how to edit a magazine succesfully: Carter & Brown style

From The Dubliner:

Tina_brownOne is English, the other is Canadian. Both have edited edited Vanity Fair, the pre-eminent glossy magazine. Tina Brown and Graydon Carter are global superstars of magazine journalism. So what’s their secret? How do they judge an article? And how do they fish for new readers?

In a recent profile of Tina Brown, the Observer quotes the Queen of Buzz – a woman who was once described as “Joseph Stalin with high heels with blonde hair from England” – on the battle to seduce new readers:

“Will a racy cover line encourage a reader to read a serious and challenging 10,000 word piece? If it does, hooray. That’s what it’s about. . Marketing. I won’t be satisfied with an issue until everything has been done to make it more exciting and more appealing. I’m completely obsessed with the need to seduce readers all the time. I feel that we’re in a fight. In a war.”

Carter_0409_wideweb__430x225_2Graydon Carter has an alternative view on the process; or rather, a subtler justification. In 2004 he told the same newspaper how decisions to put stars on cover of a magazine are “unfortunately” a function of public prurience:

“In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have celebrities on the cover of Vanity Fair. But we have to sell 400,000 to 600,000 magazines off newsstands every month and, unfortunately, attractive people sell better than unattractive people. And there are more attractive people in the movie business than in, say, the magazine business.”

More here.