Australian Good Taste Magazine invited readers to become part of a 'reader forum' or editorial team for the June 2011 issue - I am a subscriber (surprised, aren't you..... ? Not!) but didn't know about the opportunity until almost the last moment through my lovely friend Beth (Hi Beth!). So I sent off an email to the magazine saying I might be a bit late, but I'd love to see 'the other side' of a magazine and what goes into putting a food magazine together.
The idea of planning ahead isn't completely foreign to me - when Kidspot asked me back in July to do Christmas on the Cheap for them my head wasn't exactly in Summer and Christmas. At all. And now Christmas is almost here, I've been doing it for months now so I'm quite ready to move onto winter!
So, I arrive a little late (thank you Taxi, bus and Sydney traffic) but just in time for proceedings to take place. I introduce myself to my team 'The Gadget Team' and I eat too many lollies. Get those lollies away from me... after I have just one more.. and maybe another... ok, one more.
Then Brodee Myers-Cooke, Australian Good Taste's editor addresses us all and shares her excitement for this little project. It is the first time any major magazine has handed the issue over to the readers - and you can tell it's a big deal - there are photographers (including one from a Sydney Sunday newspaper, keep your eyes peeled people!) and even a video man following us around. We even have make up done and we have head shots taken and these will be in the issue - we are all feeling the excitement.
The research team then presented a slide show on the reader demographic (which I found very interesting as I was wondering if it was similar to frills demographic) - How old, living status, how long they keep their magazines, how much they use the magazine and where they buy it. I love this kind of information (I'm such a nerd.. :P)
Then it's to work - there are seven teams lead by Australian Good Taste Staffers - The Art of Cooking (techniques etc), Cakes and Baking, Seasonal (I wanted to defect to this team!), Entertaining, Everyday Gourmet (quick-type weekday meals), Entertaining and of course as mentioned, my team - Kitchen Gadgets lead by the lovely Lara.
We discussed what gadgets would appeal to readers during winter. I had made notes the night before (because my brain never stops - ahem) and I did look a bit like a teacher's pet but I can't tell you the thrill of putting a concept together like that. I read so many magazines and do so much cooking (and writing about food) that it just felt very natural - to be conceptualising, brainstorming and fleshing it all out.
After all that work, we broke for lunch where I met a lovely reader (hello Ingrid if you're reading!) and then it was time to draw a winner for a kitchenaid (now wouldn't that be greedy if I won, I didn't!) but I did win a colander/chopping board thingamajig and bought home a bunch of goodies in a showbag!
And then finally time to put all our ideas into a concise direction, shortlist the items that would work together and then, come up with some ideas for a cover, taste some cover contenders and then it was... home time! The day went super-fast but I'm sure brought so much benefit to the Australian Good Taste readers and team.
Hopefully I'll get to work on more of the issue - there will be opportunities for the reader team to do so. Can't wait!
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