JOURNALISM Q&A: Lisa Gosselin

To reposition the dreamy pages of Islands magazine as a more service-oriented read, its publishers recently tapped Lisa Gosselin as its new top editor. Here Gosselin, who revamped Audubon and Bicycling magazines before a stint at the brand management firm Kelleher Samets Volk, talks to PRWeek about the travel magazine's makeover.

To reposition the dreamy pages of Islands magazine as a more service-oriented read, its publishers recently tapped Lisa Gosselin as its new top editor. Here Gosselin, who revamped Audubon and Bicycling magazines before a stint at the brand management firm Kelleher Samets Volk, talks to PRWeek about the travel magazine's makeover.

PRWeek: Tell me about how you plan to reposition the magazine. Lisa Gosselin: Islands has been around for 23 years. It's had the top travel writers and photographers in the world writing for it - beautiful stories, beautiful photography. What has been lacking is a sense of service and relevance. We've always been the magazine for a more adventurous traveler who's trying to discover something new, who wants to discover the next hot place, who wants to immerse himself in a culture. Our features have done a great job of showing island cultures from the inside out. What we haven't done is give people the tools to fulfill their dreams: Where do you stay? How do you get there? What's a marvelous package deal? Starting with our June issue we're completely revising the front of the book to include a new section called Escapes. We'll have things like a marvelous new, over-the-top hotel and then something that's very affordable. PRWeek: So you'll be running the gamut in terms of the price points of what you cover? Gosselin: Our readers' median household income is $162,000, and they take two-week trips. I was astounded at how dedicated these people are to travel. Island travel is their passion. They're willing to spend the money, and they're willing to take the time. Our stories should be about how you can really experience a place in depth, more than what the price is. Our readers are the people that probably backpacked around the world when they were in their 20s. Now they're in their 40s and they want to do it right, and they have the money to do it right. PRWeek: Are there other changes to the magazine that you'd want to mention? Gosselin: There's a section called Logbook that looks at fun and endemic festivals that take place on islands. We'll profile four or five festivals or events in every issue and tell readers how they can enjoy the events and whether there are any special packages offered around them. We are introducing a lifestyle element to the magazine. For instance, in our June issue there's a story about a fabric designer's home in Bali, and we have a sidebar on how you can buy a home in Bali for $25,000. PRWeek: How does your marketing background play into magazine editing? Gosselin: I've found that the best PR pitches are about an individual or a person. So many magazines these days are focusing on personalities, and one of the things I've been looking for in pitches from public relations firms is what kind of access can you give me to, say, a top native guide on an island, that's really going to bring the story to life. It's also a great way for a PR firm to pitch stories. Name: Lisa Gosselin Publication: Islands Title: Editor-in-chief Preferred contact method: lgosselin@islands.com Website: www.islands.com

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