Verily, the women’s magazine with a difference
When I was doing my Masters in Magazine Journalism at City University, we were set the task of coming up with a magazine concept and pitching it to a panel of judges from the industry. My group felt a deep dissatisfaction with the women’s magazines generally on offer, and pitched a concept that would try and connect better with real women and their interests and needs, never talking down to them or under estimating their intelligence, wit, and style. Not surprisingly, the judge from Grazia wasn’t too keen on our idea (there was implicit and explicit criticism of her magazine in our pitch), and the others, while they affirmed that there was a gap in the market, said that they didn’t think such a magazine would make enough money to be viable. It was disheartening to hear this from the experts, when all around me normal women were clamouring for something different.
Recently, a group of young women based in New York have been feeling the same hunger, and produced the beautiful Verily magazine in response. Aesthetically gorgeous with brilliant artistic design and direction, it is full of the best mixture of fun, playful, and weighty articles that cover a whole range of things that affect real women. Here’s how they explain why Verily came into being themselves:
‘Like so many things in NYC, Verily was born over a gathering of friends for brunch. We ended up on the topic of women’s magazines – in particular, how most of them didn’t seem to reflect our lives or our philosophies as women. Here was a diverse group hailing from all over the country and working in everything from fashion to medicine to philanthropy. We had gone through the learning curve of our first jobs, navigated life in a new city, and been on more first dates than many of us would like to admit. If this group of modern women were all feeling overlooked, surely others must feel the same way?’
Elizabeth Kantor wrote a brilliant analysis of the problem with the modern women’s magazine industry and introduction to Verily on the Huffington Post. I wrote an article about my relationship with my dad and his diagnosis with prostate cancer for the teaser issue (it’s called Love Is Stronger Than Death), and there’s also career and relationship advice (but no icky Top 10 Sex Tips type stuff that leaves you feeling voyeuristic and paranoid), alongside recipes and style tips. All the stuff you might expect, but somehow… different. You finish reading it feeling good about yourself – not in a shallow way, but as if you’ve just had your womanhood reaffirmed.
Read it yourself and see what you think. The teaser issue is free online, and you can help them keep up the good work by subscribing to the print version, here.