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A Millennial Read That’s Fast-Paced, Upbeat & Not Digital – The Mr. Magazine Interview With Emily Cronin, Editor-In-Chief, Trending NY Magazine.

May 11, 2015

“One of the results of living on your Smartphone is you crave a break and people like me and my friends; our readers, I think increasingly, new magazines bring a breath of fresh air and a treat. Although, like you, it’s my job to read magazines and keep up with everything that’s going on, I still favor them and bring them on vacation with me, because you read a magazine very differently on a long commute or a flight or in a beach chair than you do at your desk.” Emily Cronin

Trending_Cover_May 2015 A new free, monthly fashion, beauty and entertainment magazine for millennial New York women, that’s the concept behind Hearst’s, Trending NY. It’s upbeat, colorful and a fast read that not only competes with millennials’ digital devices; it’s actually a welcomed diversion and something readers are excitedly craving in their fast-paced lives, at least according to Trending NY’s founding editor, Emily Cronin.

And if anyone should know the minds of the magazine’s readers; it’s Emily. Being a millennial herself, she knows the value of a long, deep breath away from the bombardment of today’s information flood and Trending NY is ready to provide that much-needed respite. After four pilot issues last year, Trending NY starts regular monthly publication with the May 2015 issue.

I spoke with Emily recently and we talked about her early interests in political science, becoming a foreign correspondent, and then the ultimate realization of her love of stories, storytelling and beautiful, collectable covers. And of course, we talked about the potential of Trending NY and the goals she hopes to accomplish with the magazine that collects all the trending topics of interest a millennial New York woman wants and needs to know, and puts into the timelessness of print.

I hope you enjoy this refreshing interview with a young lady who knows the convenience of the digital age, but also knows in order to enjoy the beauty and joy of life, sometimes you have to slow down the pace and relax with a great magazine. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Emily Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Trending NY.

But first the sound-bites:

On how her career transitioned from a Political Science major in college to fashion, beauty and entertainment: It’s a long story, but the short version is when I was in college I wanted to be a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. But at the same time I was working on the student newspaper and the student magazine. And I found that what I loved was telling longer stories that you could really invest in and make beautiful and create covers that had a lifespan.

On why she believes millennials are craving the lean-back experience of print:
One of the results of living on your Smartphone is you crave a break and people like me and my friends; our readers, I think increasingly, new magazines bring a breath of fresh air and a treat.

On whether she fears that readers will come to expect an overabundance of direction from Trending NY:
Actually, that’s really fun. Whether I’m an editor or not, I’m constantly on the hunt for information about what’s new and what’s on the horizon. And Trending NY is an amazing vehicle for my team and me to share our discoveries. Everything that’s in the magazine is something that we’re excited about.

On the basic concept of the magazine:
Trending NY is the new free monthly fashion, beauty and entertainment magazine for millennial New York women. The magazine is a quick shop-able read; everything in the magazine, all the clothes, all the beauty items, are in store now; there’s none of the delayed gratification that we’ve grown accustomed to with traditional monthly fashion magazines.

On whether she thinks we may see more “Trending” titles upcoming:
You never know. I would love it if that were somewhere in the future, but I’m really not at will to say. Although, I will say that Trending is a name that lends itself to other cities, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

On the biggest stumbling block she’s had to face:
There have definitely been small challenges, but there have been no stumbling blocks; this whole thing has been a lot of fun, honestly.

On her most pleasant surprise:
I love it when I see people reading it on the subway. It makes me feel a little like a spy, sitting there watching them and trying to see the pages that they’re lingering over and just to witness people interacting with it and enjoying the product that we’ve worked so hard on is really a joy.

On what she feels the role of an editor is in 2015 compared to the years before the digital explosion: I think now more than ever the editor has a responsibility to filter all of the information that’s out there. There is an unbelievable torrent of information hitting our reader every day and something that I repeat all the time to my team is that we have to be specific.

On what motivates her to get out of bed every morning and look forward to going to work:
What really keeps me going is the next big idea. Hearst has now committed to producing more issues of Trending NY to December 2015 and we have ideas for features for a year beyond that. So, constantly we’re refining and building our ambition and trying to figure out how we can make the next issue even better and that’s a huge motivating factor.

On what she reads at home when she’s relaxing:
What am I reading? Everything, I’m very lucky. One of the best things about being an editor at Hearst is that I get all of our magazines and I bring them home with me and have giant leaning towers of magazines on the floor all over the apartment. I love nothing more than after the kids go to bed, flipping through a magazine and really taking more time with it.

On what keeps her up at night: I’m always thinking about the magazine and am really driven by excitement at what we can accomplish with it.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Emily Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Trending NY.

Samir Husni: You majored in Political Science and graduated with honors from Duke University, but so far your journalism experience has been in fashion, beauty and technology, no politics. When was the transition from Political Science in school to what you’re doing now? It’s very fascinating. And now you’re editor-in-chief at a very young age for a major magazine; can you tell me about your career paths?

EmilyPortrait1 Emily Cronin: It’s a long story, but the short version is when I was in college I wanted to be a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. But at the same time I was working on the student newspaper and the student magazine. And I found that what I loved was telling longer stories that you could really invest in and make beautiful and create covers that had a lifespan.

When I graduated, instead of moving to the Middle East, I moved to London and I did start working in financial and political news; my first jobs were actually at the Financial Times and CNBC. But it became quickly apparent to me that I wanted to be in fashion magazines; I wanted to do features and fashion and create those beautiful stories that I loved.

I was very fortunate; I entered and won the Vogue talent contest for young writers, which having moved to London and not knowing anyone in the magazine industry, it gave me a great foot in the door and paved the way for me to go and work at Harper’s Bazaar and Elle UK in London. I’m really happy with the path my career has taken.

Samir Husni: Congratulations on your latest achievement, becoming editor-in-chief of Trending NY. If someone your age asked you; Trending NY is aimed at millennials, are you out of your mind to publish a print magazine for this age group? Millennials live on their Smartphones and digital devices; this is a digital age, after all. Why do you think they would be reading Trending NY in print?

Emily Cronin: That’s very true, but one of the results of living on your Smartphone is you crave a break, and people like me and my friends and our readers, I think, increasingly view magazines like a breath of fresh air, like a treat. And although, like you, it’s my job to read magazines and keep up with everything that’s going on, I still savor them and bring them on vacation with me, because you read a magazine very differently on a long commute or a flight or in a beach chair than you do at your desk.

What I’m so excited about with Trending NY is the chance to provide something that surprises and delights our reader and makes her feel like she’s been given a gift. So, absolutely, there’s not just a place for this in New York, but it’s something that women in our demographic are craving.

Samir Husni: You’re now the curator for these women in New York. Do you feel any sense of alarm or fear that they’re going to depend on you to tell them what to do?

Emily Cronin: Actually, that’s really fun. One of the reasons that I think a lot of people, including myself, get into journalism is that we like to be the ones who know what’s going on before anyone else and we also like to be the ones who tell everyone else what’s happening.

Whether I’m an editor or not, I’m constantly on the hunt for information about what’s new and what’s on the horizon. And Trending NY is an amazing vehicle for my team and me to share our discoveries. Everything that’s in the magazine is something that we’re excited about. We make very sure of that. It’s really a pleasure every month to share it with the readers.

Samir Husni: For those who are not living in New York, Emily; can you tell me a little bit more about the magazine so people outside of the City will have a better idea of what’s trending and what it’s all about?

Emily Cronin: Of course. Trending NY is the new free monthly fashion, beauty and entertainment magazine for millennial New York women. The magazine is a quick shop-able read; everything in the magazine, all the clothes, all the beauty items, are in store now; there’s none of the delayed gratification that we’ve grown accustomed to with traditional monthly fashion magazines. And we really collect the best of what’s happening in New York so that our readers can maximize their experience in the City. It’s positive, upbeat and inspirational and everything a girl could want to read on her commute.

Samir Husni: Can we expect to see from Hearst later on a Trending L.A. or a Trending Chicago; is this an experiment or is New York unique for such a magazine?

Emily Cronin: You never know. I would love it if that were somewhere in the future, but I’m really not at will to say. Although, I will say that Trending is a name that lends itself to other cities, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve faced since starting Trending NY and how did you overcome it?

Emily Cronin: This whole experience has honestly been so refreshing because we had a chance to come in and do something completely new. We are effectively a startup publication with all the backing and resources of the incredibly well-resourced Hearst Corporation.

There have definitely been small challenges, but there have been no stumbling blocks; this whole thing has been a lot of fun, honestly.

Samir Husni: What has been the most pleasant surprise?

Emily Cronin: You know what; I love it when I hear that people are saying nice things about the publication behind my back. In other words, when I get positive feedback secondhand; where someone will say to me, my colleagues came in and saw the magazine on my desk and said they picked that up recently and it was really good.

I also love it when I see people reading it on the subway. It makes me feel a little like a spy, sitting there watching them and trying to see the pages that they’re lingering over and just to witness people interacting with it and enjoying the product that we’ve worked so hard on is really a joy.

Samir Husni: You’re now the editor of Trending NY; what would you say if someone asked you what the role of editor is today in 2015 compared to what it was before the digital explosion?

Emily Cronin: I think now more than ever the editor has a responsibility to filter all of the information that’s out there. There is an unbelievable torrent of information hitting our reader every day and something that I repeat all the time to my team is that we have to be specific. If we’re going to tell our reader that she needs to go to this festival in Brooklyn, that’s not good enough. We have to tell her the one event that she can’t miss and what she should eat and drink and wear.

I view one of the roles of Trending NY as a crib sheet for overstretched New York women; they don’t want to know every movie that’s opening this weekend or every restaurant that has a special, they want to know exactly what everyone else is talking about so that they can stay in the flow of the conversation, which is moving faster and faster every day.

Samir Husni: Having said that; what makes Emily get out of bed every morning and look forward to going to work?

Emily Cronin: Well, the first thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is my 16-month-old twins. They wake up very early and then of course, I’m up early too, which gives me a chance to check my email and look at Instagram and Twitter.

But what really keeps me going is the next big idea. Hearst has now committed to producing more issues of Trending NY to December 2015 and we have ideas for features for a year beyond that. So, constantly we’re refining and building our ambition and trying to figure out how we can make the next issue even better and that’s a huge motivating factor.

Samir Husni: The twins are in bed and asleep and you’re sitting on your couch at home with a glass of wine if you indulge; what would I find you reading and would it be on a digital device or in print?

Emily Cronin: What am I reading? Everything, I’m very lucky. One of the best things about being an editor at Hearst is that I get all of our magazines and I bring them home with me and have giant leaning towers of magazines on the floor all over the apartment. I love nothing more than after the kids go to bed, flipping through a magazine and really taking more time with it. Obviously, I look at everything that comes across my desk at work in a very quick way, with a view toward seeing how the things that we’re doing are trending. But really reading the features and looking at the fashion shoots; I look at everything you’d expect me to look at in all of our publications that I can name and some that I can’t. I also look at the international titles, having come up in London; I still get all of my British magazines as well.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Emily Cronin: Can I say the twins again? (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Of course. (Laughs too)

Emily Cronin: What keeps me up at night is actually very similar to what gets me up in the morning and that’s excitement at the potential of what we can do with Trending NY and what we can accomplish.

And I’ve definitely learned to sleep with a pen and a notepad on my nightstand so that if I wake up with a very specific, detailed thought about a feature or a headline or a distribution issue, I can write that down and I can also write down the big ideas. Sometimes when I wake up, I find that I’ve written down something that actually is useful.

To be a little more concise, I’m always thinking about the magazine and am really driven by excitement at what we can accomplish with it.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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