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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

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January 12, 2006

New York magazines’ vanilla ceiling 

The has what Lizzy Ratner calls a ‘vanilla ceiling’: if you’re a , you mightn’t get a chance at working in .
   So begins her story in the New York Observer, referred to me by a colleague who congratulated me for being ‘evolved’.
   I never thought much of people’s creed or colour when they came into the fold at Lucire. Now that I think about it, people ‘of colour’ make up roughly the same percentage as they would in at this magazine. But apparently, is as foreign to the New York publishing scene as a skinhead at a bar mitzvah.
   Ms Ratner writes, ‘At , the premier magazine empire, the fleet of 29 top editors includes just one person of color.’ I seem to recall that make up one in eight people in that country, and that doesn’t even include other non- races. One in twenty-nine is oddly low.
   She continues:

Still, the results of the survey revealed a world that looks little like the streets of New York, where nearly 65 percent of the population identified itself as nonwhite in the 2000 census.
   Of the 203 staffers and contributors listed on the masthead, six—or less than 3 percent—are people of color.
   At , the swank travel monthly, 11 of the 85 staffers and contributors listed on the masthead are people of color. Of those 11 staffers, three hold editing positions and two are contributing editors, while six hold lower-masthead positions as researchers and assistant editors.

   I don’t know what to call this except . I wish I could excuse it but I can’t imagine how you could wind up with these statistics.
   What does this do to their once this gets out further? It again illustrates how far off some of the establishment are from the real world and, therefore, their readers.
   It’s still going to be tough competing with them, but at least I know I have a team that reflects our audience when it comes to .
Jack, New York Magazines - indeed any big city's press - are on my mind for another reason

The head of Lazards was on US tv a few days ago saying that he had made one investment for the company he knew would compound extraordinary wealth (perhaps even an exit startegy if the rest of whatver strategy merchants do turns out to be seen as less and less valuable). Buying a New York Magazine , I think the New Yorker.

Now he was talking about a magazine when coupled to the internet can be a city's number 1 exchange _ rather fear for whatever the kost extravagant new yorkers are prepared to pay at the click of their fingertips for when they need the recipe or other codes to action a fashion or a party around them. But think of a different city magazine. One that kept on asking waht abundant economis exhchnages could we co-create with in twin-city diversity collaborations. What coukd Delhi-New York innovate that's best for the world. What could Wellington-New York innovate that's best for the world. It seems to me that contextual micro-communities and microfinance go hand in hand with a medium combo of city magazine and worldwide web. InterCitizens could be debating thousands of experimental concepts in the knowledge that those which made progress would be reported back all round the city through the glossy magazine and its chattering classes. Now Mr Murdoch, how about this beyond media? I promise you that it is exactly how one (the first wholly global leadership) press media returned 100 times shareholder investments over a generation by compounding 1000 times value across societies.  
I would say we need magazines that exchange between diverse examples: Delhi and New York make more sense than Wellington and New York. You have a point but for me, I place faith in global brands—provided they are not put into the corrupt space that many western ones currently are. A global moral brand (if you remember my old ‘The Moral Globalist’) has a chance of succeeding by being a hub for all these activities, reported as a meritocracy within the magazine.  
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