September 16, 2010
/ by Jenny Wittman
New York City may have a strong pulse in the magazine world, but the entertainment and nightlife beating in the heart of Las Vegas is what excites VEGAS magazine’s new editor in chief, Abby Tegnelia.
“For me, the job meant not only a thrilling position at a magazine I love, but also a return to my favorite city, Las Vegas,” the former New York magazine reporter said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Tegnelia joined the staff of the popular Sin City magazine in August and as the editor in chief, she maps out the editorial calendar for the year, assigns and edits stories and layouts, and works with the individual fashion, beauty and design teams. She admits there are challenges, but those obstacles make things interesting.
“My passion is magazines, so even the small things that might irk others are special to me,” she said. “I like working at a local lifestyle magazine because I get to be so involved with the people of my town.”
Having spent most of her journalism career at weekly magazines like New York, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly, Tegnelia is ready for anything, she said.
VEGAS is published eight times a year and covers everything about Las Vegas including entertainment, fashion, nightlife and glamour. Tegnelia is still getting to know the magazine itself and all of its sections, along with the staffers.
“We have such a great team, that’s the fun part.”
An important part of Tegnelia’s work involves social media. She monitors Twitter every morning for breaking news and scans what people are talking about. But most importantly, she can connect to others on a more personal level by getting to know other journalists’ personalities.
“I don’t follow people who just send out press releases. The ones who use social media well reveal when they’re excited about a story they’re chasing, and then I get excited too,” she said. “I can see their personality through their messages and get a glimpse at how they tick.”
Tegnelia, of course, uses the @vegasmagazine Twitter handle to promote the magazine and upcoming events to its followers.
“I love pumping up all the cool people I get to work with, and all the amazing projects we have going on at the magazine,” she said. But she also keeps the communication lines open and wants “people to know they can approach me anytime with their opinions and ideas.”
She also notes that it’s exciting for fashion and entertainment fans to get the breaking news as it happens, but in the print issue readers will find “more meaty interviews and stories” and those stories are still just as important.
“Long investigative pieces that take months to execute are the projects that wow me and as more publications create a unique voice, it opens the door for VEGAS to establish its own,” she explained.
Much like she picks up on journalists’ character traits through Twitter, she is interested in the underlying voice and tone in print pubs. “I look at the papers and weeklies more for their personality now; I want to hear how they analyze what’s going on around us, more than for actual breaking news,” she said.
Tegnelia has always wanted to be a journalist and was inspired by current Hollywood Life.com editor Bonnie Fuller’s editing approach and career as the editor of numerous beauty and lifestyle magazines including now-defunct YM, Flare, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and US Weekly.
Tegnelia’s creativity is rooted in her passion for magazines. “I find inspiration anywhere. I’m always tearing out pages in magazines like Vanity Fair and ELLE,” she said.
As she moves forward at VEGAS, she keeps a strong connection to life outside of the mountains and desert. “I love brainstorming with reporters who are experts in their field and picking the brains of other editors,” she explains.
But she also quickly remembers that her city and coverage never stops.
“Vegas is a town that grows and changes very rapidly, so it keeps me on my toes.”
Tegnelia is looking for ideas for new products, services, venues coming to Vegas and trend ideas. “Nothing’s too small; we have a bunch of small pieces and items that always need filling,” she said.
Make sure what you pitch is new and recent. “Don’t pitch me something that came out a few years ago,” she said.
A pet peeve of hers is when too many publicists email and call for the same event or story. If she is not interested, one is enough she emphasized.
Tegnelia strongly suggests that publicists know the magazine and its elements before pitching.
“Get to know the editor and the sections of the magazine the same way I’m learning about you and your clients. It’s not enough for me to know the names of the people you represent; I need to know if they are appropriate for a style profile or advice Q&A,” she said.
“In that respect, pick up the mag and flip through it. I welcome all ideas for those sections I need to fill.”
Tegnelia prefers to be pitched materials via email. Follow up emails are always welcome.
Tegnelia can be found on Twitter at @AbbyTegnelia
VEGAS magazine can be found on Twitter at @vegasmagazine
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