Mail Bag

Yesterday I got a letter! A big thanks to Anne in Virginia for the encouraging words and actually sending me a hand-written note about my article. That’s a big deal… and it made my night.

If I haven’t already bothered you about it - my first national print byline came out in the November issue of Parents Magazine. Whoop whoop! I helped write the Best Toy Guide of 2011, and yes, we did get to play with the merchandise throughout the summer. (PS - Some of those games for 8 years+ are actually quite difficult… especially before coffee. Should I be worried my own children will be smarter than me at 8!? Eh... I was never very good with numbers.) 

Another big thank you to Anne!

Help Me With My Thesis

Can you believe it's that time again? Yes. I am writing another (and let's pray my last) thesis paper. To give you a little history, here is my statement: "What iPad business models are working best to create profitable magazines, and what obstacles still limit this current style of publication?"

I will be analyzing the history of the iPad, studying its turbulent relationship with the publishing world, and doing a case study of three national magazines using tablet technology. 

This is where I need your help. I'm curious about why the consumer (aka you and me) is interested in e-technolgy, and more specifically, the iPad. 
If you have a second, please select an answer from the below poll. If you would not buy an ipad, feel free to tell me why so in the comments section. 

General discussion is welcome, as is passing this link around to friends. Thanks everyone!

Interview with Jeremiah Brent

I was almost running late.

The press event began at 11am, and it was currently 10:15. Technically I was leaving right on time - plenty of time to grab a coffee and catch a ride downtown. But then… there’s the subway.

How unfortunate that all trains going into the city were running express, and “because of construction” were only leaving from one stop. Not my stop.

Sigh. As is life.

Somehow I managed to get to the event by 11:10 (albeit, a little out of breath), giving me plenty of time to wonder the Sherwin-Williams and Fisher-Price displays. Free, delicious looking munchies lined several tables, and a large canister of coffee sat proudly in the middle, as through all the food bowed down to him.

Well, I certainly did.

Grabbing a hot cup, I turned around to face more display tables. It was always slightly awkward at these press events, not knowing anyone, with most attendants being long-term editors from other magazines. Still, I can always play a part. And I was wearing my Jimmy Choos. Don’t judge – it helps. And high heels are expected at these things, particularly when you are about to hear from celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe.

She was promoting a new online tool called Room to Bloom. Several PR agents had walked me around, highlighting features about the product and asking how it would best work for my audience.

Rachel Zoe then appeared, with new assistant Jeremiah Brent in tow. They gave information, answered a few questions, and talked about Rachel’s new baby. I’m not one to be star-struck, but it did feel surreal staring into the face of a woman I watched on TV.

How crazy?
I suppose I was part of “the press.”

Expecting to watch a short presentation on Room to Bloom, and then head back to work, I was surprised when a friendly PR agent I’d been talking with earlier approached me. “Would you like to try and get an interview with Jeremiah?” she said quietly as the presentation began.

I nearly choked. I didn’t have any questions! I really wasn’t prepared! I just ate a sandwich! Was there anything in my teeth!?

“Oh, yes. Definitely,” the calm, collected outer Britney replied.

Inner Britney was a little more frantic. I walked down a hallway and passed a man offering champagne. “Oh no thanks,” said a woman in front of me. “I’m trying to stay slim!” Another lady eyed the sparkling glasses, ’Thank you but no. I’ve got a long day ahead of me.”

Champagne man looked me as I unceremoniously grabbed a cup. “I’m going to need this…” I mumbled with a small smile. “Get it girl!” he replied in out right laughter.

Next I scribbled down a few quick notes, trying to gather enough questions for about a five-minute interview. My phone was fine on battery, and I said a quick “thank you!” prayer as I remembered my newish iPhone has a microphone. The whole interview could be recorded and I could focus on not looking a fool.

“Alright so…” I said to the one and only, Jeremiah.
“What’s up,” he smiled.
“How are you doing today? Are you stressed with Fashion Week?”
“I’m good! It’s been a lot... ”

But just so you know, it went well.
And I didn’t have anything in my teeth.

Tips for Magazine Interns to Know

I’ve had a few questions recently (and I love questions, so thank you!) about what I wish I’d known before becoming an intern, particularly within the magazine industry.

So here’s a little list for you hardworking, word-loving-go-getters. The quoted statements in yellow were my confused thoughts during the early days of my internship, while the text that follows each statement explains what I learned.

1) “People always be talking ‘bout them heds and deks.”

Heds and deks (aka Heads and Decks) are the same as “headlines” and “subheads.” The hed is obviously the title of the story. The dek is a blurb or tease that makes someone want to continue reading an article. You may also see some publications call the first sentence of a story the “lede” (aka the Lead sentence).

2) “What in the world is a “deskside” and why am I sitting in on one?”

Typically PR companies are happy to pitch stories and products to your magazine, based on the type of publication. For example, at Parents Magazine we have tons of baby toys come through our doors. If an editor asks you to “cover a deskside” for them, they are asking you to listen in on a PR pitch. These sometimes take place right at your desk (ahh… the name…) but can also occur in meeting spaces or conference rooms throughout your office. Grab a pen, takes notes, and ask a question or two – that’s all you’re expected to do.

3) “Why are the prices TK and the editors TK and the dates TK?”

When looking over layouts still in progress, chances are you’ll find a few “TK’s” throughout the page. This is the intentional misspelling of “to come” as in “more information to come.” Most likely, parts of the story are still missing or haven’t happened yet. Many believe that TK looks odd and is easier to spot than the words “to come” which could easily be a phrase within an article.

I’ll try and update this post when I think of more terms or instances of confusion If you have any questions, feel free to email me at: thewhyblogger (at) or comment below!

And now I’m going back to work…

Baby Steps in High Heels

I woke up early, wanting to prepare myself. Leaving my apartment in a rush is one thing. Leaving my apartment in rush today? That just wasn’t a smart idea.

Grand Central Station was buzzing at 9:10 as my 7 Train neared the platform. I was twenty minutes ahead of schedule, and had almost an hour before my actual interview.

Good. This was the plan.

Being perpetually early to interviews is my coping mechanism for nerves, and I’ve come to accept that fact. Does anyone remember when I interviewed for Martha Stewart? I sat for thirty minutes in the frozen air, too early to go inside but too late to grab a coffee 4 blocks up. At least here I already have a desk…

Click click up the escalator. Clip clop up the stairs. Dodge a heavy woman in heels, two steps to the left to avoid the man with a bag. “Extra, extra” and we’re on the street. Beep beep; the orange hand says “stop.” A whistle tells me to go – but I’m already going.

One last buzz, and I’m in the building. With a polite “ding” I’m on the 10th floor. After two “hellos” I’m at my desk. And now it’s truly time to focus…
I want this.
I really want this.

The next two hours are a blur of questions and smiles. I had printed out my resume, updated my cover letter, and dragged the good ol’ portfolio from home. I explained my thesis and discussed iPad technology with some of the top editors at Parents Magazine.

An Editorial Assistant job was opening for a 6 to 7 month period. Sure it wasn’t stable – but everyone needs a little risk! Yes, I’ll be looking for the next job in about 5 months – and probably blogging about it too.

Let me explain why the job is so appealing:

First, I already work here. It would be a seamless transition, with a slight change in daily tasks. Second, it easier to look for the next EA job when you’re already an EA. Instead of saying “Oh I interned here...” I can confidently go to an interview and pronounce I worked at a national magazine.

And finally…

I would actually be getting paid to do what I love. No one has ever paid me to write or work within the literary and publishing worlds.

But now they will.
Because I got the job.

Big girl shoes for big girl interviews.

After work, I celebrated with my friend Maurene, who coincidentally just made Harvard Law Review. Dang! How she's that smart and still capable of holding regular conversation is beyond me. Let just say, July 18th was a fabulous day.

So we toasted Champagne in a fancy Soho hotel, decorated with breath-taking crystal chandeliers. And we both ordered the fish. And we both smiled.

Yes, we both smiled a lot.

In Case You Missed It

In case you missed it... I have two new article on Parents Magazine's "Goody Blog." One is about eating dirt (yes, fo real), while the other focuses on the gender-neutral preschool debate.

In case you missed it... Martha Stewart Living's Family Blog is currently posting their
"60 Days of Summer" throughout the next two months. You may or may not know who wrote them all...

In case you missed it... The woman at Dunkin' Donuts officially knows my summer beverage of choice (small iced coffee, with milk and sugar). She makes me very happy and I hope she's aware of that fact.

In case you missed it... I would like a dog. But I'm poor and would be deemed a bad mother under current circumstances (i.e. - When am I home for more than just dinner or sleep??)

In case you missed it... New York is sweltering again. AC units are back, blasting the sticky air with what little defenses they maintain, and utility bills soar upon arrival of an annual heatwave that wraps the city in a suffocating blanket. But we won't complain - not too much. Because we were here in winter too... and let's not even go there.

Incase you missed it... I fell in love the New York in the summer time, and I am still just as enamored as ever.

First National Byline

I know it’s only a blog. But it’s a nationally known blog. I know it’s not real print. But it’s based off a real print magazine. I know I’m only an intern – but as it turns out, interns can write too my friends.

So I was quite excited when my first article was published on Parents Magazine’s “Goody Blog” last week.

YES! An actual magazine with an actual blog, giving me… an actual byline. There was none of this published “by the editors” or published “by the staff.” Nope. Britney FREAKING Fitzgerald wrote an article, and then took credit for it. And what a gratifying feeling that was…
So what did I write about? The news? Maybe something baby related? A product recall, or a story about a mother fighting to rid her child of the dreaded, teeth-ruining pacifier?

Nope again.

I wrote about hummus.

Hey. Rule #3: Stick to what you know.
And okay, so the article was kind of assigned. But I took great joy in sampling hummus dishes and thinking of adjectives for this refreshing chickpea treat.

If you haven’t already visited Parents Magazine’s blog, click here.
P.S. – A huge thanks to everyone who commented, liked, re-tweeted, or simply read my article. This is a short and sweet post, but your efforts really do mean a lot to me. Thank you again for always taking the time to read my work… even if you don’t like hummus.

Look at those guys, before they got all famous and such.