Wintour, who oversees Conde’s portfolio of titles including Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Glamour and GQ, spent a lot of time discussing journalism in a digital age, but added that simply chasing clicks was “unimaginative … old hat.”
According to The NY Post, she explained, “I hear the same anxieties over and over again. Everything is too fast, everything is too precarious, we have more access than ever to the people we are trying to reach thanks to social media and mobile technology, and more information than we know what to do with … How to address this, how to engage audiences while still keeping our work relevant and original is the part of the puzzle we are all trying to solve.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about these questions at Conde Nast … we’ve been stressing about it … how does Conde Nast expect to set itself apart in the digital age, when its strengths, a stable of high-profile magazines, a big circulation base, and some of the most iconic print and photography journalists of the era must now face off against ‘Ten surprising facts about Donald Trump’s hair,’ or ’15 irresistible photos of morbidly obese cats.’
“All of these questions have the same answer … finding your way doesn’t mean surviving, just as pleasing an audience doesn’t mean twisting your editorial around search engine optimization and Facebook algorithms. For one thing, everybody is doing that, it’s unimaginative, it’s old hat. For us, creativity means thinking about the lives of our audience and how to connect with them.”
She continued, “Aim high. It is true that a lot of people are easily distracted online, as a result, too many of us have given up on digital audiences for ambitious work, and this is a mistake. The circle of weak effort is vicious, creative people in turn spend less time and less energy, making their work less polished … Then we are surprised when audience are distracted? I want to make the case for grander ideas, big investments of time and heft.”
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