h1

Bloomberg Pursuits: Intelligent Luxury For All With A New Redesign, New Editorial Content & A New Editor-In-Chief – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Emma Rosenblum

November 3, 2015

“For me what this magazine represents is a prize that you can keep on your table; the design is so thoughtful and the colors are so rich and the photography striking. I do think that with the Internet and online journalism there’s an immediacy to news nowadays that isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to have something that’s kind of a keepsake that you want to really look at. So, I do think that print, as we’ve seen in the industry, is continuing to grow. We’re all just trying to make it the most gorgeous process that we can to differentiate from everything else that’s out there.” Emma Rosenblum

Pursuits_Cover_HOL15 Bloomberg Pursuits is a quarterly guide to intelligent luxury. It is distributed to all 375,000 Bloomberg Markets magazine subscribers—a highly-coveted and affluent readership comprised largely of users of the Bloomberg Professional Service around the world. The reader demographic is 63 percent male and 37 percent female. And at the helm is new Editor-In-Chief, Emma Rosenblum.

The magazine experienced a major redesign earlier in the year and under Emma’s guiding hand, Bloomberg Pursuits’ summer 2015 issue, which featured tennis star Maria Sharapova on the cover, signaled a new era of luxury publishing at Bloomberg. Readers will now find a much more sophisticated and energetic content, informing them about where to go, what to eat, what to wear, and how to spend their leisure time. And the design is now more modern, with an airy, bright aesthetic.

I spoke with Emma recently about all of the changes with the magazine and with her own life too, having experienced motherhood for the first time a few months ago. We talked about the juggling of two worlds as busy and complicated as both can be, and how creating a new magazine can be comparable to giving birth in some ways, something Mr. Magazine™ can’t do with all of the editor-in-chiefs he interviews. But Emma is a woman who believes with hard work, dedication and love for each, anything is possible. And it’s a definite that she is passionate about both her new roles.

We also discussed the redesign and refocus of the editorial content of the magazine and the reaction from readers and advertisers to the new look. It was a delightful and insightful conversation that I know you’ll enjoy. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Emma Rosenblum, Editor-In-Chief, Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine.

But first, the sound-bites:

Emma Rosenblum Headshot
On how she’s juggling her new role as editor-in-chief of Bloomberg Pursuits and new motherhood:
I’m just starting to figure it all out now, because this is my first baby and I’m still on leave. I’m working from home, answering emails, getting pages sent to me and weighing in, because even though I’m on leave, I still feel very responsible for the product and want it to be done a certain way; it’s our holiday issue.

On how she plans to take the redesign and the DNA of the magazine and expand on it and grow it as the new editor-in-chief: We just closed our third issue of the redesign, so last summer was our first fully redesigned issue. And then we had the fall issue and this one is our holiday issue. So, I feel like we’re still figuring things out, but we’ve got a really good base for the design and the editorial viewpoint. And so it’s just a matter of tweaking and honing and figuring out what we like and don’t like. But as of right now we spent a lot of time thinking about what was going to go into the redesign and why; what it was going to look like and what kind of articles we were going to include, so I’m pretty comfortable with the DNA as it is. And just like any magazine, we’ll continue to experiment and try to make it as good as we can.

On whether she thinks luxury, upscale magazines such as Bloomberg Pursuits are the future of print:
Personally, that’s what I gravitate towards, but you can never say that’s the future; nobody really knows. For me what this magazine represents is a prize that you can keep on your table; the design is so thoughtful and the colors are so rich and the photography striking. I do think that with the Internet and online journalism there’s an immediacy to news nowadays that isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to have something that’s kind of a keepsake that you want to really look at. So, I do think that print, as we’ve seen in the industry, is continuing to grow.

On the early reaction from people on the new redesign and changes with the magazine: It’s interesting, I keep saying to people: tell me if you don’t like it because nobody tells me that. Everybody tells me that it’s amazing and I always say, great, thank you. We have been getting really good reaction from our peers, which is super-important to us. Though from our readers we don’t get instantaneous feedback, so there isn’t quite a way to gauge that, but I’m hoping. Of course, the other most important party is the reaction from advertisers, which has been positive as well, so far, so good up to this point. We’ve gotten a very good internal reaction too, so I think it’s going pretty well.

On who would appear if she struck the magazine with a magic wand that could turn it into a living, breathing human being: Our readers are already really successful and really savvy and curious about the world. I would like to think the magazine is very reflective of what our readers really want to know and the terminal subscriber is our reader. So, the person who would emerge would be that exact type of person, but who has slightly more time to do their research about everything that is the best of the best. That’s who I think would appear, somebody who really knows what’s going on, who’s very stylish, well-traveled, loves restaurants; just everything that our magazine is about.

On being a curator as much as she’s a creator and how she handles the roles simultaneously:
Well, it just sort of goes hand-in-hand like with any magazine. I feel like that’s what being a magazine editor has always been. I don’t think that’s something new. I believe the word curator is slightly overused. Nowadays everyone is curating something. But that’s what we’ve always done.

On what she does differently today as an editor than she did before the digital explosion:
One of the best things about Bloomberg, if not the best thing, is that we have all of the different aspects of the company that we can use in conjunction with the magazine. We have our digital site, the TV station and our radio platform; so we use all of these, and especially our website very specifically for content and then we have segments on TV and radio as well.

On the major stumbling block that she’s had to face and how she overcame it:
That’s a good question. I think starting a magazine anew is always a big challenge and it was a big challenge for us, to try and think about and really pinpoint what it is our readers wanted and who our reader actually was and what didn’t exist out there already for them? And that was really hard because, as you know, the market is pretty saturated with luxury publications and we didn’t want to just be a copy of other people. And so it wasn’t the easiest to figure out what the actual mission of the magazine was because basically we were starting over with a blank slate. So, that took us a long time. We had a bunch of different ideas about it and we finally came up with this notion that we really wanted to be the person that’s telling the reader who doesn’t have enough time to know, what to do.

On whether the founder of the company, Mike Bloomberg, is a reader of the magazine:
I hope so. (Laughs) He’s very aware of everything that’s going on in the company. We create the magazine with him in mind too because he is one of our readers and he exemplifies this idea of the curious, successful person. And that’s what we want to create the content around.

On whether she thinks comparing the creation of a new magazine to the birth of a baby is a fair statement:
Creating a magazine is a lot of work and the “having a baby” metaphor is kind of apt in that it’s all you and you’re solely responsible for it. There are jobs that I’ve had where I was one of the pack and turning out someone else’s vision. And you can get very good at that and put your own mark on it where you can, but ultimately it’s somebody else’s product that they’ve created. So, this has been a super-new experience for me. To think and ask myself: what do I want; what kind of content do I think is right for the magazine? And a lot of times it’s hard to figure out because you do become very good at following someone else’s vision.

On what motivates her to get out of bed in the mornings:
Right now I’m out of bed a lot, especially in the middle of the night. (Laughs) But I love my job. I’ve never really had a day where I’ve been at work and haven’t thought how lucky I am to be able to do what I love. I have many friends who are not stimulated at all by their careers, but I learn something new every day. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a super-challenging day or just an average day at the office, it’s a pleasure to get up and create something. And it’s just fun. When I get out of bed, I’m happy that I get to go to my job; I’m not necessarily jumping for joy at having to roll out at 7:00 a.m. (Laughs)

On what keeps her up at night:
Besides the crying and daycare? (Laughs) In my new role, it’s this thing I have about always wanting everything to be perfect and getting better and better. And how do I do that? So, it’s a constant thought in the back of your mind of, OK – this issue is closed, now what’s next? How do we improve upon that one? And that’s basically what I think about all of the time.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Emma Rosenblum, Editor-In-Chief, Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine.

Pursuits_Cover_FALL15 Samir Husni: The job of an editor isn’t getting any easier, nor is the job of being a mother. So, how are you juggling your new role as editor-in-chief of Bloomberg Pursuits and motherhood?

Emma Rosenblum: I’m just starting to figure it all out now, because this is my first baby and I’m still on leave. I’m working from home, answering emails, getting pages sent to me and weighing in, because even though I’m on leave, I still feel very responsible for the product and want it to be done a certain way; it’s our holiday issue. So, I do a lot while the baby is napping, and you know, it’s easier to work remotely nowadays. I just answer lots of emails and phone calls right now. And it’ll be a new stage when I get back to the office and we’ll just figure it out from there.

Samir Husni: As you prepare for the changes ahead, you’ve had a change in your life and now there has been a change in the magazine; how are you going to take the DNA of the magazine and expand on it and grow it as the new editor-in-chief?

Emma Rosenblum: We just closed our third issue of the redesign, so last summer was our first fully redesigned issue. And then we had the fall issue and this one is our holiday issue. So, I feel like we’re still figuring things out, but we’ve got a really good base for the design and the editorial viewpoint. And so it’s just a matter of tweaking and honing and figuring out what we like and don’t like.

But as of right now we spent a lot of time thinking about what was going to go into the redesign and why; what it was going to look like and what kind of articles we were going to include, so I’m pretty comfortable with the DNA as it is. And just like any magazine, we’ll continue to experiment and try to make it as good as we can. I’m the kind of person, which I think most editor-in-chiefs are; you’re never fully satisfied, you always want to make it better and better. So, that’s the goal going forward, to just keep going and making it even more surprising and beautiful and interesting.

Samir Husni: You’ve used the word beautiful a few times; do you think luxury, upscale magazines such as Bloomberg Pursuits are the future of print?

Emma Rosenblum: Personally, that’s what I gravitate towards, but you can never say that’s the future; nobody really knows. For me what this magazine represents is a prize that you can keep on your table; the design is so thoughtful and the colors are so rich and the photography striking.

I do think that with the Internet and online journalism there’s an immediacy to news nowadays that isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to have something that’s kind of a keepsake that you want to really look at. So, I do think that print, as we’ve seen in the industry, is continuing to grow. We’re all just trying to make it the most gorgeous process that we can to differentiate from everything else that’s out there.

And in luxury, of course, that’s especially important because we’re showcasing these gorgeous travel destinations and fashion and food, things that you really want to see in a very luscious way. So, yes, I do think we’re heading toward that, but I also think we’re there already. And we’re just going to continue to try and figure out how readers respond to that and if they love it just like we do.

Samir Husni: And what has been the early reaction to the new redesign and changes with the magazine?

Emma Rosenblum: It’s interesting, I keep saying to people: tell me if you don’t like it because nobody tells me that. Everybody tells me that it’s amazing and I always say, great, thank you. We have been getting really good reaction from our peers, which is super-important to us. Though from our readers we don’t get instantaneous feedback, so there isn’t quite a way to gauge that, but I’m hoping.

Of course, the other most important party is the reaction from advertisers, which has been positive as well, so far, so good up to this point. We’ve gotten a very good internal reaction too, so I think it’s going pretty well. And we’re getting more notice; we’ve been picked up by a lot of websites and design sites as something that’s new and cool and should be checked out. So, I always take that to be a positive.

Samir Husni: If you struck Bloomberg Pursuits with a magic wand that could instantly transform the magazine into a living breathing human being, who would appear? And I’m not referring to the audience; I’m talking about the ink on paper magazine itself. What type of person would appear before our eyes if that were possible?

Emma Rosenblum: Our readers are already really successful and really savvy and curious about the world. I would like to think the magazine is very reflective of what our readers really want to know and the terminal subscriber is our reader. So, the person who would emerge would be that exact type of person, but who has slightly more time to do their research about everything that is the best of the best.

That’s who I think would appear, somebody who really knows what’s going on, who’s very stylish, well-traveled, loves restaurants; just everything that our magazine is about. But then also has the time to be doing all this research, which I don’t think our readers do have all of that time and that’s the service that we provide. They’re super-busy and on their computers all day, so we feel like we can bring them this service of being the arbiter of taste basically and say, you have this success now and in your leisure time, we know best and here’s that information.

Samir Husni: You mention researching and collecting in that description, so you’re as much as a curator as a creator; how are you juggling the curation with the creation?

Emma Rosenblum: Well, it just sort of goes hand-in-hand like with any magazine. I feel like that’s what being a magazine editor has always been. I don’t think that’s something new. I believe the word curator is slightly overused. Nowadays everyone is curating something. But that’s what we’ve always done.

When I started my career I was at New York Magazine and basically our jobs there were to find the coolest, most interesting aspects of the city; the stories within the city that would resonate with readers. And that to me is also curation. So I learned to do that very early on, to have an eye out for interesting things, things that would appeal to readers.

And then creating it is the second part of that. Once you have the idea and then the story itself, then you get to figure out how it should be presented to readers and decide the most interesting way to package it. The two have just always gone hand-in-hand to me; it’s not a new thing. And I think that’s what we do.

Samir Husni: What’s the new responsibility in your job today as editor-in-chief, something you do now that’s different from before the digital age, before 2007 and 2008?

Emma Rosenblum: One of the best things about Bloomberg, if not the best thing, is that we have all of the different aspects of the company that we can use in conjunction with the magazine. We have our digital site, the TV station and our radio platform; so we use all of these, and especially our website very specifically for content and then we have segments on TV and radio as well.

But we have to think about when we’re choosing stories how are we going to translate this or that piece for each platform. And you don’t want to do something that can only live in one medium, because first of all it’s not cost-effective. You want something that you can spread throughout all the platforms.

And secondly, the best way to get your story out there is to use all of these different outlets that we have. It’s just a new way of thinking, but honestly, I came of age during the digital age. I don’t feel like it’s something that’s not second nature to me whenever I think about a story. This has been since I was a young editor and was thinking about how to put something online.

I do think as the new generation of editors comes up, it’s not going to be so one-sided. For example, no one will be thinking in just print and have to develop the new skill of utilizing digital too. It will just be ingrained. You know when you’re assigning a story and wonder about sending a video crew as well as a photographer when we send a writer in order to get digital video so that we can put it up online.

For example, with our cover story last issue, which was Eric Ripert, we sent a writer and we did the traditional kind of writer/photo shoot setup that you’d do for a magazine, but then we went back the next day with a Bloomberg digital video crew and we filmed him cooking and giving a sort of life story while he was cooking, which was very complementary to what our writer was writing about for our print version.

Things like that are different, where you have to ask, what’s the best way to get this story out to the greatest number of people and also enrich the story? You don’t want to just put up a piece of junk online because it’s an extra; you really want to find something that will enhance what you already have. And I think that we’re doing that and to me that’s not so new.

Pursuits_Cover_SUMMER15 Samir Husni: What has been the major stumbling block in your journey with Bloomberg Pursuits and how did you overcome it?

Emma Rosenblum: That’s a good question. I think starting a magazine anew is always a big challenge and it was a big challenge for us, to try and think about and really pinpoint what it is our readers wanted and who our reader actually was and what didn’t exist out there already for them? And that was really hard because, as you know, the market is pretty saturated with luxury publications and we didn’t want to just be a copy of other people. And so it wasn’t the easiest to figure out what the actual mission of the magazine was because basically we were starting over with a blank slate. So, that took us a long time. We had a bunch of different ideas about it and we finally came up with this notion that we really wanted to be the person that’s telling the reader who doesn’t have enough time to know, what to do.

And also this idea of luxury is kind of a challenge too because what exactly does luxury mean? What do advertisers think of it as? And so those questions were a bit difficult to figure out. For us, what we really wanted to do was hopefully what we are doing and what we’ll continue to do as we really think about luxury as being disconnected from just blanket price point. I never wanted to just feature expensive things in boring settings. We really wanted to define what luxury meant to us and we decided that to us it meant the best, not necessarily just the most expensive.

And so trying to figure out what that was and really lock it down has been a challenge, I will say, but I do think that we’re now hitting our stride with our third issue. We’ve sort of gotten there. But you always have hits and misses when you’re doing a redesign. We came up with tons of stuff that we had to end up killing because it just didn’t work or look good.

Samir Husni: Is the founder of the company, Mike Bloomberg, a reader of the magazine?

Emma Rosenblum: I hope so. (Laughs) He’s very aware of everything that’s going on in the company. We create the magazine with him in mind too because he is one of our readers and he exemplifies this idea of the curious, successful person. And that’s what we want to create the content around.

Samir Husni: I’ve heard it said that creating a magazine is a lot of work and some have said it compares to having a baby – would you say that’s a fair statement?

Emma Rosenblum: Creating a magazine is a lot of work and the “having a baby” metaphor is kind of apt in that it’s all you and you’re solely responsible for it. There are jobs that I’ve had where I was one of the pack and turning out someone else’s vision. And you can get very good at that and put your own mark on it where you can, but ultimately it’s somebody else’s product that they’ve created.

So, this has been a super-new experience for me. To think and ask myself: what do I want; what kind of content do I think is right for the magazine? And a lot of times it’s hard to figure out because you do become very good at following someone else’s vision. For example, at Businessweek when I was there looking through stories the Businessweek lens or I worked at Glamour for two years and I became very good at thinking about how a story would resonate with young women. And it was the same at New York Magazine when I’d look at a story and try and see how it was relevant to New York.

To get out of that and actually do it myself and create a vision where someone else was working for me and following my lead has been, and maybe this goes back to the question about my biggest challenge or stumbling block, but it’s been really hard, but satisfying too. There’s a creative part of yourself that you have to tap into that you didn’t necessarily use before, you could get really good at channeling another editor.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get up in the morning and start your day?

Emma Rosenblum: Right now I’m out of bed a lot, especially in the middle of the night. (Laughs) But I love my job. I’ve never really had a day where I’ve been at work and haven’t thought how lucky I am to be able to do what I love. I have many friends who are not stimulated at all by their careers, but I learn something new every day. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a super-challenging day or just an average day at the office, it’s a pleasure to get up and create something. And it’s just fun. When I get out of bed, I’m happy that I get to go to my job; I’m not necessarily jumping for joy at having to roll out at 7:00 a.m. (Laughs)

But people who work in magazines are so lucky to get to do what we do. It’s not drudgery. It’s cool and fun; it still has that glamourous “something” that makes people want to get into it even though you might see kids graduating from college and you think good luck. (Laughs again) Why are you doing this? But of course they are because when you’re having a day and you’re working with really creative people, both editorially and digitally, it’s something that most people don’t get to do. So for me it’s a real joy. I love it.

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

Emma Rosenblum: Besides the crying and daycare? (Laughs) In my new role, it’s this thing I have about always wanting everything to be perfect and getting better and better. And how do I do that? So, it’s a constant thought in the back of your mind of, OK – this issue is closed, now what’s next? How do we improve upon that one? And that’s basically what I think about all of the time. And I just want to keep going and never get stagnated or feel bored with it or feel like I’ve done this and now I can go on autopilot. I never want to do that.

Pursuits_Cover_HOL15Samir Husni: Thank you.

As a bonus to the Mr. Magazine™ readers, click here to read the cover story of the holiday issue of Bloomberg Pursuits.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: