Chandra Turner: Former Magazine Editor and Founder of the Talent Fairy

 

Angela Tuell: 0:05

Welcome to Media in Minutes. This is your host Angela Tuell. This podcast features in-depth interviews with those reports on the world around us. They share everything from their favorite stories to what happened behind the lens and give us a glimpse into their world. From our studio here at Communications Redefined, this is Media in Minutes.

 

Megan Fernandez: 0:28

Hi, I am Megan Fernandez, a guest host of Media in Minutes and a former guest on the show. I am here today to interview Chandra Turner. Chandra is the founder and CEO of The Talent Fairy, a New York based recruiter for editorial positions and communication leadership roles. After working her way up the mast heads at Glamour, YM, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl and Ladies Home Journal, Chandra worked as the executive editor for Parents Magazine for eight years, including when it was nominated for the American Society of magazine editors General Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016. Right when she got to New York, Chandra began distinguishing herself from all the hungry ambitious magazine editors by turning their hunger and ambition into her passion project, Ed2010, a networking group for the magazine industry that became known for its whisper job openings, salary reports and mentoring programs. When Chandra left magazines, she parlayed her network, networking expertise into her own consultancy, helping traditional media journalists transition to branded content and other growing fields. She’s very smart, she’s very talented, she’s very driven. She’s very kind and generous. And she’s a great tennis player and she’s my friend, Chandra Turner. Welcome Chandra.

 

Chandra Turner: 1:33

Hello, Megan, happy to be here.

 

Megan Fernandez: 1:36

Yeah. Thanks for joining us. I know you’re very busy. As a one woman show maybe not one woman show with The Talent Fairy.

 

Chandra Turner: 1:43

No, I have an assistant actually. I need a whippersnapper to do some of my social and all of my graphics. Otherwise, I’m pretty much The Talent Fairy works alone for the most part.

 

Megan Fernandez: 1:53

You have such a unique role in the magazine industry. I keep saying that as an as a reflex when I talk to you but it’s so much different now in media, I guess. I think you’ve, from the, since I knew you in college, you’ve always been able to carve out your own unique niches. And here you are still 30 years in your career and you’re still, still doing that. I mean, I don’t think there are that many companies like The Talent Fairy, I would say.

 

Chandra Turner: 2:16

Yeah, I don’t think there are that many I don’t, I hope there isn’t, you know, like, I’ve carved out this little niche to own this space. Mostly just because this is my own love. And it’s funny that you say you keep saying magazine editor. I can’t stop referring to myself as a magazine editor first, even though I actually haven’t been one for seven years. But somebody asked me like, like on the tennis court or something right? Like completely out of context. What do you do? I can’t help but say I’m a former magazine editor. Yeah, I can’t not say it. Like, it’s so much a part of my identity. And I think that’s true too of so many other editors and journalists. Like even if you leave traditional media, whether it’s, you know, to become a physical therapist, or professional tennis player, or maybe work in branded content, or content marketing role, and things I think maybe we’ll be talking about today. First and foremost, we still identify as editors, because editorial and writing and editing and that journalistic way, is really foundational, I think, to just serve ourselves. It’s almost like it’s a calling. I know that sounds really cheesy. But there is something to be said for that. Anyway, I know you didn’t ask that question. But it just made me think of that.

 

Megan Fernandez: 3:28

No, I love that. And I think it’s kind of right into it in that I think a lot of magazine editors, you know, they just fall in love with that special, there’s something magical being a magazine editor and kind of sounds interesting. But then it really is actually is fairly interesting day to day. When did you fall in love with magazines? Was that something you kind of knew you wanted to do early on, even before you were in college?

 

Chandra Turner: 3:50

I didn’t really know, I didn’t know that I could work in a magazine before college. Like, I love magazines, I devoured them. You know, I remember waiting for my Seventeen to come in the mail like checking the mailbox. And because of course I sent in all these things to be in Seventeen. And like, I used to write poetry and would send it in to Seventeen. And then it never occurred to me that they would have to reach out to me in advance before they put it in. So I always thought there could be a chance that I was going to be in the magazine.

 

Megan Fernandez: 4:17

Yeah.

 

Chandra Turner: 4:17

So I’d run out, opened it up, look for the column that had the poetry in it. And it was all like poetry about love and whatever. Yeah, bad poetry. And I was never in it. And I was what? But it never occurred to me to work at a magazine until I was in college, until we were in college together actually. I’m sure you remember we started the IU Magazine Society.

 

Megan Fernandez: 4:41

Long, long lived.

 

Chandra Turner: 4:44

Yes. So I wrote well, I’ll have to get into the beginnings of the Indiana University Magazine Society but I’ve been that was when I realized that magazines were a real career opportunity and married that idea of journalism in a more like I don’t want to say conversational way, but a more personal way than I think hardcore journalism, I wanted to do feature writing. And I wanted to be in kind of a little bit of the social justice world. And so that’s how I got into magazines. And I got my first magazine job because I worked as an intern in a magazine internship program. And so then I was hooked. Like, then I was just like, that’s it like, this is what I want to do. And I would have done it until the end of time. But, you know, the industry had other plans.

 

Megan Fernandez: 5:33

Plans. Yeah, I think it was the A-S-M-E, American Society, ASME, A-S-M-E. American Study Magazine Editors internship program. You went to school at Indiana University, you’re from Indiana, and you got one of those coveted jobs and worked in New York for the summer.

 

Chandra Turner: 5:48

Yes, in fact, I learned about ASME and that program that placed, you know you applied for the program and then they placed you in a number of mag-, you know, one magazine that was part of their group. And I learned about it too late when I was in college past the deadline. So I had to graduate late so I could be a part of the program. So I kind of like finagled the whole thing and acted like I was still a junior, because that’s how you had to be eligible to be a junior. So I was returned, I had to, like, pretend I was a junior, and then finish up one more semester, so I could be qualified. Anyway, a long winded way to like, wiggle my way in. And that was the only way I knew I knew that people got hired out of this program. So I was like, that’s what I’m gonna do. And so that’s what I did.

 

Megan Fernandez: 6:39

I love that. Even back then you were figuring out a way to make it happen.

 

Chandra Turner: 6:42

Yeah, I was just right. I was just trying, I hacked it, trying to work the system, because I didn’t I didn’t have any contacts. You know, like, they always said, if you’re going to work in this industry, especially in New York, you had to know people and you had to be connected to people or your dad had to be the owner of a company. I mean, you know, and I didn’t have any –

 

Megan Fernandez: 7:00

It’s who you know, who you know, right?

 

Chandra Turner: 7:02

Yeah, yeah. So, um, so I, you know, worked that internship opportunity and made all my friends there. And then they, because most of them were seniors, returning seniors, they went back to school, and I stayed in New York looking for my first job. And then I got my first job working at Good Housekeeping. And then those, my fellow interns were finishing up their college education, and then they were looking for their first jobs. And were reaching out to me like, What do you know, who do you know, because I was their only contact, right? And that’s when I started Ed2010, which was editors in chief by the year 2010. Yes, that makes us sound really old.

 

Megan Fernandez: 7:45

Wooow. Back then it sounded so futuristic because this was like, what, what year was it for the, for the –

 

Chandra Turner: 7:51

’90..’97.

 

Megan Fernandez: 7:52

Yeah, that was 13 years. I mean, that sounds like the, you know,

 

Chandra Turner: 7:55

Oh, yeah, it felt like eons. And, like science fiction, like, it’s like eons away that we, and even like, then it was like, Oh, we’re gonna be editor in chief in 13 years, or whatever. And a lot of the people did go on to be editor and chiefs. It ended up being this huge community that kind of just organically grew, because so many people wanted to be a part of magazine journalists and journalism at the time. You know, that was the 90s in New York, and magazines were just like, hot, you know. I mean, it was just like, the hottest time to be working consumer magazines. And I’m glad that I lived in it while it existed, you know. But it was really good there for the first 10 years of my career. And then, you know, the internet, of course, blew up. And things started to change and also still in a very exciting way, until probably like 2008. So I worked at Good Housekeeping, Glamour, YM, Cosmo Girl, Cosmopolitan, and then Parents. I did some freelance in and out of there. And then after Parents, I worked at Scholastic and ran the branded content studio for Scholastic. So yeah, so it’s really fun career. And then now I’m still working with the same people it’s just in a different capacity.

 

Megan Fernandez: 9:14

What was it – like it was really competitive back then. And it was really common, I think, to jump around every year or so to move up a ladder. You had you had to move around a lot, right, to get, to get up the ladder?

 

Chandra Turner: 9:24

Yeah, you know, it’s almost so much that you had to move around. But there was just a lot of movement all the time. So because the internet was really growing and so there were all these online publications, and they were kind of they weren’t be quite yet as hot as the print publications back then. So print was still growing and thriving. And then you had all this, all these other online places. There were so many opportunities that you couldn’t really stay in one place because editor in chief’s moved around a lot to start this new brand or to move to this online, you know, magazine or – So that was just constant movement. And so I benefited from that as so many other people did. Because when I was in magazines, I think they all came to me.

 

Megan Fernandez: 10:09

Oh wow.

 

Chandra Turner: 10:10

Yeah.

 

Megan Fernandez: 10:11

Yeah. So different.

 

Chandra Turner: 10:13

So different now. I feel like I’m gonna get my tire slashed for saying that now and the environment we’re working in now. Yeah.

 

Megan Fernandez: 10:20

Talk about some of the work you did that you that you remember from, from those days, when you were, you know, working with writers and producing stories, and, you know, the actual, I think you’ve done so much. You’re known so much now as for your, your consultancy and your expertise on the gun, how people can get jobs and connecting. You’re actually a great editor also.

 

Chandra Turner: 10:44

Yeah, I’m glad you asked about it, because nobody asks about that anymore. Because, you know, it’s kind of like this past life of mine, but it’s still very much a part of who I am and my identity. And what I still feel like is my best skill is editing and packaging content. And I still get a thrill out of doing that with my own stuff for Talent Fairy, it’s on a much smaller scale. I worked on some really cool stuff over the years. I mean, Cosmo Girl, if you didn’t know it at the time, Cosmo Girl, you know, you may be with think that it’s some silly little magazine about lipstick and stuff for teenagers. But we did some really amazing work that was in the, in feminism and really empowering girls. I know that that word is kind of like lost its meaning almost because we use it so much. But we had a program where we talked to world leaders, women world leaders, to teach that to kids, young women on how to be political and how to get involved in politics. And I did the very first college guide that it was best colleges for girls that would empower girls. I did that for five years. It was kind of like, I mean, US News World Report gets a lot of flack now for, you know, the college ratings, but we did one that was really based on, you know, the advancement for young women. And that was very cool to work on. When I was working at Parents, I did lots of work on, you know, raising kids with special needs, things that were never really covered before. We did, I did the first story ever on abortion at Parents, which was so taboo. But-

 

Megan Fernandez: 12:33

Wow.

 

Chandra Turner: 12:33

The thing is is that who has the abortions? The vast majority, I think that it was something like 75%. Maybe it’s even more I don’t want to misquote the stats, but it’s a huge number of people who get abortions, they’re already mothers.

 

Megan Fernandez: 12:49

Yeah.

 

Chandra Turner: 12:50

You know. And so there’s this whole discussion that wasn’t happening about abortion in this country. So anyway, I did a lot of really cool things and worked with a lot of really amazing people and other editors and creatives to make really, really great stories that are now called content packages, but I –

 

Megan Fernandez: 13:13

Called Content now.

 

Chandra Turner: 13:14

Yeah, it’s content. Yeah. And I mean, it’s great stuff. It was really, really, really fun.

 

Megan Fernandez: 13:22

Tell me about the abortion story a little bit. Was that your idea? And how did it, how did you work with the Freelancer on it? And when what what are the crux ended up being? What was the reaction when it came out?

 

Chandra Turner: 13:32

Yeah, so, um, I worked on it in concept for years when I was at Parents.

 

Megan Fernandez: 13:38

Years? Wow.

 

Chandra Turner: 13:39

That’s because nobody wanted to greenlight it. I mean, surprise, surprise.

 

Megan Fernandez: 13:48

Oh let’s put that on the cover in the summer.

 

Chandra Turner: 13:50

Yeah yeah yeah, can’t put it on the cover of Parents Magazine. In fact, it never actually ran in print. It ran online. It was supposed to run in print. And then, and then, you know, the advertising publishing side, got cold feet at the last minute and we had to pull it out of print. It was a very, very expensive digital story. When we didn’t spend that much in digital back then. We had a big budget, you know, ironically, if you think about it, big budget to spend on our writers, photographers, editors in and print and very tiny budget on the digital side. So for print, I mean, I had, we had, I hired a writer who interviewed five different women around the country who had had abortions and were willing, who are, and mothers who had families and were willing to go on the record and tell their story about having an abortion. And we wanted to photograph them with their families, with their husbands or partners, their children. And we did that. So we was, so it was a beautiful photographic essay as well as a wonderful story to have. Some of them were really heart wrenching to hear about, like, why they decided to have the abortions. And others were like, you know, it’s just the wrong time in my life, we’re going through a divorce, or, you know, we couldn’t afford it or whatever the you know, the everybody had a different point of view and a different situation. But that’s what made it so interesting. So it was beautiful photography, and just really great stories from these women, you know, really kind of baring their soul and the secrets of their lives. We ran it online, I think it was nominated for some things, but it didn’t get as much press because they didn’t want to publicize it. You know, Parents didn’t want to. You know, Meredith Corporation, didn’t want to publicize it at the time. Now, maybe things would be different now. That was in 2016. Interesting. I was laid off in 2017. I wonder if there’s any correlation.

 

Megan Fernandez: 16:07

Now you’re starting to put that together.

 

Chandra Turner: 16:10

I’m joking. I’m joking.

 

Megan Fernandez: 16:11

Worth it, worth it, for the principles, you know. That’s a badge of honor for journalists to say you got fired because you did something to,you know, too hot.

 

Chandra Turner: 16:21

I wish that that was really the case. But I don’t think that they are connected.

 

Megan Fernandez: 16:24

Yeah yeah yeah.

 

Chandra Turner: 16:26

I did get kicked out of my sorority in college, though, for writing an expose about rush.

 

Megan Fernandez: 16:33

That was probably a badge of honor. For sure.

 

Chandra Turner: 16:36

Yeah it was. Well, I still love to brag about that.

 

Megan Fernandez: 16:40

So Ed2010, I mean, it really blew up. And I mean, I always heard that it was, you know, top editors in magazines knew who you were. And when people were getting jobs through Ed2010 you kind of really organized the entry level mid level magazine, career person, and they’re really, you know, made it a little bit more formal than the network, but also fun. So were you surprised at that, how big that became and how successful?

 

Chandra Turner: 17:06

Oh, absolutely surprised. It was one of those things that I just kind of happened to be in, start something at the right moment, right? And gave it just a little bit of juice. And that’s all it needed, you know, a little bit of organization. And suddenly, I had all these people who wanted to be a part of this network of magazine editors, and it just kind of never stops. It was good. I think that from the late 90s, for a good 10 years there, it was super hot. And that’s what we had. I think it was 30, we’re going up to 35 different college campuses that had chapters. And then we had, you know, a couple of dozen city chapters across the country. And we had two that were in the UK. I mean, it was nuts, when we had so many people that were connected. And we had a job board, and we had workshops, and we had all kinds of programming and you know, skills, tools and all kinds of stuff. And it was it was really fun. And I just met a ton of people. And, you know, I did all kinds of networking events. And you know, and then, you know, I did lots of one on one coaching with people. And it started out, like you said, working with people that were right out of college, first year to three years of their career. But then as I grew up, I started you know, I got older, and then I started working with people that were more mid level, right? And then, you know, and then now it’s fascinating, because now I’m working as a recruiter, and as a career coach. And I would say 85% of the people that I work with will come to me because they knew me from Ed2010. They’ll be, I got my first internship, you know, with you, you know, the early 2000s. Or, you know, I got my first you know, you know, job because I saw it on Ed2010 or I met you at a networking event, or you met with me in your office at Cosmo Girl or whatever. And, and so it’s like all of that over all of those years, all those people that I’ve met, it really fueled this new business that I have. Which I was hoping it would but I didn’t realize the extent of it, you know? So that’s really The Talent Fairy is born from Ed2010. And so many ways an extension of Ed2010.

 

Megan Fernandez: 19:31

Yeah.

 

Chandra Turner: 19:32

The reason why I called it that is because in the early 2000s, early 2000s I don’t kind of runs together those first 20 years.

 

Megan Fernandez: 19:42

I know, it’s a blur.

 

Chandra Turner: 19:43

The early, yeah, the early 2000s The New York Post, I was put it in the New York Post or someplace else where they called me the godmother, the fairy godmother of magazine journalism.

 

Megan Fernandez: 19:58

Oh my gosh.

 

Chandra Turner: 19:59

So I use that everywhere. Like, you know, the fairy godmother, and people will refer and then people will keep referring to me as a fairy godmother. And so that’s why I was like, What am I going to call this business and I, it’s why I called it, you know, The Talent Fairy.

 

Megan Fernandez: 20:13

It’s perfect.

 

Chandra Turner: 20:14

I works on both sides, like I helped the talent, get their jobs, you know, and then I work with companies to get their talent. So it kind of works in both ways.

 

Megan Fernandez: 20:23

It’s really perfect. I love it. I think it’s a great name.

 

Chandra Turner: 20:27

Thank you.

 

Megan Fernandez: 20:27

Um, so you ended up not wanting to become an editor, an Editor-in-Chief by 2010?

 

Chandra Turner: 20:33

I wanted to. I just did,

 

Megan Fernandez: 20:36

I thought you, like once you got into it, maybe you decided, You know what, it really wasn’t what you thought it was gonna be? Because it’s so much more a lot of management and stuff, right? Like, it’s a lot more than just editing.

 

Chandra Turner: 20:47

It is true. I did love being an executive editor. And I was an executive editor for at least 10 years.

 

Megan Fernandez: 20:54

And like a number two or number three something about.

 

Chandra Turner: 20:57

Yeah, because I didn’t have to deal with, I didn’t have to be the one whose head rolls for the abortion story, for instance. You know. But I get to be the nag who’s like, we’ve got to do this abortion story. You know, and, you know, I worked with people that had to take that heat, you know, so I didn’t have to do that. So I mean, there’s other reasons too. But, um, but yeah, I wanted to be editor-in-chief, it’s just that right at the time that I probably was ready to become editor-in-chief was when, you know, the magazine industry was in decline. So there were less and less opportunities to go lead places. And you know, it just never happened. And I didn’t want to, I want to, I had to leave something that was better than where I was. And I was in a really great job at Parents. I had a wonderful editor in chief, I had this team that at that point, I’d pulled together like the best of the best, and it was just a magical place to work, right? So if I was gonna go, I mean, I could have, I did have some opportunities to be an editor in chief other places. But they weren’t at the level that I really wanted them to be. And then that kind of bit me in the ass later, because then there were no jobs as editor in cheifs, you know. Like, they’re just, they were combining Editor in Chief. So then you’d be Editor in Chief, you know, what editor in chief would leave and they’d be like, Oh, great, then you’re just going to be editor in chief of three magazines now.

 

Megan Fernandez: 22:21

Right. No thanks.

 

Chandra Turner: 22:24

You know, so the industry changed rapidly. And then I realized, oh, shoot, I’m going to have to start doing something else. And what’s that going to be? Like, so many editors, and you know, have gone through and are still going through. Like, what’s next? What can a magazine editor do in this new world where print magazines, you know, just aren’t the thing anymore?

 

Megan Fernandez: 22:50

And what do you think are the best answers for that?

 

Chandra Turner: 22:52

Well, there’s a lot of answers. I think it really depends on the person and what, you know, where, what they what their secret sauce is. You know, like, do you want to be building things and creating new things? Do you want to you know, do you like the nitty gritty of telling a story? Do you like the research, like, it’s different for different people of like, what, you know, what makes what drives them. And I work with people to help them figure this out. But there are a lot of roles that are outside of editorial in the sense and magazines that are with brands. And I know, that sounds like oh, no, I’m just going to be advertising stuff and trying to get people to buy things. But that’s not necessarily the case. There’s a lot of the whole other industry called Brand publishing, which is essentially, brands who act like publishers. So think like, an old school example of that would be Bloomberg. So Bloomberg was a terminal of, you know, that provided information for this stock traders right on the floor talking about another job. That’s, you know, but they were smart, like Bloomberg was smart. And he was like, okay, you know, I want to have a media company. So I look like so I can show the Bloomberg name is the expert in this space. Right. So then he bought Businessweek. And then Businessweek became the leader in business news, but it wasn’t out there to sell terminals to people, right? It was out there to be a business news division. Which it is and we all recognize it has been great business journalism, right? And they have not only Businessweek, but they have other business. They have other media properties, and they have podcasts and everything else. So it’s like, but now we recognize Bloomberg media as a media company. And that is the same thing is starting to happen with other companies like Red Bull is a great example of that. So Red Bull, even though they’re an energy drink, they have an adventure magazine that’s not unlike an upfront normal consumer travel magazine. So it’s not about buying Red Bull at all, like they’re not doing. They’re doing stories about, you know, trekking through the mountains and, you know, hang gliding and whatever adventurous people do, but it’s not about how to drink your Red Bull on the way down, you know. It’s, it’s really about that experience and that Red Bull fits into that experience. They also have a film company and podcasts and everything else. So you have to think of it differently who the media companies are today. Instead of being a traditional media company, there are brands that are producing media, and they are producing media, really, because they can. You know, like, it used to be only media companies could distribute the media, and now everybody can anybody can so it opens it up.

 

Megan Fernandez: 25:52

What was the barrier before for print? Was it just they didn’t know really how to get a magazine published onto the newsstand at Barnes and Noble?

 

Chandra Turner: 26:00

Well, it was its base, right? Like, who was gonna? How do you target that? Right now it’s so much easier to do that, it’s so much easier to target. And niches, the big brands – it used to be the big magazines held everything because they were general interest, right? So but the more niche ones are always going to do better moving forward. And then they used to hire us. And remember brand publishing or custom publishing, I mean, so like, still existed, but Red Bull would have, instead of starting their own company, they would have hired the custom publishing division at Time Inc, to create their magazine and distribute their magazine to some sub lists that they would buy, right? Well, now they don’t want to buy their sub lists, they just, they buy the data from some, you know what I mean? Like they’re buying the data elsewhere, they’re gonna have their own even better, they have their own customer data, right, from people who have come to their website or join their social media. And then they target those people. So they own the data now. And so then they own the connection to the end user, their audience, their consumer. So it’s kind of cut media, traditional media out of the whole bargain. That’s just one example of where journalists can go. But there’s also you know, different levels, you know, content marketing, thought leadership, UX, copywriting, there’s lots of other avenues, podcasting, for instance, Megan.

 

Megan Fernandez: 27:27

I get that. f you look at this, for the, for the van, so a lot of publicity listening to this show. So how do you have any sense of how this landscape changes at for publicists trying to get in touch with editors and get some, you know, get their clients to notice, get the stories out.

 

Chandra Turner: 27:44

that are listening to this know that the jobs that publicists have changed dramatically? In the past, you know, 1015 years as well, because, you know, first of all, there aren’t the mass markets to reach anymore. Right? Like, it used to be that publicist tried to work as this liaison to have their product, services, experts featured in mainstream media. Well, what’s that now – The New York Times? I mean, like, there’s just fewer places where you can do that. And then even more challenging to get through, because the staffs are so tiny. So all of these, if you wanted to be, if you want to be in – I mean, Parents Magazine doesn’t exist. But even if you wanted to be on parents.com, there’s like four people that work dedicated only to parents.com. You know, so it’s like, you have to figure out how to get to them, that makes your job a lot harder. Right? Like just targeting literally targeting is challenging. And then the placements even harder because there’s less opportunity, there’s less, there’s no pages, right? It’s only digital. So I think what has changed is, instead of trying to pitch magazines and pitch on, you know, online publishers to feature your stories, what’s happening is they tend to be doing more content marketing, in the sense that or thought leadership, so they are writing the stories or commissioning stories, and then publishing them themselves. And then doing partnerships with brands or partnerships with influencers or, you know, because now those brands don’t need to necessarily get their content an immediate company, they can put it out elsewhere.

 

Megan Fernandez: 29:19

Yeah, just go around them. And like they need around, you know, and good work to their fans and just manage that themselves.

 

Chandra Turner: 29:25

Why do they need to go if they want to get to, you know, women who want to buy like, if it’s a fitness client, right, and they’re selling yoga mats, you know, and they want to go to SELF magazine, you know, why does go to SELF magazine, why not just go to everybody that you can tick off that would buy yoga mats in your Facebook, you know, data, you know, you’re segmenting software? So anyway, I mean, that’s just kind of destroyed everything and changed everything. That’s the thing about media is that we’re on this roller coaster and it’s not going to change. So how we define editors, writers, publicists, you know, has been changing for the last 10/15 years, and it will continue to change.

 

Megan Fernandez: 30:11

It’s not going to be, you know, maybe never have that mass audience again.

 

Chandra Turner: 30:14

I don’t think we will. I mean, what do I know. I mean, I’m just kind of watching. But I don’t think we will. I think that because we have the ability to segment down to, you know, your hobbies and your interests and your region and your politics and everything else. There’s just going to be more and more targeting. And then so brands, you know, companies, they feel like they want to reach you to buy their products they’re going to be in that includes media, there’s going to be they’re going to be reaching to you individually. I think it’s just gonna get more and more personalized. So we have to figure out as editors, and Writers and Publicists, you know how to cope with that. And we have, you know, AI coming on, not just who will be changing our jobs as far as writing and editing, but also and how people discover media. So that’s going to all change, too. So SEO has been, you know, the big change and writing for, you know, digital publications, but that’s going to change because we’re not going to have true SEO anymore, it’s gonna be looking for content. And when you type into Google, you’re not going to get you know, a list of, you know, 10 bazillion pages of media outlets that have your answer, it’s going to be that your AI answer that is going to source just a handful of them. So that’s going to change everything. I mean again. So just like buckle up people, um –

 

Megan Fernandez: 31:39

The way that media brands get to their readers has changed. The fact that they still needed to storytelling, and that never goes away the story, which is what editorial is.

 

Chandra Turner: 31:50

And thank goodness. Thank goodness, because that’s what we got. Like that’s the core skill set of every journalist editor is telling stories. And we do kind of roll our eyes a little bit of like a storytelling, you know, but that’s the truth. And you know, that goes back bazillion years, or however long people have been able to talk, you know. That’s not going to change. So thankfully, we have that going for us that we’re always going to need somebody to tell stories.

 

Megan Fernandez: 32:21

Well, that’s what social media is kind of about. It’s just really everyone telling their own story.

 

Chandra Turner: 32:25

That’s right.

 

Megan Fernandez: 32:25

That’s whatever. It’s just still the power of story, I think is timeless. And I don’t think it’s gonna change. Just so human and so timeless. So until the machines totally take over. There’s a real –

 

Chandra Turner: 32:35

It’s right. And I would like to think that the machines, I mean, I don’t know, it’d be fascinating to listen to this in five years. But are they gonna have the unique experience? Or are they just gonna regurgitate in different ways what we’ve already done? I don’t know.

 

Megan Fernandez: 32:50

Oh, you’re getting going down, yeah, trippy now. Or they’re just gonna tell their own experience of being being invented by these idiot humans?

 

Chandra Turner: 32:58

Yes!

 

Megan Fernandez: 33:00

Knew they were going to be replacing them and they still charged forward. Idiot glory.

 

Chandra Turner: 33:07

That’s right. That’s right. Oh, my gosh. Yeah.

 

Megan Fernandez: 33:10

If you were as a journalist now, or if you were I’m sorry, college student now. Would you be majoring in journalism? And what, and what do you think you’d be doing?

 

Chandra Turner: 33:21

Um, I don’t know if I can major in journalism some places anymore.

 

Megan Fernandez: 33:25

Have to do Media Studies.

 

Chandra Turner: 33:27

Yeah, that pretty much –

 

Megan Fernandez: 33:28

Your journalism school is not there. Your, your that’s right – you’re at Indiana University school journalism.

 

Chandra Turner: 33:32

Yeah.

 

Megan Fernandez: 33:33

I think like Media School of Media Studies now, I think.

 

Chandra Turner: 33:35

It hurts my heart a little that it doesn’t exist, that it’s not called the School of Journalism. I understand it. And I think it’s smart of them to change it. I think the journalism we’re always going to need journalism. So I do think that there are definitely there’s always going to be a place for journalism, and there should still be journalism careers. I don’t know about if I like the term media studies, but I do think like you said before, that storytelling is never gonna die. And the good storytellers are the ones that will end up prevailing and whether those people are ones that learned that they got popular on Tik Tok, or they were formally trained, you know, in college. I mean, I feel like some people are just got it, you know, and I think that’s going anywhere. But I wouldn’t major in journalism, per se, I would major in something like communications, or media studies or there there’s so many different ones. You know, you don’t even have to have a degree in any of those very specific fields. You couldn’t you know, have a history background or a political science major or whatever. And if you’re really good storyteller, then you can go and talk about one of those areas. I am a firm believer of having a subject matter expertise or passion, so whatever it is, be married to something else. So if you really love health, then have like a maybe your double major is in health and journalists are healthy and creative writing or whatever, because that’s the like I was talking about before with the niche audiences, that’s where it’s going to be. That’s where the jobs are going to be is where you can marry a passion, subject matter expertise with whatever it is that you’re writing about. So I think that that’s important. So I still think that you can be a journalism major. It’s just that don’t expect to come out of college and get a job at a traditional media company.

 

Megan Fernandez: 35:30

One of these people that you’ve placed in a job recently is a Gen Z trend expert or consumer expert. I won’t name her cause I don’t know if you, um –

 

Chandra Turner: 35:37

Oh, yeah. Casey Lewis.

 

Megan Fernandez: 35:39

Okay. And I don’t know if you can say where she works, where you placed her if that’s kosher.

 

Chandra Turner: 35:44

Oh, I hope so. I think that they really love her. She works at Seven. Seven. Six., which is a VC firm. So she is a former magazine editor. She worked at Teen, Georgia Teen Vogue back in the day. And she started a newsletter. That was it was kind of like, what Skimm is now but it was for teenagers. So it’s kind of ahead of its time, like before, we were really doing newsletters in the same way. And then it got bought. And anyway, so she’s just kind of a trends, trendsetter herself. And now she covers the trend landscape. And then in her day job, she now works for the head of content for Seven. Seven. Six., which is a VC firm. And that’s, that’s a good example of companies who want to hire writers, editors, editorial people to tell the stories for the brand. So the VC company, of course, has all these startups that it funds. And it’s trying to, you know, it’s like an incubator in the sense, they’re trying to get all these stories of these, their brands that they’re funding, out there in the world and be, you know, the thought leader in the tech space. And so they wanted somebody who could use all that great potential for stories and put it out there in the world on behalf of those companies, and on behalf of the VC firm. So I brought them Casey and they love Casey. And she is, you know, just doing it up not only at 776, but she runs like this, Casey, you owe me some money, because this is a good little promo for you if it makes it. She runs After School. So anybody who is really into following the trends, especially Tik Tok, she covers a lot of like, what the trends are on Tik Tok, and After School’s a substack.

 

Megan Fernandez: 37:32

I’ll have to take a look. The reason I brought it up is because she tweeted at the beginning of the new year much, it warmed my heart and gave me so much hope. That magazines, print magazines, or might be coming back with Gen Z as part of the whole 90s nostalgia. And I was like, Yeah, bring back those ink stained fingers and perfect bound and Times New Roman.

 

Chandra Turner: 37:55

Yes.

 

Megan Fernandez: 37:56

What do you think? Do you think there’s something to that?

 

Chandra Turner: 37:58

I do think that there’s something to that, I think they’re going to be very niche though, like I said before, if they come back, it’s going to be and I don’t think they’ve completely left. So I still think that there are places that are doing, you know, you know, smaller print magazines and products, and I think that those will come back, but it’s going to be for like, you know, maybe a certain like music genre or a certain you know, fashion or. And it would be like really beautiful paper and gorgeous photography. And, you know, just like really special and worth to have, like you think about like all of the magazines that are done on like, you know, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift and you know, how they become collector’s items. And it’s like, which are, it’s so much nicer to have all those things in your hand, as you know, especially you know, when you’re a collector. Think about like gardening magazines, in a beautiful coffee table stuff that has lots of information, that it’s it’s more it’s different than a book, right? It’s a different experience, the packaging is different. I think that’s going to continue, but it’s going to get more and more niche. And I do think that people want to lean back instead of being on their devices, because it just, it just so fleeting. You know, I mean, I love Tik Tok, I mean, it’s addictive. I totally get it. I totally do. But it’s not the same as like cozying up with a magazine, or, you know, having this memento of a certain age or time or hobby or whatever. So I think that Casey is right, in the sense that they will be coming back, but is it going to be what it was in that mass consumer way? Like, you know, no, I don’t think that we’re ever going to return to the you know, those glory, Golden Age days of consumer magazines that were, you know, four or 5 million people circulation. That’s, that’s not going to happen anymore.

 

Megan Fernandez: 39:58

Okay. Wa-wow.

 

Chandra Turner: 39:59

That’s okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay. It’s kind of better. I mean, it’s less of a one size fits all kind of approach to storytelling, right? Like, so you get to tell stories but more to a more targeted audience. So it’s just different. We just have to look at it. It’s different.

 

Megan Fernandez: 40:18

You’re the you’re the optimism fairy too.

 

Chandra Turner: 40:22

I have to be I have to be.

 

Megan Fernandez: 40:24

Chandra this has been great. Thank you taking an hour of your day.

 

Chandra Turner: 40:28

Yeah, very fun, Megan.

 

Angela Tuell: 40:30

That’s all for this episode of Media in Minutes, a podcast by Communications Redefined. Please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe to our show. We’d love to hear what you think. You can find more at CommunicationsRedefined.com/podcast. I’m your host, Angela Tuell. Talk to you next time.

Guest host, Megan Fernadez catches up with Chandra Turner in today’s episode. The godmother of magazine journalism, Chandra shares insights and trends in journalism, media studies and communications. She spent most of her career with magazines such as Glamour, YM, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl and Ladies Home Journal, and also worked as the executive editor for Parents Magazine for eight years. Chandra now runs the Talent Fairy where she places journalists in industry roles.

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