Walking On Air

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2008

Most editors I know are more comfortable behind a computer than in front of a TV camera. We’re mostly a bunch of rumpled introverts, happiest in jeans and comfy T-shirts as we read and edit stories, brainstorm ideas for upcoming issues and work with equally rumpled writers.

That’s why it’s shocking to me—and my friends and co-workers—that I’m doing a three-minute business segment on WWSB ABC7 during the 5:30 p.m. newscast every Wednesday. Those who know me know my out-of-proportion fear of public appearances and speeches.

But what’s even more shocking is that our magazines—Biz941 and Sarasota magazine—are partnering with another media outlet. That would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when we fiercely guarded our territories and insisted that any collaboration would dilute our strength with readers and advertisers.

The media universe and our economy have changed, however, encouraging all of us to look for opportunities to broaden and deepen our markets. Magazine companies are evolving into multimedia operations, using TV and the Internet to provide and enhance their content and brand.

It took a while, but we editors have come to understand that our Web sites ( and are as much a part of the magazine experience as the printed page, adding value for us and our audience. We can provide video clips that supplement stories as well as audio recordings of reporters’ entire interviews (check out the conversations with Goodwill’s CEO Don Roberts and Enza Zaden scientist Bill Kazokas that are currently on the Biz941 site). Our online blogs bring you fresh voices and perspectives, and Web polls and postings let you add your ideas and opinions to the magazine mix. We now publish two e-newsletters—Biz941 Daily and Sarasota Magazine’s Weekend Insider, bringing you breaking news and event coverage we can’t provide in our magazines because of their long lead times.

Now television has also become part of the mix. Our editors, including me and Bob Plunket, whose popular Sarasota Magazine blog, Real Estate Junkie, is featured on the noon news each Wednesday, report on news and stories. And you’ll soon see more editors and reporters from our magazines on air. We think it’s a win-win, helping ABC 7 enhance its content and helping us reach more viewers—and potential readers.

And those debilitating jitters I experience before speaking in front of people? Much to my amazement, they’re dissolving—somewhat. A little practice has helped ease the panic. The anchors at WWSB are polished professionals who can take over if an interview seems to be heading in the wrong direction, and they know how to make even a nervous guest look good. (Thank you, Heidi Godman.)

Even though my co-workers tease me when they see me coming into work all spiffed up, I have to admit I sort of like dressing up and wearing make-up on the days I’m on air. See you next Wednesday afternoon!

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