Snipper of the Week: Joanna Randell
Welcome to Snipper of the Week. Every week, we profile a Snip.it user with particularly interesting collections through a Q&A on what’s currently happening in their areas of interest. This week, we talk to advertising content manager Joanna Randell about what to read this summer, the future of magazines and 50 Shades of Grey.
Name: Joanna Randell
Occupation: Content Manager at an advertising agency, writing and editing for brands.
City: New York
Other Cred: Um…I can touch my nose with my tongue?
Snipping Since: May, 2012
Daily Reads: New York Magazine (mainly Daily Intel), The Hairpin, The Awl, Flavorwire, Animal New York, The Atlantic, Slate, Time, Mashable, paidContent, Neiman Journalism Lab, Mental Floss
Favorite Snip.it collections: Nerd Drama, Sift’s Information in Sound, Words & Poetry & Lit.
Your description for your “Words Matter” collection says “If it’s done well, it matters.” Which pieces of writing from the last few years stand out to you as living up to this statement?
I tend to read books more than longer pieces of journalism, of which recently I’ve really liked the Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. It’s incredibly well written—and funny! I also really like Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, which is the incredibly sad, but heartfelt story about his marriage, which ended much too soon. In terms of collections of stories, I think The Hairpin does a fantastic job at bringing together longer pieces of writing reflecting female experiences. They often cover things you only hear about over brunch.
Which book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?
Ann Patchet’s State Of Wonder — it’s finally in paper back. I loved Bel Canto, but wasn’t a big fan of Run so I want to see if it lives up to the hype. I think Michael Chabon (of Kavalier and Clay) has a new book in the fall… And there are some books on my “to read” list such as Invisible Man and Liar’s Poker that I really need to address.
You snipped an article from paidContent that called the newsstand magazine business “horrible” and “ugly.” What do you think the future holds for print magazines?
I think there will always be an industry around reading content, it’s just that the distribution model of that content is evolving. As the article pointed out, the economics of print can no longer sustain a subscription-based model when you cut out the huge advertising chunk. I don’t think anyone can say for sure how magazines will transform. But it’s a little depressing to see great journalism being sold for $10-$20 for a year’s subscription.
What do you think about the whole 50 Shades of Grey brouhaha?
I haven’t read it, but I have friends who love it. I think anything that gets people reading and talking about books is usually a good thing. And if it raises questions that’s even better. If that conversation wasn’t happening, then I would be more concerned. To each their own.
You snipped about The Secret and the Da Vinci Code being actually “worse” than 50 Shades of Grey. Where do they fall to criticism, in your mind?
Well, have you ever tried to re-read the Da Vinci Code? I think the mark of a great book is that it improves with each read. Dan Brown’s do not hold up to that test. It’s all driven by plot and not by characters, which is fine as an airport read, but it’s definitely not literature. As for The Secret, the whole self-help genre bugs me, mostly because it’s aimed at women and picks up on their sensitivities. Having said that, I think The Rules has more to answer for than The Secret. At least the later promotes personal achievement
I love your collection title “There Will be Tears Before Bedtime.” Can you talk a little about the sentiment behind the name?
When I was a kid and doing stupid stuff with my brother (like sliding down the stairs on trays or constantly punching each other in the arm to see who could last the longest) my mum would always warn us “there will be tears before bedtime,” meaning someone is probably going to get hurt. I thought it was an apt phrase for a lot of what is being seen in the tech/startup arena.
What do you think about Facebook’s rocky IPO start?
I don’t think you can judge the IPO after such a short time. If it popped and hit $70 per share, people would have said it was a bubble. A steady, lower valuation is better than a pop in my view. As for the company as a whole, other companies may try to usurp it, but its had such a huge start that it will be tough to compete. I think what we’ll begin to see (and already are) is more a fragmentation of social media, platforms that appeal to certain groups of people or around activities, such as Miso for TV, but your Facebook account is likely to be the passport to those sites.
And of course we have to talk about the squirrels. Of course, the squirrels!
THE SQUIRRELS! I know! I think this is one of my favorite Intel articles ever. It just sums up the exact conversation you have in your own head. Dan Amira and Noreen Malone at NYMag do a great job at taking your internal reactions to stories and interpreting them elegantly.
You can subscribe to Joanna’s collections here.