Name: Jenny Everett
Title: Senior fitness editor
Outlet: Women's Health
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.womenshealthmag.com
Jenny Everett, senior fitness editor at Women's Health, talks with PRWeek about her career, keeping up with fitness trends, and the wealth of opportunity the Web provides for supplementing magazine content.
PRWeek: Can start by talking a little bit about your career path before becoming fitness editor at Women's Health?
Jenny Everett: I sort of always knew I wanted to end up in journalism in some fashion. I had done it in high school, I had worked for local papers and the high school newspaper, and then in college I was editor of the college paper. So I sort of started down that newspaper path, but my first job out of college was at a TV station, sort of doing production assistant stuff, and I immediately realized that that I would do all this work for a story and it would be a minute long. And I'd rather be doing something that resulted in a more in-depth story.
And so I took an internship at Men's Health, and stayed there for a couple of years doing a lot of health and fitness writing. Then I got the New York buzz, so I left Men's Health and took a job at Popular Science magazine, which was totally outside of my interest area up until then. I really had very little interest in science and technology, but I convinced them that it would be good to have someone that could talk in layman's terms to the audience. And I kept that job for five years and then wound up at Women's Health three years ago and have been there ever since.
PRWeek: Have you always had an interest in health and fitness? Is it a big part of your life outside of work?
Everett: It is. I consider myself sort of like the Women's Health reader in that health and fitness is a focus for me because I like the way I feel when I'm healthy and fit. It gives me more energy, and I feel like I live sort of an overall better lifestyle when I'm taking care of my body. I'm not into it in a competitive sense, I really do it for myself to clear my head and stay healthy.
I try every workout we put in the magazine, so that keeps me busy just to make sure the instructions we give are clear step-by-step clear instructions. So I do find myself working out several times a week, probably more than the average person. In terms of my fitness passion, I'm more of a runner, so it's good. I do a lot of these strength workouts and yoga workouts that we put in the magazine, and it helps me balance out the running that I would otherwise be focusing on.
PRWeek: It seems like there are always new fitness trends. How do you manage to keep up with it all?
Everett: You know, you're really counting on PR people that contact you and tell you about them, but also I attend tons of classes. I get invites to gym, and I'll go in and see what's going on. A lot of the organizations like the American Council on Exercise, and people like that release, every year, documents about the latest trends. So sort of between all the different veins, you put it all together and you can extrapolate what trends are happening and start figuring out which ones are going to stick and which of them are going to disappear.
Some big ones that are happening right now are fusion - this idea of not just using cardio or yoga or strength but sort of rolling them into one workout. So you'll have a spinning class that combines yoga. You'll spin for a while and get off the bike, or stay on the bike, and do some yoga moves. So you are getting these benefits that you usually would see as very different, the two disciplines. But they put them together so you are getting this more well-rounded workout.
And another one that's really big [is] body weight workouts, where you're not using weights or any sort of gear at all. You're just using your own body weight. And obviously that's really, really important to women today because they're so busy and they're traveling, and not all women in their twenties and thirties - the women's health girl - they don't have necessarily a lot of space. They might be in a smaller apartment, so [they] can't really have a home gym. So being able to use your own body weight to get a great workout is really on the up and up in terms of popularity.
PRWeek: What are some of your favorite types of articles and projects to work on?
Everett: Really anything where I can talk to real people is…a great focus, or any time I can get involved.
I once had a story where a sports equipment company invited me to Mexico to build my own hockey stick, which sounds really, really silly, except that they had never let a journalist into the factory because they were afraid that somebody would steal the secrets of how they built [former New York Rangers star] Mark Messier's stick or something. But [you're] getting to meet the people behind [the scenes], whether it's a hockey stick or behind a gym, and see the spaces and get to meet them so you're not just on the phone. When you get there and get in the atmosphere, it's this whole different experience, and you can really gauge how important and real this thing is better than you can if you're on the phone or reading a piece of paper. So anything that can become experiential is definitely a favorite of mine.
PRWeek: How has the Web and new media impacted your job? Is it more difficult in terms of having to post interesting content on a far more frequent basis than you would have had to do with just print alone?
Everett: It's definitely changing my job. It changes you're way of thinking when you're thinking about a story. You're not thinking in this one dimension, you're thinking 360 degrees. So here's a story I'm working on, how could this translate into books and the Web and all of these different things. And the Web is just huge. Every time we come up with a story idea its like OK, you have this other medium besides the magazine that has unlimited space, so what can we do with the story to make it more, and bigger, and put it on the Web. Because you have that real estate and you really want to make the most of it.
And you know, it actually hasn't been that difficult to find interesting content to put on the Web, just because we have a limited amount of space in the magazine each month, and there is just so much content out there, and there's a lot that falls on the cutting room floor that we wish we could put in the magazine. And the Web gives us a place to put that, so it's actually a nice relief for me.
PRWeek: How does Women's Health set itself apart from all the other health related women's magazines that are out there?
Everett: Women's Health's approach is more of a service magazine, so we're finding real science and real research. And we see our woman as this smart, funny girl. We don't talk down to her, we assume this sort of knowledge base, and we are giving her the latest, greatest, research. And it's all backed up by a great advisory board of leading experts in all different areas, from sex, to health, to fitness, to style. We vet a lot of our ideas by them, so by the time the issue comes out it really represents all the trends and all the latest and greatest things, because we know how smart and savvy our reader is. You can't really put a soft story by them, they want information.
PRWeek: What is the best PR pitch you have ever gotten?
Everett: I think it's a simple formula. I basically get probably 40 pitches a day, and the ones that stick with me are the ones that are actually targeted at me. About 99% percent of what I get [is] from people who haven't really attempted to understand what I do, or what kinds of stories Women's Health runs. Probably 60% of the time, you can see that my name has just been pasted in another font, or sometimes they will have the wrong magazine name in there. For instance, [It] will say Fitness magazine instead of Women's Health, and that obviously turns you off. You want to feel like the story they are pitching you has really been thought through, and that this is an exclusive opportunity for Women's Health. The other thing that will really catch my eye is if it's a story that's going to make sense in three months. If you pitch me a product that is going to be on the market tomorrow, I'm not going to be able to put it in the magazine. I need to know what is going to be on the shelves in three months. So if the story is going to be timely, and timed with when our issues are actually coming out, it helps a ton.