December 10, 2009
/ by Anna Marevska
With so many journalists out of work, Kara Corridan feels not only fortunate to be on a publication’s masthead, but to be doing something close to her heart: help today’s parents raise happy, healthy children.
Corridan recently joined the staff of Parentsmagazine as the health editor and feels the position gives her an opportunity to be an advocate for children.
“I am thrilled to have a chance to make a difference,” Corridan said. “Parents is a fantastic magazine, an industry leader, and everything in it is something I can relate to. It’s a treat, really.”
Corridan oversees all women’s health and pediatric health stories for the publication. One of her main objectives is to stay ahead of the news and figure out how research applies to parents.
“Just because a study came out doesn’t necessarily mean that our readers can act upon or even relate to it,” she said.
She also plans to start contributing to Parents’ GoodyBlog soon, where she can tap into online writing along with her colleagues. She likes how focused her new position is, as it is “nice to be able to hone in one topic.”
Interpreting what’s out there and figuring out how it makes sense to readers is certainly not new to Corridan. She was previously the executive editor for the recently folded Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines. While there, she was involved in every story and top edited every page of the books. But it was her time atChild magazine, where she spent four-and-a-half years writing about children’s health that prepared her the most for her current responsibilities.
“Every job has kind of led me to the next one,” she said. “My time at Child prepared me very well for this position. My experience as an executive editor means I really have a good understanding of what makes a story right for this particular magazine and this particular reader; knowing what goes into the magazine and putting together a lineup.”
For the first time in her journalism career, Corridan finds herself working for a publication that is a perfect fit for her personal life. She is a mother of two and relates entirely to the readers and writers of Parents.
“We have tons of parents on staff and everybody is kind of living the life of parenting,” she said. “A great number of editors here have children, young children.”
She has even incorporated some of the advice the publication gives to her own life – like finding indestructible glass plates to serve her children, or finding out that organic milk is not necessary from a hormonal stand point.
Corridan said it’s the first time in her career that she’s working for a magazine when she’s also part of its audience. “When I started in magazines I was at Redbook, which is focused on married women and moms and I was right out of college. I was at YM and Seventeen and obviously I wasn’t a teenager. When I was at Child, I didn’t have children and when I was at Modern Bride I’d already been married.”
Having experienced the cruelty of the fast-shrinking magazine industry firsthand, Corridan is happy to have a job.
“It’s hard to predict where things are going,” she said. “I am sort of agreeing with the notion that when all is said and done, a lot of very strong brands would still be going strong. I certainly think Parents is one of them.”
Corridan wants to receive information on women’s and pediatric health. She strongly advises PR professionals to send all pitches by e-mail, as she checks it religiously.
“Make sure the pitch is targeted to the right editor,” she explained. “I receive lot and lots of things that are completely wrong for our readers and completely wrong for what I cover. So look at the masthead and think of the audience. It’s so obvious but I don’t see it done all the time.”
When sending a research-based study, Corridan feels it is helpful to send a link and contact information for the researchers. If it is a pitch about an expert or a book, she wants an author’s bio “that hits the high notes.” If it’s a product, she wants to know if it’s the first of its kind, or better than anything else on the market—and she wants to hear that from sources other than the manufacturer or publicists. If she decides the book or product has potential for the magazine, she will request it, so don’t send it automatically.
“Most importantly though, make sure there are bullet points explaining why this is newsworthy right now,” she said.
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