Young Professionals Happy Hour with Amy Odell

February 24, 2015

Amy Odell“This is the funnest thing I’ve done all day. A bunch of amazing young women having wine,” Amy Odell, editor of, told the sold-out crowd at NYWICI’s Young Professionals Happy Hour on Feb. 11, 2014. As audience members munched on mini burgers and sipped cocktails at Hotel Chantelle, Amy shared how she got to where she was today.

Back in 2007, Amy began her career as a party reporter at New York magazine. She later became a founding blogger for The Cut. After that, she headed to BuzzFeed, where she launched two women’s verticals: BuzzFeed Fashion and BuzzFeed Shift.

Now, under Amy’s stewardship, Cosmo’s site has doubled its traffic, reaching more than 30 million monthly unique visitors. In January, Amy was named to the Forbes list of “30 Under 30” in media.

“We’re a feminist site, and I’m proud to say that,” she explains. Cosmo features everything from reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues to politics (along with plenty of celebrity gossip, sex, relationship advice and fashion). The goal is to cover all of women’s interests, while maintaining a conversational tone — akin to talking to friends over brunch.

Amy was candid and inspiring. Here are five valuable takeaways:

Finds mentors naturally
When it comes to mentors — a common topic in the communications industry— these kinds of connections best happen naturally. “It's not something you should force or stress over,” she said. First and foremost, bosses can serve as mentors. They should be supportive and set an example in the work environment.

Keep stress out of the workplace
Stress is inevitable — but try to not let it interfere with your job. If Amy feels overwhelmed at work, she’ll call her husband or g-chat a friend, who’s not on her team. She doesn’t want her own stress to carry over to her co-workers. “If we’re not having fun, we’re not creating our best content.”

It’s OK to be scared, but don’t give up
Amy recalled the best advice she’s received: “If you're not scared all the time, you're not doing your job.” She’s a big proponent of taking risks — and of persistence. “Don't give up if someone tells you ‘no’; you can always go back and ask again.” Case in point: When Amy began her career as a party reporter, she failed miserably. But instead of calling it quits, she kept trying until she got it right.

Make yourself valuable
Like most editors, Amy receives plenty of pitches. Sending any old story idea, however, is not the way to stand out. Instead of regurgitating ideas, “look for a void you can fill that makes sense.” Think outside the box and only pitch smart, innovative content.

You don’t have to ‘have it all’
“‘Having it all’ is cliché. It’s up to you to own your ‘all’.” There’s no magic checklist of everything you need in life in order to be considered successful. Own what you’ve got and make the most of it. As long as you’re working hard and enjoying what you do, that’s all that matters.”

Amy Odell’s book Tales from the Back Row debuts this fall. As she told the NYWICI crowd: “I love to write — and I’ve always wanted to write a book.”


For more highlights of this event, check out #NYWICIYoPros on Twitter. 
Learn more about NYWICI’s Foundation Committees and read details about the YoPro Committee (PDF).

Posted by: 
Jamie Primeau

Babies, Boomers, Multiculturals

February 10, 2015

What it takes to create marketing campaigns that motivate Millennials, Gen X and Multicultural generations was the subject of a lively NYWICI panel of marketing all-stars. Their conclusions? Smartphones are stealing eyeballs, but print isn't dead.

Here's more from Robyn Hatcher, Lucinda Martinez, Lesley Jane Seymour and Ann Shoket, who gathered at HBO headquarters on Feb. 5, 2015.

Defining Millennials

Ann, who was editor in chief of Seventeen Magazine from 2007 to 2014, defines Millennials as anyone from 15 to 35. Millennials have been described as lazy and entitled, but this negative reputation could not be more wrong. The financial crisis has in fact given rise to a new “Powergirl,” who is strong, independent and above all spends wisely. “If you give a Millennial girl $100, she is not going to go and spend it all on one thing. She is going to think about every single way she can spend that money.”

Millennials not only desire to be financially secure, they also have a strong focus on forging their own paths and choosing careers based on their passions. They often work more than one job at a time. One of the most impactful statistics about Millennials is that 46 percent are multicultural, according to Lucinda, who as senior vice president of multicultural marketing at HBO described her job as marketing to “people of hue.”

Understanding Boomers

As editor-in-chief of More Magazine, Lesley is an expert on what many marketers call Boomers, although she rejected the term and urged the audience to “lose the labels.” More began as a magazine for women over 40, but has since broadened its audience, as “older women” were embraced by all women’s magazines. Now, More targets women who “have the guy and know what to do with him.” These women don’t want to talk about men. They are highly educated and accomplished, and want to discuss fashion and world issues. Lesley also noted that Boomers have a very high “bullshit meter” and want something that is authentic. “Never speak down to your audience,” she said. Boomers are still not getting credit for their influence or spending power; many marketing companies are missing out by undervaluing this audience.  

Choosing the Right Marketing Tactics

Baby Boomers2Not every platform or technology is right for every marketing objective, especially when it comes to targeting different and diverse groups. The smartphone is every marketer’s biggest competition for a person’s attention, said Ann. She cited YouTube as the platform for Millennials, while Lesley added that her audience still deeply valued print. 

Millennials also respond strongly to Twitter, but with so many different sources to follow, companies have to think strategically. Align your advertising placements and social media posts with moments when you expect bursts in digital conversation, Lucinda suggested. If an episode of Game of Thrones with a big twist is about to air, social media will buzz the next morning; publishers will need to have advertisements planned out. 

But at the end of the day, Millennials, Multiculturals and Boomers still value time spent “unplugged.” Amidst the ever-growing number of platforms and devices competing for our attention, print media offer the opportunity to tune out and disconnect. A quiet hour alone with a magazine is important to all audiences, and each panelist agreed that this was something marketing professionals should never forget.

Photo Credit: Jan Goldstoff

Related Reading:

Adweek: “How to Advertise to the Millennial Who Hates Advertising

Posted by: 
Allie Carmichael

Print Magazines Go Digital

March 12, 2013
“Speaking of innovation, for the first time ever, Marie Claire is a fully interactive experience,” wrote Editor in Chief Anne Fulenwider in her March 2013 editor’s note. And over at Time Inc., “This month, Real Simple is debuting an inspiring, surprising and scannable new section.”
New interactive magazines go beyond advertisers’ QR codes that encourage readers to “scan for product demo” and even further than the Love it? Pin it? SnapTag Reader App that Delta (the faucet company), for instance, is incorporating into ads.
Interactive print issues promise more than bonus content, sharable images, or shoppable photo shoots. And, they allow readers to engage—and be rewarded for it—immediately. At the same time, publishers learn what readers find most intriguing and get swift, nuanced feedback regarding print, visual, and language choices, as Mike Hofman, Executive Digital Director at Glamour, pointed out in Folio magazine’s recent Reader Engagement webinar.
The Technology Behind The Page
With a single app, readers engage with editorial and ad content throughout an interactive print magazine. Real Simple’s scannable section, The Realist, comes to life with the help of Digimarc’s free Discover app (found in both the iTunes store and the Google Play market). 
And, Hearst’s Marie Claire takes advantage of the free Netpage app (available from iTunes), as did the December 2012 issue of Hearst’s Esquire. “In partnership with the technology company Netpage, we’re debuting a digital technique that makes the magazine as interactive as your iPad….The app will not only enable you to see video and animation related to stories in the magazine and to make purchases directly from the magazine…it will also allow you to clip any article or image and then save it or share it via email or Facebook or any form of social media,” explained David Granger in his editor’s note. 
Digimark calls their technology “transparent digital watermarking.” And had you made an appointment with the company at SXSW earlier this week, you could have had a demonstration, according to the latest Digimark press release. By contrast Netpage explains that their Digital Twin™ platform “Works without any special printing process or digital watermarking.”
Close to a year and a half ago House Beautiful launched a Digimark mobile app called House Beautiful Connect that has reader uses within the magazine, an editor’s video for instance. 
I’m bringing HouseBeautiful in here for a bit of fun and contrast; they’ve since taken digital reader engagement beyond the page and into the city! Watch here as readers enjoy a scavenger hunt for free furniture with the help of Twitter.
Posted by: 
Deanna Utroske

Writers Wanted, Experience Not Required

January 13, 2012

The magazine industry has been taking hits for some time, largely due to declining advertising revenue, a rise in non-traditional media (i.e. bloggers) gobbling up readership and tough economic times. Many pubs are forced to cut staff while remaining journalists and editors take over much broader roles than they once covered.

Ladies' Home Journal is about to try something radically different than the traditional model.

Beginning with their March 2012 issue, LHJ will take crowdsourcing to a whole new level and begin publishing much of its content from reader submissions, pulled from - a website owned by Meredith Corp. which features personal stories submitted by readers. LHJ will also be pulling content from and their social media sites. The "amateur" writers will be paid the same level as their professional writers as well, according to the magazine. LHJ editors will curate the submissions, editing and adding expertise to the stories from everyday women.

This bold move came to light after research showed readers wanted a larger role in the content of the pages. The average LHJ reader ranges from 45-55, not the typical blogger crowd. While this change might attract a younger demo, it could be a risky move, alienating the backbone of their core audience.

Will other mass circulation publications follow if this proves to be successful? What does this mean for the professional journalist? Is LHJ giving too much over to amateurs or on to the future of mass media publishing?


If Ladies' Home Journal has found a way to engage readers, "hooray!" and let everyone else follow their model. I love magazines and I want them to live.

However, I will be surprised if they unearth a whole lot of serviceable copy that can go live with minor editing. So that means that editors will be plenty busy or subcontracting work to re-writers. Also good.

And maybe some writers will slip through pretending to be amateurs--who knows?

It's fabulous that Meredith will pay the amateur writers, which is a whole lot more than some other publishers do for established journalists.

Jeanne Byington
J.M. Byington & Associates
NYWICI Foundation Board Member


This new model will enable the brand to expand the voice that its readers and women have within the pages of the magazine but at the same time maintain its strong heritage of editorial expertise. For example, a health story might be written by a user, but it will be curated by the editors, and combined with medical expertise to present information in the same way that women share and gather information for what matters in their lives. We see this as a great evolution to one of the nation's most trusted, authentic, and iconic brands.
Patrick Taylor
VP Communications
Meredith Corporation
New York Women in Communications Member



Five Ways to Break Into Magazines

The days of starting out as an assistant and crawling your way up the ladder (think: Miranda Priestly’s office) are not necessarily over, but have changed dramatically. At “Breaking Into the Magazine Business” last week, a panel of leaders from a variety of Hearst magazines revealed innovative ways to land killer jobs — such as working on a mag’s iPad app or social campaign — and how to progress in the field once you’re there. We compiled their words of wisdom into the top five ways to get your foot in the door! Sit on the edge of your seat.

Liza Donnelly May Have the Coolest Job Title in New York

November 8, 2010

Staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. That’s Liza Donnelly’s title, and to my mind it has to be one of the coolest job titles in all New York. How did she get her enviable gig?

“I started submitting cartoons when I was in college,” Liza says, “but of course didn't sell them.” After graduation she moved to New York and started submitting cartoons on a regular basis “by going down to the offices and handing an envelope of my work to the receptionist of The New Yorker's editorial offices. This is how it was done, and I don't remember how I learned the ropes!” Two years later, the magazine finally bought one of her cartoons. She sold more cartoons over the next 2 years and eventually was able to quit her job and become a full-time freelancer. She is one of a handful of women cartoonists to work for regularly the magazine; in 2005 she wrote a history of her colleagues over the decades: Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons.

Liza’s new book, When Do They Serve the Wine?: The Folly, Flexibility and Fun of Being a Woman, is filled with her take on the things women talk about, worry about and think about. As she says in this brief video, women of every age are “trying to figure out how to fit in, what we’re supposed to wear, how we’re supposed to act…I wanted to do a book about that…to help us laugh at what we’re doing, to accept one another and have more camaraderie between the generations.”



When asked how much being a woman influences her outlook, she said, “Well, I suppose I can't help but look at the world through the eyes of a woman, since I am one. But I believe that I draw my cartoons as a person, not gender specific, really. There are some times when I consciously tell myself to draw a cartoon about issues that may concern women in the world; for example, what would a woman say about Hillary Clinton, or health care or mundane things like marriage and business.

“My favorite type of idea to do is political or cultural. I approach these topics this way: How do they affect us as individuals? What funny things do we say or do in response to trends or political events? I make fun of individuals as they go through their daily lives, trying to cope.”

Inspiration comes from everywhere. “I read The New York Times for ideas, but it's not my only source,” she says. “News sites, television, that kind of thing. And just observing people around me. My antennae are pretty high all the time.”

In a rare case of cartooning Kismet, Liza is married to another New Yorker cartoonist, Michael Maslin. “We met at a party after a New Yorker party,” Liza says. “We both were fans of each other's work already, which was nice. It also was good, I think, that we both were established New Yorker cartoonists when we met. We are direct competitors that way, but it hasn't been a problem, thankfully. When one of us sells a cartoon and the other doesn't, it's fine because we share the financial gain!” Liza and Michael work in separate offices in their home near Rhinebeck, NY. As you might expect, collaboration happens. So far, they’ve done 4 books together, including 2009’s Cartoon Marriage: Adventures in Love and Matrimony by The New Yorker’s Cartooning Couple. Here’s an excerpt from a 2009 profile about the couple on CBS Sunday Morning.


Beyond The New Yorker, Liza’s work has appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to the Harvard Business Review. Her series of children’s books has sold over 2 million copies. She is a member of PEN and the Authors Guild, a founding member of the Cartoonists Association and for several years has been involved in an international initiative called Cartooning for Peace, which was created in response to the violence that followed the publication of a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed.

Her advice for NYWICI members: “Laugh! It is the best medicine, and we need to keep letting people know that feminists are indeed funny and do have a sense of humor.  Laughter brings the generations together, too, I think. That's something feminists of different generations must keep doing — work together, understand each other’s views and laugh at ourselves. If we laugh at ourselves, and expose wrongful stereotypes as well, we can change the world.”

Liza links:

 All images copyright Liza Donnelly, or their respective copyright holders.

Posted by: 
Michele Hush

Women's History Month Profile: Fortuna Calvo-Roth

March 19, 2010

“Pioneering” and “first” are words closely associated with Fortuna Calvo-Roth, past president of New York Women In Communications (NYWICI) from 1991-1992.

As editor-in-chief of Vision — named by Time magazine as "the leading Latin American newsmagazine" — she was both the youngest editor and woman to hold the top editorial post on any newsmagazine. This achievement came during the 1960s, when positions for women at major dailies and leading magazines were too often limited to editorial assistants and research assistants.

Never pigeonholed into any single area of communications, Fortuna has moved with the times from manual typewriters to state-of-the-art technology as an audiobooks/graphics entrepreneur. While she has been recognized throughout her career as newsmaker, lecturer, author, university professor and broadcast commentator, her first love has always been journalism.

As a college student, her innovative reporting first appeared in the Columbia Missourian. Her byline was identified with breaking news and important community developments, and she won a “Best Editorial” award from Sigma Delta Chi (now known as the Society for Professional Journalists.) By age 19, she was an honors graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, founded in 1908 as the world’s first school for the profession.

Fortuna has remained close to NYWICI since her college days. Her current activities include participation in the Past Presidents Council formed by former President Nancy Rabstejnek Nichols (2008-2009).

Born in Paris, raised in Lima, Peru, American-educated and multilingual, Fortuna’s grasp of cultural diversity gave Vision an editorial direction that featured political, social and economic developments. Her own byline reporting ranged from covering Latin American revolutions to interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy at the White House. With an eye beyond Latin America, she jump-started Vision/Europe (later Vision), published in partnership with Hachette.
(At left, Fortuna interviews Peru's then-president, Fernando Belaunde Terry, in the 1960s.)

After leaving Vision in 1969, Fortuna entered New York University to study first film, TV and radio, and later politics. Subsequently, she was an actor and producer with Stella Adler’s Theater Studio.

By the 1980s, she held academic positions, teaching political science at Hofstra University and New York University. With this background and her board role as NYWICI VP for Student Affairs, she visited schools to encourage student membership and introduced student discounts for events.

As NYWICI president, she launched a memorable 1992 Matrix by naming John Mack Carter, then editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping, as the first man to chair the event.

As an experienced analyst of Latin American affairs, her frequent TV/radio commentaries have included PBS newscasts, election coverage on Channel 41, reporting on 9/11 for CNN en español, hosting a WJIT-NY radio program and helping to start Channel 2 in Lima.

With Fortuna’s understanding of cultural bridges and social responsibility, Judith Kaye, then Chief Judge of the State of New York, appointed her to a task force on jury reform in 1993-1994. Marjorie Agosin’s anthology, Taking Root: Narratives of Jewish Women in Latin America, carried in college bookstores from Harvard to Australia, features a chapter written by Fortuna in 2002. She also is a trustee of the CUNY Graduate Center Foundation. (At right, Fortuna in 1965 as editor of Vision.)

On the family front, Fortuna and her son, Stephen, a graphic artist and high-tech specialist, formed Nueva Onda Spanish Audiobooks  — through their Coral Communications Group, LLC — to provide Spanish-speaking audiences with classic, contemporary and self-help works. Designed for a worldwide general audience, Nueva Onda also enables people with impairments to enjoy literature and educational opportunities. Fortuna and her husband, Felix, recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of CONNECT, NYWICI's print newsletter.

March 19, 2010

Posted by: 
Patricia Maloney

The iPad, a Media Savior?

January 29, 2010

The iPad has finally arrived! This sleek device with a bright, colorful and vivid display but an unfortunate name that reminds me of adult diapers has Apple enthusiasts salivating over yet another overpriced gadget and the blogosphere and social media buzzing with excitement.

Judging by the reactions of the media, the iPad will save the newspaper and magazine industries from sure demise with one stylish swoop, and with it book publishing (Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan already made deals with Apple).

The British blog FirstPost nicely sums up this mood but warns: “No one is more excited about [the iPad] than publishing and print media companies. To them, the tablet represents a vision of the future that does not involve their extinction...The Devil's bargain is that you have let Steve Jobs be the gatekeeper to your customer and price-fixer of your product.”


Indeed, according to a post on Reflections of a Newsosaur, the new tablets (which the blog refers to as the “Swiss Army knife of media platforms”) have definitely “raised the bar for interactive content delivery…Unfortunately, most media companies already are late in developing editorial and advertising strategies to meet this new challenge.”

The new challenge is to entice users to actually pay for the content they consume. Yet a commenter to Newsosaur’s blog post dismisses this notion and surely represents a majority of readers: “A new uberhyperbolitron [sic] like the iPad won't make one whit of difference for old media. Embedding visual aids with text isn't going to get somebody to pay for an online 'newspaper' when there's a blogger who'll gladly do the honor of analyzing news content.” For free, may I add.

That, precisely, is the point. Unless tablets provide a platform to charge consumers for all content, no shiny new device will make old/new media profitable — at least until readers, who eagerly dished out hundreds of dollars for their gadgets, will consider rewarding those who produce the content they so eagerly click through (or copy/paste into their own blogs).

Joshua Benton, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab, shares this skepticism. “The iPad, as we know it today, doesn’t change any of the fundamental economics of news commerce...I didn’t see anything today that made me change my opinion that device-based dreams of a news deus ex machina are wishful thinking, and that the difficult revenue decisions will have to be made pan-platform.”

Nevertheless, at least three magazine publishers, Hearst, Condé Nast and Time, have already created mock-ups of their magazines for the Apple tablet. The New York Times Company is working on a tablet version of its newspaper; others will surely follow.

But old media turned new via tablets will have another important function: helping consumers wade through, organize and prioritize the vast amount of information available online. We need to come up with a formula that addresses media-flow-overload and information fatigue, caused by relentless, feverish “multitasking,” like reading a magazine on the iPad, writing a blog entry or comment on an iMac, texting or watching a YouTube video on the iPhone and listening to iTunes downloads on an iPod. (By the way, “multitasking” in my view is not reading and listening to music simultaneously, but reading and playing an instrument. But that is a separate post.)

Yes, tablets are the future of interactive media consumption. I want one, too. But I hope that the iPad will eventually do for written content what iTunes did for music: ensure that writers and editors will be rewarded for their work. Without us — the “content providers and developers” — even the nicest tablet will one day go dark.

Posted by: 
Tekla Szymanski


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