Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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A Advertising Week interviewed Fast Company's Robert Safian and Cosmopolitan UK's Farrah Storr to gather insights about the magazine industry, how we got here, and where we're headed. Advertising Week Europe: How did you first get set on the trajectory of becoming an editor of a major publication? How'd you get here? Farrah Storr: My sister was a journalist on More Magazine and Loaded, back in the days when partying was as big a part of the job as writing. Being a pretentious English undergraduate I decided this was too 'shallow' a life for me, so instead went into sales and market- ing. I spent a year trying to convince bars and health food shops to stock a 'miraculous' fermented drink for a drinks company. It wasn't for me. Twelve months later I rethought a career in journalism and so did what everyone else in this industry did - work experience, work experience and more work experience. Robert Safian: I try not to plan too much. I didn't study journalism or write for my school paper. I've been very fortunate to find a vo- cation that continually excites me. I never set out to be a business journalist, but during my time at Fast Company, and before that at Fortune, Money, and Time, I've found business leaders to be astute, challenging, forward-looking subjects. Plus, the cultural and global impact of business has continued to grow. The intersection of busi- ness and culture just keeps getting richer. I've tried to keep following that string. AWE: In your time as an editor, what's surprised you most about the job and about your readers? FS: I always go home to my husband and wax lyrical about how 'cool' Cosmopolitan readers are. They are really smart, liberal women and men (we have a sizeable male readership) who are true pro-sex feminists. We live in a world of fainting couch outrage and new-PC- suffocation, and that's a problem if you're an editor. Thankfully I never feel censored by what our readers will think when we're coming up with content for the magazine. They understand that part of being an intelligent, grown-up product is occasionally having dangerous, slightly contentious journalism and points of view. RS: Traditional business coverage has become predictable, and as a result the audience for it stagnated. But the pool of people interested in how business is changing the world is growing. It is young and dynamic and mission-driven. Tapping into that community has been so grati- fying. Their passion for the content we produce is almost cult-like. The publishing business can be a tough business. For a long time, many wondered if the magazine industry would survive the digital era. But as digital magazines forced their way into the equation, and traditional print publications got savvy with new technologies, many in the publication world charged full steam ahead and haven't yet looked back since. "I'm never happier than when I've got a four-hour window in my diary, a pile of copy to read and a steady flow of strong English breakfast tea." Farrah Storr AWE 2017 249

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