Interview: Jeanine Detz

Jeanine Detz turned a combined interest in fitness and journalism into a senior editor position at Shape. After publishing a book, "Ultimate Core Ball Workout," in 2005 and freelancing for a number of American Media publications, Detz joined the Shape staff as a senior editor focusing on fitness.

Jeanine Detz turned a combined interest in fitness and journalism into a senior editor position at Shape. After publishing a book, “Ultimate Core Ball Workout,” in 2005 and freelancing for a number of American Media publications, Detz joined the Shape staff as a senior editor focusing on fitness.

PRWeek: Magazines and Web sites are becoming more interactive. How does this fare for a fitness and health magazine like Shape?

Jeanine Detz: I think it actually helps us. It's opened up another avenue for us to get our readers more information, I think. A lot of the fitness stories that we publish were crammed for space, and sometimes we can't fit every position for an exercise, let's say, or all the advice we want to give on a page. So it's nice to have this other vehicle. We even put videos online of exercises and additional information. Sometimes the trainers who created the exercises will put more info online, so I definitely think it's been a big help in our field. It allows us to give more service to the reader.

PRWeek: And do you think it's because health and fitness magazines tend to be service-oriented journalism?

Detz: Oh, absolutely. I mean, here at Shape, I feel like everything we do, if we're running a health, fitness, even a beauty article, we're always thinking about the service that we're going to provide.

PRWeek: How has your demographic changed in recent years? Do you think it has?

Detz: I don't think our demographic has really changed. From what I gather, it kind of hovers around the 18-to-44 [year old] range. So, yeah, I don't think it's been impacted because that age range tends to go online. I think if I were working for an older demographic it would be different.

PRWeek: In terms of celebrity coverage -- using celebrities as models or in feature stories -- has there been an increase on that side? Do think it's always been a Shape emphasis?

Detz: Shape has always put celebrities who were super-fit on the cover. We had Oprah [Winfrey] on our cover in the 1980s. We've had Halle Berry…on our cover once. I think we've always kind of featured healthy celebrity role models. We've continuing to do that. I think, though, as a consumer, that I am seeing more celebrities in publications. That's what people like to read about.

PRWeek: You've done some work talking about the magazine on shows like The Insider and then in newspapers like USA Today. Is that a fairly new emphasis for Shape?

Detz: No, actually it's not. I've just started doing TV stuff, but we've always had a presence. We have an editor named Jacqui Stafford that's been doing TV spots for us, probably for five to 10 years, on VH1 and things like that.

PRWeek: Compared to other health and fitness magazines aimed at women, how do you think Shape is different?

Detz: I think Shape is different in that we're sort of that informed friend of women. I think that we have a tone that, while it's very informative and knowledgeable, doesn't talk down to women, and it's also still friendly enough that you want to read it. I think that kind of sets us apart and everything we put in the magazine is really research-based and well-reported, and I think that sets us apart a bit, too. You really get a lot in what you read, at least I think so.

PRWeek: How would you describe the Shape brand?

Detz: I think, at its root, it's a health and fitness magazine but it's more about the whole woman and who she is and giving her all the tools to be confident and feel the best she can be. I think that's why we have great beauty advice and fashion stories. The health is the backbone, but it's definitely about the whole package.

PRWeek: Is your background more on the fitness side or on the journalism side?

Detz: I guess I would say fitness. I'm a certified trainer, and when I started out in magazines, I actually worked at the beauty magazines…Once I moved to Los Angeles, [I was] working on fitness books and things like that.

PRWeek: Do you think it was important for a senior editor at Shape to have a fitness background?

Detz: I do think so. I only got my certification because I'm the fitness editor, and I felt like it was an important tool to have to give me more credibility and knowledge. I only recently got that this year.

PRWeek: What's your advice for PR professionals who are pitching you or other editors at Shape?

Detz: I think the best piece of advice I can give is to know who we are and pitch things that would fit in with what we do. Just … know the magazine and the audience. I've had PR people pitch me stories about elderly people, and when I tell them our demographic, they try to argue their way into it and that just doesn't bode well. I have a lot of respect for PR people that are OK with me saying, “That's not going to work and that's something we're never going to publish.” My favorite PR people are the ones that say, “Yeah, OK, cool. If I have something else, I'll call you,” and that's it.

Name: Jeanine Detz

Title: Senior editor

Outlet: Shape

Preferred contact method: jdetz@shape.com

Web site: www.shape.com

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