Last week I had the great privilege to bring you an interview with Nick Thacker. Today I am again blessed to provide for you my interview with Jane Friedman. They are both great people.
Jane Friedman is the web editor at Virginia Quarterly Review, where she oversees digital content strategy and online marketing and promotion. Before joining VQR, Jane was a full time assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati and former publisher of Writer’s Digest. Her website is http://janefriedman.com
What do you bring to VQR?
Curiosity and a literary sensibility crossed with a passion for new media. VQR has some wonderful writing, photography, and journalism that is primarily delivered in print form. Their overall online presence is next to non-existent when compared to other publications of its stature. I’m excited about bringing their mission, voice, and content to a much larger audience through online and social media.
Please tell us a little bit about VQR and your new role there.
The Virginia Quarterly Review was established in 1925 at the University of Virginia. It’s been known from the very beginning as a quality literary publication that wins national awards. It has a history of publishing both U.S. and international writers, Nobel Prize winners in literature, and Pulitzer Prize winners. The current U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Tretheway, is on our advisory board, and her work appeared in our Spring 2012 issue. In the past decade, the journal has started publishing more international journalism, with a heavy emphasis on photojournalism.
My role is to oversee the online presence, digital content, and social media efforts of the publication, in collaboration with the entire staff.
I visited the VQR website and I noticed a variety of writings, everything from poetry and fiction to blogs and essays. Does dealing with such a wide scope of writing make your job more of a challenge than working for a review that deals in only one genre?
I don’t think so. The mission of VQR, and the sophisticated nature of its material, attracts a very particular type of reader. That said, the identity of the website and what’s posted there is about to change dramatically. I’m not saying our audience will be different, but we’ll be better serving that audience with the existing content we have, and with online-only exclusives. Up until now, we have failed to build an online community that we listen to and engage with—a place where meaningful discussions happen among people with shared values—and that’s my No. 1 goal with the site moving forward.
I know you have written and lectured many times about a writer’s use of social media. Are there any new social media sites you find exciting? And is it possible that the old favorites, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with ever become obsolete for writers?
Eventually every social media site will become obsolete. You just have to accept it.
I really love Findings, a way to share snippets of what you read. I’m trying to be more active on Pinterest, but we’ll see. I’m still a fan of Instagram; it’s a little burst of the personal no matter who you follow. You see what they see in an intimate moment.
Tell us three interesting things about you that most people don’t know about you.
1. I almost never carry a purse.
2. I spent about 3 years in college making pottery.
3. I’ve worked at McDonald’s, Papa John’s, KFC, a Barnes & Noble cafe, a Toyota dealership, and Cedar Point (an amusement park).
I want to thank Jane Friedman for giving us all such a wonderful interview. I am as grateful top her as I am for all who read this blog. I crave your input on how to make this blog better for you because it is your blog.
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