Archive for the ‘Makin' Magazines’ Category

Googling His Mom

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

As a rule, especially on a Saturday when you’re on your way to a hoops game, it’s best to leave everyone’s mom out of things. … But before I go raise hell on the mean courts of NYC’s Chinatown, I took a quick glance at Slate. Good thing, too, as I found a story by John Dickerson that stopped me in my tracks.

Dickerson has just written a book about his mom, the late Nancy Dickerson, the first female network correspondent for CBS, and all-around media star in her day. Like many people researching a project, John Dickerson pressed a few buttons so that search engines would crawl the Web for anything containing the subject at hand and magically send him email alerts. That’s when his mother starting arriving in his in-box, long after she died, and even after he finished the book.

But what you keep about yourself is different from what other people keep about you. The little automated e-mail scouts were a way to screen for what might have been enduring about what she achieved. She’d been famous, but was any of it real?

Almost everything that arrived came from the period of her life I never experienced. Combined with my methodical slog through the materials she left me, the woman who was interrupting me on my BlackBerry became more real than the woman who had pasted back my cowlick and taken me to the doctor. She was authentic and natural, qualities I hadn’t seen much with my own eyes.

Dickerson barely knew his famous mom until the twilight of her life (he explains they were in a cold war for his first 27 years), one reason he felt the pull of pursuing a book about her.
That book, On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News’ First Woman Star comes out this week. His thoughtful piece about the process is found here.

Create Ads for SMITH mag

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

OK, so we’re too new to attract advertisers, and too poor not to need them. Yep, ye ol’ chicken and egg problem. So how do we get ads to put in our print magazine and show all these companies how smashing they’d look in our pages?

Well, I think you already know the answer.

What we want to do is simple. You create an ad for a company you like with a “personal” theme. We judge who’s worthy, and we print up the best entries in the magazine.

All entries should be based on a SMITH-friendly “personal” theme, and should show the company or product in a good light. We’re not ad-bashing here, we just want to show these companies that regular folk like us are the ones who really matter.

A few examples: Purina Cat Chow or Weber Nation or Come Clean.

Obviously, you’re making a one-page print ad, so these examples are just inspiration.

Consider this a challenge. All entries will be marked as “Editorial Content” in the magazine, so the advertisers won’t get confused. Lord knows, we don’t want that to happen.

Ads should be 8.5 x 11 inches at 300dpi (2550 x 3300 pixels) and saved in JPG (80%), PNG or TIFF format. Email your entries to info -at-

Stuck in an Elevator With….

Saturday, October 8th, 2005

How does a magazine about storytelling cover celebs? It’s a question we’ve been struggling with since the beginning of this idea more than three years ago. SMITH is much more interested in real people than celebs, but celebs are part of the world we stew in.

I was at this Who event last night at the Time Warner center (a truly delightful pox upon NYC) for the release of Tommy & Quadrophenia on DVD that somehow Samsung is doing rather than a record label; (btw, an interesting development for music/media) and all these Who freaks were slobbering on Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend clamoring for an autograph (one extremely smelly guy swiped a gift bag early, got the band to sign his DVD, and was then kissing it, somewhat maniacally; uh-oh). Then the other day Piper was in a funky little noodle place in the E. Village and Mario Batali sits next to her at the counter and she’s just not sure how to play it (Mario ordered loads of food and Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, soon joined him) so she just sits there eating her duck noodles and leaves him along. Meanwhile my friend Ty was in line at a cabaret at the Algonquin Room right behind Philip Seymour Hoffman (who, confirming the rumors, had bad BO, but that’s not why Ty decided not to strike up a conversation with PSH, he was just trying to play it cool and leave the guy be) and they all (well, not the Who crowd) said the same thing: it feels really dumb to talk to a celebrity, even though you kind of want to if it’s a celeb you truly dig.

And so … one of the only ways to have an interesting conversation with a famous person is if you’re both stuck in a situation which calls for equal footing, or equally weird for both of you (like maybe you ran into Dustin Hoffman in a store dressing room, as did my friend Dave. “How are the jeans,” Dave said he asked Dustin. “They fit,” Dustin replied) or being trapped in an elevator. So perhaps we find the nicest elevator in NYC (or wherever the celeb is) and try to do the piece from that perspective.

Which is a long way of saying: which celebrities interest you?

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.