Magazines Rely on Advertisers to Operate, but That’s Swiftly Changing.

A magazine can have millions of subscribers and still be in danger of folding. Success in the publishing world is not measured by readership: it’s all about the money.

Ad sales make up a significant portion of revenue for magazines to operate. The book, Magazine from Cover to Cover, states  $20 billion dollars was spent in 2010 by advertisers for coverage in magazines. A sum of cash that large is a drop in the bucket for huge corporate retailers like Proctor and Gamble Co. or Johnson and Johnson, but is the bread and butter for magazines remain standing.


With rising popularity of online magazines the advertising game magazines and publishers play is changing. Traditional forms of ad purchasing are no longer relevant as magazines attempt to keep up with reader’s changing mediums and tastes. Because online ads are far less effective than print, a significant gap exists for rates. An ad costing over 100k in print may only sell for a few thousand for a web based magazine. It’s a financial decision advertisers must contemplate.


[Consumer reports forgoes advertising to remain an objective source for readers]

Some online magazines (and occasionally print) decide to forgo advertising in order to keep intact their editorial integrity. Although Rookie is independently owned and established for years, it runs on almost no advertisers.

A small and obscurely placed button for advertising is at the bottom of Rookie’s website page. When clicked upon, the link forwards to a simple page advising ad inquiries be sent to the Rookie email. No rates, examples, or reviews are provided. This lack of depth in the advertising information illustrates Rookie’s disinterest in sponsors.

Since it’s a magazine run by and for teenage girls, Rookie values editorial integrity to instill confidence in readers as being a reliable source to look to.


Blog, to Online Magazine, to Book: Rookie’s Smart Evolution.


In the late ’80s and into the mid ’90s, Sassy was the ultimate magazine for alternative teens. It covered hard to discuss topics with moxy, and was the first teen magazine of its kind to talk to readers at eye level rather than downward.

Sassy folded in 1996, leaving a void for teenagers interested in deeper topics. Nylon resembled Sassy, but the target age sat too high to really capture the younger market segment.

rookie14In 2011 world-phenom teenage blogger Tavi Gevinson set out to make her blog something more: a magazine. At first a Sassy 2.0 was in the works when Gevinson discussed with Sassy’s founding editor, Jane Pratt, to host her site by Say Media. Eventually Gevinson decided to take the magazine in her own, separate direction.

Five years later and Rookie is still independently owned and operated under Gevinson who exists as the editor in chief. From blog to online magazine, Rookie has also expanded into print. In 2012, just a year after Rookie’s online debut, a print compilation of the best content from the magazine was published in book form titled Rookie Yearbook.


The year books have been a success, with a new one coming out every year Rookie has been in service.

Publisher’s Weekly said about Rookie Yearbook 1:

“Many books for teenagers encourage independence and self-awareness, but few do so with this much honesty, humor, and style […]It’s a lucky teen who receives this book as a gift, and a smart one who picks it up for herself.”

With 7.5 Billion People in the World, We Need Each Other.

The power of publications rests not in what they can give to the readers, but what readers can give to each other.

Magazines get the conversation started, but readers keep it going. With such an array of magazines available, a niche exists for everyone. It could be something as narrow as Wood: a magazine for eager men and women to learn about special cutting techniques and rare materials. Or it could be as broad as Prevention, a magazine that covers health and wellness educating millions. These magazines foster a basis for communities of like minded individuals to gather and share their passions.

With almost seven and a half billion people in the world: we need to find people like ourselves.

amazing4(creative and original content from a Rookie contributor)

Even online magazines develop communities: easier than ever to be apart of in this diverse web space. Rookie takes magazines’ impact on communities further by becoming the community itself. 

Rookie does have editors running the site, but community members submit a majority of the articles. Most magazines are very strict on their freelance policy, but Rookie opens its arms wide to welcome the very people supporting it. This has been a successful aspect of Rookie towards building a strong community. No one knows better what readers want than readers themselves.


An aspect of Rookie’s community that is not as effective is the commenting feature. Rookie allows for comments and discussion on each post, but browsing through it seems very few or no readers bother to comment. Rookie is missing out on a key community builder through this unsuccessful feature. Perhaps pushing questions or dialogue at the end of posts could stir up reader actions on Rookie’s site.

Rookie Encourages Rather Than Condones Teenagers.


With over 258.7 billion spent in 2015 by and on teens, this market segment is undoubtedly a profitable one.

Free time is perhaps at a lifetime high for teens. Most enjoy hanging with friends, shopping, playing sports, surfing the web, and of course reading magazines.

Magazines for teenagers are sparsely represented on stands, but big names have large and influential followings. Seventeen, TeenVogue, and Girl’s Life are some of the most popular that have circulations over 1 million.

2016 continues the wide adoption of online magazines attracting Internet obsessed teens. Rookie, established in 2011, is one of the most well-known online magazines for teens. It states in the about section the target audience is intended for teens, but other age groups are welcome, as well.


Rookie’s mission statement is broad: to be an independent online magazine that publishes writing, photography, and other forms of artwork. Upon further looking at the submissions tab and reading through the guidelines, it’s clear Rookie highlights deep and meaningful content. This month’s submissions are requested to be about the lives of black teenagers: specifically featuring thoughts on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter,  and Say Her Name. Although its target audience is teenagers, Rookie’s audience can be categorized as cultured, curious, and creative teenagers. They want meaningful content. Not mindless fluff.

Rookie says true to it’s word, too. Every feature is thoughtful and digs well below the surface level most teen magazines tend to merely scratch upon. Adhering closely to the mission statement is perhaps easier for Rookie to do than most magazines because it’s not dealing with big-box advertisers needing to protect their brand integrity.

Rookie gets down to the nitty gritty and doesn’t hold back: for anyone.


The Importance of Consistency Across Social Media Platforms.


Fast food companies, top tier fashion brands, and even gas stations: all require consistency across social media platforms to execute an effective social media presence.

Social media allows brands to talk and connect with followers in ways marketing campaigns could ever accomplish. Brands must make sure that while cultivating this relationship, credibility is maintained. A misinformed or ill timed post quickly turns off readers.

Consistency is an excellent way to maintain brand integrity. By having a solid social media plan across platforms, brands know what to post and followers know what to expect.

Online magazine Rookie is written for teenage girls by teenage girls, so their social media presence is crucial to continue the connection with readers outside the site. Rookie is present on nearly every social media outlet: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Having a presence on Tumblr is especially important for Rookie because Tumblr is more popular with 13-25 year olds than Facebook is.


What’s interesting about Rookie’s social media content is it’s all regurgitated to promote original posts on the site. Brands usually try to stir up social buzz and gain a following outside their readership with timely posts. Leo’s big Oscar win. National Pancake Day. Justin Bieber’s Birthday. These are all examples of content brands targeting teen girls take advantage of to connect with readers: however, Rookie does not.


Rookie posts a link and a quick caption across channels at the same time that guides readers to the newest post. Although providing consistent information to readers, it lacks personality and does not take advantage of the strengths social media offers for brands.

Rookie may not have the funds to hire a huge social media team like its print competitors Seventeen and TeenVogue, but establishing more creativity in their network could encourage growth in views and readers.

Black Beauty: Not Narrowly Defined.


Beyonce’s Formation video  garnered 29 million (and counting) views, becoming a viral anthem for African Americans everywhere in accepting their natural beauty. Lyrics like “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros,” a fiery comment on keeping her daughter’s hair natural, Beyonce inspires and instills confidence in black women everywhere.

Formation provides a platform for conversation on not only overcoming stereotypes of black beauty, but also within black beauty, as well.


A contributor for Rookie, Alyssa Etoile, recently wrote a post discussing the difficulties darker skin black girls face in comparison with lighter skinned girls of their own race. The author, a Nigerian-American, discusses how even within black beauty ideals, darker skin girls are seen as less desirable. She supports her personal adversity  by linking to popular hashtags started to instill pride in the black community, however,  these turned into spaces promoting beauty ideals of those with ‘whiter’ features. Girls with lighter skin, thinner noses, and softer hair get more likes and shares.


These unfair beauty ideals of black women aren’t new either. References in the article link to early covers of Ebony in the 60’s and 70’s that frequently use lighter skin black women, even when black power was at an all time high.


Alongside observations of the black beauty’s cultural divide, Etoile reverberates these sentiments with her own personal experience:  pertaining in particular to social media. In a virtual world compelled by validation, Etoile expresses the frustrations of s lack of diversity online and through social media. There is no better step towards improving this void than publishing awareness about it in Rookie  A complimentary visual illustrating how some ideals of black beauty receive more appreciation than others is a great accompaniment to the article, saying more about the need for change than any viral video can.

Rookie: The Cool Girl’s Online Mag.


The changing mediascape allows for innovative, new technologies in the publishing realm. Without needing to look or feel like a traditional magazine, digital magazines captivate and inspire readers to look outside life’s mundane moments and into exciting possibilities.

In 2011 blogger Tavi Gevinson launched Rookie Magazine with former Sassy editor Jane Pratt to become the online source for empowerment, inspiration, and acknowledgement for teen girls.


As defined in the text book, magazine’s content “may provide opinion and interpretation as well as advocacy.” Rookie is the adolescent’s advocate for curating strong women since it offers a deep and broad plethora of information for young readers. Rookie is unlike its print counterpart, Seventeen, because it candidly talks and allows for discussion on much deeper topics than fall’s top nail color. Guest contributors, many the same age as the target audience, talk about 21st century topics with grit. These topics range from tough content like sexuality and mental illness, to stereotypical “girly” topics like personal style and appearances with added depth. Accompanying strong written articles are inviting, colorful layouts with innovative editorials shot by no-names that inspire every girl that they, too can create something beautiful.


The text book further goes on to define magazines as “geared to a well-defined, specialized audience, and they are published regularly in with a consistent format.” Rookie releases content every few hours daily from a myriad of authors. Although the articles vary in content, Rookie establishes consistency with reoccurring article types. Categories like Dear Diary, Fiction, Beauty, Sex + Love, Tech, and You Asked for it cover topics pertinent to the reader while still offering structure to the magazine’s format.

Image Sources: 1 ,2,3

Transitions: Being Transgender in College.

Caitlyn Jenner. Laverne Cox. Chaz Bono. These are the names you see in the news making headlines and driving change for the transgender community in 2015. They are only but three voices of the 700,000 transgender individuals living in the United States, a stat recorded in the 2011 “Gay and Lesbian Atlas.” Although they only makes up .02 to .03 percent of the population, the transgender community’s stories are often overlooked or shunned by the public when deserved to be heard. Issues such as backward policy for transgender individuals, violence, and discrimination must be talked about openly if any hope for change and progression lie the future.

One such hope for the future is Kent State sophomore and forensic psychology major, Alice Freitas, who is a recently transitioned transwoman. She’s faced much adversity with a non supportive family whom kicked her out once she transitioned, but Alice hasn’t let that stop her being who she’s known she’s meant to be. Alice says, “I remember back, very very young, three or four years old and realizing something was different…that I wasn’t quite in the right body. I used to hilariously over compensate for it. It was kind of funny. Whenever a girl’s commercial would come on tv, I would look away because that’s what boys did. Just so no body would suspect me.”

Recently transitioning this past August 2015, Alice spent her first year at Kent State as a boy, with this being her first semester as a woman. When asked if it’s been difficult to be a transgender woman in college, Alice states, “a lot people view being trans a hardship in college, I don’t view it as such. […] but I’ve actually found that being trans has enhanced my college experience. The year before I was out, I didn’t do anything but go to my classes. Since coming out, I’ve gotten to drive for policy change, meet with the administration on this campus, and been able to get more involved than I ever thought.”

One part of that policy change that Alice hopes to improve is the way blackboard display names are set up. The name that a student has is unable to be changed in black board and many times a photo is required. When the photo and name don’t match up for a person who has transitioned, it can be an embarrassing and frustrating situation for transgender individuals. “I’m really not that much different than anyone else,” Alice states. “ I think a lot of people assume that being trans is its own separate thing and that we’re trying desperately be special or different. When as a matter of fact, that’s quite the opposite. Really, really we just want to be treated like everyone else.

Another trans issue that Alice lobbies hard for is for violence against transwomen to stop. With the ignorance of many still unaccepting and not understanding of the trans community, acts of violence will often be carried out against individuals as a way of petition. Transwomen, especially, are victimized, with the journal by the Transgender health Program, Counseling and Mental Health Care of Transgender Adults and Loved Ones, stating that “98% of acts of trans violence are committed to males transitioning to females.” Alice, herself has lived with this fear of being assaulted and relived one recent incident: “The fear is here even down in Ravenna at the Wal-mart, where I recently was when two very large men followed closely behind me around the store. I was trying to get away as much as I could, cutting corners, but they just kept following me. If I hadn’t been around a big group of people, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Despite discrimatory laws and facing daily hardships and danger, Alice is positive and hopeful about the future of the trans community and urges others to be vigilant on trans education.“These things happen not because of action, but inaction. People simply standing up [for transgender people] and saying this is wrong, can do a lot.”

project4The only reminder Alice carries around of her former self, her license, which will not be able to be changed until she is 21.

project3A poster is seen displayed in the KSU Student Center to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community, and to let others know there is help and support. project2The sign the one universal restroom that transgender students must use in the student center. It’s located on the third floor and since there there’s only one, many times there is a long line for people to wait for it.

project1A very emotional piece written by a trans student in the 2015 edition of Fusion, Kent’s LGBTQ magazine.

project5Alice at the student center on December 03, 2015. On transitioning she states,”I was incredibly nervous, but that nervousness drove me in the right direction. And that’s how I got to where I am today.”

Multimedia Techniques Video: Espresso Expression.

Shots used in order:

Jazzman’s overview: extreme wide

2. Counter workers: wide

3. Syrups: medium close up

4. cashier: cut in

5. card stamp: extreme close

6. pumping of syrup: birdseye

7. milk pitchers: close up

8. espresso machine: mid

9. espresso machine: medium close up

10. espresso machine: extreme close up

11. pouring milk: mid

12. frothing milk: close up

13. froth done: extreme close up

14. milk being poured: mid

15. whipped cream: mid (across counter)

16. drizzle: close up

17. drinking: cut in

“Slap Her”

Wide Shot

Detail Shot


Medium Shotvideo2“Slap Her” was a viral video made in January of 2015 by the Italian youtube channel It shows interviews with five young Italian boys. Done in an a-roll type format, the unseen interviewer asks the boys a series of questions. First, basic ones about their age, name, and what they want to be when they grow up. Then, the interviewer introduces a little girl named Martina to the young boys. The boys are first asked to caress her and say what they like about her. All the boys, some more bashful than the others, do as they’re told. However, the video takes a dark turn when the interviewer asks all the boys to “slap her.”

This video is so heartwarming and one of my all time favorites because not a single one of the boys reaches out to slap Martina. All of them look off to the interviewer with confusion, not understanding why anyone would want to hit a girl. The best quote from one of the boys is, “you are to never hit a girl, not even with a flower.”

This video was made as a stance against domestic violence and I feel was created and executed in a way that makes it powerful and effective.