Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

The $4.50 Editorial Consultant

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

The $4.50 Editorial Consultant

Article excerpt

Inspiration comes where you find it, and the outsider magazine Colors isn't a bad place to start looking. Perspective is one of the hardest gained and most easily lost skills of an editor. Under its rubric you find questions like "What does quality mean to my audience and to me?" "What should my relationship be to my reader: advocate, teacher, adversary, leader or industry scribe?" And the two most basic questions: "What is a magazine, and what can it aspire to be?"

But who has time for that kind of rumination? In the face of deadlines and closings and paperwork and management duties, as well as budgeting and planning meetings, it's rare these days to hear of editors taking their staffs away for off-site editorial retreats, like they did in the good old days (whenever that was). So when, exactly, do you squeeze in the time to ask the Big Questions and weave the answers into the Big Picture?

One way is to study other magazines, especially those that push the envelope. And no magazine that carries advertising seems to be pushing it further right now than Colors, the multilingual quarterly underwritten by the Italian clothing maker Benetton and sold ($4.50) through its stores and on newsstands. Under the direction of creative director/photographer/wildman Oliviero Toscani (who previously had done some radical work for Esprit fashions), the tabloid-size magazine examines single topics in minute detail, both in words and pictures. Last year's issue on AIDS, for which Colors won a FOLIO: Editorial Excellence Award (I had nothing to do with the judging, I should add), was the single best periodical on that subject I have seen. …

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