Reversing the Pattern: Hiring E-Editors for Print
Many editors are struggling with the shift from print to online. For two new Interweave Press editors, the learning curve is reversed.
Interweave has tapped Kim Werker, founder of online magazine CrochetMe (www.crochetme.com) and blogger Eunny Jang (www.eunnyjang.com) as the editors of Interweave Crochet and Interweave Knits, respectively. While neither has print magazine experience, they are tasked with managing content in the magazines and driving a multi-platform approach.
Werker will oversee the development of Interweave Crochet from a twice-per-year SIP to a quarterly subscription magazine. Jang takes over an established 10-year-old print title in Interweave Knits.
It’s part of Interweave’s shift to being a multi-platform publisher. "As publisher of both magazines and all the multimedia associated with those magazines, I’m looking beyond the print," says Marilyn Murphy, Interweave Press president and Fiber Media group publisher. "We’re looking for people who are passionate and skillful in crafts. Both had a strong enthusiast following, with Eunny in the blogosphere and Kim with the crochet site. We saw what they’re creating and how that could translate to our products. We had a sense of their passion, and their communication ability, and how closely aligned they were with Interweave content, whether that’s in print, online, podcasts, video, or blogging."
Both Werker and Jang had existing relationships with Interweave as book authors. "We didn’t conceive of these positions as strictly print editors," says Murphy. "All the way through the conversation, we talked multi-platform from the get-go and how that could be integrated with a broader market reach. Both of them ﾑget’ multi-platform content. They didn’t think only print, and asked me many more questions upfront about how Interweave was planning to grow, because they wanted to be part of something much larger than a print magazine."
The biggest online initiative for the group will be the Knitting Daily Hub, which launched last month. Interweave will offer content, editorial, a daily newsletter, blogs, podcasts, and tips and techniques. In 2008, Interweave will re-launch a TV show it acquired called NeedleArts Studio TV that will be re-named Knitting Daily TV. Both Werker and Jang will be regular contributors to the program.
"It was clear that I needed an editor fully focused on growth, particularly growing Interweave Crochet in print because we’re taking it to frequency with the fall issue," says Murphy. "In essence, that’s a new position because we had been working on contract with different people from issue to issue."
Transitioning to Print
The two editors are having to learn the print business, including lead times and coordinating with other disciplines. "Kim has been there a little longer, and has had one magazine come in and go out the door, while Eunny is still working on her first one," says Murphy. "The biggest learning curve came when they saw how the entire magazine world operated. It’s not as fast as online, and there are many more processes and layers;there needs to be an understanding of circulation, of advertising. That’s a significant area for both of them, because they’ve primarily dealt with the content-side online versus what needs to happen with the magazine."
While Werker says the process between print and online is similar in what it takes to be an editor;soliciting content, working with contributors;there are some significant procedural differences.
"The differences for me come in three major ways," says Werker. "The first is page-space. Online I have unlimited space and can run an unlimited number of photos to support content. In print we need to allow ourselves to communicate as effectively as possible within the limitations of the space. The second is lead time. Online, I have zero lead time or lead time of a week or two. In print we’re planning months, if not a year ahead."
Third, according to Werker, is division of labor. "Online, I was doing 95 percent of the work," she adds. "I was working with technical editors but beyond that I was doing the editing, the layout, re-sizing images. In a print publication, there are dozens of people involved with producing an issue. I find that fascinating and still a bit mysterious."
Going forward, Werker wants to combine the history of the print with the online platform. "We want to repurpose older content so we can tie issues together," she adds. "Rather than have readers view each issue of the magazine on its own, we would like them to see each volume as a growing compendium of information."
Jang assures readers she won’t be departing from the print elements they like. "People need to realize the things readers know will stay the same," she says. "This appointment doesn’t mean there will be all these crazy things that will alienate people who aren’t as up to speed. The editorial things people love will stay the same."
Still, both editors will be bringing an e-focus to their respective brands. "Things are a little up in the air right now but we want to establish a consistent voice and we want to open up the dialogue with readers," says Werker.
Both editors are hoping to have a blogging interface with the products online. "We’re used to hearing it from every direction on the blogs and from having an online newsletter," says Werker. "Over the next couple of months, we’ll figure exactly what we’ll do with crochet that will bridge knittingdaily.com and interweavecrochet.com."