When we arrived at the Hearst Building on W. 57th and 8th Ave., we were educated on the impressive features of this post-9/11 skyscraper. The environmentally friendly design, with its soaring diamond-faceted glass cladding above and its “Icefall” water-cascading sculpture in the lobby, was the work of Sir Norman Foster, who fashioned it right on top of a historical building created for William Randolph Hearst in 1928.
Elyse Moody, an associate editor at Elle, took us up to that magazine’s offices. In a glass-walled conference room, we were greeted by four more Elle staffers who preceded to guide the class through how a recent Living section article was made and produced.
Amanda FitzSimons, associate editor of Living, described how the hardest part of her job was narrowing down pieces to the few that can be placed in a magazine. Once they pick a story, the idea is presented to the associate art director, Jill Serra Wilde, to plan what and who will be featured and to plan where to shoot images, what photographer to use, etc. Elle mainly uses freelance photographers, although Hearst Publications does have an in-house studio to shoot all still life photos. Once the piece is photographed and written, the piece is sent to the editor-in-chief to get her approval and notes. The piece is then subjected to a routine in which the editor and associate editors make edits, and fact checkers research the piece for accuracy. Brendan Cummings, senior research editor, describes a Living piece being much easier to fact check compared to a celebrity or medical piece. Once the piece has been fact checked and approved by the editor-in-chief, it is then sent out for publishing.
— Jenna Gustafson