Media: Better Homes & Gardens is Newsagents' Favourite

Media: Better Homes & Gardens is Newsagents' favourite

On a street late yesterday afternoon, a woman of 60 or 65 sat on a bench and flicked through the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens while drinking her coffee. What prompted her to make this purchase? "I saw the chocolate cakes on the telly and wanted to make one myself," she said. "I don't usually buy magazines, because they're full of rubbish, too many ads, but this is an exception." 

This is the sort of story that makes publishers happy (not the "magazines are rubbish" bit, obviously). But Better Homes has other reasons to celebrate with a slice of choccie cake. Pacific Magazines' stalwart homemaker title has been named the Australian Newsagents' Federation Magazine of the Year for the fourth time. Over 250 newsagents took part in the online voting this year, with the Federation attributing the magazine's win to its reliability: it is "one they can rely on to sell, week in, week out," said the Federation's editor Carolyn Doherty.

Covers: Ita covers The Weekly

Covers: Ita covers The Weekly
Australian Women's Weekly editor Helen McCabe shares more than a few similarities with her September cover girl (lady, woman), Ita Buttrose: both scrub up nicely for the telly, both look good in white jackets. But beyond the superficial comparisons, and the obvious (they both have edited the Weekly at ACP), there's their nose for news. 

This newsy nous, which both achieved working in News Limited newspapers (though arguably part of Ita's genetic fibre given her father was a newsman – is a journalist born or bred?), imbues the publication with a timeliness and so-rightness that saw the title suffer only marginal falls in circulation and readership in a challenging market. Put simply, The Weekly tells good stories and packages them up real nice. The September issue, on sale today, might be McCabe-and-team's finest work to date. 

The editor's letter points to exactly why my mother (and your mother, too?) loves McCabe so much...

Media: Reflections on Ita Buttrose

Media: Reflections on Ita Buttrose
By Ellen-Maree Elliot

“I think I’ve been rediscovered.”

So said Ita Buttrose in Australian Story: Ita Tells Me So, the two-part episode about the (once again) famous doyenne of Australian media. Her rediscovery was spurred by the April premiere of the critically acclaimed Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, but validated by a life and personality that is truly engaging.

The ABC two-part miniseries about the launch of Cleo captured the public’s attention and imagination. For some, it served as a reminder of the woman they used to admire and respect; for others, it was an introduction to a woman with whom they were unfamiliar.

Back in the day, mind you, everyone knew who Ita was. Thanks to Kerry Packer (who liked her as much as the cricket), and Ita's will of steel, the mid-70s and early 80s were Ita's Golden Era. She became the Bradman of magazines. "You only had to say 'Ita'. No one ever said, 'Ita who?'” Jennifer Bouda, her best friend, told Australian Story.

Media: Laws and claws, what are they good for?

Media: Laws and claws, what are they good for?

In H.E. Todd’s The Clever Clever Cats, illustrated by Val Biro and first published in Great Britain in 1985, Libby the library cat becomes incensed when she picks up the day’s newspaper and finds the headline on the front page:

CAT BURGLAR STRIKES AGAIN!

Libby the moggy is understandably miffed; the feline species has had its name tainted by association with a detestable human who pilfers people’s homes for his own profit and gain.

“That’s not fair,” Libby she said to herself. “It gives cats a bad name!” And the more she thought about it, the more angry she became.

Australian journalists are in a similar pickle right now, the profession's name sullied by the happenings at the now defunct British tabloid News of the World, as if journalists needed another reason to defend their turf: traditionally, the profession has been right up there with car salesmen in terms of public perception.

Media: Get her off the pitch (and into the kitchen)?

Media: Get her off the pitch (and into the kitchen)? 

"When I stopped writing about sport later in 2000, it wasn't that I finished with it. Mainly, I was finished with the lifestyle of the sports writer – or, at least, the lifestyle of the middle-aged female sports writer, which (as Alan Bennett once beautifully said of being Prince of Wales) is not so much a job as a predicament. But if I had mixed feelings about sport while I was fully submerged in it, I have even more mixed feelings now that I have been safely back on dry land for over half a decade, blocking my ears to Premiership transfers, refusing to look at points tables, and reading newspapers resolutely from the front to the back, instead of the other way round. 

Aesthete: Dawn of a bluesday

Aesthete: Dawn of a bluesday
Select images for this week...

Media: Voyeur magazine – a point of view

Media: Voyeur magazine – a point of view

Given the (ah-hem) turbulent state of international affairs and national politics, not to mention the idea that it’s quite possible you will never arrive at your intended destination, it’s somewhat of a comfort to look inside the pocket of the seat in front of you and find, reliably, Voyeur magazine (Pacific Magazines) when you board a Virgin Blue.

It’s a wonderful distraction – particularly for those whose up-in-the-air anxiety can be tamed by busy fingers and engaging content, less so striking up conversation with whomever they are seated next to (do not sit next to me, if this is the case!) – full of helpful information, travel stories to get you thinking about your next trip (flying Virgin, of course), and entertainment listings to boot.

It is also a highly commercial product, keen in pushing what’s new, cool, great and fun to do, and in keeping with the Richard Branson style of doing things, there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek, too.

Film School: Red Dog rising

Film School: Red Dog rising
Reviewed by Emma Plant
Josh Lucas and "Koko" star in Australia's latest cinematic hit.
You probably didn’t look twice at the advertisements last time you were movie-a-go-go. Post hearing the words “Red Dog” and literally viewing a Red Dog poster, one might assumingly think, ‘Oh, dear, red-neck-appaloosa!’ Surprisingly, this little Australian yarn has taken aback audiences as a box office beauty. Cinemas across Australia have made room for increased showings given its unexpected success.

Red Dog tells the story (true story, mind you!) of a dog, aptly named ‘Red Dog’, who brings together the shire of Dampier, a mining community in Western Australia. Set in sun-drenched, 1980s Australia, the story has a beautiful nostalgia and familiarity about it. In drawing loose comparisons, with its many lovely short stories, Red Dog may be the Jackeroo version of Love Actually.

Covers: Anthology magazine issue four

Covers: Anthology magazine issue four
Life is not always a picnic, but as Anthology magazine's fourth issue suggests, we should take time out to immerse ourselves in the simple pleasures that nature begets (there's a reason God invented all this stuff, I think – knowing how much we take for granted but how much we need to feed on the great outdoors, and the recreational fun it encourages, to restore us to a bigger, brighter, awe-inspiring vision of the world outside the office and home*). For Aussies, the issue is a glimpse at the promise of a summer soon to come (perhaps too soon for some who prefer layers of heavy, woolly things over slips and sandals and cotton frocks? Not me! Tra-la!). 

Perspective: The colourful life of Lachie

Perspective: The colourful life of Lachie
Artwork by Ariel
While 1000 friends, family, colleagues and admirers of Australian artist Margaret Olley gathered together yesterday to celebrate her life, life's work and fierce and determined spirit at her state memorial, across Sydney, not so far away, a hundred friends – supported by 2340 Facebook friends – gathered to reflect on the short life of Lachlan Hulsman.

Little Lachie was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition just 10 days after his birth, but he fought his condition for 10 whole months with many of us sitting, quite helplessly, on the sidelines as his mum and dad, uncles and aunts, loyal friends, doctors and nurses, joined his parents as they battled the condition with their little bloke, never giving up hope. 

Snapshot: Jani, Zubi Cafe, Newport

Snapshot: Jani, Zubi Cafe, Newport

The Beatles' "Come Together" is an apt song to be playing in Zubi Cafe this morning. While customers stream in, most called by name with a familiar exchange, behind the rustic counters there's a palpable camaraderie between the staff.

This morning Brazilian brothers and baristas Denis and Eduardo, as well as Nicky, Nyree and Jani, are working the coffee machine and cash drawer (cash only, if you please) while locals pour in from the street and plop themselves at benches to glance at the morning papers (The Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald) and partake in the first hot beverage of the day.

Jani, 44, an effervescent spirit who has been with the cafe since it opened in June 2009, greets her youngest daughter, Pearl, with a warm hug between delivering orders and joking with her co-workers (what are her "issues" today, asks Nicky. "None," she says. "It's almost spring!"). 

Thinkings: When good stuff happens

"Isn't it WONDERFUL when something that was going to happen even though you didn't really want it to happen but you thought it ought to happen because it was right, doesn't happen after all, and it's not your fault?"
- Adrian Plass, The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass (Aged 37 ¾).

Media Talk: Notes on a Sunday Life story

Media Talk: Notes on a Sunday Life story

Over the weekend, Sunday Life published a piece of mine on faith (thank you for having me, Sunday Life). Writing on faith for "secular" media is always a precarious business, like having your beliefs put under a proverbial Bunsen burner. In the process God will challenge you, and editors, too, and, of course, the readers. 

It was not a feature article, in which case I would have canvassed the views of experts on religion and showcased more of my research into Australian history of philosophy and religion (as did Christine Jackson in her piece for The Weekend Australian Magazine), but an op-ed piece; a talking point.

Faith Talk: Aussies on faith (a work in progress)

Faith Talk: Aussies on faith (a work in progress)
Q&A 'A Spiritual Special' panellists John Safran, Eva Cox, Dr John Lennox, Susan Carland and Dr Jacqueline Grey
I watched last Monday's Q&A on the ABC – which is on after my usual bedtime, I confess (more on confession soon) – with great interest. As someone who grew up in a home with some Catholic/Protestant antagonism playing out around the dinner table, I love to see a bit of spiritual vigour in Australian public life, as religion tends to sit on the periphery rather than at the centre of activity and discussion in our country, while media debate tends to focus on politics and sport and, currently, the media itself.

Media Talk: Paul Lockyer's redeeming journalism

Media Talk: Paul Lockyer's redeeming journalism

"[Paul] Lockyer's death reminds us how much we are indebted to ordinary, decent and self-effacing journalists... The death of ordinary people doing necessary work in a decent way turns around the questions we usually ask about journalism. When confronted by the corruption of something good, we usually ask how we can stop the corruption. When touched by the death of someone good, we will do better to ask how we can encourage what they were doing. How can we encourage journalists who are good at their job, keep themselves out of their stories, are aware of their own prejudices, and struggle for objectivity in the way they present reality to us. Encouragement comes from friends and a decent culture."
- Andrew Hamilton, 'ABC deaths put journalism in perspective', Eureka Street.

Film School: The Help

Film School: The Help
Emma Stone playing "Skeeter" in The Help
"I don't want to be a bank teller, mama," says Miss Skeeter, aka Eugenia Phelan, the idealistic young journalist who gets a job on the Jackson Journal straight out of college writing a domestic agony aunt column. "I'll never be able to tell Mother I want to be a writer. She'll only turn it into another thing that separates me from the married girls."

Based on Kathryn Stockett's best-selling 2009 novel, The Help is a poignant film based on the author's experience of the deep-rooted racism experienced by black maids caring for white children in America's south. Told from the points of view of Skeeter and two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, in the book, the film posits Skeeter, played by Emma Stone, as the 23-year-old protagonist.

Seven years after Rosa Parks had refused to vacate her bus seat for a white passenger and two years before President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act ushering in sweeping legislative change and prohibiting discrimination based on race, colour, religion and national origin, we find Skeeter returned home to Jackson, Mississipi, from college in 1962, having graduated fourth in her class.

A tall, plain, frizzy-haired, fair skinned girl, Skeeter is confronted not only with the proposition of becoming an outcast because of her educated views on civil rights, but the mysterious disappearance of the black maid, Constantine, who raised her on her parents' cotton farm, as well as the oppressive wishes of a mother whose health is ailing.

Skeeter has a dream; to write.

Bulletin Board: Fashion Media Seminar

Bulletin Board: Fashion Media Seminar
Anthea O'Connor, Emily Power and Kate Gaskin
On Monday August 29, Prospect 360 will be hosting a Fashion Media Seminar at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, 672 Bourke Street, Melbourne, from 6.30pm to 9pm, for budding fashion writers and publicists aged 15 to 30. 

Panellists include the prolific Melissa Hoyer, freelance stylist and The (Melbourne) Magazine's contributing fashion editor Kate Gaskin, freelance fashion journalist Emily Power (see on The Circle) and Anthea O'Connor, former Melbourne editor for Vogue Australia and fashion ambassador for the Westfield Group.

Media Talk; The Australian Financial Review turns 60

Media Talk: The Australian Financial Review turns 60
 
The Australian Financial Review has been "Keeping 'em honest for 60 years", an ockerish headline for an esteemed business publication on its anniversary day. The very first issue of the then-weekly paper, formerly subtitled "A Sydney Morning Herald Publication", was published on August 16, 1951, with a journalistic scoop – "Projected Rise in Bond Rate to 3¾ per cent" – and a cover price of one shilling.

Today's edition, for posterity, bears the headlines: "The Value of Liberal Patronage: a cool million"; "Boards boost dividends, buybacks"; "Miners dig deep to battle carbon tax"; and "China grabs food group". Inside, Nobel laureate economist Michael Spence, chairman of the World Bank Commission on Growth and Development since 2006, warns that "natural resource wealth is volatile and impermanent"; Michaela Whitbourn plays on NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's appearance with officers at HMAS Sydney in support of arts and culture tourism; and Treasurer Wayne Swan faces the challenge that US and Europe present in returning the budget to surplus.

"In its early days, the Financial Review served the investment community predominantly but gradually broadened its perspective to embrace a suite of issues, including tariff reform and trade practices reform, but also Australia’s need to become more aware of its own region," writes international editor Tony Walker in an editorial titled 'Critical voice in the evolution of modern Australia'. "The newspaper pushed for recognition of China, expressed early scepticism about the Vietnam War and was ahead of its time in acknowledging Japan’s importance  to the Australian economy."

Reflections on politics, big business, personal greed, converging technology, economic regulation, energy, tax, and final word from the 'Chanticleer'... the fortunes of the AFR retracted 11.3% on paper last year, but the online paywall looks here to stay and an app is on its way.

Girl With a Satchel

Media Talk: Neil Shoebridge's crystal ball

Media Talk: Neil Shoebridge's crystal ball

"The spread of digital technology has accelerated the pace of change in the media and marketing sectors over the past 10 years and will continue to drive change over the next 10 years and beyond. Consumers are always willing to try new technology, rejecting it quickly if it doesn't offer the right value and functionality and embracing it if it does. 

The theory that different forms of media are locked in a death roll is popular, but wrong. TV did not kill radio. DVDs did not kill the cinemas. The internet has not killed TV, newspapers or radio or cinemas, all of which are using digital technology to defend themselves and – they hope – draw new users...

People do not value or enjoy media and entertainment content less than they did 60 years ago. But the emergence of more media – including media that gives people a way to share their views about companies and brands, and create their own content – has made them more discerning, demanding, and price-sensitive. Whatever else happens over the next 60 years, that empowerment will not go away."
- 'Crystal Ball in a Digital World, Neil Shoebridge, marketing and media editor, The Australian Financial Review, Tuesday 16 August 2011

Perspective: The costly pursuit of popularity

Perspective: The costly pursuit of popularity 

"Many years ago there lived an Emperor who was so fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on them in order to be beautifully dressed. He did not care about his soldiers, he did not care about the theatre; he only liked to go out walking to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day; and just as they say of a king, 'He is in the council-chamber,' they always said here, 'The Emperor is in the wardrobe."  
- The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson

Ever since Adam and Eve adopted the fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, we've been consumed with the quest to cover up our shame, insecurity, loneliness; those dreaded feelings of being left out or missing out. And marketers have been only too happy to help us along in this pursuit of the ideal self: the one which is more commensurate with standards set by the prevailing Zeitgeist – the cool jeans, the best washing powder, the right music, the new drink, the latest techno gadget – with all the commensurate labels (hipster, fashionista, geek, fangirl, party girl, surfie, alpha male) and in turn their own media offshoots (TV shows, magazines, websites, books) to help us define more adequately who we are and our path...  Onward to popularity via the mega-mall!

Just who are we beneath all this junk; these shiny, materialistic distractions?

"Even in our present era of 10,000 niches, mass customization, and the “long tail”— of companies selling fewer items from a far vaster inventory—we are, arguably, governed more than ever by what’s popular," write the editors of Bloomberg Business Week. "Thanks to the Internet’s ability to rank everything, one can dwell almost exclusively in the world of trending Twitter topics, of top-reviewed restaurants, of Amazon.com bestselling books, of the cutest cute-cat YouTube videos. News sites all feature tallies of the Most Read, Most E-mailed, and Most Commented On articles—creating a self- reinforcing conversation."

Media Talk: Jo Walker on Frankie's longevity

Media Talk: Jo Walker on frankie's longevity

"I'm not sure if people generally are losing interest in celebs and fast fashion (there's certainly a lot of it about) but those are things the internet can do way better than print. frankie readers are looking for something different; something they can't get online. That's the whole experience of a quality mag: everything from beautiful stock and design, the touch and feel of the thing, to great writing, amazing photography, and something that takes a little more time than a quick scroll through a website.

Being a bi-monthly, we're very concerned with things that last. You can pick up a copy from two years ago and get as much enjoyment out of it as the one that's on newsstands right now. As we only have 140 or so pages to fill every two months, we're even more obsessed with awesomeness! Only the bestest things go in.

Our social media strategy... is not to really have a social media strategy. In terms of what gets posted on the blog, facebook and twitter, it has the same feel behind it as the mag: just whatever pops into our head that we think is neat and we want to share. As a consequence, that has actually got more people popping past who might subsequently go out and buy the mag. Which is a nice by product of the whole thing!"

frankie magazine currently has sales of 56,361 copies every two months; 203,000 readers; 109,778 Facebook friends; and 31,733 Twitter followers.

Girl With a Satchel

Aesthete: Pre-spring break

Aesthete: Pre-spring break
Denim: the fallback option for days off and a spot of spring cleaning, and the annual Nylon issue I most look forward to, though there comes a time when a girl can reasonably say she no longer has to know what the latest jeans are and would sooner give all her denim away than be faced with a "Which pair should I wear today?" conundrum.
Artfully neglected and oh-so-lovely, a thriving rose bush and white picket fence dream, Mount Tamborine.
A rose amongst the... roses. Lea Michele for US Harper's BAZAAR September issue.
With two public holidays before me – the Country Show Holiday (Monday) and the People's Day (Wednesday) in honour of the Royal Brisbane Show (aka the Ekka) – as well as other non-internet based activities to accomplish (preparing lectures, interviews, transcribing, writing stories, filing, dispensing with magazines), tutoring time, and an overnight stay and work commitments in Toowoomba, too, a moment to take a break from the relentless media maelstrom to gather my thoughts and accomplish those other pressing tasks. Intermittent updates only until Thursday unless the muse strikes. Thank you for stopping by in the meantime!

Girl With a Satchel

Media Talk: Niche magazines take the lead

Media Talk: Niche magazines take the lead
Quality titles we trust: Country Style, The Monthly, Frankie
Their circulations are relatively small, but they've nailed their respective niches in an economic climate that continues to see consumers tighten their purse strings and turn increasingly to the internet for information and entertainment. With stand-out covers, online interaction and content that stand them apart, right now Aussies are turning to quality magazines they can trust like these, for which they are quite happy to wear the expense.

In the Audit Bureau's latest report, The Monthly (up 21.8%), Frankie (up 20.7%) and Country Style (up 9.7%) magazines joined Australian Traveller (up 11.1%), Country Home Ideas (up 14.6%), Caravan and Motorhomes (up 24.6%), Donna Hay (up 8.9%) and Men's Fitness (up 37.5%) in recording the most impressive year-on-year sales gains, though it was Citrus Media's Game Informer magazine that recorded the most impressive results with its circulation rocketing 70%.

Bi-monthly Morrison Media title Frankie bolstered the young women's category, recording a 20.7% rise in circulation, to give it 56,361 copy sales, while Cleo (down 7.1% to 111,545) and Cosmopolitan (down 6.2% to 141,867) saw sales decline. The teen girls' category continued to trend down with DOLLY declining a dramatic 25% to 90,207 monthly copy sales and Girlfriend following suit with a loss of 5.7% (circulation: 85,061).

Covers: est issue two

Covers: est issue two

Issue two of est magazine will soon hit the web, following the digital magazine's successful launch in April, which attracted an impressive high of 2.5 million page views.

"From the Hampton's home of Jackson Pollock, to the streets of Brooklyn New York and the azure seas of the Mediterranean, each story has a unique Australian twist," says editor-in-chief Sian MacPherson of her new issue. "Pollock's infamous Blue Poles held at the Australian National Gallery, Brooklyn's hot new restauranteur with beginnings in Melbourne's night club scene and a talented Australian designers' travel musings on where to eat, drink and sleep in the Greek Islands, all work together to inspire good design, great food and trend spotting at ten paces."  

Girl With a Satchel

Perspective: Reality check @ news.com.au

Perspective: Reality check @ news.com.au

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (which owns the News Limited operated news.com.au and the Times of London, which showed poor editorial judgement this week) has made a $US4.98 BILLION operating profit, an increase of 12% on last year, as the American economy wilts, Europe flails, London falls into anarchy and Somalia suffers. 

Global injustice and wealth disparity has perhaps never been more keenly felt; in fact, it makes you feel a bit sick. Why does God let bad things happen? He doesn't – people do.

"I am haunted by the people I have seen die in Somalia, and by news pictures of the latest famine, but aid agencies are presenting this crisis misleadingly – as if it were an act of God in the Old Testament," writes Aidan Hartley in The Spectator Australia. "The reality is that war caused this famine, not a drought, and the heart of it is in the battlefields of southern Somalia."

Somalia is mired in an fight for power in which innocents get caught up in the crossfire, further enhanced by devastating drought and international negligence.  

Media Talk: Literary journals, pockets of hope

Media Talk: Literary journals, pockets of hope
Harvest issue #5, Extra Curricular issue #6, Kinfolk issue #1
You may be a precious snowflake, but if you can’t express your individuality in sterling prose, I don’t want to read about it. Young writers will have to swear off navel-gazing in favor of an outward glance onto a wrecked and lovely world worthy and in need of the attention of intelligent, sensitive writers.
–Ted Genoways, Mother Jones

Harvest issue #5 opens with Davina Bell's poignant contemplation of the above quote about the death of literary magazines and the dire state of literature, and a lament over her own ventures into prose in light of Genoway's damning assessment of young writers, which she turns into a hopeful and reasoned defense of her generation. She articulates much what I have thought, and points to the Dystopian State of the World felt in much YA literature and in misery memoirs. In part, Bell writes:

I took in Ted’s words with a sense of awed shame. It was as I’d always suspected – my prose was self-indulgent, thinly veiled autobiography with no wider import or appeal. Unreadable pap! With lashings of mournful analysis. Ted was right – I epitomised all that ails modern literature, and swore off writing altogether until blessed with the ability to crystallise the wrecked and lovely world into cogent, poignant prose.

Digital Talk: Off the Shelf (& YA Dystopia)

Digital Talk: Off the Shelf (& YA Dystopia)

Melina Marchetta, author of Looking for Alibrandi and The Piper's Son amongst other titles, features on the second cover of the Penguin online publication Off the Shelf. With the cover story pointing to her new release, the sequel to her first fantasy novel, Marchetta describes the process of taking one of her unseemly characters, Frio, and making him her protagonist. "What makes Froi interesting is that he's someone working out the good in him after being brought up by the bad," she says.

It's with this in mind, and recent events in London, that we come to a feature on the Dystopian genre making inroads on book shelves. Reflecting the very worst of society and humanity, the world in these books is bleak but this background provides their young heroes the impetus to rise above the misery.

Danielle Binks writes: "Dystopic society is characterised by human misery and oppression – stories are often set in cities where humans have little contact with nature and are suffocated by their modernised surroundings. Politics in such novels are often brutal and dictatorial, exemplifying the belief that power corrupts. The genre is bleak by its very definition. It explores and fictionalises the worst traits of humanity and often predicts a desolate future."

Faith Talk: A different view

Faith Talk: A different view

The world is an unsteady friend; her economy, her governments, her systems and power structures cannot always buffer her people from the blows. But in our smaller economies – our homes, work places and communities – we can create environments more commensurate with the Lord's ways, creating love, togetherness, understanding and cooperation, which allows us to go out into the world and weather whatever comes.

Often we are limited to looking at only what's in our direct line of vision – the troubles of each day, the washing basket, the next task to complete, the deadline we have to meet, the television report – so the bigger picture is inevitably lost; we fail to see how wonderful and glorious life all around us can really be and that we are but one small part of a much bigger scheme.

When we decide in a moment to widen our view, even when we're lost or venturing down a new road, to pause, give thanks and take it all in, we are much better equipped to keep on going.

"The Lord saves the righteous and protects them in times of trouble. He helps them and rescues them; he saves them from the wicked, because they go to him for protection." Psalm 37: 39-40

Girl With a Satchel

GWAS Notes: Frock Paper Scissors 2011

GWAS Notes: Frock Paper Scissors 2011

Today marked the initiation of the editorial team for Frock Paper Scissors magazine 2011. An absolute spectacle of creative talent, youthful exuberance and bundles of nerves, the students vying for the top positions on the masthead pitched and impressed their way into the judging panel's periphery via PowerPoint projections and five-minute presentations and personality evocations aesthetic, verbal and visual.  

From 8am until 1pm they took centre stage, with minor technical difficulties and change of location failing to dull the momentum. At least seven pitched for the coveted editor's role, creative types auditioned for art team status, grammarians vied for the subbing desk, sartorial types fashionated us with their flair and writers fessed up their features ideas.

The annual fashion and style magazine produced by students at QUT and overseen by Kay McMahon and myself (garnering us 'Managing Editor' status, which amuses us no end), Frock Paper Scissors is designed to give students the hands-on experience of producing their own magazine, from flatplan to finish.

While the managing editors – revealed to all next week – set the vision and pull together the troops, the 70 or so students who have opted to contribute a project to the magazine are left to bring their work to fruition. A nurturing hand, a compassionate ear and a cupcake or two to sweeten inevitable blows to the ego, many friendships will soon be forged as the magazine is compiled, lovingly and adored. It's a privilege to be watching on each Tuesday as the Frockers set to work.

Girl With a Satchel

Media Talk: Australia, the Arts & the ABC

Media Talk: Australia, the Arts & the ABC

"The debate around taxpayer-funded arts is brutal from my perspective. It feels like we are being constantly asked to choose between public funding in health or education or the arts. I'm not sure that is a fair question. For me, public funding in the arts is about respecting the skill, originality, risk and innovation of an artist: a creative mind. Taxpayer-funded arts should be a conversation about public investment in the arts, the creativity of a generation and the identity of a community. I sound precious when I make these comments but I don't believe the pioneers who established these public funding agencies 40 to 50 years ago in Australia, or Canada for that matter, ever asked if it was a question of healthcare or the arts."
- Sandra Bender, general manager of SBS Subscription TV, talking to media diarist Caroline Overington of The Australian. Meanwhile, former ABC managing director David Hill says of Aunty in The Australian: "I'm concerned that some of the important stuff, like quality Australian drama and social history, is being missed."

Aesthete: Quirky, pretty, pink

Aesthete: Quirky, pretty, pink
An inspirational hub for creatives – artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, filmmakers, crafters and musicians – UPPERCASE is the Canadian cousin to Frankie magazine.

"As we view typography and graphic design as an inseparable part of culture, we also take a look at areas that apparently are not associated with typography: architecture, urban design, photography, philosophy, sociology, psychology, physiology, politics, religion…" say the editors of Typo magazine.

"People may recognise me, they may know my name, but it doesn’t give me special powers," said the captivating Kirsten Dunst to UK ELLE.

Girl With a Satchel

Satchelnomics: Sambag's strategy defiant of climate


Sambag Lexi Grey Dress, $80
The simple, grey marle "Lexi" dress popped into my inbox and I clicked straight through to the website to see how much the dress might set me back. At $80, it won't break the bank, so I bookmark the page for pay day. Sambag is an Australian brand that suits my ballet-flats-and-easy-separates aesthetic and its product offering is luxe but affordable. 

Sam Wagner, who started selling a small range of bags at Sydney's Paddington Markets in 1996, has evolved her brand into shoes, cashmere knitwear, accessories, kids and simple dresses, but also, importantly, a boutique online business, which Wagner says now accounts for 20 per cent of sales.

"It was in May last year that we introduced our new site and put a lot of money into developing it," she says. "Now we have two people working on it full-time and are looking at other ways to develop online, including Facebook, which is a good selling tool, as well as advertising on a New York blog, Trendland, which has so far been successful in terms of driving traffic from overseas."

Girl Talk: Jane Fonda on pleasing men

Girl Talk: Jane Fonda on pleasing men

“I was raised in the ’50s. I was taught by my father that how I looked was all that mattered, frankly. He was a good man, and I was mad for him, but he sent messages to me that fathers should not send: Unless you look perfect, you’re not going to be loved... When I was researching myself [for new book Prime Time], I wondered, is there a ‘there’ there? Or am I just a hollow person who gets filled up by whatever man I’m with? I’m fine with women. My problem is always with men—you know, pleasing a man, turning myself into a pretzel to be who the man I’m with wants me to be. I’m not saying that that’s gone away 100 percent, but maybe 90 percent, 95 percent even.”
- Jane Fonda, US Harper's BAZAAR, September 2011, on sale August 16.

Glossy Covers: The Women's Weekly retrospective

Glossy Talk: The Women's Weekly legacy
"In Every Home: The Australian Women's Weekly (1933-1982)"
From today, the National Library of Australia will be showcasing a retrospective exhibition of The Australian Women's Weekly to mark the digitisation of the first 50 years of the publication from 10 June 1933 to 15 December 1982, when the publication went monthly.

The collection, representing a total of 2,569 issues and 232,000 pages, provides us with a unique insight into the interests of women, but also Australian society and culture at large with its ambition to be welcomed "in every Australian home from the outback to the industrial suburbs".

Media Talk: A little praise for U on Sunday

Media Talk: A little praise for U on Sunday

The splendour of The Sunday Mail (News Limited) supplement U On Sunday, more particularly the issue just past, must be shared, though we press towards another weekend. There are lots of pearls of wisdom within, which has become the supplement's raison d'ĂȘtre, though not in an Oprah-ish sort of way (which has its own place): it's simply through conveying the thoughts of regular people, or those living a life a little extraordinary, who have a unique take on the world or have done something great just because they care. Small acts of heroism and kindness go a long way.

This reader's letter captures the sentiment of the supplement well: "The inspirational and awesome courage of people like Jenepher Hintz who, in between working and caring for a dependent spouse, walked the Simpson Desert Challenge to raise funds for that badly needed organisation Youngcare, blew my mind (Profile, July 24)," writes Claire Jolliffe. "That one person can accomplish so much under difficult circumstances is a tribute to the human spirit. This organisation is an absolute necessity."

Glossy Talk: Sarah Tarca to edit Girlfriend magazine

Glossy Talk: Sarah Tarca to edit Girlfriend

Sarah Tarca, Girlfriend's dedicated beauty and features editor, has been promoted to editor, effective immediately. Tarca has worked on the teen girls' title since 2006, at which time she assumed the role of beauty editor. 

Tarca, 30, has 10 years' experience in the magazine industry. Prior to joining Girlfriend in the role of beauty editor, Tarca had worked on Cosmopolitan magazine, as well as ACP Magazines' brand extension titles.

She has brought to Girlfriend's beauty and features pages a refreshing, upbeat and personal tone, more particularly to her monthly 'Beauty Blog', as well as a great empathy for the teen-girl world.

"Sarah’s enthusiasm, passion and creativity will bring new and exciting opportunities for Girlfriend," says Pacific Magazines youth titles publisher Mychelle Vanderburg. "With almost 10 years in the industry, Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge to the brand and I look forward to working with Sarah as she takes on this exciting new challenge."

Tarca replaces Sarah Cornish, who has left the teen magazine after being diagnosed with cancer last year. GWAS wishes Tarca all the very best for her new role while Cornish is in our prayers.

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Media Talk: A Feast of a launch kit

Media Talk: A Feast of a launch kit

 Brilliant execution by the team behind the SBS Feast magazine launch kit. Like a well-packed lunchbox, I simply had to share. Included are a 16-page magazine sampler, launch invitation, distributor information kit and Sami's Kitchen spice blend. Check out an impressive point-of-sale display at Australian Newsagency Blog.

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Media Talk: Digital to revive the radio star?

Media Talk: Digital to revive the radio star?

"Smartphones being able to stream services will be a big boon to radio as an industry as younger people are more likely to want to access the radio through their smartphones and mobile devices or laptops... I listen to Radio National breakfast in the mornings. I always have the radio on in the office, it sits right near my phone. I podcast as well and download the stuff I might not have a chance to listen to during the week."
- Kate Dundas, director, ABC Radio, talking to Mediaweek Australia. 

Dundas oversees five networks (Classic FM, News Radio, Triple J, Radio National and Local Radio), who together reach 7.5 million Australians each week, and three digital stations (ABC dig, ABC Country and ABC Jazz), soon to be joined by Unearthed, Triple J's offshoot. 

There are also two pop-up digital stations to tune into: Grandstand, for sport, and ABC Extra, which deals in new and innovative event-based content programming, including the recent Murdoch hearings broadcast and Marshal McLuhan Special, which featured McKenzie Wark who was, coincidentally, one of my first-year media lecturers at a time when the internet was a mysterious thing.

Wark's book Celebrities, Culture, Cyberspace: the light on the hill in a postmodern world was required reading. For the most part, as is the case with many academic experiences for 19-year-olds, I had NO IDEA what he was talking about. Now I get it, as with McLuhan's prophetic warning of an "age of anxiety" and the loss of privacy with the rise of electronic media. Wark now works for The New School in New York.

Girl Talk: Gallic discontent

Girl Talk: Gallic discontent 

"In France, there’s almost a systemic discrimination; women are seen as less-than all the time. When I go to parties, I never get asked by people I meet what I do, only about my boyfriend. For family members, what interests them is my private life – weddings, children – and not what I do professionally speaking....

I find that to be such a myth that French women are naturally beautiful and naturally thin with no effort. I’ve been here for five years now and I see around me all the time friends, acquaintances and family members who are terrified – absolutely terrified – of being perceived as plump or having two more kilos on their ideal body weight. They’re not thin because of their lifestyle and the country itself, it’s because they’re really terrified of gaining weight."

- Elena Rossini of No Country For Young (or Old) Women. (Milking this interview for all it's worth).

Glossy Covers: The wisdom of one mum

Glossy Covers: The wisdom of one mum
Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco
 The subject of a recent Sunday Life beauty feature, 'How old are these women?', Debbie Oates, 38, who refuses to get Botox, gets my Mother of the Year vote for her comment

"It's harder to lose weight now I'm older, but I don't obsess about that or my wrinkles. I've read research on the effect on children of what mothers say and do, so now I'm a mother of two girls, I am very careful. I want them to be naturally happy with the people they are. We don't talk about weight; we talk about healthy choices.
So I'd never get Botox, no way. I'd never consider that. And there are other ageing products out there I've not even heard of. I cleanse and moisturise and exfoliate when I have time. And I wear tinted Cancer Council sunscreen every day. I'm no expert on beauty regimens. I'm conscious of the fact I'm going to age but I'm happy to do that gracefully... Ageing is something that happens to everyone. I don't think there is anything we can do to stop the ageing process and I'm happy to keep living in the body I've been given."

Does that give you spine tingles, too? It is truly a compassionate, courageous act of selfless love: a willingness to accept and embrace one's flaws in the face of a world that tells us we should be physically flawless so that others might benefit from our outlook on life.

Of course, we shouldn't berate, shame and name women for conforming to societal beauty standards; that would be beside the point. It's the beauty standards, and the means by which they are projected, not individual women, who we should be paying attention to, while celebrating that which defiantly says, "There is a better way", and being completely and utterly honest about the pressures we face and decoding why we are facing them. This is not a solo battle, it affects all of us, because the more discontent women are with themselves, the more they will project onto others... including their daughters.

What part can we all play in ensuring women feel better about themselves every single day? For me, it comes back to the confidence to be found when one's inner being is sound, when she has an assured sense of her self-worth not defined by fleeting worldly standards but the idea that she is worthy of joy despite her age/beauty/job/relationship status, which enables a woman to be selfless in her treatment of other women because she wants what's best for them too. Hence, my sympathy for editors whose personal beliefs and practises might conflict with the agendas of their publications, but my continuing determination to bring those practises to light until they're put right, and by supporting those publications who are ahead of the proverbial curve.

Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: An interview with Elena Rossini

Girl Talk: An interview with Elena Rossini of No Country For Young Women

There are people in life who you feel an instant connection with, but might never meet in person. Elena Rossini is one of those people. She speaks my language, though not in literal terms: she is Italian by birth and a cinematographer and director by trade. Her passion is women; more particularly breaking down the barriers that keep them from enjoying thriving and satisfying professional lives, including negative body image, archaic cultural expectations and a lack of strong role models.

Rossini, 31, has channeled her feminist frustrations, more keenly felt in her current home of Paris, France, into the brilliant website No Country For Young (or Old) Women, which features interviews with women working in diverse fields as well as inspirational quotes. She is also currently working on funding her new documentary project, The Illusionists, which will address the commodification of the body.

Herewith the transcript from my frank chat with filmmaker, cinematographer, editor, feminist and woman, the prolific Elena Rossini...

GWAS Bulletin Board: Victoria Reichelt

GWAS Bulletin Board: Victoria Reichelt
Victoria Reichelt in Inside Out magazine May/June 2011
One of Inside Out magazine's 'Young at Art' ones to watch, long-time GWAS reader Victoria Reichelt is a finalist in the 2011 Mosman Art Prize for her work titled 'Uprising'.

The Queensland-based artist has made beauty out of her passion for magazines, creating photo-realist paintings based on her extensive collections. She told Inside Out, "Magazines offer a space to imagine, dream and think in."

In September, Reichelt will be heading to the 2011 Korea National Art Fair in Seoul. Leaving before her will be her solo exhibition "Shift", a series of paintings of magazines exploring the potential shift in the nature of how books and magazines are presented to us, from the physical to the digital, along with considering the motivations behind the collecting impulse and people's love of these objects.

Glossy Covers: SBS Feast's debut issue

Glossy Covers: SBS Feast's debut issue

Bold, vibrant, brilliant, the debut issue of SBS Feast magazine out today ($6.50, Pacific Magazines) is a multicultural splendour – representing cuisine from Argentinia to Woolgoola, NSW. Cover guy Luke Nguyen of trendy Sydney Vietnamese eatery Red Lantern says, "I love discovering new cultures and learning recipes that have been passed on through generations. Food is culture; it’s the way we communicate and it’s what tells us the story of a place. That’s what really gets me excited about cooking."


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Faith Talk: Living without fear

Faith Talk: Living without fear

"Let's tell our young people that the best books are yet to be written; the best paintings have not yet been painted; the best governments are yet to be formed; the best is yet to be done by them."
 - John Erskine, Professor of English at Colombia University, concert pianist, author of 60 books, president of the Juilliard School of Music, and popular and witty lecturer (c/o The Word For Today). 

I think the great appeal of Harry Potter was, perhaps, the idea that you can do anything; to rise above your circumstances and pursue the path you were destined to live even though the odds might be stacked against you. And, you know, our young people live in very precarious times. 

The optimism of the 80s that Gen-Yers like myself took for granted has been dispelled by 9/11, global financial crisis and a hotbed of unrest in the Middle East. We had the Gulf War, but our 24/7 news environment now permeates every corner of life via the television, internet and smart phones. If not war, then we are also at war with our neighbours and supermarkets and our waist lines (if current affairs programs are anything to go by). 

Ad Talk: Right on, Target

Ad Talk: Right on, Target

After last week's talk of Photoshop, it was refreshing to see this Target ad in The Australian Women's Weekly positioned between the L'Oreal Paris ad featuring a luminous Gwen Stefani and another L'Oreal Paris ad featuring Laetitia Casta (tagline: 'Find your infallible fit'). 

The model pictured is pretty as can be, but she has retained some of her eye wrinkles (more like crinkles). Of course, Target is a brand that's more accessible to women, so it's fitting that the image, which accompanies a 'Mix and Match' product selection, is not out-of-this-world unrealistic. Super-white teeth? Yes. Nary a skin blemish? Yes. Smooth decolletage? Yes. But crucially, the eye area remains pleasantly untouched.

Easy on the Photoshop, pleasey to the eye.

Well done, Target.

Girl With a Satchel

Pop Quiz: Harry Pottering

Pop Quiz: Harry Pottering
By Miranda Cashin

Ten years, eight films, four directors and $6 billion in box office takings and this is it. Harry Potter’s swan song as the curtain closes on the highest grossing franchise of all time and he waves his last wand. Relive the magic and test your knowledge of the franchise and its stars.


To win a GWAS Book Pack, email your answers and mailing address to hello@girlwithasatchel.com. Deadline: Monday 1 August, 5pm EST.
Answers to be posted below on Tuesday.

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