Tuesday, July 08, 2003


Welcome to my world, a world that doesn't exist but hopefully one day will. This is a world where I am editor-in-chief of a wonderful magazine. The name of the magazine is unknown as of now but it would be something inspiring, hopeful, joyous, refreshing, educational and celebratory. It would be a Slurpee on glossy paper.

The coverage is unimportant. It would obviously be interesting but not necessarily interesting in a mass audience way. Like the topics written about would be written about not because of popularity but because, as I mentioned, they would be interesting. That being said, if there was a popular subject we wanted to cover like a hot new buxom blonde pop singer, we would cover it from an unusual angle. We would make her shop for groceries or we would surf the web with her or we would make her work as a waitress in a busy, high traffic restaurant. But we would not let her show us her childhood home, or introduce us to her mom, or cruise with her in her new sportscar while pontificating on the hardship of success. No, we would do none of this. Because this has been done and will be done to death.

The most important and innovative thing about my magazine, though, would be the staff. People who don't take themselves too seriously. People who don't try so hard to be ironic or cool. People who respond to emails within the ten minutes that they get them. This last trait is the most important. I can't tell you how many unanswered emails I've sent to people at magazines. They all lie in the electronic limbo, unanswered, unloved like scorned children who have no choice but to live on the streets. Sounds pretty unfathomable, right? People I know, people I thought would write me back but don't actually write me back. You're shocked. Well, don't be. All the emails I send out have a 47% reply rate (even people I work with and I see in the hall). And if you're thinking that I write them too frequently or that perhaps I'm crowding the editorial staff; think again. I give them more room than the dictionary has words.

This above all frustrates me and if I desist from writing in this industry, it will be the uncooperative nature of the business, not the business itself.

My magazine office would be carefree and laid back. We will drink beer (in moderation) during the day. We will order pizzas for the staff, leaving off mushrooms if there was enough of a protest. We will sit around and tell stories and have brainstorm sessions and listen to each others' ideas and say "nice one" when we hear one we really like and we will smile and then head back to our cubes and start working on the "nice one." We will not ignore one another in the halls. We will ask the people sitting near us if they "want something because I'm about to order some lunch." Employees will look forward to work as they will look forward to putting every word on paper. Because they love to write and talk about music and movies and things. Its not the byline that matters to us (while in private we would admit that "it is pretty damn cool"). Mutual encouragement is a must and if the executive staff feels someone wasn't so nice, we would deduct from their paycheck. We are ruthless like that. This is not the New York Times. We are not trying to be, thank God because we value our morals, our sanity and our blood.

We will let personalities shine through. The magazines will not be an indistinguishable blob of snarky one-liners. If one writer is funnier than another, then that article will probably be funnier. But if one writer captures the essence of nostalgia better then his fellow writer does, than his piece will most likely feel more nostalgic. We encourage uniqueness. You are working at this magazine because we are individuals that make up a whole. Not a whole with indispensable parts. Now give me a hug.

Our issues will first come out monthly. And as we gain more interest, we would come out weekly. We think there is so many wonderful things in the world being ignored because it doesn't have enough mass appeal. So we will be the ones focusing on them. For example, I want an article on Sam Waterson and Jerry Orbach from Law & Order. All in favor, say "aye." Staff disapproves, we don't do it. If they do, then I am giddy with goosebumps.

Also, there is no need for hating. We are not in this business to make people cry even if they are famous and sometimes deserve to cry like J. Lo, for example. So, I say to my staff, if you have nothing nice to say, then say it in the nicest way possible. Moreover, our reviews will have conclusions. We have read too many critical pieces that leave us with a "huh?" at the end. Did the writer of this "huh-piece" like the book/movie/album/product/food etc? Because I've just read 500 words on it and I still have no clue.

Our philosophy would be idealistic. Everyone dismisses idealism saying, oh, that's so 1991. Well, hopefully, we would bring it back. We are not there to sell issues. Although, that would be nice. We would be there because we cared about this topic strongly enough to want to share it with our countless (or very countable) readers.

And anyone who deals with our magazine will never feel frustrated. I know how it feels all too well and it's not something I wish on others.

This is my magazine that doesn't exist and judging by how the magazine world functions now, it never will, either. But that being said, would you like to order a subscription?


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