From product reviews to its online walking club, from health news
to makeup advice, Eleanor Trickett learns that Prevention's thirst for
knowledge enables it to teach the public something new in every
She could be your next-door neighbor, or the head of your daughter's PTA
committee. If she's sitting next to you in the doctor's waiting room,
she'll be flicking through the drug brochures knowingly, and may even
offer a little pre-consultation advice. And she'd sooner be spotted with
her slip showing than be seen mixing up a faddy diet shake or applying
reconstituted monkey saliva on to her cheeks in a bid for a second
The Prevention reader is a smart cookie, so it follows that there's no
fooling the editorial team, all of whom are specialists in their
There's no seducing them with a miracle cure breathlessly espoused in a
spam-delivered press release.
While the core reader's age starts at 35, the majority are between 40
and 65. "And as we all know, the 50-year-old of today is not the
50-year-old of 25 years ago," says editor-in-chief Catherine Cassidy.
"She has a fairly decent household income and is a caretaker for not
only her family, but for the entire neighborhood. She's the information
sharer who likes to be in the know about health, and a healthy
lifestyle. She doesn't distrust her doctor, but wants to work in concert
with that person.
It's a woman who is really committed to knowing about all the
Because the reader is smarter than average, Cassidy's first rule of
pitching is that the news is, well, new - tricky, given the six-month
"I've got editors and writers doing their own research," she
"So unless it's something we haven't heard before, you're wasting your
Reading the press release is only the first step. "We don't consider a
press release or newspaper article a primary source," Cassidy
"We'll check it out ourselves. If we write about a product, then it's
effectively us putting our brand behind it, and we don't take that
The PR person's job is just to pique our interest."
It's often the more general products - from shoes to videos, from books
to food products - that are the best ones to pitch. Explains Cassidy,
"We get a lot of pitches about natural supplements. Although it's a key
interest of ours, it is something that we will less likely respond to
because we do have people whose job it is to cover that (Sara Altshul).
We tend to know about these things before others do."
It's not just products, either. Information and research is always
welcomed with open arms. Key sections include the health news and
medical breakthrough columns, edited by Sari Harrar. "This is the core
interest of our subscribers," says Cassidy.
The nutrition editor, Holly McCord, and food editor, Regina Ragone, are
popular targets, as is Michele Stanten, the fitness editor. "There's
lots of crap out there," warns Cassidy, when she talks about the fitness
"There's equipment that doesn't work, videos done by people who are not
experts ... We won't look at something like this unless it has been
checked out, and recommended by experts in the field."
Within the fitness area, walking plays a vital role, and even has its
own editor, Maggie Spilner. "A good 60% of our core readership walks at
least every other day," says Cassidy, explaining why it's such a big
deal for the title. "To these people it's more than putting one foot in
front of the other. There are ways to do it, programs and products." Of
these, the magazine's own online walking club and tours play a large
role. This area is ripe for pitches, says Cassidy.
Those with beauty products to pitch will find a keen listener in Sherry
Kaiser. "It's not one of our core topics, yet very important," says
Because the magazine photographs the products itself, there's no need to
send pictures in - though sending in the product itself is a must.
Contrary to most claims made by print journalists, Cassidy says that
quite often, e-mail is not the best way to contact Prevention's
editorial team. "Sometimes if it's an e-mail and you see it's a press
release, you're more likely to blip it away," she confesses with a
guilty giggle. "Some of the writers consider it spam. A follow-up snail
mail press release or fax isn't a bad idea."
As for phone calls, Cassidy suggests that they are not entirely
unwelcome either. There is no really bad time - apart from lunchtime -
to call, although the end of the month can be tough for some editors.
"If it's a good idea, we're so happy. A couple of weeks ago someone
called to tell us about a new book, and I thought, 'Wow - this is
great!' I couldn't wait to slot it in."
Address: 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098
Tel/Fax: (610) 967-5171; 967-7654
E-mail: firstname.lastname@ rodale.com
Editor-in-chief: Catherine Cassidy
Nutrition editor: Holly McCord
Fitness editor: Michele Stanten
Health news editor: Sari Harrar
Food editor: Regina Ragone
Walking editor: Maggie Spilner
Women's health editor: Toby Hanlon