MEDIA PROFILE: Prevention relishes the active part it plays in itsreaders' lives

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

lead time.

"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@


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

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