Professor Elena Donovan Mauer is the Deputy Editor of The Bump, where she works with top writers, OB-GYNs, pediatricians and other industry leaders to deliver high-quality fertility, pregnancy and parenting information to millions of expectant and new parents. Professor Mauer is responsible for all editorial for The Bump magazines, a large network of local pregnancy and parenting print publications. Online, she’s launched several highly popular pregnancy and parenting tools and apps, and she top-edits all new content. Before she joined The Bump, Professor Mauer was Senior Editor of iVillage Pregnancy + Parenting, where she edited news and health content.
She’s also been an editor at Condé Nast, Bridal Guide and Hearst magazines and has freelanced for a wide variety of magazines and websites. She’s coauthored three books on weddings and relationships. Professor Mauer is an alumna of the Pace MS in Publishing Program and holds a BA in English from The Pennsylvania State University.
Media Trends: How Magazine Editing is Changing
by Elena Mauer
I’ve been working as a magazine editor for over a decade now, since graduating from the Publishing Program in 2012, and while media is always changing, it may be now, more rapidly than ever. Here are some observations I’ve had most recently on how the magazine industry is changing from an editorial perspective that I’d love to share with you all. It’s very exciting to be a part of all of this!
A magazine isn’t just a form of media—it’s a brand.
A magazine isn’t just one “book.” It’s an Instagram account, a beauty product, an app, a trade show, an online community or a TV show, too. Magazines have always produced ancillary products but it seems like now, more than ever, the other products aren’t just extensions of the magazine, they can be equal (and in some cases, greater) parts of the multimedia experience for the reader.
Print editors are jacks-of-all-trades.
There used to be separate departments for “web editors” and “magazine editors,” but many editors now do double duty, creating content for both web and print. Magazine editors may blog, edit online stories, create content for apps, help develop online tools and work on digitizing print editions. I’ve even worked on developing branded books for The Bump. There’s less pigeonholing and more collaboration going on between mediums. Print editors who want to keep their careers on the upswing are seeking out more web and technology experience. Web can be much faster-paced than print, so for many, it’s a big change.
Editors are doing their own social media.
Editors may be asked to tweet or post status updates on behalf of their brands, and they may post from their own accounts, too. Just as they act as experts on the Today show or the local news about the topic they cover for the magazine, they’re experts on their Twitter and Instagram accounts, too. You can follow some editors to catch a behind-the-scene glimpse of photo shoots and fashion shows, or see what products they love at trade shows. They may also post links to the articles they’ve written and edited recently to drive traffic to their publication’s website or digital issue.
They’re repurposing content from print to web and vice versa.
In the past it seemed that most online content would either be web-only or that it would show up in a magazine issue first and then later be published on the publication’s website. But now, content that’s popular online can
be adapted and reused in print editions. When I plan The Bump magazine, I use a mix of existing online content and new articles. Many of the new articles eventually get published online. When using the same articles for different mediums, adaptation needs to happen. For example, a magazine article may have a headline that’s a play on words or that works alongside carefully selected artwork. But when we run it online, it needs to be more straightforward and attention getting. An article may be called “Ace the Tests” in print, and “10 Prenatal Tests You Need to Consider” online. Articles may run at different lengths, with different supplemental information, such a sidebar or product images, when they’re published in different places. Something that ran in print may need to change or have a more interactive quality or links to related content to make it work online. This can mean working with an online producer or even the website’s tech team, which is where a deep knowledge of how readers use the web can be a huge advantage.
Magazine issues have gone digital.
At The Bump, we use a service called ISSUU to digitize our magazines and make them available on our website and on ISSUU’s site for free. Some magazines are digitizing their issues and making them available for purchase through online and app stores. Readers can view the issues on their desktop, smartphone, tablet or e-reader and often experience extras such as video content. This is desirable for advertisers, since their ads may have the ability to reach more readers. They may also be able to create a more interactive advertising experience. Digital editions are an exciting endeavor for editors to get creative in more ways than just with words and photos or illustrations, so it’s challenging in a really good way.
Professor Mauer has been teaching Magazine Writing and Editing, Editorial Principles and Practices, and Specialized Publications at Pace since 2008.