Clay Felker, the visionary founder of New York, died in July 2008 at the age of 82. He was the most influential editor of his generation. Today it’s hard to envision a magazine—or a newspaper—that doesn’t report, write and package stories using Felker techniques.
Articles by John Brady
Magazine editing is not a job. It’s a calling. Like barbecue experts, most editors are self-proclaimed. Very few graduate from journalism school where they majored in magazine editing and come up through the editorial ranks.
Newsweek raised a few editorial brows recently with an issue (June 15) edited by Stephen Colbert, the political satirist who plays an egomaniacal right-wing talk-show host on Comedy Central.
You can only go so far with online research and e-mail press release-style information. In order to invigorate stories, you have to work the phones and set up interviews with leading players in the field. Here is an overview for quick action.
One of my favorite magazines used to be Esquire. I just wish I could read more of it. For me, the text type is often too small, the lines too lengthy. And then there are the blocks of weenie reversed-out type. Readability be damned. This is art direction for art director’s sake.
Readers like success stories—and, boy, do we need them now. What are the elements of success? Foremost, hard work. Success is generally considered an impressive achievement when something turns out as planned or intended, and someone attains wealth, fame or power.
Let’s say you are editor-in-chief at Blacksmith Monthly, and the publisher asks you to train a new recruit. How do you go about the task of assigning and editing a story? Let us count the ways.
The frugal editor isn’t cheap. Just cautious—about all the right things.
As talk of a downturn affects projections and planning, let us all remember that Fortune, perhaps the greatest business magazine of all, was launched in February 1930, four months after the Wall Street crash of 1929 that marked the outset of the Great Depression.
Repetition is part of any magazine’s DNA, especially if you are news-driven and have to follow key players who ARE the story. Michael Jordan was on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than 30 times, for instance, and Tiger Woods may break that record before he hangs up his clubs.