Journalist Q&A: Christine Osekoski, Fast Company

Christine Osekoski, publisher of Fast Company, speaks with Beth Krietsch about how the publication has evolved in recent years, including its efforts to keep readers engaged through print and digital innovations.

Name: Christine Osekoski
Title: Publisher
Outlet: Fast Company
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Christine Osekoski, publisher of Fast Company, speaks with Beth Krietsch about how the publication has evolved in recent years, including its efforts to keep readers engaged through print and digital innovations.

Have you always had an interest in innovation and its intersection with topics such as business, design, and economics?
I have always been curious, interested, and intrigued with business and strategy. I want to do creative problem solving, such as "How do you get in the guts of an issue and a challenge and make it happen?"

It's especially exciting now because you are watching the convergence of technology, entertainment, and brands. And it's all coming together: social media, of course, but also social capitalism and social responsibility. All of it is converging and that's where the innovation is happening.

Along with the print title and stories online, how do you engage readers digitally?
We have almost 400,000 Twitter followers and we've been using Twitter to create conversations. The most important thing for any brand is to find out how to create a conversation both with and among its readers and fans.

Does Fast Company ever struggle to keep up on the vast topic of innovation?
It's the Wild West in a good way, as many companies are innovating. We've done well by having our editors go into all sorts of companies and find innovation. For example, GE is doing great stuff with Ecomagination [and finding alternative energy and eco-friendly solutions].

Of course, we're also writing about Zynga. We were the first to write about it. We were the first to put Mark Zuckerberg on the cover of a magazine. Bob [Safian, editor-in-chief] has a cadre of writers whose job is to go into different categories of business and sniff out where the really interesting things are happening. They're doing a really great job with that.

Does it ever prove to be a challenge that the magazine is based in New York, which is so far from the innovation hotbed of Silicon Valley?
No. In fact, we did a story in May called 'The United States of Innovation,' where we wanted to truly prove that we were not coast snobs. We didn't say innovation is only happening on the West Coast and the East Coast. We said it's happening everywhere. It's happening in Boulder, Austin, Chicago, even Youngstown, OH, where they're doing some interesting things.

We will always cover innovation coming out of Silicon Valley because it's a hotbed, but we owe it to our readers to let them know where else it's happening.

How has the publication grown and evolved in the past few years?
We've doubled revenue over the past four years and it's exciting because we've also expanded and evolved. When I started, we were just talking about a print property. Now we're talking about an entire brand that has experiential and digital elements.

At the end of 2011 we launched three network sites. At, instead of just channels on the site, we're finding we have communities of people who care about specific innovation content. There's the design community, so we launched a section called Co.Design. We also launched Co.Exist, which is all about ethical economics. In addition, we are beta testing Co.Create, which is about the creative process that exists everywhere. You don't have to be a creative director to do that.

There's just so much evolution happening that we're really excited about.

What is the magazine's interaction with PR pros? What is the best way for them to pitch the publication?
Definitely reach out to the editors. This is a vital magazine for the PR community because we look at brands, innovation, and how companies put themselves forward.

The key thing to sell the editors on is how that particular person is an inspirational and progressive creative leader. If it's a company, show how that one particular company, out of their category, is more innovative than others. If it's a behemoth, why is this one department, area, or project really important to them and how is it changing? And if it were in the magazine, how does it provide inspiration and new ideas to the reader?

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