​Review: Magazine Publishing and Writing in a 2.0 World

By: Osaro Althouse
Photo by r.s.thurston photography

AWC-SB members and friends assembled on Wednesday, October 10 at the Antioch campus to discuss Magazine Publishing and Writing in a 2.0 World. The program included a renowned panel of successful women in the publishing, editing and writing industry. The panelists were: Sally Barr, a musician, publisher and editor of MUSIC! The Sounds of Santa Barbara, who desired to support the Santa Barbara music scene at large; Nansie Chapman, owner and publisher of Santa Barbara Family Life, where her responsibilities include business management, production and writing; Leslie Dinaberg, editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS magazine, Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine and The Source. She is also a columnist for Noozhawk.com and ParentClick.com; Amy Marie Orozco, editor of Carpinteria Magazine, who is responsible for ensuring the beachside town’s tales are told; Maria Streshinsky, editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard, formerly Miller-McCune magazine; and moderator Leslie Westbrook, a well-known freelance writer and member of the AWC-SB board. These insightful women eagerly shared knowledge on content, differences between print and online versions, freelance writing and their passion and motivation for their current position.

The panel started with an introduction, where each panelist shared how they got involved in the magazine publishing and writing industry. After owning a graphic design business with her husband for twenty years and earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology, Nansie Chapman’s ambitions motivated her to start Santa Barbara Family Life magazine. Sally Barr moved to Santa Barbara about twenty years ago to get her master’s degree in music. One thing she witnessed from the stage was that the audience was rapidly declining, even in the clubs where music was very prominent. After travelling around Europe she noticed  almost every major city had some kind of music magazine that reported on regional events. On her flight back to the United States she decided to launch a magazine for the Santa Barbara community and went to print about two and a half weeks later.

Leslie Dinaberg’s first journalism job was as editor for the high school local newspaper at San Marcos named: “The King’s Page.” After earning her bachelor’s degree from UCLA she worked in the marketing industry for several years. During that time she started ghostwriting and later joined SEASONS Magazine as the features editor. Now, she has been working as the editor for two and a half years. Amy Marie Orozco holds a degree in creative writing and lived in Japan for five years, where she turned Japanese English into standard American English. Her strong writing abilities got her the position as editor for Carpinteria Magazine. After college, Maria Streshinsky worked at a travel magazine, while also working as a freelance writer. She later took a government job, which was a great learning experience for her current career. She recommends policy and government work to aspiring journalists. Before joining Miller-McCune magazine as the editor-and-chief, which is now known as Pacific Standard, she worked for The Atlantic.

In response to Leslie Westbrook’s question on how things have changed in the last three years, Nansie Chapman mentioned she worked from home and that the economy has affected the entire advertising base. Sally Barr noted that her magazine has grown since its inception three years ago and that there is a huge demand from tourists in Santa Barbara. She also emphasized her daily work on her online magazine and her social media outreach campaigns.

Leslie Dinaberg noted that creative interns helped turn a static website and facebook page into a public relations and community relations tool. Now in addition to the magazine, they have included a blog that publishes approximately sixty to hundred articles a month. Amy Marie Orozco added that the last two years have been tough and she and her team are currently working on their online presence. Maria Streshinsky claimed that in addition to print, online is the way of the future and their profitable website gets updated daily and sometimes requires a re-shifting of roles and priorities.

When the panelists were asked how they keep current with deadlines, the Internet and social media, all of them pointed out the significance of preparing ahead of time, always keeping deadlines, and hiring stalwart staff. On the topic of freelance writing all panelists concurred that freelance writers are a great asset to the publishing and writing industry.

Audience members who were inquiring about possible internship opportunities learned about the newly established internship program at Pacific Standard. Leslie Dinaberg pointed out various internship positions UCSB students have held with Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine and her newly founded Brooks Institute internship program. Sally Barr is hoping to establish an internship program in the near future, while Nansie Chapman noted that she had used interns in the past, but does not have an internship program in place yet. Amy Marie Orozco added that Carpinteria Magazine does not have an internship program, but would accept interns if feasible.

When discussing the role of fact-checking each panelist stressed the importance of truthful information, but also mentioned that fact-checking is more prevalent in print than it is online. Furthermore, panelists stated the significance of hiring writers who are educated about the field they are writing about.

After an inquisitive audience asked questions and offered a long round of applause, members and friends mingled and enjoyed delectable appetizers.

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