Hearst Magazines President Troy Young on Publishing During a Pandemic: “We Have to Be More Innovative Than Ever.”
In this fifth installment of publishing during a pandemic, I reached out to Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines, to see how Hearst was managing during this tragic and uncertain time. As we continue to see the gloom and doom in the news media, and very rare mention of anything uplifting or positive, Troy and his team are determined to shed some bloom and brightness with quality content. The glass can be viewed as half full as easily as it can half empty, and Hearst is pushing forward with serving their customers where they are and via any platform they like.
I spoke with Troy very recently and we talked about how magazines and magazine media content is more relevant today than ever before. People are looking for valued and trusted information from those credible brands that they have come to know. Troy pointed out that in one month alone, the Hearst Magazine brands published 1,900 health-related articles. Amazing indeed.
On how Hearst Magazines is operating during this pandemic:
"The first thing we had to do is move our workforce into collaborating and connecting in an entirely new way. Fortunately — because we have a fairly large composition of very technically sophisticated workers, be it engineers or digital editors — it’s been relatively seamless. And, we have been using digital tools to connect with each other for a while now, so the transition to working remotely has been less disruptive than you’d expect. I’ve heard that from many others too, so I think the world is adjusting well."
On when the pandemic is over if he thinks there will be a pause for consideration in the traditional office environment:
"I’m actually hopeful that we can use this as an opportunity to create some more lasting change. One of the bright spots for many people and for many senior executives is — for example — how efficient we can be when we create a virtual meeting. We set up a Zoom link and five people can be looking at each other and we can run a very productive meeting in 25 minutes. That gives us more flexibility in a lot of ways, in terms of our personal lives and our professional lives."
On what he tells his teams when they get together for a meeting:
"It’s time for us to be leaders. We have to be insanely creative in how we work and how we understand value as we’re creating. We have to be more innovative than ever, and there are going to be times that it’s really hard. We need to fuel that emotion and then move on."
On any message he would like to send his advertisers, readers or staff:
"The first thing for our advertisers right now is we’re thinking about them, because I know that their businesses are incredibly difficult. And whether you’re in retail, luxury, fashion, beauty, or the automotive space, your business is facing many significant challenges. As a partner, I’m worried about them and their businesses and want to know how we can help them."
Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer at the School of Journalism. As Mr. Magazine™ he engages in media consulting and research for the magazine media and publishing industry.