Lifestyle

Video: Imaging Self: A Decade of Page 2

Sunday, March 20, 2016    

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The Caribbean Institute of Media & Communication (CARIMAC) Students’ Society (CSS) on Thursday, March 17, hosted the Jamaica Observer for a guest lecture that resulted in the unprecedented gathering of executives in media management, editorial, advertising, and communications.

Over the course of a nearly two-hour presentation, Danville Walker, managing director of the Jamaica Observer; Novia McDonald Whyte, senior associate editor - Lifestyle and Social Content; and Natalie Chin, head of advertising, marketing and communications, offered deep insights into the development of lifestyle journalism and its importance to the business model of the newspaper. Their presentations were further strengthened by observations from Carlo Redwood, FLOW’s head of marketing and products; Belinda Williams, NCB group corporate communications manager; and Alison Moss-Solomon, brand public relations manager at J Wray & Nephew, resulting in students developing a fuller understanding of the scope and impact of lifestyle journalism.

The conversation, deftly handled by moderator Odette Dixon Neath, director of public relations, CGR Communications, traced the impact of lifestyle; from Reuters, the global media company who in 2006, having built its reputation on news and stock information, launched a wire service exclusively dedicated to lifestyle journalism to legendary editor Ben Bradlee, the man who steered the Washington Post, through the Watergate scandal. No less, whose newspaper the venerable Washington Post , made deliberate and gushing reference to Bradlee’s transformative role in defining lifestyle journalism. The paper wrote: “He passed on his sensibilities to Style, the groundbreaking “soft” feature section he invented and launched at The Washington Post in 1969.

In truth, the lifestyle desk in any news organisation, be it the Washington Post or The Jamaica Observer, is distinguished by a focus on consumption, self-expression and the signification of identity.


“I feel strongly,” explained Jamaica Observer Lifestyle Editor NMW, “that 50 years from now, when researchers seek to understand Jamaica, and by extension, the Caribbean, they will look at the front page of the Observer

and they will look at Page 2, and they will look at the Style Observer, Thursday Life and Under the Dryer. That way they will be able to establish a fully rounded narrative of who we are, what we do, and what we aspire to become.

“Lifestyle covers a range of interests, among them food, style, design and travel. Good lifestyle is well written, properly researched, and always entertaining. Great photos (ones that I like!) and amusing captions. It is also indexed by cultural iconography, so photos of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones in convo with Dr David Boxer and Ebony G Patterson in Kingston, Jamaica, is lifestyle gold.

“Lifestyle must be on point. News must be dispatched quickly and the team ready to repeat the process within 24 hours — today’s news is used to wrap tomorrow’s fish and chips. Lifestyle must strive to impact the bottom line; as it currently does, and ensure that it is seen as more than fluff!”

The impact of lifestyle on our business really translates to huge revenues. It represents over 30% of the revenue stream for advertising and over 70% for our events on the overall bottom line … Keep in mind lifestyle as a product/brand affects attitudes, opinions and interests, so when you control this platform in the marketplace, you have huge influence on both consumer and advertiser. Over the years it has become a major focus of our business model, mainly because of the impact it has on the sales of the product print/online and direct advertising revenues earned — Natalie Chin, head of advertising, marketing and communications.

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