Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

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This guy has no idea how far the effects of his actions have trickled down. I mean, if they even affect my life...

When I started here I was asked to play sort of a “consultant” role in streamlining the functions of the magazine. Not only was I supposed to maximize the writers’, designers’ and account executives’ potential, I was also asked to “shape-up ship” in terms of giving the office more of a “magazine feel.” I understood what the publisher meant from the get-go, given that the office contains not an ounce of professionalism, or journalistic aspiration to boot. The picture was complete when the secretary who reeks of cigarettes told me that everyone who works here is a family friend's son or daughter or cousin or something of that nature. Well, no wonder it’s not professional - these people are capitalizing on their connections. It’s like an entire office of interns who snuck in the back door. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it an unwritten law that everybody is supposed to hate those people? Well, my office is composed of them. I'll let you make your own conclusions about my angst.

Coming in with experience from larger city magazines with subscription bases twice as large as our entire circulation, as well as from a niche magazine with aspirations of national recognition, my initial observations were that this magazine needed to put its name on the map. Sure, the community who reads it when it arrives in their mailbox is familiar with it, but they only read it because it’s there – covering up the coupons they plan to clip later. And while this certainly does appease our advertisers (also small time, community-oriented, etc…); it does nothing in the way of attracting national advertisers who are willing to pay top-dollar to be placed next to good content. National advertising was one of my primary objectives—one that would necessitate broader coverage and name recognition for our publication. Thus I convinced the publisher to hire a part-time marketing and public relations executive during my first week here.

My instructions: “Create leverage for us.”

Her responsibilities are general: Write issue releases, press releases and pitches; feed them to the media, try to book segments and position our magazine as an expert on whatever they’ll buy into. She and I agreed on the following motto: Even if we’re not already experts, we'll say we are, and we’ll be experts by production time. It’s been working out beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that she booked us a segment today for a morning show! The office was buzzing and I had picked out a small team of a select few I’d have with me. I've been walking around the office glowing, telling colleagues to contain the papparrazzi and offering my autograph on their rough draft article proposals. On the show, I was going to be the “expert” and the others, my support.

Fast forward to this morning. Some jerk admits to “being with Jon Benet Ramsey when she died,” thus canceling our segment until later notice. I’m not an idiot. I know what “later notice” means. It means next August when the news is slow again (Hell – how do you think we got in??) What this means is no leverage for the magazine and the same shitty advertisers as always. And I would be fine with said shitty advertisers since they pay their bills and mine, but really, let’s do something about the ugly ads, okay?

Look, psycho killer dude, the world was fine wrongly assuming that Mr. Ramsey did it in the basement with a rope. Can you stop thinking about yourself for a minute and let the rest of us live our lives? Thanks.

If you need me, I’ll be on the phone with the owner of the Italian restaurant telling him why his three-colored picnic tablecloth-lookin’ ad can not go by the article about Dubai’s famous hotel.

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