Every spring, MU’s magazine club takes a trip to New York to visit different publications in the city. There were 18 print and/or digital publications to visit this year, including BuzzFeed, Adweek, Glamour, Sports Illustrated and Food Network Magazine. The magazine club took on the Big Apple last week to meet the editors at these publications and explore the city. These are some of the highlights of the trip.
Publications that stood out
We visited a number of interesting and notable publications, and there were a few that particularly stood out to us. One of these was Food Network Magazine. “It was unique in that they weren’t focused on digital since they’re part of the bigger brand,” says Madison Fleck, Vox's editor-in-chief. “So they’re really able to put all of their focus on the print product, which was refreshing.”
About 12 stops on the subway from the Hearst building, in the One World Trade Center, is Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair. It can be intimidating to be at a magazine of such stature, but it ended up being one of the favorites, in part because of how genuine the people we met with were. “I expected Vanity Fair to be very uppity, but everyone we talked to was just super authentic,” says Kelsie Schrader, Vox’s managing editor. One of the aspects of the visit she liked the most was when two of the MU graduates who now work there discussed the difficulty of living in New York for the first few months and how lonely it can be, initially. This seemed to be a sentiment shared by NYC transplants working at various publications.
One visit that surprised a lot of people was Sports Illustrated. Magazine Club president Lauren Puckett says Sports Illustrated pleasantly surprised her because of the fact that, for being a sports publication, the editors there discussed how they’re adapting to digital platforms along with creating meaningful longform stories. “I love sports, but I’m no sportswriter, so I figured Sports Illustrated would be an interesting but not thrilling visit for me,” she says. “I was wrong.” Primarily what stood out was the editors candor and the amount of advice they were able to give about breaking into the magazine business.
Places we loved
New York City has so many places to see, eat and experience that it’s hard to go to them all. But we all did some exploring on our own time and discovered some of the gems the city has to offer, one of the crowd favorites being Central Park.
If you’ve never been to Central Park, then you are in for a breath of fresh air. It is the biggest public park in *Manhattan and provides a nice break from the pavement and neon signs.
Of course, seeing a Broadway play is like a rite of passage in New York City. Fleck saw Dear Evan Hansen and loved it. “It’s just a story that everyone can relate to in some way,” she says. “It’s this whole struggle of mental health and feeling so alone in a world where everyone is connected. There wasn’t a dry eye in the whole theater, so it was pretty powerful.”
When it comes to the food, though, sometimes the most unexpected places are the best. Puckett says Stax Ice Cream in Chinatown was one of her favorite places she went to on this trip. What makes Stax special is their doughnut ice cream sandwiches. You read that right. Doughnut ice cream sandwiches. “The doughnuts were warm on the outside with cold ice cream in the middle,” she says. “Heaven.”
Keeping with the sweets theme, a lot of us went to DO, Cookie Dough Confections, and for good reason. You literally can get cookie dough served to you by the scoop like it's ice cream. Even better, you can choose from classic flavors like signature chocolate chip or more innovative options like Fluffernutter, which has peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and dark chocolate chips in it. What can we say, we love a good sweet treat.
We learned so much on this trip, but there seemed to be a few themes that emerged throughout visiting with the different publications. Networking was definitely a big theme here. Brooke Semke, a senior on the trip, says that the greatest lesson she learned on this trip was that “networking plays an essential role in finding job opportunities.”
Maybe the biggest takeaway from this trip, though, was seeing magazines in action and understanding that the industry isn’t dying, but changing. “It’s changing faster than any of us are able to accurately measure,” Puckett says. “That can either scare you or thrill you — or a bit of both. But it all still comes down to quality content.”
What can the J-School takeaway from all of this? Puckett summed it up pretty nicely: “If the best of the best in New York are being forced to get innovative, we at MU have to be innovative, too.”
*Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Central Park is the biggest city park in the country.