MEDIA PROFILE: Paper stays ahead of the curve by avoiding coverage of trends

Paper magazine began humbly as a single fold-out page, but has blossomed into a glossy that eschews trends in its passion for urban life. And that passion better show in your pitch

Paper magazine began humbly as a single fold-out page, but has blossomed into a glossy that eschews trends in its passion for urban life. And that passion better show in your pitch

After almost two decades, Paper magazine is breaking ground with its eclectic coverage of street style and pop culture. With its finger on the pulse of urban life, Paper prides itself on its broad content featuring fashion, music, movies, night spots, and restaurants. Paper's editors are on the lookout for what's hot, but are quick to turn a blind eye to trends. When pitching this style bible, PR people should be brief, do their research, and bubble with a passion for their pitch. "We like e-mail pitches that are straight and to the point," says assistant managing editor Meghan Sutherland. "If someone knows Paper and can reference things that we like, you can always tell. For our PM section, we're always looking for events, openings, and launch parties, which is a really great place for publicists to get in. It's new, so people should go crazy with pitches for that." Paper's PM is a nightlife tabloid that is presently being expanded into a weekly feature. The six-month-old section has listings for food, bars, galleries, theater, and fashion. However, the editors claim that PM is more selective with its listings than Time Out or The Village Voice. The section always features a night out with a celebrity. Recent stars include actress Rosie Perez, ex-porn star Tracy Lords, and musician Melissa Auf Der Maur, formerly of Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins. When Paper debuted in 1984, its format was a piece of paper that folded out into a poster. Though it has since evolved into a monthly glossy, the editorial mission has remained focused on pinpointing creativity and celebrating alternative lifestyles. Paper's editors claim to be heavily plugged into street culture, and are constantly on the lookout for people and fashion that have not yet risen to the mainstream. The magazine is centered on style, but its editors express an extreme dislike for trends, and are more interested in innovative and original ideas. They were recently excited by a tip passed on from a former colleague who spotted Bronx thugs dressed in pink outfits. "We're a magazine that's made by the people who participate in the worlds they write about," says deputy editorial director Mickey Boardman. "We approach our material from a fan's perspective as opposed to a writer's. The people who write about music are music fanatics, and the same with all our sections. It brings passion and enthusiasm to our material because we're driven by love as opposed to objective journalism. We also approach nightlife in a serious manner, and we respect the creativity of the people we cover. When we find something we like, we get so excited. We're just like a kid with a new toy." Paper has an average monthly circulation of 85,500 with an educated, affluent, and largely single readership that is 46% female with a median age of 29. The magazine has a two- to three-month lead time on stories, and each issue has a theme. April is the Beautiful People issue, June/July is the Music issue, and December is the Holiday and Gift Guide. Paper's editorial calendar can be accessed online. The magazine's website,, posts many of the stories seen in the magazine, but also has web exclusives. It posts event tips every day, and cites listings as a good way for publicists to get a foot in the door. Paper's editors claim to be very open to pitches, but caution publicists to tailor their pitches, and to have an idea of where their idea could fit in the magazine. Because the magazine often covers fresh and unknown talents or ideas, Sutherland recommends following up on pitches with products or visuals to buttress the idea. The magazine does not have an overall pattern of coverage, and will report on anything that the staff feels passionate about. "In many ways, Paper is just a big mix of personal tastes," says Sutherland. "Publicists should really just read the magazine and try to get a feel for what our crazy, fun sensibility is." As it moves into its 20th year, Paper continues to influence street style as much as it covers it. Sixty-eight percent of Paper's readers say their choices of what to buy are influenced by the magazine, and 77% contend that they influence others too, according to a subscriber study conducted last year. With its readers as faithful to the offbeat as its creators, Paper will continue to remain ahead of the curve. "What unites our readers is a real passion for pop culture and a New York state of mind wherever they live," says Boardman. ----- Contact list Paper Address 365 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 Tel (212) 226-4405 Website E-mail Editors and publishers David Hershkovits, Kim Hastreiter Deputy Editorial Director Mickey Boardman Managing Editor Amy Benfer

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