A recent cover of the American edition of Reader's Digest
Here is Selecciones, the Spanish edition of Reader's Digest, and the one I remember reading as a child in Cuba
One of the most interesting pieces I have encountered, as I do post-summer vacation catch up, is the one about how the Reader's Digest has made great progress in the integration of its print/digital operations.
It took four years, and, of course, it was not easy, but I like the steps outlined by Liz Vaccariello, editor-in -chief, to make Reader's Digest integrate itself into the present and the future. The magazine has a rich past, and I still remember, as a child in Cuba, never missing an issue of the Spanish edition, Selecciones, which my paternal grandmother read from cover to cover. It was through Readers' Digest that I got my first glimpses of American life. I would read Humor in Uniform, a favorite feature, and then turned to Personal Glimpses, and "Life in these United States". When I arrived in the US, a lot of those slices of American life that Reader's Digest introduced me to, made a great deal of sense. They do to this day.
Come to think about it, many of those Personal Glimpses are what today's social media content is all about, with the humor, the pathos and the very personal narratives/
Editor Liz Vaccariello's plan hits upon all the right notes, and I think newspaper editors may benefit from reviwing the key points of her strategy:
Stop thinking of digital as an afterthought (with print as the protagonist)
“As editor-in-chief and chief content officer, I had to stop talking about the magazine first and then treating digital as an afterthought . That meant changing the schedules and workflows of her staff, as well as restructuring meetings to address the expression of a story across all platforms. "
Mix the seasoned staffers with the younger ones
The blend of seasoned staffers along with younger employees with more digital know-how makes her team able to create print and digital products in tandem. There has to be a balance between fast and efficient, and careful and thorough. When you’ve got people on your team who are both things, they learn from each other and they work really well together.”
Don't think of print and digital as competing units: it's the same brand
" We don’t just have a print magazine art meeting and then separately do a digital meeting. In our weekly status meetings, instead of going through every page of the magazine first, we do the status for that day and that week’s online content first.”
Don’t sacrifice quality.
“The trust and credibility that we have had for 93 years with consumers around the world is the backbone of our brand.”