Brooke Erin DuffyRemake, Remodel: Women’s Magazines in the Digital Age

University of Illinois Press, 2013

by Jeff Pooley on September 18, 2014

Brooke Erin Duffy

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Media & Communications] Brooke Erin Duffy’s Remake, Remodel: Women’s Magazines in the Digital Age (University of Illinois Press, 2013) traces the upheaval in the women’s magazine industry in an era of media convergence and audience media-making. Duffy, assistant professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, is especially interested in the experience of writers, editors, and others who produce women’s magazines: How are they coping with new competition, more intense work routines, and the imperative to produce (and engage) across a range of non-print media platforms? Questions of identity thread through the book: What does it mean to be a magazine writer in the iPad era? What are the stakes for gender identity as this female–focused genre adapts to digital workflows? To get at these questions, Duffy conducted in-depth interviews with dozens of editors, publishers, interns, and business-side workers, most of them at the big three magazine publishers, Hearst, Condé Nast, and Time, Inc. Remake, Remodel traces the history of women’s magazines, as well the history of scholarship on these magazines, but the bulk of the book explores different facets of workers’ coming-to-terms with the digital tsunami, including changes to the gendered makeup of the workforce, shifts in the industry’s attitude toward its audience, the complicated rivalry, dismissal, and embrace of fashion bloggers, and the tension between medium-specific traditions and the push to spread the magazine—now reimagined as a brand—across a range of platforms.

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