chicago social
CS is a free, glossy magazine , $4.95 if bought from bookstores and newsstands, free everywhere else. a loyola classmate used to intern for this magazine. "books" - industry term for magazine - like these don't pay interns. but i can see why she would be so dedicated - she would skip organization meetings because she needed to intern. she'd beg off work because she needed to intern. she ran into the pool of interns meeting to report on her work and point out what she did in its pages, and then, like the city campaign manager's intern, run out without hearing us say, "hello, this is what we did today."

i can't look at a magazine right now without immediately remembering how it's put together. that goes for newspapers and other printed material, as well. i used to intern for three magazines, one after another, and then write for them, and then i've had it. i still remember ad executives complain, to a publisher i used to work for, pointing to the cover with the girl's eyes turned down, "what a stupid cover."

later that same day the publisher would ask me, "isn't that a good cover. you don't see that type everyday."

"no, because covers are supposed to lure the reader in. you can't invite someone to look at you when you're not looking at them," the ad exec later told me, away from the office during an event.

and so i learned something about the two sides of the same coin.

social books are the worst, i think. they need to be interesting, informative and punchy without appearing flippant, because no one has time to read. anything - unless you know the writer, or you have some pressing need for information, no one has time to read. anything, or about anything.

but second to the opportunity to write longer stories that hopefully shed more light on the hottest topics, what i liked best about working for a magazine were the full-page ads. i used to collect these when i was in grade school and paste them to school folders, scrapbooks, and the walls of my room.

while living in manila, my family went to a fair one day and passed by a soap company's kiosk that distributed cardboard fans the shape of kidneys. i took all the fans given to my family and asked for a few more. when i went back to my room that weekend, i wrapped my favorite magazine ad tearsheets over these kidney fans, making sure to conceal or paste over any writing, and added toes - the feet walked from the foot of my bed, disappearing into my ceiling. hehe.

just like my old magazine - a bridal magazine for black women, released in the u.s., canada, europe and the caribbean - CS has two different mastheads: editorial and advertising. the ad pages appear at the right side of the page because even though most people read left to right, they hold the book in their right hands, and it's the first thing they see when they turn the page. i remember some stories written so we can get advertising. but ideally, the ads don't have anything to do with the copy.

i chose magazines to intern in college because i thought they were glamorous, ahaha - and they are. the articles are time consuming to write. they pay better than newspapers, but not by very much. the glossy paper is always more encouraging than newsprint. the tearsheets for advertisers are proof to them that you've printed their ad.

and the stories are always more interesting because they're supposedly more in-depth. i think these books are now facing stiffer competition from news web sites - you can update a story and keep its depth at the click of a mouse. when i interned for my last magazine, the web industry actually used magazines to call attention to their presence online - because magazines have the time and the space for web editors to explain their new products. and magazines were hip with their 4-color glossy pages.

at that time, the fatter the book, the more prosperous for everyone involed. i think it's interesting that little did most people know at that time, that the fat advertising in books will turn into competition for adspace online.

later, something even stranger started to evolve in communication world - convergeance. it still happens right now, an even more ignored fact, i think: billboards advertise a web site to go to. a web site has become a destination on a par of a television show; something to spend time and money in (amazon, for example), as opposed to a place where you get information from. television ads point people to their web site for more information on their latest products (cars are big on this).

and magazine ads? happily, and i'm sure this is just for me, i noticed that businesses are still striving to place artful ads into book pages. (have you heard of "gocards"? ahaha. people call them freecards to distinguish them from postcards. there is rampant mailing and collecting of these babies nowadays, especially the star wars movie postcards. ahaha.) they're still at the right side of the books and most still take up the full page. it's still so easy to tear out an ad page to decorate a room, a folder, a notebook - a space where you can frequently see the design and turn it your own. :-)
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