Another reason editors have had to step up their game–online and on social media–is because they’re now facing competition–and lots of it–from non-industry bloggers.
Magazine websites have to compete for page views with blogs, and, by necessity, editors now have to compete with bloggers for jobs. Take Tavi Gevinson who, at 15, became editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, or Elin Kling, who has also launched her own magazine STYLEBY. And that’s not even to mention all the magazine staffers who found their way into media by first starting a blog.
“When I’m looking to hire an assistant…she doesn’t necessarily have to have a Twitter following or an online following, but it’s certainly an asset,” Chen said.
Cernek noted that being active on Twitter and social media demonstrates two invaluable skills for an industry-hopeful: “expert-level multitasking and the art of crafting a witty one-liner.”
It also demonstrates the ability to connect with an audience. And in this respect, bloggers may be a little bit ahead of the game. So will editors, eventually be edged out by bloggers? Probably not.
“For all the brouhaha I think an editor’s eye will always have a different level of depth [than a blogger],” Chen said. “You cannot in anyway discount that experience you get from working for years as a stylist or as a fashion director.”
Cernek says that it really doesn’t matter whether a person started out as a blogger, or worked their way up the masthead at a magazine, it’s what they’re saying–and doing–that counts. “One thing hasn’t changed about the industry: the strongest, smartest and most stylish voices still stand out from the rest of the pack,” she said.
But while there’s no clear-cut answer to what an editor’s job might entail, one thing is for sure: fashion media, and the jobs therein, are changing–and fast. Skills that were once irrelevant to an editor, are now integral to the job and industry players can no longer thrive behind the scenes. New publications are being born–and old ones are dying. Most importantly, digital and print media are no longer mutually exclusive.
“It’s sort of an old fashioned distinction to make between ‘traditional’ media and ‘new’ media,” Chen said. “Today, ideally, they are the same thing.” And similarly, an editor’s job description–and skill-set–have to reflect that hybrid.