently there are only 4, and 2 at the Old Bailey (Press Association). Today, journalists in court are often treated in low level disdain, said Brooke.

Brooke cited another example: The Guardian, unlike politicians, used court reports to analyse the people behind the UK riots. However, they found it extremely difficult to obtain information on people who were charged during the riots because the [court] clerks wouldn’t allow access to court records. The Guardian eventually gained access to some of the datasets via the Ministry of Justice and cross-referenced addresses of those charged with riot locations. Prior to this, the court registers had never been requested before. Does this mean that the bureaucracy prevents journalists from holding power to account? It was discovered that police incidence reports, fire inspection reports, and parliament reports are still not public. Brooke questioned: why is this case? She expressed her outrage at this and asked how the UK media, who are supposedly aggressive, could not be asking these basic questions. “Journalists are meant to be finding out where power exists and challenging them with questions.” Because of these factors, said Brooke, people don’t feel like the media represents their interests anymore.

“If you really want to be a journalist, you have to invest in fighting for the information that’s in the hands of the powerful. If the information was easy to get, everyone would have it.” –  Heather Brooke.

Brooke said the growth of new media, where everybody is now a journalist or can be a journalist, makes it hard for readers to know where to go to find a trustworthy and reliable news source. So how did we get to this state in journalism? “We treat journalism like any other business, like a widget in a factory… News is just not like that,” answered Brooke. Readers now seek out news sources that have proved reliable and have stopped going to sources that have failed on this front. Brooke also noted that professional journalists, who are needed now more than ever, can differentiate themselves through their brand and their reputation to verify news. Only then can the public turn to media they know can be trusted. As a reminder, Brooke cited the tagline of The Uptake, a citizen-fuelled online news gathering organisation: Will journalism be done by you or to you?

Where to from here?
Importantly, journalists will lead the way with change. We’re seeing shifts in the way people are thinking about power. Brooke reminds us that as journalists, we need to remember our public purpose. “Journalists will lead the way if they stay close to the people. We need to remember the public,” she said.

 

What are your thougths on the importance of civic journalism in today’s society? Do we need it now, more than ever?

Creating an online presence: tools for journalists

Posted June 9th, 2011 by in

Launching your online presence. Image credit: lapideo

The launching your online presence session at the Walkleys 2011 Freelance Conference looked at how freelance journalists can create and maintain a successful online presence. The panel discussed effective use of social media platforms and how you can harness it for story ideas as well as important things to consider when using online tools to market yourself and your services.

Renee Barnes, an online journalism lecturer at RMIT, opened the session with a look at the top online tools used by journalists. Renee said it’s important for journalists to understand the online world because this is where the industry is heading, and in order to understand it, we must operate in it. Here are her top 6 online tools to assist with your day-to-day job as a journalist:

1. Twitter
Connection and engagement are key. Twitter enables journalists to tap into a huge network of other journalists, editors and potential sources. It also allows you to create and build your own audience. Twitter can be used to find stories and leads but can also be used as an effective marketing tool to drive readers to your stories.

2. Google Reader
Subscribe to RSS feeds and keep up to date with all your favourite blogs with Google Reader. Renee referred to Google Reader as her “personal media monitoring service” because rather than visiting hundreds of different websites each day, you can have them all delivered to one site.

3. Delicious
Also known as social bookmarking. It works in conjunction with Google Reader in that it saves stories and static websites to one account. It eliminates a large list of browser favourites and can be accessed from any computer. Renee said the most important feature is being able to save the bookmarks under relevant tags so they can be easily searched at a later time.

4. Flickr
The image sharing service could prove invaluable for freelance journalists seeking licensed images to use alongside blog posts and articles. It’s also a great tool to get high resolution images to editors without overloading their inbox.

5. Linked In
In it’s essence, Linked In is an online CV. But it’s real value lies in the ability to keep in contact with previous and future professional contacts in your field.

6. WordPress
A free blogging platform that is really easy to use. It allows you to create a blog and therefore an online presence in a few minutes. Now there’s no excuse not to be online!

Renee has complied a more comprehensive look at how the above online tools can assist freelance journalists: A journalist’s guide to developing an online presence

Editor-in-chief and founder of Anthill James Tuckerman, shared four key tips for journalists and content creators looking to develop an online venture. If starting anything online, Tuckerman suggests making it:

>Measureable: Don’t do anything online unless it can be measured. Measurement tools and metrics allow you to constantly improve what you do online. This largely refers to tracking web traffic, and learning how to produce more traffic via out-going links, for example.

>Findable: Your website or online presence needs to be easily found via search engines so building Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics into everything you do is crucial for developing and maintaining your online presence. According to Tuckerman, 40% of traffic comes directly from Google searches.

>Shareable: Gain an understanding of social networking tools to grow your freelance business. Make it really easy for your readers or your audience to share your links and content. Provide social media sharing buttons on your stories and blog posts so it makes it simple for your readers to share your content quickly. Get your followers to assist with your marketing efforts through online sharing.

> Manageable: Tuckerman said we need to create processes to automate our online activities, especially if you are someone who has several social media accounts and a website. Use available tools and technology to save time and help you with managing your online presence.

Do you agree with the above points? Are there other online tools that journalists can benefit from using?

Successful freelancing: tips and advice from freelance journalist Leon Gettler

Posted May 31st, 2011 by in

Image credit: Walkleys

About a week ago I attended the Walkleys Cash for Content: 2011 Freelance Journalism Conference. I tweeted live from the event and subsequently received numerous requests from my followers to write a blog post on what I had learned from the conference. Given that the day covered a lot of ground, I’ve decided to stick to key points and discussions about making it as a freelance journalist which is a great jobs that allow you to travel. This is the first post from a small series I will write based on information shared at the conference.

I found the keynote address by Leon Gettler one of the most valuable sessions at the conference. With six blogs to manage, fortnightly columns to write, a weekly podcast and two books to his name, Leon is one of Australia’s most successful freelancers. So I figured taking on board some of his advice would be a good move.

Here are some key points Leon advises for successful freelancing:

  • Don’t work for free. “There are no freebies when you freelance. You charge and you charge as much as you can,” says Leon Gettler.
  • Freelancers need a niche. Define yourself in the freelance writing market. Your niche can still be broad (such as business writing) but it is important to establish yourself in the industry as a journalist with a specialist background of some kind.
  • Approach freelancing with a business mind. Being a freelance journalist is not all about doing the writing. If you’re a freelancer, you’re effectively running your own small business.
  • Manage your admin. Send an invoice with every completed story and make sure it includes your name, Australian Business Number (ABN), home/office address, bank details, and your terms of trade (e.g. payment required within 14 days etc)
  • Make life easy for your editor. Pitch interesting and new ideas. Give them stories they can’t get anybody else to do.
  • Maintain relationships. Communicate with your editors frequently; don’t leave them in the dark then expect them to offer you ongoing work/commissions.
  • Embrace multimedia. This is a growing area and large corporations are willing and prepared to pay a lot for digital and multimedia content. See if your skills can be used across multiple platforms including blogs, podcasts, videos and online content.
  • Discipline is key. Set up a schedule for yourself to stay productive, meet deadlines and have a routine. Use to-do lists. Give yourself deadlines if one hasn’t been stipulated. Discipline is a key requirement for freelancers. If you don’t get this right your freelancing career will fail.
  • All about volume. Freelancing is very much a ‘volume game’. It’s all about how much work you can get in the pipeline and sustaining it.
  • Allow for quiet periods. January is typically a very slow month for media in Australia. Therefore, expect to receive little work during this month. Have a back up fund for this time of year and other quiet work periods.
  • Don’t miss deadlines. Don’t miss deadlines. Don’t miss deadlines. Got it?
  • Be flexible. Only work for less where an organisation can promise to give you ongoing or regular work. For example, frequent work at a lower pay rate will be more worthwhile in the long run than infrequent higher paying work.
  • Be prepared to work very hard. Freelancing is not for those seeking an easy or leisurely career. Leon says some of his hardest working years have occurred while freelancing.

Is this advice from Leon useful? If you have any helpful tips for successful freelancing then please share them by posting a comment below.

Career highlights: Meeting Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Posted April 25th, 2011 by in

As some of you may already be aware, last week I had the pleasure of meeting Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She came out to Laverton North, in the outer west of Melbourne, to visit The Alex Fraser Group, a local recycling and construction company. The company has won a number of awards for their sustainable work practices, including recycling of materials into matter that can be used for concrete and asphalt. The Alex Fraser Group invited PM Julia Gillard to visit their business, which falls into her local electorate area, and she gladly accepted the offer.

PM Julia Gillard views construction site at The Alex Fraser Group. Image credit: Sharon Green

On Friday the 15th of April Ms Gillard visited the site and was taken to numerous viewing points to see how the plant worked and met with staff and management to congratulate them on their recent business awards. Ms Gillard was very patient and pleasant throughout her visit, taking the time to listen to what staff had to say and showing an interest in how the business brings benefit to the local area.

PM Julia Gillard doing site visit. Image credit: Sharon Green

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Gillard and exchanged a few brief words with her. I found her generally pleasant, friendly, and cooperative as she juggled the demands of visiting the site and speaking to the media (including myself) all while keeping a focus on the task at hand.

PM Julia Gillard speaks to the press. Image credit: Lucy Aulich

I asked Ms Gillard about the significance of her visit to the site that day, as well as general questions about unemployment in the West, and recent proposed changes to train timetables to the Werribee Line which will affect commuters in her electorate area.

I thank PM Julia Gillard for answering my questions. Image credit: Lucy Aulich

Ms Gillard was also happy to have her photo taken with as many people who wanted a happy snap with her. She willingly took photos with the construction staff and management. And of course, I had to finish off the day with a picture of my own. Besides, it’s not every day that you get to meet the Prime Minister!

Happy Snap: Me with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Image credit: Lucy Aulich

To read the article I wrote for the Wyndham/Point Cook Weekly regarding the Prime Minister’s visit to Laverton North, click here.


© 2010 Sharon Green. All files, words, content and articles on this site are the intellectual property of the writer and no person is authorised to copy or reproduce the material without the author’s prior consent.

Fashion Torque: a discussion about fashion journalism

Posted March 15th, 2011 by in

Fashion Torque's Jenny Bannister and Philip Boon. Image credit: Fashion Torque

I finally managed to get to a Fashion Torque event last week for the first time. I was waiting for a topic of interest to come up and thought fashion journalism was quite possibly the best combination of two interests I am equally passionate about.

Held at the back room of Globe Café in Prahran, the event presented an intimate discussion centred on the topic of fashion journalism hosted by fashion designer Jenny Bannister and stylist Philip Boon. The event also attracted two guest panelists – both fashion journalists working in Melbourne. The Herald Sun’s Fashion Editor Anna Byrne and Style Melbourne’s Sarah Willcocks were both there to tell us about their journey through a career in fashion journalism.

 

L-R: Jenny Bannister, Sarah Willcocks, Anna Byrne. Image credit: Business Chic

Anna Byrne began her journalism career by studying a professional writing and editing degree at Deakin University. When she completed her studies, she decided to take a year off to travel and freelance and found herself writing for mylusciouslife.com which launched her into the world of fashion writing. After completing a month-long internship at the Herald Sun, Anna kept in touch with contacts at the paper for months before a role came up that gave her the opportunity to do journalism full time. She also did a stint of volunteering backstage at fashion week to add to her fashion credibility.

Sarah Willcocks encountered a rather different experience prior to entering fashion journalism. She studied a media degree at La Trobe University before writing for The Scene, an online lifestyle publication. About two years ago she started Style Melbourne, her very own online magazine focusing on Melbourne fashion and designers. She notes that while it’s great to follow fashion coverage from Milan, Paris and New York, she felt there was nothing highlighting the talent and emerging designers in her own city. “Style Melbourne fills a niche,” she said. Sarah’s writing career has also leaned towards a lot of copywriting because, she admits, this is an area that tends to pay. “A lot of online start ups can’t pay,” she noted.

Philip Boon leads the discussion on fashion journalism. Image credit: Business Chic

In terms of breaking into the industry and building name for yourself, both Anna and Sarah note that networking has been vital in driving their career. Sarah said she was invited to fashion week where she sat next to an editor who later hired her writing services, while Anna mentioned the importance of connecting with readers and industry insiders via social networks as a way to keep in touch.

Anna suggests that those wanting to break into fashion journalism should start by simply attending events where you can network, meet people within the industry and gather business cards. “Fashion is not just about the writing, it’s about doing the hard work and socialising. So little of my time is actually spent writing the story,” she adds.

What about the big question about working for free that plagues so many breaking into what is a competitive industry, especially nowadays where anyone can publish on the internet? Anna suggests getting the unpaid work out of the way as early into your career as possible, such as when you are still completing your studies. But there does come a time when doing unpaid work must stop, notes Sarah: “When people are approaching you to work for them for free… that’s where you draw the line.”

Sarah Willcocks (middle) and Anna Byrne (far right) share details about their journalism career. Image credit: Business Chic

Both girls work quite differently even though they are essentially doing a similar job; Anna works within the constraints of limited newspaper space and catering to a mass commercial audience across a specific demographic while Sarah caters to a niche group of online readers who are often time-poor. Sarah also oversees more aspects of the role as editor of Style Melbourne and is responsible for everything from story selection to the writing, editing and proofing of content as well as ensuring her SEO is up to scratch to guarantee her website returns results that rank high on Google.

Of course, there’s also the question around main stream media and blogging that entered the conversation – something that is becoming more prevalent among fashion circles. Anna believes readers and advertisers will always need main stream media and that there will always be a need for printed publications because they are tactile and readers love looking at glossy fashion pages. Sarah notes that there is a lot of talk surrounding how fashion blogging has become a threat to traditional forms of fashion media but says that both can co-exist independently because they are two separate products. Sarah notes that while there are fashion bloggers (like former newspaper journalist Patty Huntington) offering new and valuable information directly from the industry, there are very few bloggers offering “top notch, investigative and original content.”

While the discussion wasn’t ground-breaking, it did offer an insight into an aspect of the fashion industry. As a journalist myself, who has done a fair share of fashion reporting, I was hoping to discover something a little more innovative about the workings of the industry or how to secure your first break in the industry.  The discussion did however, offer those new to the industry an idea about what to expect, the nature of the job and some challenges encountered along the way.

Fashion Torque is held every Thursday evening at Globe Café in Prahran. Details, visit: www.facebook.com/FashionTorqueShow or http://twitter.com/fashiontorque

Images thanks to Business Chic

Behind the scenes at the Desktop magazine relaunch event

Posted March 2nd, 2011 by in

Desktop magazine new cover design by Mark Gowing. | Image copyright: Desktop magazine, Niche Media

Today Desktop magazine’s relaunch edition will hit newsstands across the country. The niche magazine which has brought us news and information across the design and digital landscape will now narrow its focus to “the culture of design” and allow readers to engage in the ethos of designers and learn how various creative studios operate.

Desktop relaunch event at Mag Nation. | Image credit: Sharon Green

I attended the relaunch event last Wednesday evening, held at Mag Nation’s Elizabeth Street store, and had to keep my lips sealed all week about the exciting new changes in store for readers. The event not only provided a fitting location to unveil the new look of the magazine and the opportunity to flip through its thick, papery pages but was also an appropriate venue to announce that the publication has undergone a complete rebrand.

The magazine, now running for its 25th year was due for a relaunch said Managing Editor Brendan McKnight, claiming that it would be very rare not to tweak the direction of the publication after all this time and describing the change as a natural progression forward. “In terms of the design, I think people wanted more of a sexy, sophisticated design.”

Guests were welcomed with a copy of the magazine and a first look at the redesigned cover, layout and content of the internal pages. The cover, designed by Mark Gowing, reflects his typical typographical style that works in an abstract approach. Apparently there’s a cryptic message embedded in the cover design too; another design trait Gowing is renowned for.

Desktop’s new cover. | Image credit: Sharon Green

Much has changed in the magazine, both from a design and content perspective, notes McKnight in his editor’s letter of the relaunched edition. “We want Desktop to be a platform where thoughts can be raised, opinions can be heard and a place to really get into the minds of the people behind all of this fantastic work,” he said.

On first glance, readers will noticed the magazine has changed in its physical form, moving from an A4 glossy format to a more square shaped, thicker magazine with a hard spine and matte cover.

The magazine has undergone a complete rebrand too, with a new logo or masthead to complement its new treatment. “The masthead looks a lot more sophisticated – the design is minimal, clean and simple and that reflects where the magazine is headed,” McKnight said.

Readers, designers and Desktop fans gather to listen to the editor’s speech.| Image credit: Sharon Green

Readers will also notice a dramatic change in the overall layout and design of the magazine. Content is carefully placed on the page, more white space is featured throughout and a general sense of a minimalist design is apparent, making for a more fluid reading experience. “People are looking for a very minimal structure and design and for the magazine to be quite easy to navigate,” said McKnight.

Interior pages of Desktop magazine. | Image copyright: Desptop magazine, Niche Media

The magazine has also paid close attention to detail and those intricate finishing touches. The spine has a designed monogram which will change with each issue but when collected and stacked, one of top of the other, will reveal a new pattern with a contained message. Just another thing to look forward to and enjoy from this redesigned, relaunched magazine.

Detail on Desktop’s spine. | Image copyright: Desktop magazine, Niche Media

The relaunched edition of Desktop magazine will go on sale on March 2, 2011.

Further details, visit: www.desktopmag.com.au


© 2010 Sharon Green. All files, words, content and articles on this site are the intellectual property of the writer and no person is authorised to copy or reproduce the material without the author’s prior consent.

AOL acquires The Huffington Post

Posted February 9th, 2011 by in

Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL Inc., and Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post. Image credit: Jin Lee, Bloomberg/ LA Times

Internet giant AOL has announced that it purchased news website The Huffington Post for $315 million.

AOL said $300 million of the purchase price would be paid in cash, with the remainder in shares.

The Huffington Post, founded in 2005 by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer and Jonah Peretti, has grown quickly and now attracts 25 million unique monthly visitors.

Citing comScore data, AOL stated that the new combined group will reach 117 million unique monthly visitors in the US and 270 million visitors globally.

“The acquisition of The Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community and social experiences for consumers,” AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement.

“Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers.”

Arianna Huffington will lead the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group as President and Editor-in-Chief, and described the merge as “a perfect fit.” She said readers would now be able to access more content than ever before, including more local, tech, entertainment, finance, and video based news. “By uniting AOL and The Huffington Post, we are creating one of the largest destinations for smart content and community on the Internet. And we intend to keep making it better and better,” she said.

Co-Founder and Chairman, Kenneth Lerer, said The Huffington Post team had created a potent brand with the proven track record of knowing how to grow traffic, inform and entertain its readers and build a one-of-a-kind online community. “Add that to the powerful scale and resources of AOL and you have the perfect combination for today and the future. Together these two companies will be a premier online content provider. From local citizen reporting through AOL’s Patch, to The Huffington Post’s national reporting on politics, business and culture, consumers will have access to everything they want whenever they want it.”

AOL separated from Time Warner in 2009, ending an eight-year association between the two companies. Since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, AOL has experienced an unstable time and expects the new acquisition to help boost its declining advertising revenues.