Read this: Media Masters - Stephanie Mehta
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Media matters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters a series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game today in New York and jump by Stephanie better editor-in-chief of fast Company career began in the early 90s as a staff reporter of the Wall Street Journal in 2013.
She became deputy managing editor of Fortune before moving onto Bloomberg way, Sheeran live events series she then spent two years at Vanity Fair when she was one of the magazines deputy editors and took on her current role in March 2018 Stephanie's since implemented a new editorial vision for the title which has an online audience of 8 million and a circulation of almost €750,000 overseas their flourishing life events business recently addressed audiences at the world economic Forum in Davos discussing the human side of digital transformation Stephanie thank you for joining me thanks for having pal Stephanie you living at first complete year in March how's the journey going so far? It's been an incredible Journey I tell people all the time that I was handed this incredible.
Gift my predecessor is a fast Company did an amazing job of recreating a publication that was ahead of its time that company was probably the first business magazine to recognise the importance of design to Business and Design as a business stylish isn't in everywhere well.
It's physically stylish, but also design has become an important component of business today every company is interested in design thinking McKinsey of all companies has a very large design consultancy inside of its larger practices and so the business world is kind of caught up to wear fast Company was 25 years ago.
It's incredible to be the steward of a brand that was so forward thinking I think the same can be said of social impact long before Larry Fink penned his famous letter saying that businesses need to be concerned about a broader ecosystem of constituents not just shareholders your fast Company was writing about social impact we have a hole.
Hello Anna website that's just dedicated to impact and so for me as an editor.
It's really amazing to be a top a brand that has been on the Cutting Edge from Ascot entire existence.
I'm a longtime reader remember you put Reese Witherspoon on the cover recently was that an attempt to broaden the definition of entrepreneur.
I think the definition of entrepreneur has already been broadened and Reese Witherspoon is somebody who we feel really exemplifies a sort of Martin entrepreneur.
Not just because she is playing in the new media space and trying to Leverage the power of her brand to try to bring in new authors and bring in new voices into the media landscape, but what's interesting is that she is very much at the forefront of this female empowerment movement that were seeing in the media industry, but she's going out of her way to try to bring female and underrepresented voices.
Two big screens to small screens to Publishing and so you know this model of the celebrity entrepreneur is not particularly new what attracted us to Reese Witherspoon story is because she is really leveraging her power as a powerful woman in Hollywood to try to bring other less powerful female voices to the Fold one of things.
I like about fast can lose it seems that the lease can I type a alpha male 80s business style magazine? It's much more modern in the proper sense of the word and accessible and I think for me you were that means that you must have quite a broad reach.
I think that we have done a very good job of attracting a younger reader and perhaps a reader who would normally not pick up a business magazine.
I have a colleague who likes to call it the NBA for creatives are men.
So if you are somebody that is a designer or a marketer or somebody who works in a more creative part of the business world and the Wall Street
Seems a little intimidating or the Financial Times seems a little daunting fast Company is a really great way to try and get you business inside without necessarily feeling like you're eating spinach and do you have a typical reader in mind? I don't think I have a typical reader in mind.
I would like to think that our reader is a little bit younger a little bit earlier in his career, but I also know that we've been blessed to have people who started reading fast Company when they were coming out of college are coming out of business school whiteknights act Lee and now like you.
They are in really interesting positions of authority and decision-making and they are in a position to either a vandalised ask company to their employees or to their social circles or to the people that they're mentoring and so we have this nice virtuous circle where were constantly will hopefully refreshing the readership with new young people but we haven't lost.
Our original fans they stayed with us.
I'm typical of many brands mediums are innovating as you go beyond merely the magazine have I've attended the fast Company innovation festival recently hours are Jessica Alba was on stage are recalling was telling us about her journey, and it's incredibly interesting you recently it was for example might tell us about you know the ecosphere your building will I think that journalism and you've probably heard the smell out of your guests is evolving and we need to go where the audiences are and they're not all absorbing after consuming us in the print publication and so we have a very robust website the majority of my employees actually Maya tutorial employees work on our digital products.
We do much more video then.
We've probably ever done and then as you made reference to we're doing much more alive journalism.
I think that's am best company like a lot of media.
Brands has an ability to convene interesting audiences and so a lot of our appeal.
O2 sponsors and to underwriters who want to affiliate with that company is that we bring together that sort of slightly younger slightly hippa business or dn40 2le my cousin be slightly cooler and then I think a lot of Brands like the pixie dust from being associated with a fast Company heel.
There are a lot of corporations that are doing really innovative things but because they are not Google or Facebook or at a Tesla they they struggle to show that they are innovative but I struggle to communicate to a new generation of employees that this is a great place to work come work for us because we're innovative and so I think by aligning with fast company.
They feel like that.
They can show the day they do have this innovative side.
Are you building partnerships out the future now because you know clearly there's advert still in the magazine, but it seems to me that when I go to some of your event so when I go on on your website that they want to have that more of a partnership type approach.
I think that that is definitely part of what we have in our toolkit you I think that there continues to be a really valuable place for the print product for both readers and advertisers and we can talk a little bit about what that looks like.
I do think digital is an important medium for us and for advertisers, but I do think that im partnerships and Alliances and Jodie sort of places where a sponsor cannot only put their name up on the stage or have some signage edit event but really have an opportunity to integrate into the event through sponsorship integration.
That's very much part of what we do and for example at the 2018 innovation festival would we had in here New York one of our sponsors did an escape room in Grand Central terminal you don't for me that was a win-win because it was annexed.
Areas that a lot of our attendees enjoyed, they wanted something that was not just content and we're going to hear great speakers on stage, but they wanted something more to use an overused word experiential immersive the immersive.
That's a good one and then the sponsor got to be able to get it message in front of an audience of younger people which is I think who this particular sponsor was trying to read in a way that was fun and lively and unexpected and so you know again this brand was able to present itself in a sort of cool.
I was perfectly happy to have my attendees have another option as part of the activities at the innovation festival and you I think that everybody felt really good about the execution and we did it in Grand Central terminal which was terrific because we had a lot of brand exposure as fast Company in a place.
Literally thousands and thousands of thousands of people off their everyday.
I thought you was incredible do your readers have multiple touch points now that they not only that we read the magazine but not or is it that they exclusively reading it's on an app like meet with readly or via the web and attending events, but you know how do you want your readers to engage with you? I think I want our readers to engage with us.
They want to engage with us at idea that sounds like a little bit of a clichéd answer, but truly if somebody really only wants to consume fast Company content via the app.
We are perfectly happy to serve the mobile first strategy.
We probably have people who only come to the innovation festival and they've made subscriber.
They may think about subscribing but they probably may not engage with the content 365 days a year as much as I'd like that but if someone really just is a fan of the innovation festival and we do have fans.
We have people who sign up the minute but tickets.
On sale that's fine move it well.
Thank you for your business because my pleasure are you going to take the magazine waiting to take the brand over the next few years.
What's on your a genuine genuine post.
You've got your feet under the table now at dinner.
What is what is that hidden Masterplan that you've got I don't think there is a hidden master plan and I know that's not a terribly satisfying answer, but it is said at the outset.
I've been handed this incredible gift.
I mean fast Company is not broken fast Company is not a publication that needs to be fixed or reinvented.
I think that's one thing I have said to our staff and to our advertisers and to a broader community is that I do think that we have a broad sense of what a fast company's story is I think that I am willing to try a few new things or maybe do some things that are a little bit surprising to our readers so for example in one of our early issues shortly after I became editor we did an Oral history and
Girls are a lot of work as you know and it was an Oral history of the zagat guide which recently had been acquired by the infatuation and one of the plans of the new management team is to start printing those burgundy box I'm aging myself again.
There's probably a lot of young readers who don't remember but when I first moved to New York in 1994 zagat guide was my Bible it was essential it was essential Annie's subsequently branched out to other cities but it was the first crowdsourced restaurant guide in the world where you were really sort of you know counting on other Foodies perspectives on where you should eat and now they sorted it by neighborhood and they sorted it by different categories yoga good for families good for night out date night this sort of Shirley that the zagat guide to gun on from book to Google property to back to being a book in this age of yelp and you know sort of instapundit reviews of.
Restaurants to me it just felt like there was something here and I think that just some of my editors wondered well.
You don't really look back.
Why are we doing a story about something that is sold with new again as it's a great story and for me you know it was partly because it's a great story partly because I felt people will be drawn to the material, but the more we looked into it again some of the Themes that are highlighted this idea that you know before there was yelp before there was Kickstarter before there was sort of crowdsourcing.
You know that's what timodine is a got were doing they were soliciting the opinions of the sort of wisdom of crowds and putting it into this little compact guide the people used to carry around her have lined up on their desks and they were constructive that what they are remember the reviews they weren't they weren't embittered like you see a lot of these on TripAdvisor no no.
No it was definitely in and partly because it was such a you again before they were 140 characters on Twitter they really require you to be very.
Sarah and so it was a result you couldn't do these like you know 25 paragraph diatribes about you know the hair on your soup.
So that was one part of it and then the other part was that you know it was this company that had been acquired by Google had tried to sort of entering into the Sword of ditto GoGo era of the internet and any no didn't quite pen out and so we know we explored that part of the company's history as well and then you don't sort of had this news event that was sitting right in front of us on the other side so for me that was an example of a story that you know might not have appeared in an issue of fast Company 12 or 15 years ago, but I think it gave us a chance to tell a story that was really interesting to a lot of people in a different way.
We felt like it was a very successful and ever and not reduced fast complete all kind of Formula but do you have an ideal issue in mind in terms of the proportions of light and shade features, are you?
Wood Focus geographically at you know is there something that in there where you know you're starting with a blank sheet of paper and you putting his you together.
What what? What are the priorities were very lucky because fast Company is probably one of a handful of publications where you can still read a 5000 word article and I know that there is a robust debate in the media world about whether or not there is a place for that kind of long-form.
We loved it and I think that's no we just had a cover story on a map of son.
Who is the founder of the softbank Vision fund and the sort of driving Force behind a lot of Investments that were seeing in Silicon Valley and beyond and that piece was in excess of 5000 words and I don't think we could have told the story in less than 5000 words in this is a person whose ambitions.
I'm at the word count and so give us an example of the kind of story that I would love to have in every issue.
He studies qualities was not wholly exclusive to us other people have written about him.
We didn't get exclusive access to him the thesis and the way we put it together and the depth and breadth of it.
I felt was unmatched by other stories that have have tried to tackle this subject so something that feels I mean we strive for every issue to have at least a couple of features where my feeling is the reader should read it and say I can only find this in fast Company your dad's to me that that's the bar for every reason is that exactly and so always want some sort of big cover wait feature that feels in-depth really deeply reported beautifully written carefully constructed amazing graphics amazing sort of sidebars and the support pieces and then you know one of the things that we've introduced in the magazine is an opening.
As a result of pigs sort of curtain raiser story that opens up the issue has a little bit more town has a little bit more attitude a little bit more of a thought leadership, please.
They're written primarily by staff, but the idea there is two really open with something big and high-impact.
We just recently ran a piece by one of our design writers Katharine Schwab an open floor office plans and why it's taking so long for them to die in spite of the fact that all evidence shows that they are not successful.
I work in one productivity is not as high as people expected to be an employee satisfaction is very low and your there's a lot of research that shows that this is not a successful way for people to work and yet companies keep rolling them out and so you'll Catherine is somebody has been writing about this for a really long time and the peace really sort of explored not only the history of these plans which it was a great question what how did these things come to be? How is it that?
Come to proliferate but then really explored the challenges with getting rid of them and why they are likely for the unforeseeable future to be ingrained in every offers not only in America but now increasingly across the world and to me that get that was A Kind of Peace that knew you'd only reading fast Company partly because we have somebody who is uniquely qualified to tell that story but also because we're willing to take a stand on behalf of the workers rights you don't worry not here.
Just saw them talk about why it's so great for real estate and maximizing the productivity per square foot.
We're also really interested in the human side of things and how is it affecting the employee the worker the person who's actually supposed to be here over sitting in these office plans so and ultimately cause the state the obvious if it affects their motivation Hindi motivates them that's gonna affect productivity in the medium and long-term and is ultimately counterproductive example of something that I feel like.
Really exemplifies what we're trying to do in fast Company today.
I remember the article and you are right because it's an important thing that we need to think about that the solution has to be designed lead that we have to get away from these that sprawling open plan offices that as you say terrible, but also we don't want people in individual rooms isolated just on their computer.
There's got to be somewhere that we can intelligently have the Best of Both Worlds that that freedom to focus which you know we don't get anymore but also that we can still be around people and still have the conversations that you having any workplace and I've worked in both environments and I can see the pros and cons of both and I think that there is this new generation of design thinkers who really are putting a lot of time and energy into thinking about how we can create better work environments and ultimately that's very positive ingredients of an issue.
Was it where what's the actual production? How do you put one together but he took us through the process I can tell you about the process, but that's not terribly interesting.
This is a media partner interested.
I can assure you that company comes out 8 times a year which is an interesting production schedule and so as a result because the print publication comes out 8 times a year do we really operate on very long lead times, so as we sit here today on January 30th.
We are already in the process of looking a copy for Army issue, and so do we try to think as far in advance as we can about you.
I think for me my priorities are always what's the cover and how does that cover fit into our overall issue Keynes because I think in Any Given year.
You know we know we're going to certainly do a couple of high-profile non-traditional business covers sell a Reese Witherspoon we had Janelle Monae and the cover of our most productive People issue.
We know we're going to do a couple.
those are we know we're gonna definitely want to have a couple of straightforward business stories like the muscle son story and be because he didn't cooperate on the story and didn't sit for a photograph with pick up for that cover which was something that we typically don't do we typically like to photograph our subject so you're one of the things that im thinking about a lot in collaboration with my creative director Mike snide is what is every cover going to look like how can we make sure that each issue has a slightly different look and feel to the covers so that the end of 2019 you going to look at our wall of covers and feel like there was different texture different feelings that whereabouts different emotions different colours different angles to the photographs of the people on the cover and there's that every cover looks different, but still feels like you're reading fast Company
So a lot of what we think about is is who is going to be on at covering.
What is that cover going to look like we spent a lot of time thinking about the variety of stories in the front of book we have some templates and we always try to do some sort of illustrated deconstruction either of those really helpful as well.
We did Hudson yards in our most recent issue, but we did the tencent new office building in our November issue, and it was actually a they're always done as a spread, but this one was one that you had to sort of turn on its side in order to see the Tower from top to bottom so we're always thinking about your what's that makes in the front of the book will have a great feature.
We do called material world.
Where will really look at the materials that go into building something new and interesting we did a deconstruction of a wall surfboard in a recent issue, which was you know it sounds like an oxymoron.
How can you put a big thing of wool in the water, but it's it was fascinating and so you know we like to have those mum.
Princess surprise, we think about whether cadence in the front of the bug looks like we think about the big meaningful features.
It will get it to mix of stories that we tell him portraiture vs.
Stories that we tell through illustrations and graphics and sidebars.
You know one of the things.
I'd like to see a stride to do more of his photo essays.
We did a group photo essay a couple of issues ago about the male cheerleaders of the Los Angeles rams this year was the first year that two NFL teams had male cheerleaders and you are so maybe military leaders will also interesting about that story is that we very much for Purchase as a workplace inclusion story Grape and approach and coupled with the sort of joyfulness and we wanted to have something that would work for our fall issue in a football season but again a very fast Company take on things you again.
It was something that I felt was really successful and we were trying to think about different ways of telling a story and we really like the visuals dry.
That particular story for us because how could you not it's cheerleading? It's seater football.
It's amazing Greenfield that these performers get to step onto every every game so you press it really is it's about the mix.
It's about delighting our readers and audiences and I can't last thing I'd say is that I don't think of that company is an explicitly service driven magazine.
We are owned by the same company that owns Inc magazine and I know that James Leadbetter has been on your programme and and James does an amazing job with ink every issue dreams a great guy and I I look at it as I can be fans of both magazines.
I love entrepreneur magazine.
I would have a Business Review absolutely no, I think it's you know it's it's a big tent, but what's interesting about ink is that if you read it, but they there is much more explicit service in any magazine because they're x Stark reader really demands it we we don't do anything that feels like service.
But if you read our story is carefully especially a lot of the pieces in the front of the book.
There are a lot of tips and tricks of the trade and things that I know people circle and dog year I do that and I've still about 20 ideas in last couple years alone from fast Company support and think one of the things.
I look for when the copy comes in is the side just been a great read an entertaining and interesting and well reported are there nuggets of information that the reader can glean from this and you do again whether their early career a creative or a CEO who has been with us for 25 years are they going to get content from this? That's meaningful and useful for their lives.
I like the idea of nuggets of information.
I want still with the consultant many years ago to wrap the first packets of value which is the same thing really said inside it's an eyebrow razor.
It's something you can use in somewhere practically do you get your ideas from for the features and stories imagine like meet you in.
Data with inbound press releases and some but you've got to you.
You it's a big world out there you got to keep your eyes on your ears open for where the stories are.
How do you do that? What's the what's the news gathering and feature Gathering process and very lucky because I have a great staff of senior editors and writers who don't need a lot of Direction or guidance from me and what constitutes a fast Company story and so they are out in the field every day bringing us ideas bringing the Editors ideas of things that they should be writing about and things that they feel really will Delight our readers or getting give the net inside or those negative information that they can't get anywhere else through a fast Company lens, do a fast Company lens or unit fully more and more stories that you don't people are bringing to us exclusively or that we are exclusively reporting and discovering on her own and in bringing to our readers so you for our website you there.
It's very fast paced or
editors and writers are constantly on the lookout for stories that makes sense for us or for the best company angle of breaking news and so those of the kinds of stories where you we have a very specific point of view and I think we know it's a fast Company story and we know how to deliver those for our readers know in terms of my contribution to story ideas and to figuring out what we should be putting in the magazine a lot of it is going out and doing things like this meeting people talking to people trying to understand what the trends are a lot of it is speaking with executives and ceos who are willing to in some cases on background share a little bit of there inside and thinking about the direction the world is going or where they're planning to take their companies and in other cases, you know it really is through brainstorming and consultation again with the senior editors and the senior editorial team to try to understand Notley what's in the Zeitgeist at the
But especially if you're planning a new shoe, that's not going to come out for another 3 months.
Where is the world going to be in the summer? Where is the world going to be at the end of 2019? How should we be thinking about election coverage attacking the politicians all of those things are ongoing daily conversations were having an incredible privilege.
It must be to do such an interesting job frankly because you know what the world is your oyster you can you talking to interesting chief executives people in the world of Arts and creativity and able to cover that give it your unique insight imagine that you personally I've been on quite a learning journey as well as through doing the job very much.
So and I think that you you use the word privilege and I was very lucky and I spent 14 years at fortune Magazine and got to work with Carol loomis who is by all accounts the sort of Grand am of business journalism and she used to say on a regular basis that we get to do with a privilege and she is that word specifically and I feel.
Truly grateful every day that I get to do this for a living because we get paid to tell stories to meet interesting people to advocate for causes in some cases that im getting enough attention and as I said earlier.
We we really try to put the employee or the worker or the person who was actually executing inside an organisation at front and centre as we did with the story about open floor plans, so it really is as I said truly an honour and I buy feel lucky everyday that I get to be the steward of the scrape brand you mention you cut your career that when you came to fast Company from Vanity Fair where you are deputy editor.
You not given that they really out the Pulse of popular culture was that a strain to leave? I loved every minute that I was at Vanity Fair and I was very privileged to work for 2 years for graydon Carter who's the Legendary editor of Vanity Fair for 25 years and trying to get him.
Got any Paul Wheeler that said I think that my heart has been in business journalism from the outside.
I got my start in business journalism as a cub reporter at a local newspaper in Norfolk Virginia in the early 90s and so the opportunity to come back to a publication.
That is at its core business publication was irresistible and in many ways the journey that I've been on Wall Street Journal fortune Bloomberg Vanity Fair really did sort of set me up well for fast company which probably covers Pop Culture and your creativity and the Arts in a very specific way that is different from a lot of other business publications and so I think the time I spent in Vanity Fair really understanding the way the media world works the way you're quite honestly tour of Hollywood and and
Animusic world work it was very useful to have that skill and their credibility in those Communities when I came into this job.
Do you want to want to be a journalist? Did you always want to be an editor? What will your ambitions at the beginning of your career? I I did said out professionally to be a journalist when I first started at university.
I really thought I was going out that was an English major I figured I would go into book publishing that was something that felt very appealing to me and my first or second week at school and the young woman who lived across the hall from me came back and she ate a copy of the school newspaper the daily northwestern with a front page story that she had written in the paper and your she had gone in the day before without an assignment Ada come back the next day with a front page story splash with a freshman.
She was just it was a miracle that you could as opposed to you know when I turn paper that was going to take you know months to ride.
Or you know these long essays that you have to be labour with researching new hours and hours in the library the idea that you could get an assignment at 16 and training a story at 20 and then have it on the front page of your school paper the next day was just felt like magic to me and so am I I I sort of sheepishly followed her into the paper the next day and ask for an assignment and have a look back and what what type of reporter.
Did you want to be back then? What type of germs do you have a you know when you wait as you say when you come sheepishly sneaked in where did you think that journey? Would take it or did you not have any idea at that point? I didn't we have any idea that point but as it turned out because I was so late to the game and I was an English major at northwestern University which has a great journalism program and most of the young people who were working at the paperwork in the journalism school and had shown up deed of the day before classes started and had gotten their assignments.
I was basically left with whatever was left and whatever was left was covering business in evanston, the town that does the school is based in so I was handed the business beat it was Fred and it was late and I really found out I was drowning material.
I liked the fact that I was doing something a little bit different than the mainstream and getting out there and talking to you with the time northwestern head and a very nice and business incubator so talking with them about sort of tech transfer of ideas from the school into the business world.
It was something that you know none of my peers were really particularly interested in and so it was wide open field for me and I had I had a ball.
What was the first big job than that you got in journalism so after I graduated from Masters program there.
I got a job as a business reporter for the Virginian pilot in Norfolk Virginia I was there.
Airtran 9294 I was covering the real estate beat which was another sort of backwater be no one wanted it was the kind of thing that you give the person who's the new kid lower Strand and the totem pole but for me it was great because again it was a pretty small staff at include six riders and three editors but we had to fill the Sunday business section every week.
So every six weeks.
I had a right a 2000 3000 word article and I also had to fill the real estate section so every Monday again.
This was back in the 90s when there was a lot of real estate advertising in local papers Louise We Dream of the 90s now before before the internet so I had to fill the real estate section so every week.
I was writing at least you know 1000-1500 article for this is a real estate features section and then every 6 weeks.
I was writing it a big business feature and so he was just working all the time and writing all the time and I can.
Can think of better training but you started in the early nineties of the Wall Street Journal and you started with a mutual friend mcmurrays now editor-in-chief Virginia I was sending my clips to every major market paper and in the country my feeling was that you know I would probably go from Market like Virginia to come not open unity rubber slightly larger market like a Philadelphia or Dallas load the journal is a slightly larger paper well, so I would like to gain you got very lucky.
I had been sending my materials to the Wall Street Journal and managed to catch the eye of the people who were doing the recruiting and again they spotted and opening very entry-level covering small business for the journal foot in the door fitting the door and in New York so I moved to New York and may have 94 and the week.
I started there was a newsletter that went around to all the employees into.
Sing the new employees to the rest of the staff and the week I started and you never said he's now running a night badger program at Columbia University and Marie has now the editor of The Wall Street Journal the three of us started the same week, so I have very fond memories and map of course has his career has skyrocketed and has left me in the dust, but I'm proud to call him a friend.
He speaks very highly of using that share recently she was on the podcast and we are really enjoyed talking to him at the journal for a long time until it's about your journey within that 6 years so the first three years.
I was writing primarily small business stories which of the journal there the amuse-bouche of the journal they were again for me.
It was a great opportunity because all the stories are features.
You want breaking news on a small business people really writing about frankly a lot of what we do here at fast Company now, which is the backbone of America don't forget then.
Small businesses will never let you forget it by the way that it was really about sort of the stories of people who were trying to find new ways to solve problems or below the struggle of putting your payroll on your credit card and trying to figure out how to make ends meet some very human very future-oriented stories and again really kind of learnt how to become a feature writer and by doing these sort of more human interest type pieces, but it became very clear that I wasn't going to be able to build a long-term career at the journal.
Just covering small business because it is so news driven, and it's so driven by a desire of corporate beads so after about 3 years doing small business.
There was an opening on the Tech team covering telecommunications again.
This was sort of 1996 which is a time when the Telecom industry was in huge flocks bigchangeapps changed new telecommunications act of 1996 was passed which was meant to really introduce a lot of competition into the US telecommunications.
Is Market wireless was just becoming mainstream, and so it was it was a heartbeat and so I'm getting when there is an opportunity to join their team did that and so I covered Telecom firm for 3 years for the journal and you again loved it and really learnt how to be a business reporter.
I'm in the charts that you develop working a bit at the journal are unlike anything that I like I can't recommend it highly enough to to a starting journalist.
What was eager to really stretch a little bit into become more of a traditional feature writer and you're at the place like the journal those roles are really reserved for people who is sort of have paid their dues and have shown and demonstrated a real ability to to sit down and found out €2,000 for words in one sitting and I've done that for decades and really and really know how to do it and I knew I wasn't going to get there.
And anytime soon and I needed to sort of figure out a way to sort of there's no skills and so but getting there was an opening at fortune Magazine they were looking for a tech writer a friend who was there suggested I check it out and so I joined fortune in April of 2000 and I was there 14 years a long time and when you joined John Hewitt was edited there wasn't a yes and John also came from the Wall Street Journal although he had made the transition to magazines many years before I joined and John was just legendary.
He used to talk about making fortune the best magazine in the world that just happens to be about business and you really turned fortune from I think a magazine the top very beautiful and very little corporate to one that was lively and fresh and unexpected and funny John is a very.
Funny guy so there was a lot of humour and a lot of variety to the stories you that the timing helps to Thane of the late 90s early 2000s Silicon Valley was on the rise technology was the story of the day you know you couldn't help but tell the story of business in a very different way and 14 years to see releases an incredibly long time you must have you must have really enjoyed working there though.
I should have kept a lot sooner, but I loved it and you know I can say this now because I don't work there anymore, but I would have paid them for the opportunity to work at fortunate mean.
You know what I said in one of my earlier, as I got to work with people like heirloom it and it was an education every meeting I sat in with Carol just listening to the way she asked questions or frame a conversation or an argument and I still tell young Writers to this day that if you just read the collected works of Carol loomis.
You will get an education in how.
To report and craft business story because Carol is one of those incredible writers who actually shows you her process as you read the story so you can actually see how the reporting and falls through the course of the story and so for me you know that it was like the best journalism school.
I could go to a terrific people really amazing depth and breadth of storytelling and you know it was really where I learnt the power of live journalism Fortunes live journalism platform is second to none the title has an amazing ability to convene people from across a lot of different Industries they do really good job internationally and so you don't get getting to be part of that aspect of Fortune journalism storytelling.
I think set me up to to do a lot of the things that I'm trying to do it at fast Company today and it's not one of the reasons wild to make your own.
Chelsea move on EE went to Bloomberg as you are responsible for their live events series when you were there when you're not I was End from me the opportunity of Bloomberg was particularly appealing because of the global reach of Bloomberg us as globalist as fortune and I know a lot of its competitive zrn including time fortune Inn Chinese to collaborate a lot on an international project Bloomberg Bloomberg has 14 Bureaus in Africa alone.
I mean there are there is there are very few Media organizations.
They can compete with Bloomberg when it comes to Global feet on the ground and sofa me the opportunity to build something that was really global was was particularly exciting.
I think the lesson for me.
I'm going to Bloomberg and I'll again loved every minute there in the people of Bloomberg amazing it.
It's hard to be a business journalist for any period of time without.
Singing to your half a dozen friends just in the Elevator at Bloomberg like there is just as God truly amazing collection of of journalists.
Who've come from all walks of life and ultimately I think for me the opportunity to be in a traditional Media organisation was very appealing particularly when it was Vanity Fair in Drayton cardoso win-win grading cold and it was easy for me to say yes, you've also talked about the need for more regulatory scrutiny on big tech and businesses that that you've said a not necessarily living up to their social responsibilities.
I think one of the things that fast Company was early to identify is the business really has a place in society as well as obligations to its shareholders and to its employees it it really does have obligations to its Communities and I feel that you know the technology world in particular is now starting to open its eyes to the obligations.
Go beyond the shareholder the user the consumer enterally think about the Communities they serve as we did hear a New York today Amazon is the subject of City Council hearing about their new headquarters in Queen's I think that that's an interesting case study in how company and a community are going to have to come to terms with one another so ask you questions then let's look back and look forward.
They said just looking back what you consider to have been the highlights and a major learning opportunities that you've had a new career career.
I think that one of the things that has been a hallmark of my career and I sometimes share with young people is that I've not been afraid to make lateral moves in my career if I thought that I would get the right experience and the right learnings from them.
So when I left, but I was the Wall Street Journal I was a deputy editor.
Doing a lot of editing for the small business group that I was part of and you as a result of that position.
I occasionally had a seat at the table with the big boys.
I would be know if my boss was out of town.
I would go to the morning meeting.
I was in a position of some small authority but nonetheless it was an editor job, but I realised that I would be much better served by going back to being a Beat reporter in the Telecom area because that was an area that was hot at the time.
I knew I would learn a lot I would be working with a bunch of editors that were very aggressive and really knew had a break news and so while professionally that might have looked like as a lateral move or even a step down for me as a career trajectory move.
I felt like it will I couldn't lose by doing it and similarly when I left the Wall Street Journal when I join.
Fortune they offered me rider position.
Are you not heard of that world beetle given my experience in the industry.
I probably should be a senior writer and they said do you know just come straight out as a writer little for yourself out and I said ok? I'm going to trust that this is the right move and that if I do the work that I think I can do you guys will take care of me and you know I got a promotion 10 months later.
I didn't know the river the time now because I could have gone wrong these bold moves have genuine risk in the dummy.
I think we have Risk if you if you're hung up on the title and at the end of the day.
I mean you know luckily I didn't have to think that I don't think it's a guinea pig cuts as a result of those does lateral moved but I think so bye bye not letting my eGo get in the way essentially by just saying you know this is this is a good job.
This is a job.
I like in want to do.
I think that you don't eat pizza.
Be well in my career and so that's something that I look back on it and when I talk to riders and I know it's it's hard in this day and age because the media industry is contracting and people really are third of fighting incline for their positions inside and some Media organizations, but for me I think that the bigger message of Sir putting my eGo aside a little bit and really just thinking about it.
It's a place.
I'm gonna learn and grow and Blossom is a journalist and has really just held me in good stead.
Do you enjoy the job of being edited because in a week by speak to quite a lot of editors on This podcast and some of them really.
Love it, but others do reminisce family when they used to do the actual writing as it is a different job to that you know to all the others.
There's lot more responsibility a lot more things to consider this the managerial in the strategic and you've got to do with HR and always strategy on the commercial side.
Do you like that makes you like being at the actual data does the job of editor? I do like the job of editor AI
Like that everyday is different I like that.
I'm learning everyday and I think that's a theme with me.
I really like to be in jobs.
Where I'm I'm learning something different another writer.
You are absolutely learning everyday.
You're going out there in your meeting people and gaining new insights, but I will be the first to admit that I find that blank screen so dancing now.
You know it's somebody who used to write 1000-1500 words in any given day because of blog posts or web stories.
Are you know? I have not use that muscle in a really long time and so when I have to sit down and write my me know every issue editors letter the blank screen does it's a little daunting it would kill me I have a team of Writers on my staff and I use to write my own columns for various online journals and saunas and I gave her up to a 3 years ago now doing what I call a monologue for fibre six minutes sometimes over the phone but often in just a recording and then that'll be turned into an article and it's great to be.
I couldn't actually do it anymore.
I am and that's why I have I think it is giving me a healthy respect for all of my writers and the mmis because the woman Joel Bernstein who has to edit my editors note every issue.
Does a really good job of making me look smart and I mean that's one of the kind of cheeky questions.
I wanted to ask is what what have been the toughest suspect a minute.
I know it's a great.
Let it go but no job is perfect.
What does it was the bit that you found the most challenging? It's fair to say that publications.
Just don't have the resources that they used to doing more with less.
I think that he offer me a lot of it is trying to keep people motivated in an environment where they're being asked to do more with less and trying to find ways to keep the culture positive enter key people feeling optimistic.
Obviously I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that fast company had a bright future we're turning 25 years old in November
And I tried reminds especially some of our younger riders that you fast company started at the same time as business 2.0 red herring industry standard e company now and wired and that's company and while there are the one still standing remember business 2.0 remember being excited to read it back in the day.
I remember that they had so much advertising I can't remove it was red herring your business to point out that one of the one of the new Economy magazine said so much advertising and not enough riders that they were rerunning old stories and labelling them you from the archives are best of red herring just that they would have paid in it to support that are dollars and you know there is a Reason fast company has survived and I think there's a reason why someone will be sitting in this seat 25 years from now talking about the long and Rich history of fast Company I think we were.
I think we're here for the long run.
I'm actually to that and that's my final question is we have a lot of Media students aspiring journalists and people that are studying at the moment.
They might be someone listening to this the day has been really inspired by what you said in things for 25 years and now I want to be the editor of fast Company what advice would you give him or her listening to this right now? What what they're going to do for the next 25 years to then take your job.
I think that journalism today is really multi-platform and I think every young Rider young journalist young producer really needs to be able to do a multitude of things so it's been able to write well-being able to appear on television being able to do a Potter host a podcast being able to program of a panel or a live event being able to write for digital and to be able to really understand how to write a headline and how to grab readers attention for digital platforms.
It's it's going to be very.
The hard for the journalist in the editor of The Future to be able to do just one thing so I would say learn it all and don't just focus on on one piece of the storytelling be able to tell the story on many platforms Stephanie's been hugely enjoyable conversation.
Thank you ever so much free time.
Thank you for association with big things Media
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