The media landscape is quickly changing (blink and you’ll probably be left behind), and I am lucky enough to say that I have been along for the ride. I started my career working at Time for the magazine’s quarterly style supplement, moved on to work at Forbes for both print and online covering women’s issues, and now am working at StyleCaster Media Group, recently acquired by SheKnows, covering all things fashion and lifestyle for online.
Indicating how much things have changed in recent years, a majority of our readers are now getting to our site via their mobile phones—and coming to our stories not via the homepage, but via social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest. Yes, it’s a vastly different landscape from going to the newsstand, and picking up a magazine issue based on who is on the cover.
I’m constantly asked what’s the difference between working for print versus working for online. Yes, there are a lot of differences—but there is also one key similarity—no matter what form of media you are working in, your key aim is to inform your readers about issues that they care about. Both with online and in print you are tasked with coming up with a unique voice, and your reader is king.
The differences on how content comes to be in the two mediums though, are many. Working at magazines, I was accustomed to deadlines that would span several months. Several editors would edit stories I penned, then the story would be copy edited, and then put through a final round of editing. Now, working online, it isn’t uncommon to be under pressure to get a breaking news story up in a matter of minutes.
By in large, working for online these days also means inhabiting a variety of roles—I am the photo editor, social media editor, and writer of my stories. Wearing a variety of hats means thinking about stories beyond just text. For instance, how would something play on Instagram? Or, what photo is really going to get someone to click on a story?
Another key difference between working online versus in print? Instant knowledge of what our readers are responding to, and what they aren’t. Wonder why so many outlets cover Kim Kardashian ad nauseam? It’s simple—people are clicking and reading that content in droves.
What I miss most about working for a magazine is the time that was put into brainstorming, the time I had to mull over a story, and how much thought is put into each and every page. What I love about online is the speed, the ability to be at the forefront of a story, and the instant ability to interact with readers.
Time will tell just how much things evolve beyond where we are now. I wouldn’t be surprised if being an Instagram editor becomes a common job or if websites evolve into social media platforms entirely, and there are most certainly things coming down the pike that I have yet to imagine. Still, whatever happens, there is that print journalist part of me that always hopes there will be magazines for me to pick and peruse through, because there is nothing quite like it.