Media outlets are churning out their end of the year lists — lists about the year that we are running from and lists about the new decade we hope will bring bluer skies. To this end, we posted our annual Ten to Watch list yesterday. The 2010 list was one of the most difficult yet, for the first time, there were too many names to choose from. Asian Americans’ impact on our world — whether in the arts, politics or in corporate America — has increased significantly over the past two years since East West was away.
It makes our editorial task certainly more daunting. On a regular basis, this list aside, we have to think more outside the box to keep our focus fresh. Sure, we are lucky that there isn’t a lack of material, but when things become common, even if it is a good thing, how do you stand out from the crowd? What makes our stories on an up-and-coming Asian American figure different than those covered by mainstream, daily news outlets?
Surely, our unique voice makes East West different, but what more can we do? What do we need to change now as our niche is shifting? I will be stewing on this over the holidays as we ready for 2010, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, check out our annual Ten to Watch.
I am a pro at biting my tongue, and between dealing with online orders, payments, writers, advertisers and staff, I’ve had plenty of experience. But of late (as witnessed in recent posts), I’ve felt under attack from various directions. The end of the year budget and planning has left me stressed.
I let words break me, and I engaged. I went all passive aggressive on a former subscriber. This is a post about what not to. Remember, the customer is always right…even if they have no basis.
This one was an early subscriber from back in 2006, and on our end, she was sent all her issues (did she even know it was bi-monthly?). If the post office is to blame for her claims, we were unaware because she never once complained during the term of her subscription. Still, I shouldn’t have.
When she wrote this in response to a renewal notice,
“The circulation of this magazine was horrible -it was spuratic and unreliable. It came randomly. It was a definite waste of my money.”
I should have never replied as I did:
“We appreciate your commentary. Learn to spell.”
It was wrong. In five years, I have NEVER acted as such. Why the change? I’m not sure. But it was oddly satisfying, while admittedly wrong. I know, wrong. Not just a business lesson, a life one. Don’t get perturbed. Keep going. There are always naysayers, always. (But can we admit at least that it was funny?)
I’ve said it before, reader interaction is one of my favorite parts of the job. But sometimes, I don’t know quite how to respond. Here’s an email I got last Friday. A nice chuckle after a long week….
So exciting to hear East West Magazine is back. I just had a random thought and I would like to get your insight on this. So me and my cousin were just taking about how in magazines they have pictures of girls that are so flawless, and to not make them seem so “perfect” they give them a unibrow. Why is that? I have stitches on my forehead it’s not bad, it’s who I am. So would they cover that? What happen to natural beauty?
I lost her at unibrow. Our team has never dared to give a model a unibrow. Who knew that that was the badge of “real” beauty?
On a serious note, I agree with the gist of this reader’s message. Magazines do need to feature more depictions of real beauty. This has been done well by several women’s magazines already. But it needs to be more organic, rather than always a concerted effort or a special campaign. Can it be the norm? Could we do it at East West? I am not sure. I wonder if we, as a community, still need to see the high fashion, model-perfect glam? Are we looking for the fantasy in a time of rough reality? I am inclined to think that fantasy might sell more copies overall. But does that make it right?
Oh, and who needs a first name? Surnames will do just fine.