Ok, so he was joking… Last night’s panel, from left: Maxim editorial director Jim Kaminsky, Details EIC Dan Peres, Playboy EIC Chris Napolitano, Elle executive editor Alexandra Postman, Glamour EIC Cindi Leive and Marie Claire EIC Joanna Coles
In what felt to many like an Ellies week amuse-bouche, 118 senior-level men’s and women’s magazine editors converged upon Twenty Four Fifth last night for mediabistro.com’s first-ever joint men’s and women’s magazine dinner, “Skirts, Slacks, and Supper.” Despite the fact that we were elbow-rubbing with the same people who by Friday we’ll be seeing in our bleary-eyed, blog-posting waking nightmares, spirited conversation quickly became the order of the evening, particularly in a post-meal panel featuring Details EIC Dan Peres, Maxim editorial director Jim Kaminsky, Playboy EIC Chris Napolitano, Elle executive editor Alexandra Postman, Glamour EIC Cindi Leive and Marie Claire EIC Joanna Coles.
Here are some choice bits from them on the differences between editing men’s and women’s mags, how their political coverage differs, the advent of celeb culture, and what the hell to do about the Internet…
Kaminsky: There’s a misconception that men’s magazines and women’s magazines are shockingly different.
Leive [exasperated]: I have so given up hearing about [whether women’s magazines do serious journalism on par with men’s magazines].
Coles: I think the culture has changed: Now, men can be metrosexual and worry about their hair products.
Kaminsky: Maxim‘s competitors went away… Our reader now is smarter and more knowing.
Napolitano: Magazines used to be more monolithic.
Postman: The celebs we put [on the cover of Elle] have to have some sort of whiff of fashion about them.
Moderator: Let’s talk about how your brand should live and breathe online…[Crickets chirp during an extended silence from all panelists, giving way to a roomful of nervous giggles before Napolitano jumps in.]
Napolitano: The Web is a challenge for [Playboy]. We’re trying to create a context for the magazine digitally; we’re trying to create a more leisure-time experience.
Coles: How seriously and ponderously they are discussing the [2008 presidential] election in men’s magazines, and how dismissively they cover it in women’s magazines…
Kaminsky: Doing profiles at this point in the race is an all-lose proposition [due to mags’ long lead times].
Moderator: How much does size [a.k.a. circulation] matter?
Coles: What’s shifted is the balance between newsstand and subscribers. People have become very savvy.
Leive: Women will continue to love magazines… Point of view is more important than it was even five years ago.
Kaminsky: Our print version is not really replicated. It’s a mistake to prop up a readership.
Moderator: Men, do you want to edit a women’s magazine, and women, do you want to edit a men’s mag?
Peres: I’m kind of waiting for Cindi to fuck it all up at Glamour — she’s just an inch away. I like reading women’s magazines more than I like reading men’s…
Leive: I’m not asking why more women editing men’s magazines, but why aren’t more women editing general interest magazines?
Napolitano: We’re built the way we are [with men or women atop certain mags’ mastheads’] because it’s easier to sell to the consumer; it’s easier to sell to the advertiser.
Kaminsky on Miley Cyrus/Vanity Fair pictures dustup: It’s a manufactured controversy…
For more, check out Jeff Bercovici‘s coverage over at Portfolio.com…