Tough times ahead

The economy is going bottoms up and there are rumours of magazine closures left right and centre.

Perhaps working in magazines isn’t the way to go after all?

I see the little work experience girls – usually two by two – riding the lifts to “go fetch” and I think, is it worth it? Will there be a mag hag job at the end of the tunnel that will somehow pay the rent?

While we’re all holding tightly to our seats, hoping that it won’t be pulled out from under us like it was for those PR/Events girls in house, should us print girls look around and see the light? But then, wasn’t Gen Y (which 80% of mag hags are these days) raised to think the world is their oyster and we can have it all?

Well we can, just not in a dying industry where people don’t want to pay $5 a week for a magazine which isn’t all that relevant or is just rehashing content from Perez or Defamer a week too late. Yes you weeklies, I’m talking about you.

The only exclusive contact weekly magazines have is the “real people stories” and the celebrity stories they pay for. And they don’t even pay for good stories – do we care that Michael Clarke and Lara Bingle got engaged in New York and some magazine was conveniently there to sign the check and take the pictures? Or that Kyle Sandilands and Tamara Jaber got hitched and her dress cost more than most mag hag’s salaries?

If we must stay in print, perhaps we should all learn how to design, style fashion and beauty shoots, know how to write (which I can proudly say, Big Bird can do to some degree now), edit and kiss arse with advertising clients.

You can have it all ladies, as long as you can do it all.

P.S. as per a comment – does anyone care why Amy Sinclair left? After all no one is asking about that other ex-editor, Nedahl Stelio, now. But just for fun, she has popped up here in agency land. You have to love good old Google.

26 responses to “Tough times ahead

  1. Gee, 3rd Space could learn a thing or two about grammar:
    a little before it’s time
    100’s of tactical campaigns
    Neds must have relied a little too much on her sub editors, I think.
    Are agencies where all washed-up editors end up?

  2. Did anyone see the piece in today’s Australian about Instyle using images that previously appeared in Harpers and cover lines from Madison? Perhaps Kerrie is still an ACP girl at heart. The piece is here:

  3. In the days before the net, we really did rely on the print fash/celeb/mag/beauty weeklies to give us our dirt and our weekly roundup (or monthly old news) for our superficial appetites.

    Now, we have the net, the blogs and the likes of Perez, defamer and popbitch to keep us up to date minute by second.

    Unless the content is fresh, fabulous and in a way frenzied gossip that no other content on the net or in another mag, many mags will stuggle to survive.

    But really, Womans Day, NW and Grazia could be rolled off one press and packaged as one publication. Cleo and Cosmo are also more or less the same.

    It is tough times ahead for sure and the fittest and those with the circ will survive. Christmas will not be white but it will be grey I predict. A much needed break for all of us at 54. Roll on the Xmas party – at least we’re having one!

    Now, to find you at the Xmas party Ms MH!

  4. Couldn’t have said it better myself Mr Darcy.

    Perhaps I should be the only one without 4 Inch Heels at the Christmas party. I do love some irony.

  5. Doesn’t look good that James Packer has left the PBL board now too, does it?

  6. So DOES anyone know why Amy Sinclair left????

  7. I’d say it would have been WD’s diminishing circulation. And its weirdness.

  8. I was once a little work experience girl. For quite a while actually, and not all that long ago…

    I devoted the best part of this year to riding the ACP lifts, filing their files, writing out courier labels and “researching” editorial content from certain monthly-women’s-mag’s overseas compatriots to be “re-appropriated” for our Australian readers.

    I used to scoff at the unappreciative fellow workies I’d encounter in the lift, who would roll their eyes and sigh and bitch about the fact that this was their 9th trip to the courier dock that day.
    Being the ever devoted Intern, I’d politely smile and nod, whilst secretly priding myself on my loyalty, determination and maturity in considering it a PRIVELEGE to be working inside the walls of 54 Park St, and not wallowing in self pity that I wasn’t interviewing celebrities or being invited to product launches.

    What kept me going? Why did I volunteer my every-spare-day-around-uni to this company? For 6 months I never said no when a desperate Editorial Coordinator would call me because they were short-staffed. Who needs a temp agency when you have a uni student who’ll work 5 days a week for free?

    I told myself that I was gaining invaluable industry insight into the career that I so desperately aspired to.
    I convinced myself that running to the chemist to buy a pregnant staffer her fish-oil tablets would earn me brownie points. I reassured myself that my neat photocopying-skills were sure to get me noticed, and that my ability to steam garments for a fashion shoot was a vital skill for my future as a feature writer.

    The fairytale fantasy that I would be offered a position with the women’s monthly that I interned for, or get noticed by one of the 4 other women’s titles that i had ‘helped out’, came to an abrupt halt the day I was called into the Editors Office to be told that I had been a great Intern, and was wished “the best of luck in which ever area of the media industry I chose to pursue”.
    No reason for dismissal. No breach of company policy that I was unaware I’d made. No “you just don’t have what it takes to make it in magazines”. Not even some pathetic excuse like “You’ve been here too long, let another intern have a go”. I’d been dumped like the eggplant off a certain National Ad Manager’s daily panini.

    But you know what? I’m not bitter.
    I’m not secretly loving that the title I interned for is facing a merger, if not closure.
    I’m not secretly laughing that another title I worked for has had such disappointing readership less than a year after launching, that it too is fighting rumours of facing the axe.

    Because a month before I’ve even graduated I have been offered a job with a prominent media organisation, and am already on a salary far more inspiring than the Editorial Coordinator whom i was forced to ass-kiss for 4 months. When I asked my superior why I was offered the role, her answer was simple.
    “You stuck it out at ACP for that long? You can handle anything”.

  9. Escapee, you reminded me of the days I interned at ACP. All the duties we had to do, and yet, I did it without complaint.

    I did the mails, buying staff their lunches, even going to many different stationery stores in order to find the perfect pen for a certain worker. I was frustrated when workies came into ACP and rolled their eyes when it came to mailing items. I always thought to myself, if you don’t want to do the work, then don’t bother coming here.

    I interned at ACP for 7 months and I was disappointed I didn’t get the job there, I ended up getting a job at another place. What got me the job? My boss answered, “You travel an hour to get to ACP without pay. That’s enough in anybody’s book”.

  10. I’m forced to ass-kiss too, constantly. It annoys me as I’m treated unreasonably by my boss, but she is in with the right people so gets away with it. I would get “retrenched” if I was to complain. I love my job though so don’t want to leave but I’m just hoping karma works it’s magic because she is in trouble.

  11. I love how people complain that their one day a week at ACP, or their one week here and there, didn’t get them a job in the end. The point of work experience or an internship isn’t to get a job – it’s to gain experience in the industry. I did work exp at Cosmo about four or five times while I was at uni, and in the 6794 job interviews I had when I finished my degree – guess what the main thing I got asked about was? Yep, my work experience. My boss told me that I got my (very entry-level) job in publishing because I proved I had the dedication to travel to Sydney several times, out of my own pocket, to fetch coffee and mail. And I was hella grateful for it! Seriously, get over yourselves.

  12. It seems like ACP’s next stop is restructure. I think that overindulgent magazines like Grazia will be phased out. Cleo may be one magazine to think over (as Cosmopolitan has an international presence). It’s difficult to distinguish between the article content in Cleo and Cosmo now; they’re written for the same age groups.
    I think that a part of the problem is the tendency to rehash the same editorial content repeatedly with no new angles. Some articles seem or read like they’re written from a standard template.
    A magazine shouldn’t be about the advertiser, and many of ACP’s magazines (like Grazia) are just that, 80% advertising vehicles. And although advertising is supposed to go toward expenditure, it doesn’t seem to be working because ACP is in heavy debt. I recently read that Grazia was allocated a 10 million dollar (annual?) budget and I wonder (after buying four issues of the Magazine – to see if it would evolve beyond its lack of substance – Vogue has better fashion articles) if it’s truly worth it.

  13. i’m no workie – have been in publishing too long.

  14. I wasn’t referring to you clare

  15. Ultimately with internships at some opportunity you want to challenge yourself instead of guessing which latte goes with which features editor.

    I think it’s fairly pointless putting ACP work experience on CVs…because ultimately all you really learn is ‘two sugars and milk thanks’.

  16. It’s not just ACP, Pacific are just as bad.
    Then again, I also went to a small magazine and was worked like a dog which was good in one sense because I got my work published and learnt how the publication was put together; but the revolving door of work experience kids meant that they never had to hire an editorial assistant either. They did give me a DVD for my time, though.

  17. I’m doing extended work experience at ACP and never had to pick up the mail or coffee.

    And no, I didn’t get there through contacts at all.

    Though when I was in grade 10 and did work experience at Cosmopolitan and yes, there were lots of coffee and mail runs, but I was 15 and highly unskilled.

    I guess it just depends where you are, and who’s looking after you.

  18. Yes Dear Em, that was the moral to my story. And just like you, I too am “hella” grateful….
    grateful that I escaped when i did! hehehe.

  19. Wasn’t complaining either. But I’m grateful that the amount of internships I’ve done have landed me a kick ass job too =)

  20. I love how all these great jobs you are landing as a result of your slave labour aren’t with the company that you signed up for.

    Internships at 54 Park seem to work wonders in turning the smart ones away in the end. Wish I had been smart enough to get out when I could! Now I’m just sitting back and watching the heads roll.

  21. Talking about tough times, anyone remember the days when we would get time out to watch the Melbourne Cup? And maybe they can make us a hamper for Xmas that includes stationary – post-it notes, pens, tissues etc…and if they are feeling really generous – a diary!

  22. flatout, the day when we get time off to watch melbourne cup well as getting a xmas hamper will be the day pigs fly….

  23. OMG! Guys, stop complaining! As one of the ‘lucky ones’ to make it out of dragging my ass to sydney from Melb countless times I actually proved my worth as a workie, I didn’t complain and whine, like “Im so bored” and “she made me get coffee” like HELO, you’re there to OBSERVE!!!! and yes, I got the job, and I was damn grateful. And now Im no longer with ACP, but another just as well respected media organization (turns out I couldn’t cut it in the Sydney smoke after all), and the ONLY thing that made me stand out from every other entry level pleb going for my job, the fact that I was at ACP. So STOP COMPLAINING all you little workies, I never treated my workies like crap, your ed / ad cos prob didn’ t either, if you can’t hack a lack of glamour, dont complain about not getting the job, or about being asked to let someone else have a shot. If you had have impressed, some one would be sending you the little snippits from the noticeboard, but…. guess it looks like no-one is.

  24. hey, great blog. i love those black shoes, wanna link?


  25. It seems newsagents are still willing and able to sell magazines despite the dwindling titles, according to their blog at

  26. i just ran into this site yesterday..can someone provide me with a link to those black shoes please?????

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