What is your role at American Media?
Noted editor Bonnie Fuller has launched Bonnie Fuller Media to meet the evolving needs of her longtime loyal following. Twice named Advertising Age's "Editor of the Year," she's been responsible for some of the magazine world's most well-recognized titles, including having served as Vice President and Chief Editorial Director of American Media (Star, Shape, Men's Fitness, Natural Health, and Fit Pregnancy) and Editor-in-Chief of US Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, YM, and FLARE magazines. Generally credited with inventing the “celebrity lens" school of journalism, she is a frequent contributor to a variety of media outlets including HuffingtonPost.com and Advertising Age and regularly participates on media industry panels.
Question: What is your role at American Media?
Fuller: Well I’ve been very, very involved with Star since . . . since I first came because the mission there was to transform it from a tabloid into a glossy magazine, which was totally necessary. Because after Us came out it really changed the landscape of celebrity reporting. And tabloids were vulnerable because as newspapers, young people aren’t . . . for a long time haven’t been reading newspapers, and that trend has been continuing, and tabloids are really newspapers. So Star needed . . . Star needed to get a younger audience. It needed to go more upscale in order to attract advertising which it couldn’t carry as a tabloid. And so American Media decided that they were gonna need this transition. It had never been done before and it’s never gonna be done again. There is no other tabloid that really is convertible. So that was a real challenge, and I was very interested in that challenge. And we came in and we did that, and it took . . . I would say it took a good four years to really get accepted. It’s only been in the last . . . this last year that I feel we’ve really passed the tipping point. We’ve gained this whole new younger audience. We’ve got the advertisers to accept the magazine, and advertising is up 26 percent. And so it’s really in the last year I’ve been able . . . even though I was . . . The other magazine I’ve been fairly involved with for a while is Shape, because it really needed to also transition. And a couple of years ago we brought in a new editor, a new creative director, and we redesigned and re . . . We re . . . kind of not just did a physical redesign, but kind of really reformatted the way we were presenting the editorial. So . . . and the text. And that’s actually worked out very, very well. They’re having their best year ever now too. So . . . But until this last year I really didn’t get a chance to oversee and focus on any other magazines. And now because Star has had that tipping point, I’ve been able to pull back from it and not be so involved in the day-to-day. And I’ve been much more involved with working on Country Weekly, which has also needed to be redesigned and kind of updated. It’s a fun magazine – natural health, men’s fitness, and even getting a little bit involved with the men’s muscle titles, which is very brand new to me, so . . . And then I work on a lot of also still doing the marketing and advertising, and working with the publisher of Star.
Fuller talks about turning "Star" Magazine around.
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