Today’s WSJ confuses me; it asks if Jane needs a makeover but seems to imply that any sort of change will be disastrous for the mag. Brian Steinberg wonders if it will “fare better under Brandon” – but I’m a bit confused as to where this urgency is coming from. I mean, yes, the mag is called Jane. But to suggest that the mag should immediately switch the title to “Brandon” is probably the single dumbest thing I’ve read today. I mean, Jane is very clearly a brand; it has been since 1997 and though it’s been based on “the vision of founder Jane Pratt” it has been executed by a whole whack of talented staffers who have shared in that vision. The weight carried by the name Jane doesn’t belong to Pratt alone; how could it? Too many people are invested.
To be honest, I remember being surprised when I found out there was an actual Jane (I haven’t always been a media wonk, you know. There was a time when I didn’t know what Condé Nast was). I had
always assumed that “Jane” was selected because of its sheer generic-ness with an eye to making it whatever you wanted it to be (and by the way I just found out now that Mirabella was a person). Back when I was a regular person who wasn’t obsessed with media, I actually did not care who was editor of ANY magazine. I am not deigning to speak for all readers, I’m just saying that Madison Avenue (and the hyper-excitable WSJ) should chill; if Jane is doing well now, then they should keep on doing things well and free Brandon Holley up to have fun trying out new stuff to make it better.
Steinberg says that celeb-based titles have ‘long-filled’ the newsstand, but I have to point out that titles playing off a celeb like Oprah, Rosie and Martha came a good few years after Jane, and revolved entirely around the trappings of their celebrity. Jane revolved around less a person than an idea, an attitude.
If I sound totally biased here, it’s because I am: I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with the Jane staff on Monday as they welcomed Brandon to their midst (yes, much like a pliant dwarf, Fishbowl is available to entertain at your event as well!). I have to say I was struck by a few things: one, they were all
extremely fun and warm and cool, but more than that, quite a few of them had been at the magazine for a really long time. That kind of longevity says something, I think (the fact that they’ve turned their
offices into a makeshift bar with a neon sign reminiscent of Coyote Ugly says something else, too – I must admit I closed the joint down,
though I stopped just shy of dancing on the bar). Warning, we’re about to name-drop: we were very impressed with the neon “She’s So Jane” sign given to newcomer Holley, who fired it up for us so we could bask in its (actually very flattering) glow; we were also impressed with the hospitality of Special Projects Editrix Linda Doyle and Art Director Miriam Blankenship, who made sure I had my fill of delicious cheese. Check out the pics after the jump – there is one of said cheese – but also don’t be so quick to check out on Jane just because Jane’s checking out (worst sentence ever, sorry) (and also, Hilary Duff likes The Smiths? WTF?). For the WSJ and anyone else who is still wringing their hands at the prospect of a talented dynamo of an editrix stepping down, I have two words for you: Janice Min.
Photos of my new girl-crushes after the jump. Look people, don’t whine; if you want me to girl-crush on you, clearly all you have to do
is feed me some cheese.
Jane Publisher Mark Oltarsh (left), brand-new EIC Brandon Holley (center),and Jane Associate Publisher David Wade (right).
Katy McColl, Senior Writer and Carla Shackleford, Deputy Managing Editor (no relation to the famous explorer, probably because his name was Shackleton)
Senior Music Editor Jeff Johnson, Creative Director Johan Svensson,and Beauty/Health Editor Erin Flaherty
So Jane: Wine, cheese, cookies, veggies, and beer! And cheese.
Mitzi Miller, Associate Editor and Kate Torgovnick, Assistant Editor
Linda Doyle and Miriam Blankenship. Thanks for the wine, ladies!
The crowd shenaniganizes at Shenanigan’s.
Cheese, as promised.