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?

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.

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.

Onya Magazine lends a helping hand

Posted January 20th, 2011 by in

This Australia Day, Onya Magazine and a host of local businesses and organisations will come together at a special event to raise much needed funds for flood devastated Queensland.

More than 75 per cent of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone following a mass down pour of rain of what has been described as the worst flood in over 100 years. The official Queensland flood death toll has risen to 20 and damages to agriculture, mining, infrastructure, tourism and local business is likely to cost the nation $30 billion. While the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal has surpassed $127 million, much more will be needed to help recover the state.

This is why Onya Magazine has decided to host the Onya Aid event at Honey Bar on the afternoon of January 26, with 100 per cent of proceeds being donated to the Queensland flood appeal.

Onya Magazine Director and Editor-In-Chief Sandi Sieger said, “Australia is known for its mateship, especially in times of need. When our neighbours are in trouble, Australians step up and that’s what Onya Aid is all about – community and mateship.”

The event will host a silent auction of items from Australian companies, and a live auction at 2pm for big ticket items like a Ken Duncan framed print, athletic memorabilia and more. There will be live music, Byron Cooke spinning disks and Melbourne celebrities and local identities in attendance. Entry to the event is just $5 on the door, with 100% of proceeds from admission, auctions, donations and Honey Bar profits being contributed directly to the cause.

Honey Bar owner Steve Vallas, who has also generously donated his venue and time, said, “Every little bit counts and we are just doing what we can. There is nothing more Aussie than a beer on Australia Day, so why not have a beer with us and help in getting Queenslanders back on their feet.”

For further information, visit: http://www.onyamagazine.com

To donate to The Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal, call 1800 219 028 or visit: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html