Media Talk: Sigh, newspapers can be such a pain

Media Talk: Newspapers can be such a pain

"Even though it’s our job [and one we love, on most days!] to read newspapers, Mediaweek is getting close to cancelling print subscriptions. But not because there is a better digital alternative – there’s not, except at The Age. We are growing weary of the papers arriving after we go to work, of climbing around the front of our property in the dark looking for them, of having to unroll acres of plastic and we are tired of not being able to read inserted glossy magazines without having them curl up into a little tube every time we let go of them." 

- James Manning, editor, Mediaweek newsletter, 31 March 2011, reflecting the sentiment shared by Bob Wells of The Boulder Reporter, and Gen-Y comedian Josh Thomas, who told Good Weekend last year about why he cancelled his newspaper sub: "I thought I should read The Age and be engaged with the world. But they come every single day. Every single day! I hadn't realised what a commitment it was!".

GWAS, who does not own an iPad, I might add, thoroughly enjoyed reading The Australian at the doctor's surgery yesterday: 'Strewth' and 'Cut & Paste' produced a few chortling cackles, which had to be stifled in the waiting room, and Ricky Ponting's farewell letter was a nice opening touch.

Girl With a Satchel

Digital Talk: Compassion's new social marketing campaign

Digital Talk: Compassion's new social marketing campaign 



The best cure for a case of the first-world miseries is to think of those less fortunate; better still to do something proactive with those thoughts. Compassion Australia last week sent out a 'think CHILDREN' booklet to child sponsors, which contains activities to help sponsors and their families better understand the plight of their Compassion children (the organisation currently has 91,706 children under is wings). The booklet is just one part of the organisation's new marketing strategy.

"In February this year, Compassion Australia launched two new marketing campaigns: 'i believe' and 'think CHILDREN'," says communications manager Catherine Ryan. "The aim of the 'think CHILDREN' campaign is to bring people back to the heart of Compassion’s ministry: releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. The 'i believe' campaign challenges supporters on the issues, causes and prevention of child mortality."

Glossy Covers: Peppermint is rather lovely

Glossy Covers: Peppermint is rather lovely

"The model/lady is Amanda Rootsey," says Peppermint editor Kelley Sheenan of her autumn issue cover girl. "Her hair/bird is drawn by Kelly Thompson. Amanda had cancer at the time and no hair but still wanted to go ahead, so we decided on a mixed media image to make it happen for her. Amanda also did a lot with the Queensland floods, donating time and food to help feed many hundreds of people, which was nice seeing as we had the Baked Relief/floods feature. The result is gorgeous (so we think anyway!)."

We think so too! And the goodness doesn't stop with the cover: the magazine, produced in Brisbane, has fashion spreads devoted to Akira Isogawa and Laura Ashley/People Tree, dessert creator Skye Craig, human rights activist/Operation Angel founder Jacqueline Pascal, Baked Relief's Danielle Crismani, Janet E Leach's firt-hand account of the Brisbane floods, Dr David Suzuki, Ink & Spindle's Lara Cameron in her home, bunny illustrations, sweet, girlie fashions and a spread on coffee. It's pretty, its paper smells nice and the content's rather wholesome. Good read, good deed.

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: Australian Traveller's editor talks shop (and Oprah)

Glossy Talk: Australian Traveller's editor talks shop (and Oprah)

Newsagents are the biz right now. Following on from last week's Reader's Digest newsagent campaign, my guy, Gav, blogger Mark Fletcher and their newsagent cohorts are being supported by Australian Traveller magazine (and vice versa) with a new campaign. The magazine's editor, Elisabeth Knowles enlightens us...   

What's behind the newsagent campaign? The majority of our mags are sold through newsagents and so we see them as a key partner in our business, and because this is our biggest issue of the year we really need their support. Anything that can help drive sales through newsagents is good for both our business and theirs.

Glossy Covers: Magda Szubanski lands third Weekly cover

Glossy Covers: Magda Szubanski lands third Weekly cover
The Australian Women's Weekly: April issue. My copy has little Prince Willie in the corner!
As I pen this post, Paula Abdul's "Promise of a New Day" is on the radio. How apt! Magda Suzbanski is now an (almost) annual cover fixture for The Australian Women's Weekly, which has been tracking her metamorphosis from bubbly-tubby Kath & Kim comedienne to weight-loss pin-up over the past four years (her first cover March 2008; her second August 2009). What we find in this issue is a lighter (metaphorically speaking), freer Szubanski, on the cusp of her 50th birthday, who is unaffected by others' perceptions of how she looks.

The Digital Gloss Files


...with Margaret Tran

Women rule the internet. At least according to Aileen Lee's analysis on TechCrunch, and it's one firmly backed by all social networking sites (which have a tendency to make up most internet activity). Looking at the "four of the new 'horsemen' of the consumer web, Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and Twitter... the majority of all four properties' users are female." According to an early Facebook team member, "women played a key role in the early days by adopting three core activities – posting to walls, adding photos and joining groups – at a much higher rate than males."

On the other hand, full-time blogger, Tim Donnelly, asks "where have all the dude blogs gone?" With the internet proliferating all the lady bloggers, Donnelly says that "just because bros throughout history have made a mess of things, repressed women, minorities, immigrants and the gaze doesn't mean there aren't those of us out there who have moved beyond all that and harbor modern-day issues just as complex as the girls". Dear super amazing writers whom happen to be the biological male sex, Please assist in this apparent gender imbalance on le internets.

In Washington, a wave of prolific bloggers come of age in light of a relentless new media era. A 'Juicebox Mafia' of male bloggers (aha!) were merely sharing their opinions online before being recruited by traditional media outlets like The Washington Times and cable news channel, MSNBC. Indeed, it highlights a rising generation of content makers who "rerouted the aspirations of young journalists... for whom a job in print media was once the holy grail."

Photo by Matt Roth for The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal has launched single issue downloads through iPad... and that sound you hear is Apple taking their 30% share of all WSJ sales made through the App Store. Fun, fun, fun.

Speaking of apps, Ninemsn and Nine News have released an iPhone app called Nine Newsbreak for consumers to contribute to their own news. Oh. But what about the Android and Blackberry users? *sadface* That said, one wonders if the new Australian shield laws also extend to any citizen journos who emerge as a result of this app.

Media Week has compiled the top mobile magazine innovations for the year so far. Granted, we're barely three months into 2011, but every media junkie and their goat knows how fast technology goes.

The Guardian has appointed its first mobile editor, Subhajit Banerjee, who'll look after content and news across The Guardian's suite of apps and mobile sites, as well as blog about technology.

Still on newspapers and mobile, The Poynter Institute dissects the New York Times' subscription plan – and, hey, lookie! It promotes mobile technologies, not necessarily print revenue, as many would believe. By targeting consumers via mobile devices, they're still aiming to retain their readership and audience – and will possibly even *gasp* circumvent Apple's 30% cut for every NY Times app subscriber.

As if that isn't enough, here are three ways Twitter could make newspapers obsolete (via Media Bistro).


But there's still hope! News portals are fast climbing the ranks of capturing consumer attention, according to Roy Morgan research on internet usage. While Google and Facebook took out the top spots, Telstra, news.com.au and sites under Fairfax Digital were not far behind in the list of sites Australians visited the most last quarter of 2010. Andrew Braun, director of mobile, internet and technology for Roy Morgan believes, "this may indicate Australians' desire for familiarity and trust when choosing content to consume."

Community managers are also being primed into the news industry, with Media Bistro outlining the case to consider such a role in engaging the dynamic audiences of today. Newspapers, take note!

The folks at Paid Content commiserate over the difficulties in monetising video content. Fickle consumers, might you assist in shedding light on this conundrum?

The first issue of Google's online magazine THINK Quarterly has emerged. This magazine is so delicious that I actually want it in tangible print. The cool flipbook bit of the site (a.k.a the only thing that pays homage to the traditional magazine form) will unfortunately not run on mobile Apple devices like the iPad, seeing as Steve Jobs is rather frowny-face when it comes to Flash software. Le sigh: why is life so hard, Mr Jobs?

Media Talk: Mike Colman, News Limited sports journalist

Media Talk: Mike Colman, News Limited sports journalist

"I've always told my children when choosing a profession that the best thing they can do is find something they would happily do for free, and get someone to pay them to do it. I remember when I was not all that much older than you girls, sitting in my favourite position – in front of the TV watching sport – and my father saying to me, 'What are you going to do with your life? No-one's ever going to pay you to watch sport, you know." Well, I sure showed him. For the past 25 years or so I've been paid to watch some of the best sport and the best sports men and women in the world...My favourite current athletes are two Queensland women, swimmer Jessica Schipper – who just gets in and does the job without any fuss and never gets her picture in the glossy magazines like some of her high-profile team-mates...and cyclist Anna Meares who is the toughest competitor I've ever seen."

Mike Colman, News Limited columnist (The Courier Mail, The Sunday Mail), 4BC commentator, Australian Sports Commission Print Journalist of the Year 2010 and father of three girls, speaking at the St Michael's College Year 8 Father Daughter Breakfast (spotted by GWAS in the school's excellent newsletter, The Spirit, today).

Meanwhile, Aussie cricket captain Ricky Ponting throws in the towel, saying, "I'm a big boy and I know when it's my time and when it's my place...I'm around for advice if needed", and makes Michael Clarke's day.

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Covers: One Elizabeth Taylor, three glossy covers

Glossy Covers: Elizabeth Taylor covers Woman's Day, New Idea, Grazia

This week, the glossip magazines are paying tribute to the late Elizabeth Taylor with covers depicting her in her prime. But even into her latter years, her famous face was being used to sell product. "Elizabeth Taylor was not only a much-married Oscar-winning actor: she was also a star in the area of product-placement tie-ins between marketers and media companies," writes Neil Shoebridge in The Australian Financial Review, noting that Taylor made four TV appearances in 1996 tied into the promotion of her Black Pearls perfume for Elizabeth Arden.

Media Talk: Libbi Gorr on Annabel Crabb

Media Talk: Libbi Gorr on Annabel Crabb

"I am a great admirer of Annabel. Whilst presenting quite properly, she has an appealing touch of subversiveness. She has a sharpness of mind and unruliness of hair that strikes a chord within me, too."
 - Libbi Gorr – writer/broadcaster/creative producer/author of The A to Z of Mummy Manners – answers Caroline Overington's 10 Questions in The Australian today, giving credit to working mums like Crabb, while elucidating her experience of reporting on the Victorian bushfires for the ABC.

Girl Crush: Chie Duncan, Tokyo

Girl Crush: Chie Duncan, Tokyo

Chie Duncan, the itty-bitty-pretty Tokyo based designer, seamstress, blogger and mum-to-be jumped into my inbox this week and reminded me that even at times of distress and loss, there is new life and hope to be found. On her blog, VivaVeritas.blogspot.com, Chie takes us through her pregnancy journey (she's now 36 weeks in) and talks about maternity styling (not an elasticised jean in sight!). She has a lovely, gentle way with words, which reflects her unashamedly girlish clothing line, and her faith, but owes nothing, she says, to the journalism major she undertook at university.

Book Shelf: Grown-up picture books (for gifting to girlfriends)

Book Shelf: Grown-up picture books (for gifting to girlfriends)

A carefully chosen book for just the right occasion – birthday, Mother's Day, down day – or gesture (thank you, thinking of you, you make me happy) is my favourite gift to give the women in my life, more so the type of 'frivolous' book a frugal lady might not buy for herself in such uncertain financial, geo-political and environmental times, and much less when many are without homes let alone the trimmings. There is still room for appreciation, so these are three new arrivals on my 'gifting for girlfriends' list which bear good cheer in pretty packaging...

Faith Talk: What you value = what you nurture

Faith Talk: What you value = what you nurture

"If you don't know the value of a thing, you will abuse a thing." Christine Caine, A21, Hillsong Colour Your World Conference

Glossy Talk: Enhance magazine's enchanted nook

Glossy Talk: Enhance magazine's enchanted nook


Enhance magazine's display at Colour Conference caught my eye, so I signed up for a subscription, scoring myself a cute tee in the process. A glimpse into the autumn issue to come!

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Covers: Elizabeth Taylor Tributes

Glossy Covers: Elizabeth Taylor Tributes

As the tributes for Elizabeth Taylor roll in around the net, Business Insider has published 14 of the movie star's magazine covers, including this Cosmopolitan from August 1961. Her tumultuous Bold and the Beautiful personal life, including eight marriages to seven men, provided the sort of tabloid fodder modern celebrity media and reality television is made of, creating a template for the modern tragi-narrative: the proverbial childhood ugly duckling who became a swan but whose extraordinary beauty, fame and wealth could not shield her from the vagaries of life.

Girl Talk: This column made me cry

Girl Talk: This column made me cry...

REVIVAL: Party Favours


Two dollar shops and their ilk can end up being strangely expensive places to shop. A friend once went to a local two dollar shop to buy an assortment of party favours and ended up spending over $60. You see, really cheap party favours generally look really cheap, so you feel obliged to put at least three or four items into each party bag just to make the whole thing look half-decent. And it all adds up.

Many of the items don’t even do what they’re supposed to do. The recorders play only one note, the erasers don’t erase, the yo-yos aren’t possessed of enough weight to roll themselves back up their strings. It’s as if the manufacturers never even intended for these products to work, let alone last. And this – more than the cost – is what strikes me as obscene. It’s just a quick buck for them, a passing thrill for the kids, then a lifetime in landfill.

Glossy Talk: DOLLY Respect Day; Girlfriend Compliments Day

Glossy Talk: DOLLY Respect Day; Girlfriend Compliments Day, April 15

Teens with pocket money to spend on the glossies face a conundrum on the newsstands this month: Justin Bieber fronted bonus Poster Book (DOLLY) or Justin Bieber flip-cover + a Blue Juice watch (Girlfriend)? Oh my Biebers. But what's more, the teen magazines have launched respective campaigns scheduled for the same day. Girlfriend's National Compliments Day (an offshoot of its Self Respect campaign: tagline 'Think. Do. Be. Positive') and DOLLY's Respect Day (tagline: 'Give It Get It Expect It') are both diarised for Friday April 15. The campaigns support the Australian Government's mental health campaign, The Line.

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: Girlfriend of the Year competition

Glossy Talk: Girlfriend of the Year competition


Girlfriend of the Year is one of my favourite glossy competitions, though it isn't given as much attention as the magazine's Model Search, which is a shame, though we can't be hating on the pretty girls. Which is not to say the lovely ladies above aren't blessed in the looks department; it's just their ambitions, brains, talents and passions are at the forefront of why they're smiling, which is a more feministy idea, isn't it?

Glossy Talk: Readers Digest & The Power of Good

Glossy Talk: Readers Digest & 'The Power of Good'

Readers Digest Australia has teamed up with The 7pm Project to spread the good news in a 'kindness revolution' taking place across print, TV, online and in newsagents, a timely proposition if ever there was one.

"The Power of Good came out of a very popular column I've been running in Reader's Digest tagged 'Kindness of Strangers'," says editor-in-chief Sue Carney. "Readers tell us about small acts of kindness in everyday life. Late last year we got together with Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research to survey Australians about kindness and just how important it is to them. The results were astounding."

The Digital Gloss Files


...with Margaret Tran

So. Rebecca Black. Apart from achieving the kind of fame and recognition aspiring singers could hope for, the 13-year-old's permeation through every social medium and, ultimately, the pop cultural consciousness has proven an extreme lesson in how the industry has changed. Indeed, her story calls to mind another teenager who found fame online.

To put things in perspective, Black's earworm of a video has clocked in at over 33 million views and is rapidly rising. This puts her ahead of Lady Gaga's video for her latest single Born This Way, which has just over 23 million views. One can only imagine where things can go from here with more and more people joining social networks and sharing everything they absorb online.

Video courtesy of trizzy66

Twitter has celebrated its 5th birthday. Fun! Fun! Fun! The Guardian's list of 100 Most Followed Tweeters includes Lady Gaga (8,914,965 followers), Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian in the top 5. In celebration of its big day, Twitter created a new website and YouTube video featuring prominent users, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Martha Stewart, Piers Morgan, Rachel Zoe and Snoop Dogg (see it after the jump).

Faith Talk: I came, I saw, I Hillsonged, tra la!

Faith Talk: I came, I saw, I Hillsonged, tra la!

Bobbie Houston is like the Olivia Newton John of the Australian Christian community; all chirpy and blonde bobbed, the girlishly-pretty-at-53 Kiwi native has the warm and friendly demeanour of our Livvy, but peppers her speech with "Hallelujahs", "Praise the Lords", "Thank you, Jesus'" and "Amens". Her Twitter feed, with its 33,000+ strong following, is similarly garnished with girlie affirmations ("Always & forever friends!") and glossy neologisms ("Just sayin'", "OMGOODNESS!", "Yay!", "Wow-wee!"). Her chic wardrobe of billowy tops, skinny-leg pants and funky boots wouldn't look out of place on a Women's Weekly shoot; her face in a L'Oreal campaign. Time, and undoubtedly clean living, has been very kind to this lady.

Over the weekend, Houston hosted the annual Hillsong Colour Your World Women's Conference, a gathering of 10,000 women from 19 denominations and 33 nations at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. That's a lot of oestrogen in one place. Thanks to a friend who secured me a ticket (they are pricey), I was in the audience. Mostly up in the rafters.

Glossy Covers: Adele (le smoking) for The Gentlewoman

Glossy Covers: Adele (le smoking) for The Gentlewoman, Issue 3
c/o The Collette Team, Paris
Cigarette aside (cancer sticks are cool? I don't think so), singer Adele Adkins makes a beautiful cover muse in CĂ©line for The Gentlewoman, Issue 3. We are told this edition is, "An extravaganza of female politics, power and good looks...[with] in-depth interviews with the opinionated, passionate women who are taking the international stage: singer Adele Adkins, writer Fatima Bhutto, activist Mabel van Oranje, cosmetic dermatologist Dr Frances Prenna Jones, Colette’s creative director Sarah and artist Germaine Kruip."

Girl With a Satchel

Faith Talk: "I'll have what she's having"

Faith Talk: "I'll have what she's having"

"The mark of good friendship isn't that one feels no pain or unpleasant emotion: we simply can't control everything we feel no matter how hard we try. Rather, it is that we don't allow these emotions to enter the realm of deeds and consume a relationship entirely... Where longing becomes a feeling of envy, someone is transformed from a friend into a rival who possesses a good for which there is competition. At the same time, success demands of someone that they should always be humble. A good friend doesn't belittle their mate or rub salt into the wound of inferiority...it is the mark of maturity that we are able to put aside our own vanities and anxieties and celebrate the accomplishments of those we call our friends."
'We should not let our anxieties kill friendship' by Tim Southphommasane, 'Ask the Philosopher', The Weekend Australian.  

Glossy Covers: Pssst... est magazine is coming soon

Glossy Covers: Pssst... est magazine is coming soon


Interior stylist and writer Sian MacPherson and graphic designer and digital imager Lynda Evans are soon to publish the first edition of Est, a quarterly design magazine that "eliminates the need for traditional storage, provides a user-friendly resource and offers a choice of two separate versions – a free magazine, and a more comprehensive app available for purchase in iTunes".

Media Talk: Fairfax Magazines' Lisa Hudson

Media Talk: Fairfax Magazines' Lisa Hudson

"Our magazines have a strong position in the market – they offer the best of both worlds: beautiful design and high product values; but importantly premium content, thought-provoking editorial and quality journalism. That's a proud tradition of Fairfax Media that flows right through the company, from our newspapers, to our websites and, of course, to our magazines...We engage with these smart, affluent people and they come back to us because we give them content that is relevant and makes them think. They are seeking out information to learn, to question their viewpoint and to stimulate their thoughts and they love that. They really are demanding, and we enjoy that about them and rise to the challenge of that, and in fact welcome that."
Lisa Hudson, chief executive and publisher of Fairfax Magazines, publisher of newspaper inserted magazines Good Weekend, the(sydney) magazine, the(melbourne) magazine and Sunday Life, on 'Defining Values' c/o Mediaweek

See also: 

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Covers: Julia Stone for yen magazine

Glossy Covers: Julia Stone for yen magazine


On a flight home yesterday, I sat next to a lovely woman named Karen who has worked in HR and I.T. and is now a full-time mum. We got talking about careers, amongst other things, but more pointedly how many career paths remain hidden to us until we leave school/university and get out into the world and meet people who've taken the road less travelled. 

Glossy Talk: KAREN magazine's Marian Simms

Glossy Talk: KAREN magazine's Marian Simms

"There is no "one bit of advice". You need many skills not only to get in, you need to survive it right now, and that needs to change. Learn about being a woman, take time to spend with women you admire. Know yourself and be clear about what is unique to you, that the world will benefit your sharing. Find your own expression and style. Rather than trying to impress people, relax into being humble and grateful for every opening and connect with people authentically. Your path will take care of itself with great people and a clear intention. Hard work and discipline will serve you well. And, finally, be true to yourself. It is time for the media to have more integrity and we need our young innovators to bring this with them. I feel media, especially women's mags, have no more room for damage. We need love and support now." 
KAREN magazine editor Marian Simms' advice to young journalists (be still my heart!). Marian shared this with me last week in light of the birth of her baby girl, Uma Valentina. Bless.

Girl With a Satchel

GWAS Notes: Whimsical Morning, Newport Beach

GWAS Notes: Lee Mathews, Newport Beach
Lee Mathews store front, Newport Beach
A bit of whimsy on my morning stroll with Mother Satchel in Newport, stopping by the Lee Mathews store before coffee at Zubi (best in town, apparently) and opening up The Sydney Morning Herald (unashamedly flicking straight to the Essential Style section)...

Pop Talk: The Icarus Effect

Pop Talk: The Icarus Effect

"Is there any wisdom to draw from the car crash called Charlie Sheen? In all of us — or nearly all of us — there's a little voice that tells us that our life would be better if we were paid $1 million a week. That life would be better if our partner carried out our every order instead of arguing the toss. That life would be better if we could just binge on our favourite drug, whether it be grog, food, self-obsession or something illegal. Charlie Sheen shows us what happens when someone is allowed, as he puts it, to be "grandiose", to live without restraint of any kind."
Richard Glover, "The Icarus Effect", Spectrum, The Sydney Morning Herald

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Covers: Dumbo feather...pass it on (Issue #27)

Glossy Covers: Dumbo feather...pass it on (Issue #27)

Yesterday I was thinking, "What I would really love to see on a magazine cover, or in an advertisement trying to sell me stuff, is real women doing real women things... an image that says, 'I appreciate that you are multi-faceted', like Tina Fey sitting under her desk in the American Express campaign". And, ta-da! Dumbo feather's latest offering hits my inbox/Facebook. Un-bloody-real. My glossy dreams continue to come true. I am buying 10 copies...or at least one. 

Issue #27 is out April 1 with a new look courtesy of Chase & Galley, beautiful new paper stock, slightly bigger dimensions, new sections and features and five long-form interviews with a farmer, a stylist, a composer, a collector and the magazine's founding editor Kate Bezar. 

Congratulations to new editor Patrick Pittman and team.


Girl With a Satchel

The Digital Gloss Files


...with Margaret Tran

Image courtesy of Mobile Mag
With the launch of the new iPad 2, a new study has found that magazines' iPad editions "struggle to keep readers' attention". In addition to the combined impact of the app and device's abilities to divert attention from the editorial content, intriguingly enough, participants of the study also found it difficult to differentiate between the ad and the editorial content of the magazine - and these were participants coming from an educated demographic. Indeed, it seems a new approach to the device platform might be worth investing in.

Speaking of, here are 5 things publishers should know about the iPad2 launch.

Girl Talk: Lessons from Little Women #2 (Meg goes to Vanity Fair)

Girl Talk: Lessons from Little Women #2 (Meg goes to Vanity Fair)

"My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world – marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing – and when well used, a noble thing – but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace."
Mrs March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The oldest of the March girls, poor, sweet Meg's affliction is a desire for the finer things. In 'Meg goes to Vanity Fair' she spends two weeks of her vacation with the wealthy but uncultured Moffat family, packing all her best clothes and accessories while lamenting her mother has brought her the wrong style of umbrella to take. Her fears at feeling inferior in the company of the Moffats is realised early as she compares her humble circumstance to those of the spoiled Moffat girls:

Girl Talk: A fashademic awakening

Girl Talk: A fashademic's awakening

"Part of growing up seems to be how you engage with what faces you. How you choose to respond to people and how you choose to face yourself when you see unfamiliar and unwanted parts of your self rising up behind your teeth. The choice of deciding to be one way and not another, and the decisiveness it takes not to allow yourself to gradually tumble into some other selfhood that you haven't invited but that slowly overtakes who you were."
Beautiful Rosie The Fashademic reflects on growing older and wiser (yes, she's 25) and of abandoning the "selves" that don't do us justice.

Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Covers: Lily Allen for GRAZIA (take two)

Glossy Covers: Lily Allen for GRAZIA (take two)

GRAZIA Australia, March 21, 2011
 Lily Allen belongs to that Gen-Y posse of celebrities who dominated the pop-culture charts in the late noughties and seemed then to typify what a cool, individual (cover)girl should and could be as the tide started to turn on Paris Hilton and her vacuous Simple Life. Allen spoke her mind – we feminists like that, right? – and could hold a tune and look cute while being cynical and snarky yet vulnerable. Of course, her flagrantly naughty lifestyle and unbridled use of social media for airing her dirty laundry came to somewhat overshadow her career (a cautionary tale for Gen-Ys, them all). But more than that, the paparazzi, press and fashion world got to her, too. 

Girl Crush: Beci Culley...take a bow

Girl Crush: Beci Culley...take a bow

Brisbane Artist Beci Culley at Drobe. from Lewis on Vimeo.

My beautiful friend Beci Culley has just completed an installation project at Brisbane boutique Drobe and her friend Lewis captured it on film... So talented.

See also: Girl Crush - Beci Culley

Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: Diane Von Furstenberg - fashion's formidable feminist

Girl Talk: Diane Von Furstenberg – fashion's formidable feminist

“You know what I don’t like right now about women in America? I don’t like when they are objectified in the Housewives of Miami and the Housewives of ... you know? What I resent is when women are objectified... They’re just being encouraged. I just want every woman to know that they can realize their potential — but their potential is not necessarily fake tits.” (The Cut)

Girl With a Satchel

Media Satchel


Bits and bobs from the media beat...

For March it was Lady Gaga, for April it's Rihanna playing The Little Mermaid for American Vogue's annual "Shape Issue" – Anna Wintour is clearly comfortable kicking it with the pop-culture kids. Past Shape Issue cover girls have included Beyonce, Gisele Bundchen and Drew Barrymore (the common denominator = curves... in all the right places).

InStyle Australia has announced judges and nominees for its annual Audi Women of Style Awards. Kylie and Dannii Minogue have been recognized in the Business and News/Entertainment categories. “They have individually made enduring contributions to Australian society, and are inspiring success stories in their own right,” said editor Kerrie McCallum. Other category finalists include comedian-turned chef Jane Kennedy (Lifestyle), author/newsreader Juanita Phillips and author/lawyer Professor Larissa Behrendt. The winners will be announced at a red-carpet event in May.

ACP’s Grazia has released the finalists in the inaugural Grazia Shopping Awards after receiving 4,5000 nominations in the 10-day voting period and having judges select 10 finalists in 11 categories. “We are thrilled by the overwhelming response from readers, the industry and associated businesses to the awards,” said ACP publisher Robyn Foyster. “Our readers and the growing retail sector has embraced Grazia’s latest initiative as the number-one weekly shopping bible."

ACP's foray into reality TV, Park St, has copped a lot of flack for its debut ratings, but like magazine circulations, there are more factors at play than viewer disinterest in the subject matter, like pay-TV accessibility and marketing. Still, they say any publicity is good publicity: Foxtel reports that the “cumulative audience” for episode two, which first aired February 28, was over 270,000.

Pop Talk: Obsession with the inner self (c/o Carrie, Glee & Friends)

Pop Talk: Obsession with the inner self (c/o Carrie, Glee & Friends) 

"Outwardly these shows may be about friends but what they really portray is the obsession with inner self. It is Carrie from Sex and the City who personifies this sensibility. It was she who reminded us that "the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself", before adding: "and if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's fabulous". Carrie's exhortation to take your needs super seriously signals the depressing idea that the best friend you have is yourself. Is it any surprise that in the American musical comedy Glee Sue Sylvester goes through a mock marriage ceremony with herself?"
 - Professor Frank Ferudi, 'Obsession with the inner self', an essay on pop culture's fascination with the drama of dysfunctional relationships and the glorification of a life of "just messing around with your mates", The Australian.

See also: 

Girl With a Satchel

Pop Talk: Formative girl crushes and Saturday Disney dreams

Pop Talk: Formative girl crushes and Saturday Disney dreams 

"What did I want to do when I was young? I wanted to be Sofie Formica!"  
- Rebecca Sparrow, Speakers Ink International Women's Day event

When I walked into yesterday's Speakers Ink event at All Hallows, Brisbane, and sat down next to Sofie Formica, one of my childhood girl crushes, I had to restrain myself from staring (thankfully, radio host Robin Bailey, captivating herself, was on stage). As my sister will attest, I watched Saturday Disney, which celebrated 20 years on air last year, religiously as a pre-teen before trotting off to ballet class. Sofie Formica was one of the original hosts along with Jeniene Mapp and James Sherry – they got up to kooky things during takes between Gummi Bears, Duck Tales (woohoo) and TaleSpin.

Girl Talk: Lessons from Little Women

Girl Talk: Lessons from Little Women

"Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."  Mrs March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

There are a lot of lessons imparted to the girls by their mother Mrs March in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women series that stand the test of time, including the above, which resides in a chapter titled 'Experiments'. The girls are excited to be on vacation and each muse on how they will while away the hours unencumbered by duty, work, study or chores. Only after the first week, they find they are miserable – the ennui is too much to bear. Lounging about, "resting and revelling" in life's pleasures – shopping and sewing (Meg), reading till your eyes give out (Jo) and picnics, tea parties and drawing, particularly in one's finest clothes, as young Amy discovers after soling her best dress, isn't all it's cracked up to be ("she soon found that accomplished and important little self a great burden"). Even the tranquil Beth is disturbed. Indulgences and play-time, muses Mrs March, should be enjoyed in smaller doses as a reward for one's toils, as "Satan [will find] plenty of mischief for idle hands to do".

Girl With a Satchel

The Digital Gloss Files


...with Margaret Tran

Image credit: 13inc
Glamour US' new iPad-only reality TV show "Glamour Girls" will allow viewers buy Gap products directly off the runway. Of course, you'll need an iPad to unlock this delicious new product; with just 4600 app subscribers compared to their 2 million magazine readers, it'll be interesting to see just how the show – which follows the fashion careers (what else?) of four women (how very Sex and the City meets The Hills) – will be.

Serious question for news outlets from Dennis Mortensen: are you worrying too much about search and not enough about the front page? The former Yahoo director of data insights invites news organisations to invest more into stories on their front page with the same trait of currency that has always driven news (the word 'new' is in 'news' for a reason).

REVIVAL: Slow and Steady


I can be the worst when it comes to impulse buying, especially if a local op shop is having a fill-a-bag-for-$5 day. On these days, I find myself guilty not only of buying things I don’t really need, but of buying things I don’t even want. After all, it’s hardly value for money if I leave the bag half-empty!

But I have learnt restraint when it comes to waiting until something I want appears in an op shop before buying it. There were a few false starts. After years of wearing silver I decided, one day, that it was time to make the switch to gold. Suddenly, I was desperate for a pair of gold sleepers. For months I checked out the jewellery cabinets of op shops and pawn shops, to no avail. So I gave up and bought a new pair from a regular jewellery store. Wouldn’t you know it? I then saw gold sleepers in three different op shops over the next few weeks.

Girl Talk: The Purse Project

Girl Talk: The Purse Project

Amidst all the chatter about International Women's Day, I couldn't help but think how much of it was focused on what we don't have, as apposed to what we do and how much we've to be grateful for (thank you, feminist forebears). Granted, there are glaring equality gaps for those of us in the developed world, which is obviously wrong wrong wrong, and institutionalised sexism – as it plays out in the influential media and entertainment industries in particular – really gets my goat, but how empowering to turn our attention to helping those women who stare at a Grand Canyon sized equality gap. The Purse Project event brought together seven aid organisations to do just that. 

Pop Talk: Deconstructing 2011's girl anthems

Pop Talk: Deconstructing 2011's girl anthems
Emma Plant sorts through the mixed messages presented in the videos for Lady Gaga and Natasha Bedingfield's new girl anthems, "Born This Way" and "Strip Me".

Unicorns, ‘V’ motifs, pointy shoulders, and Gaga’s signature open-mouth-vacant-expression, greet us with all the anticipated Gaga-ness one would expect for a brand new concept song. Some have called this clip as "glorious". Others, mind the pun, have said Gaga has birthed a misdemeanour. Either way the belatedly overdue release has induced a frenzy of attention.

"Born This Way", the "Manifesto of Mother Monster", begins with heavily laden cinematic special effects: a salad of old James Bond, Star Trek, Alien, Return to Oz and Pink Floyd, dressed with psychedelia and mysterious poetry. "The birth was not finite. It was infinite... As the wombs numbered, the mitosis of the future began...". Right. Interscope Records, you’ve nailed it again.

Faith Talk: Using your abilities

Faith Talk: Using your abilities

"Do you think that the only time God is pleased with you is when you're doing things such as reading the Bible, attending church, praying, giving, or sharing your faith? No, He enjoys every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting or eating. He doesn't miss a thing: 'The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.' (Psalm 37:23 NLT) Every human activity except sin can be done for God's pleasure if you do it in faith and with an attitude of gratitude. You can sell cars, wash dishes, practise medicine, teach children, write a computer program or raise a family for the glory of God. Like a proud parent, God enjoys watching you use the abilities He's given you for His glory. In the Academy-Award-winning movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell said, 'I believe God made me for a purpose, but I also believe he made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure."

Media Talk: Jessica Halloran, one ballsy sports writer

Media Talk: Jessica Halloran, one ballsy sports writer

"At the start of 2000 I emailed Sports Illustrated and told them I was a top sports journalist (I may have had three published articles in an obscure sports magazine to my name at that stage!). They wrote back and said "can you please profile Lauren Jackson and we'll pay you $US1,200". I was studying and working as a waitress at the time so I nearly fell off my chair in the internet cafe when I got the email. I wrote the article – it was terrible and they had to completely re-write it. Nevertheless, the Jackson article featured in Sports Illustrated's Women Olympic edition... Women are still a minority in the sports media but no one seems to be making my life hard because I am a woman writing sport these days.
- Jessica Halloran, award-winning sports journalist, The Sunday Telegraph c/o Mediaweek

Glossy Talk: Katrina Lawrence on 20 years of Allure magazine

Glossy Talk: Katrina Lawrence on 20 years of Allure magazine

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Madison magazine's contributing beauty and health editor Katrina Lawrence reflects on 20 years of the beauty expert's magazine, Allure, where makeup meets feminism. 

Allure arrived on the magazine scene with the March issue of 1991. As a law student, furiously reading Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth while fuming about our patriarchal legal system (oh, and listening to angsty tunes of Nirvana), the launch – not surprisingly - passed me by. If someone had have told me back then that I would graduate to be a beauty writer – a profession I have undertaken for 14 years, yikes! – and come to consider Allure to be a sort of bible, I would have rolled my mascara-free eyes in disbelief.

Within a couple of years, however, I had dropped law and was studying various ‘pretty’ arts subjects (French, Victorian Literature, Gothic Fiction; I even added in Italian to better appreciate Vogue Italia) while working part-time on Chapel Street, in one of Melbourne’s leading boutiques. I had taught myself to blow-dry my hair perfectly straight and was addicted to my Poppy matt brown lipsticks. I shopped for fragrance like it was going out of style and spent all my savings on Guerlain skincare and Dolce & Gabbana bustiers. In other words, the fashion and beauty industry had sucked me in.

Glossy Covers: Leigh Sales for Sunday life

Glossy Covers: Leigh Sales for Sunday life

Leigh Sales, 37, the subject of Sunday Life magazine's most recent cover, is fast becoming the ultimate GWAS girl crush (though she's an atheist, an issue explored in her book On Doubt, her Anne of Green Gables fangirl status almost makes up for that). Helen Pitt's cover story was a treat: we learn that Brisbane girl Sales is a wedding singer (the gigs supported her through university) and an accomplished pianist who lives by her military-man father's maxim that "Planning and practice prevent piss-poor performance". 

Media Talk: The Weekend Australian Magazine (Diary of a Feature Story)

Media Talk: The Weekend Australian Magazine (Diary of a Feature Story)

Generally speaking, when you write a feature, you have already formed a hypothesis on your subject matter. Some journalists/writers, after putting said hypothesis through the proverbial Bunsen burner, will go with their pre-conceived judgements regardless of evidence to the contrary, choosing those quotes, anecdotes and facts that match their world view (see Op-Ed); others delve into the feature process, laying aside all personal bias, and allow the facts and their interview subjects to shape their story, while keeping in mind those hallmarks of the fourth estate: fairness, accuracy, balance.

As a feature story writer, it's an odd thing to be the subject of one. Really odd. Particularly when you are well aware that there are certain criteria to fill, like colour, word counts and selecting those quotes that best illuminate the character of your subjects (note to husband, in future please keep thoughts on shagging to yourself!). Weirder still is it to have your personal narrative provide the 'human interest' angle for a social trend piece. Add a potential cover picture (but no mention of hair, makeup or stylist to help you out as per the women's glossies) and things get really interesting (read: eek!).

So, thank the Lord (ha!), my husband and I were in the good hands of Christine Jackman, an award-winning politics and social affairs journalist, former News Limited foreign correspondent and author of Inside Kevin07, who wrote, 'JC and the Cool Gang', a piece on contemporary Christianity and the church for The Weekend Australian Magazine. It's a story being discussed at a table behind me in the cafe in which I write right now, as it was in church circles over the weekend. Good features are conversation starters; good features can illuminate issues we should be talking about.

Media Talk: Rebecca Sparrow's last Sunday Mail column; U On Sunday on the way

Media Talk: Rebecca Sparrow's last Sunday Mail column; U On Sunday on the way

It's disheartening when a favourite columnist disappears from your newspaper's pages, as evidenced by the response to Maggie Alderson's Style Notes' demise, so devoted readers of author Rebecca Sparrow's lively 'The Way We Live' column will have sighed over their morning coffee on Sunday to read "this is my last column for The Sunday Mail as new, exciting changes await you next week". The column, a feature of the 'Event' section, started in July 2007. Sparrow is now located in Adelaide, but has many exciting projects on the go, including The Ultimate Girly High Tea, Writers on Rafts and a feature film (as you do). Meanwhile, The Sunday Mail is debuting its new look next weekend, which includes U on Sunday magazine.

Girl With a Satchel

Faith Talk: Pope Benedict XVI

Faith Talk: Pope Benedict XVI

"Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sin of men and out of infinite love." 
- Jesus of Nazareth, Part II, Pope Benedict XVI@ Christian Today

You might also be interested in Christine Jackman's cover story 'JC and the Cool Gang', published in The Weekend Australian Magazine today, which I'll discuss more on Monday.

Girl With a Satchel

Meet & Greet


Nestled into a corner at The Coffee Club in Dalby, Queensland, on Wednesday morning, laptop open and the tap-tapping of productivity fueled by a flat white, I was surprised but comforted to see Carolyn Cutforth install herself in the cubicle next to me. After ordering up a bowl of muesli with yoghurt and berries, she unzipped her backpack and asked me to plug her laptop power cord in: a fellow worker bee! Before I could muster an inquiry, she beat me to it: "And what do you do?". I chuckled, said I was about to ask her the same thing, and so began our 'Meet & Greet'.

Girl Talk: Body snarking is not funny but Jacki Weaver is fab

Girl Talk: Body snarking is so not funny but Jacki Weaver is fab

As any girl who's been on the receiving end of one, it's the throw-away comments that can cut the most. But dressed up in humour, as is the expertise of the glossy gossipy magazines, it's even more insidious. So how about this commentary by Washington Post "Chatological Humor" columnist Gene Weingarten, post-Oscars:

...on Sunday an enthusiastic memo went out to all Post employees from a top editor in Style, explaining how the Oscars would be covered. I am not a historian, but I am pretty sure these were no less complicated than Eisenhower's plans for D-Day. While I am certain that it was smart journalism, and justified, and well read and all that, I would like to note that more space was devoted to photographs of ladies wearing dresses (this is literally true) than for the last two weeks' coverage of the events in Libya.

Here is my review of the dresses: They were pretty much identical, in that they appeared to have been made of fabric, and successfully concealed most of the ladies' breasts and all of their groins. Some of the dresses were red, some were white, and some were black. Everyone looked pretty except someone named "Jackie Weaver," who is fat.