STAR PUPILS: To get a sense of Bonnie Fuller‘s impact on the current state of American journalism, all you need to do is visit a newsstand and glance around at the ever-growing ranks of celebrity tabloids. Now, Fuller, the editorial director of titles including Star and Celebrity Living and former editor in chief of Us Weekly, has a chance to influence future generations of magazine makers, as well.
On Tuesday night, she will speak to a group of around 50 students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism about her job, her career path and her advice for getting ahead in the industry. The students are members of Columbia’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Amanda Millner-Fairbanks, who is in charge of lining up speakers for the chapter, said her peers recognize the celebrity category for what it is: an oasis of growth and opportunity in an otherwise arid job market. “She’s sort of the mother hen of this new form that’s taken hold and is very profitable,” said Millner-Fairbanks, who will introduce Fuller and moderate the question-and-answer session.
If writing cover lines such as “Kevin Cheats On Brit!” isn’t what most Columbia students enrolled to learn, that’s no matter. “We try and expose our student body to all types of journalism,” Millner-Fairbanks said. “The J-school has this reputation as a bunch of elites where everyone wants to write for The New Yorker, but that’s not true. We had, I think his name is Lloyd Grove, come and speak.” (Grove is a gossip columnist at The New York Daily News.) “That was interesting. People took him to task. I think much the same will happen with Ms. Fuller. A lot of people, I’m sure, will be critical of the work she’s doing, and a lot of people will see it as a possible job in an industry that’s not hiring a lot right now.”
Fuller, for her part, said she’s hoping to win students over to the latter perspective. “I will certainly be encouraging them to go into the growing field of celebrity weekly journalism,” she said.
Not that a degree from Columbia is a prerequisite for working at Star, she added: “I’ve hired excellent people who’ve gone to journalism school and excellent people who haven’t. When I look at résumés, I don’t really pay attention to that.
“I actually was rejected from the journalism school I wanted to go to,” she continued. After being turned down by Toronto’s Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, she attended law school for a year, then landed a job at the Toronto Star. “So instead of doing a three-year program, I was a working journalist.” And clearly that’s turned out well.
— Jeff Bercovici
SHOW DOWN: Given what some might call the “troubled” history between Vogue and Giorgio Armani — in the fall of 2001, Armani was so unhappy with the coverage his clothes were getting in Vogue’s pages that he pulled advertising from the magazine for several seasons — Men’s Vogue editor in chief Jay Fielden‘s absence from the designer’s men’s wear show in Milan on Thursday was a bit surprising to those who were there. The talk in Milan was that Fielden’s slight might set off another spat between Armani and the Vogue brand.
Hardly. For starters, Fielden was at the Emporio Armani show on Tuesday. And a Vogue spokesman said, “Jay was always going to have an abbreviated trip to Milan this season. He flew back to the U.S. [on Thursday], as scheduled, to be with his wife, who is expecting a new baby any minute.”
As of press time, the new Fielden had not made his or her debut.
— Sara James
CHIEF CONCERNS: Harper’s Bazaar has lost one of its editors in chief. But then, it had two to spare.
Executive editor in chief Jenny Barnett — as opposed to deputy editor in chief Sarah Bailey or editor in chief Glenda Bailey — quietly left the magazine in December to pursue freelance writing. Barnett said in a statement, “I’ve absolutely loved my time working at Harper’s Bazaar, but I decided to leave the magazine to go freelance. Over the past 17 years I’ve worked with Glenda, she’s been a great mentor and friend to me, but I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family and working on a few independent projects.”
Taking on at least some of Barnett’s duties at the magazine is Virginia Shannon, who was just hired away from Us Weekly as assistant managing editor. Bazaar also has two more editors joining its ranks: Kate Lanphear is moving over from Harper’s Bazaar Australia to be senior market editor, and Holly Shaw Cassin, formerly accessories director at Shop Etc., is now senior accessories editor at Bazaar.