Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Internet | Media

September 22, 2009

Miss En Abyme

Mediaite editor Glynnis MacNichol tells Gelf about getting caught up in the daily grind of covering the media scene.

Justin Adler

Glynnis MacNicol is an expert at watching the media watch itself. Whether covering the reaction to Tim Russert's death or the fascination with Glenn Beck, she's carved out her niche covering the baffling series of mirrors that is contemporary press coverage.

Before she became senior editor at mediabistro, The Huffington Post, and's blog.

Glynnis MacNichol, image via <A href=>Motionblur's</a> Flickr.
"I would argue that women find personal branding in the media field to be more difficult, and probably riskier, to navigate."

Glynnis MacNichol, image via Motionblur's Flickr.

In the following interview, conducted by email and edited for clarity, MacNicol tells Gelf about ranking media personalities like sports teams, a slumber party at the Democratic National Convention, and why the age of personal branding in the media has been hard for women.

Gelf Magazine: How much do you pay attention to Mediaite's Power Grid?

Glynnis MacNicol: I'm actually so busy I often forget to check in on it. That said, I am constantly amazed at how people who work in media—both big names and small—seem to be aware of it and their subtle shifts in the rankings. You'd be amazed at the number of well-established media people who've contacted us regarding their numbers, and ways we can make them more accurate. It's like sports rankings for the media world.

Gelf Magazine: Were you heavily involved in setting up the Power Grid?

Glynnis MacNicol: Yes. Everyone at Mediaite was very involved in determining whom to include, and what metrics we thought should apply to each category.

Gelf Magazine: Along with Rachel Sklar and Ana Marie Cox, you produced a slumber-party recap of the Democratic National Convention. What other examples of offbeat material that you produced are you proud of?

Glynnis MacNicol: Oh, the slumber-party video. It’s a good lesson in how you just never know what people will find interesting. I actually don't think I do a lot of what can be considered "offbeat" material. Unless blogging as a whole counts, which it often does.

Gelf Magazine: You helped write the Russert Watch column for The Huffington Post. Having spent so much time analyzing Russert, what was your reaction to his death?

Glynnis MacNicol: Rachel asked me to pick up Russert Watch for a while back in the spring of 2007. At the time I was actually a long-time watcher of This Week. In terms of media coverage, my reaction to his death was that the media's coverage of it was excessive, to say the least. Also, I enjoyed watching Russert and Chris Matthews cover the debates together, and was sorry to see that end.

Gelf Magazine: Do you feel your writing has changed as you have moved from site to site?

Glynnis MacNicol: I think there are different demands to each site. I've done really short, much more bloggy stuff for both Eat the Press and FishbowlNY, and longer pieces for HuffPo and Playboy during the election year. Mediaite is a mix of both. You learn to adapt to what's required of you at the time.

Gelf Magazine: What has been your favorite story to cover in 2009?

Glynnis MacNicol: The problem with writing so much is that sometimes I can't remember what happened prior to last week. Currently Glenn Beck is proving very entertaining. I rarely miss an opportunity to write about Sarah Palin. I thought the Iran election was fascinating, and was sad to see it submerged by the coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

Gelf Magazine: On the other hand, what "non-story" are you sick to death of?

Glynnis MacNicol: The death of journalism due to slumping ad sales gets tiresome to write about after a while, though sadly not because it has ceased to be a story.

Gelf Magazine: What are some of the overlooked challenges facing women in today's media world?

Glynnis MacNicol: I think that people who work in the media field are increasingly required to "brand" themselves online in order to develop a loyal audience. I would argue that women find that sort of personal branding more difficult, and probably riskier, to navigate.

Gelf Magazine: Having recently mentioned your love for New York Post covers, what are some of your other media guilty pleasures?

Glynnis MacNicol: I don't think the New York Post is a guilty pleasure! Just one of the upsides of living in New York City. That said, I have been known to cruise Just Jared from time to time. Does that count?

Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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Article by Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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