Let me just start off by saying how much I love the Creative Loafing Publication, so when I’d heard from Editor- in- Chief David Warner regarding my inquiry about shadowing a reporter for a day for a school project, you can imagine just how elated I was.
Walking into the Tampa office of Creative Loafing was like being home. It’s a beautiful loft space with old brick walls, red curtains in the entry way, and a gorgeous view of the downstairs courtyard since they sit on top of the Spaghetti Warehouse.
Mr. Warner gave me a tour of the office which allowed me to meet the staff. I noticed that everyone’s desk looked like little pieces of inspirational art work. Some had old typewriters, cigar boxes filled with novelties, books lining the cubical, photos, thank you cards, bumper sticker slogans, ect. These items that were so perfectly out of place give you a glimpse at the person you’re talking to.
After making our rounds, it’s time that we get to work and I learn the ins and outs of what it takes to put out a successful publication.
What makes this paper tick? Well, of course you have to have your current events (News) and then you also want to think about long range issues (special events stories), you want to have 2-3 personal take columnists, then you cover a range (Music, Food & Drink, Movies & TV, and Sex & Love).
Editorial Roadmap: This is what you use to map out each issue. It tells where things will be placed, how much space you will be using, thoughts and ideas for articles that will be written and who will be working on them. As you go along you can update and fill this in with more details.
Google Doc: Best free tool you could ever have. This allows you to create and share work online. Invite people to your document and share and make changes together in real time.
Editor’s Meeting (Back to the roadmap): This round table discussion (which is not a round table at all, more of a rectangle) allows everyone to not only state where they are in the mist of work, but bounce ideas off of one another. It’s amazing watching everyone interact with each other, forwarding interesting press release e-mails to one another, figuring out the layout for the next special edition, how many pages are needed and how feature photos and stories will be placed.
Features: You want something that’s going to POP and catch the reader’s attention causing them to lose control, set their minds on autopilot and flip to the article of interest. You can’t forget to have quotes that will bring some form of emotional reaction to the reader such as:
“It turns out The Rock isn’t just a nickname, it’s also a form of acting”- Joe Bardi review on the movie The Snitch
I heard this and almost died inside because I freaking love The Rock, but he is no Denzel Washington in the action department.
I also had the pleasure of meeting with Assistant Editor Arielle Stevenson. If you are interested in:
The Last Bite-which is a causal review on restaurants that are the hidden jewels of the Bay Area
Anything that pops out interesting in the community, she is the woman to know.
Stevenson’s just returned from a rally in Washington, DC with students from Eckerd College. She was in the process of proof reading her article among the many other things she was doing. According to Stevenson the demonstration on Washington had to do with climate change, protesters were against the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama temporarily blocked it during his re-election campaign last year. This pipeline is a major investment and the funds could be better spent on green energy project. Furthermore there would be a significant increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
“I’m really interested in what would make a person step outside of their comfort zone and get on the bus with a bunch of strangers.”-Arielle Stevenson
Music Beat with Leilani Polk:
Polk covers all the music at Creative Loafing:
Music Week Calendar
Events-Music Festivals, Concerts, Pre-views, Album Reviews, and Trends
Most of Polk’s work can be done by phone interviews vs. face to face.
“With smaller and local bands you can see the cause and effect happening because the moment you write about them people become in the know.”-Leilani Polk
Lily Reisman-Sales, Marketing Support Team, and PT Copy Editor:
Reisman is the person you want to know when it comes to amazing and savvy marketing. Along with working on:
Daily New Letters
Bites-This gives you information about things going on in the area food wise.
CL Deals- Think Groupon but 1,000 times better
Flash Reports (Page Count)-This will give you an idea money wise of how many pages you will be able to print from issue to issue.
“Marketing is all about branding and strengthening it. You want to get the reader involved”-Lily Reisman
Part of marketing is coming up with strategies that will get the readers involved. For this we have CL Deals, contest, catchy slogans and in house promotion: such as Lunch and Learn sessions we host here at CL.
All in all I had an amazing day at the Tampa Bay office of Creative Loafing. I have never been in such a space where I’ve felt more inspired and uplifted. Not only by the people who took time out of their day to bless me with their experience and knowledge, but the environment itself just felt warm and welcoming. In a perfect world CL is the place I would call home.