This assignment will produce a profile on Anna Wintour, the current editor-in-chief at Vogue magazine in the United States. It will include brief biographical details, including previous training, education and employment history, as well as a discussion on why she interests me. The profile will also include how the trends of globalisation and media convergence has influenced this media professionals career. Furthermore, the media professional’s contribution to the fourth estate and/or public sphere will be evaluated. This essay will focus on the most important aspects of Anna Wintour’s career.
The first issue of Vogue was released in 1892 in America, in 1909 Conde Nast Publishers acquired the magazine (Conde Nast, 2017). “In 1932 the American Vogue for the first time ever had placed a colour photography on its over (earlier it was exclusively given for drawings)” (Conde Nast, 2017). In 1988 Anna Wintour became the chief editor of American Vogue (Conde Nast, 2017). Her efficient and determined ways were reflected in the star-studded movie “The Devil Wears Prada” (Conde Nast, 2017).
Anna Wintour was born on November 3, 1949 in London, England (Biography.com, 2015). Her father was Charles Wintour and was a newspaper editor and her mother Elinor Wintour was a philanthropist, Anna was born into a family that was heavily involved with journalism and new media. “Magazine editor Anna Wintour has become and international fashion icon in her role as editor-in-chief of the highly influential Vogue magazine. She is known for her oversized dark glasses, high heels, sharp bob hairstyle and icy demeanour” (Biography.com, 2015). She dropped out of her fancy finishing school and lead a life that “revolved around the tony London life of the 1960s that she so clearly adored” (Biography.com, 2015). Her father was a decorated World War II veteran who had been known as “Chilly Charlie” Anna Wintour never disapproved of having many similarities to her father and these traits are still shown through her style and drive as a magazine editor (Biography.com, 2015).
Anna Wintour’s previous experience was paramount, eventually leading her on to be one of the most influential people in fashion as Vogues editor-in-chief. Anna first began working in the fashion department of Harpers & Queen in London before moving on to New York and taking over as fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar in 1976 (Biography.com, 2015). Later moving on to Viva and becoming their fashion department editor and manager, often spending exuberant amounts on shoots arranging trips to places such as the Caribbean and Japan (Biography.com, 2015). She then jumped to Savvy for a short time as a similar position that she held at Viva before moving to New York Magazine in 1981 (Biography.com, 2015).
In 1986 Anna Wintour returned to London and landed the position as the chief editor of British Vogue, changing up the magazine to its success (Biography.com, 2015). “Her next big makeover came in 1987 with another Conde Nast publication, Home and Garden, where she summarily changed the publication’s title to HG and managed to reject nearly $2 million of already-paid-for photos and articles” (Biography.com, 2015). While her staff complained about the tactics she took and changes she made, her bosses at Conde Nast were behind her (Biography.com, 2015). According to Business Insider Australia, Anna Wintour makes $2 million annually and is worth around $35 million and gets a $200,000-per-year clothing allowance on top of that (Weisman, 2014). “In 1988 Anna Wintour was named editor-in-chief of Vogue, allowing for her return to New York” (Biography.com, 2015). Anna then brought the magazine back up the fore front of fashion and luxury after it had become complacent (Biography.com, 2015).
Anna Wintour is thoroughly interesting and inspiring to me through many different aspects of her career and life. She continually shows dedication to her work and an efficient work ethic getting all jobs done before the magazine is released to the public. As stated earlier she has become one of the most influential people in fashion today, globally. She manages to run an empire of a magazine, keep in excellent physical condition and still go to events she wishes, all proving an amazing talent at organising her life. She can walk into any magazine she wishes and raise it up from wherever it previously was to a whole new level, which is something that many people wouldn’t be able to do.
“Media convergence is a term that can refer to either: 1) the merging of previously distinct media technologies and media forms resulting from digitization and computer networking; or 2) an economic strategy in which the media properties owned by communications companies employ digitization and computer networking to work together (see media ownership)” (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2017). Media has been rapidly changing in the digital age, the “big media companies” have had to adjust aspects of their companies to keep up to date and modern with the times. This due to both media convergence and globalization. Globalization is a resulting factor of both media convergence along with other factors a definition of globalization is as follows “globalisation is a process of interaction and integration amount the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology” (Globalisation 101, 2017).
Many people believe that “old media” such as magazines and newspapers are going out of business. This however is not the case magazines and newspapers are simply changing with the digital age still emerging. Fashion magazines have typically always affected many people however they previously have only had access to their city or country if fortunate enough. Now with digitization fashion magazines such as Vogue have been impacted and have created a much larger online profile, making many posts daily to different accounts such as; Facebook, Instagram, their website and several others. This in turn will have created many more jobs for people entering the industry to look after the digital aspect of the magazine. This also will be another aspect that Anna Wintour must overlook however due to her being so high up on the ladder this aspect does not affect her as much as it would the writers, for example. Vogue magazine has been in many countries for an incredibly long time and with media convergence and globalisation Vogue is continually expanding its reach with no means of slowing down. Vogue has also released an online version of their monthly magazines with the subscription price considerably lower than the printed version of the magazine.
A quick definition of the fourth estate is as follows “the notion that the Press is the fourth estate rests on the idea that the media’s function is to act as a guardian of the public interest and as a watch fog on the activities of government” (Australian Politics, 2017). All media professionals are expected to uphold the truth and inform the public. However, this truth can commonly be misconstrued through different public spheres. Public spheres are common areas that allow people to talk about ideas and events and start to form ideas and opinions about these topics and create their “own truths” (Media Studies, 2017). “Through acts of assembly and dialogue, the public sphere generates opinions and attitudes which serve to affirm or challenge-therefore, to guide-the affairs of state” (Media Studies, 2017).
Journalism and media communication professionals are understood to bring “hard hitting facts” to light for the public and ultimately the truth however the public spheres are the ones to decide if it is a truth or not. Anna Wintour is a journalism and media communication professional and must uphold the truth as she sees fit to the public, however opinions people make about her may damage her image and ultimately Vogue as well. The movie “the devil wears Prada” is a prime example of the public sphere forming an opinion of Anna Wintour however this was not taken as all bad. While the movie did showcase negative aspects of Wintour, such as her cold, calculating ways and her demanding nature, the movie turned these aspects into showing how efficient she is to be running the magazine with a true drive behind everything she does.
In conclusion Anna Wintour is impeccably suited to run Vogue magazine in America, with ample experience behind her before she entered and many years under her belt in Vogue itself. Anna is a driven woman who is often depicted as cold and calculating yet clearly knows what she wants in life and work. Globalization and media convergence have taken a toll on all magazines yet Vogue continually creates monthly magazines for any and every woman to read and enjoy, this has only had a minor impact on Anna Wintour’s specific job. The public sphere has always had opinions on Wintour and Vogue and will continue to do so for some time, however Anna writes what she believes to be the truth and this serves to her well-known name. Anna Wintour is a thoroughly interesting woman with an incredible team behind her and has continually taken on changes in time to her success.
Aly Weisman. 2014. “Here’s The Insane Clothing Allowance Anna Wintour Gets At Vogue.” Business Insider Australia. September 10. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/anna-wintour-vogue-clothing-allowance-2014-9?r=US&IR=T
Australian Politics. “The Fourth Estate.” Last modified April 12, 2017. http://australianpolitics.com/topics/media/the-fourth-estate
Biography.com. “Anna Wintour Biography.com.” Last modified December 16, 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/anna-wintour-214147
Conde Nast Russia. “Brands/Vogue/History.” Last modified April 1, 2017. https://www.condenast.ru/en/portfolio/magazines/vogue/history/
Globalization 101. “What is Globalization.” Last modified April 10, 2017. http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/
Media Studies. “Jurgen Habermas and the Public Sphere.” Last modified April 9, 2017. http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/habermas.htm
The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Media Convergence.” Last modified April 5, 2017. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/media-convergence/