I only got around to reading this Woman's Day feature yesterday (it's from the June 1 edition) while waiting at the dentist (as you do), but thought fans of Lisa Wilkinson might enjoy it. Obviously, it's a puff piece, as she hosts Today, which is broadcast on Nine, which also owns ACP, publisher of Woman's Day (just like New Idea loves a good Joanna Griggs story).
Speaking to students last week, I said that anyone with aspirations to be an editor at 21 (Lisa was editor of Dolly at that age before moving onto Cleo) or even 24 (Mia Freedman took the Cosmo top job at that age) needs to consider that these women were ACP prodigies and very much a product of their time and circumstance.
Similarly, Sarah Oakes, current editor of Cleo, was able to launch Total Girl magazine at Pacific (for which she was to become the youngest MPA Editor of the Year) at a time when the Tween market was lacking a strong girl title, celebrities like Hilary Duff were branding everything from DVDs to undies and Tweens were only just starting to discover the web. Her publishing passion was ripe for the Zeitgeist.
These women also edited their respective magazines in the heyday of the glossy – no gossip, celebrity, fashion or women's websites to compete with. And ACP supremo Kerry Packer loved his girls as much as his cricket (my understanding is that the mood at ACP is currently not as conducive to wide-eyed creativity and outlandish editorial visions). But clearly they were doing something right, which resonated with their readerships. And their dogged ambition was matched by their sturdy work ethic.
Speaking to Woman's Day, Lisa, now 49, says: "People like us are not going to take things for granted. We know the value of a pay cheque, and employers love that... I think that if I had all those connections and that security, I would never have answered an ad in the paper for a Girl Friday at Dolly magazine. I might have thought I was too good to make coffee for everybody and do everything. Maybe I wouldn't have understood what was good about standing on the bottom rung of the ladder and looking up to where I wanted to be."
I really hope that publishers can see past the bottom line over coming years to embrace young editors with the spunk and savvy to create, or re-create, fabulous magazines (with their associated websites, blogs and TV shows, of course). As such, Katie Grand and Conde Nast's LOVE is encouragement enough for now.
Girl With a Satchel
Posted by Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) at Friday, June 05, 2009