As we near the end of 2015, we’ve reached out to some of our favorite editors to look back on their best stories of the year. Here, Family Circle‘s Deputy Editor Jonna Gallo Weppler discusses her magazine’s highlights as well as the stories that moved her most in 2015.
My most memorable Family Circle story of the year:
I loved “This Is Not A Puff Piece” by Scott Alexander in our October issue, about how e-cigarette usage is skyrocketing even though very little is known about their long-term health effects. With middle-schoolers getting in on the action—we’re talking kids in 6th and 7th grade—we felt it was essential to inform parents of the disturbing trend and arm them with conversation starters. Our story proved ahead of its time—on October 26, a month or so after our piece was published, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued sweeping new recommendations, stating that “e-cigarettes are threatening to addict a new generation to nicotine.”
The 2015 story I admire most:
I admired the essay “Don’t Glorify This Tragedy” by Mary Forsberg Weiland that Rolling Stone published in early December, about the drug-related death of Mary’s ex-husband Scott Weiland, lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots. Her teenagers helped clarify the truth about what it was like to try to live with their dad, the mix of love and disappointment that characterized the glorified rock-and-roll lifestyle. It was poignant, sad and unapologetically truthful.
The 2015 story that surprised me most:
I found myself nodding my head reflexively a LOT when I read “The Myth of Easy Cooking” by Elizabeth G. Dunn in The Atlantic. It’s a fascinating, engaging breakdown of our culture’s relentless obsession with all things being “quick” and “easy,” and how those terms have been applied to from-scratch cooking—which is, unfortunately, neither particularly quick or easy. Great piece.
My favorite Family Circle cover of 2015:
My favorite Family Circle cover of 2015 was May, which featured a gorgeously colorful, totally spring-y bouquet of gerbera daisies, exactly what we all needed after a long winter. It was the result of a cool collaboration with the garden pros at White Flower Farm and was the first time we had a shop-able cover.
My favorite 2015 cover from another publication:
Personally, I loved the June Food Network cover, the big line “Summer At Last” spoke to me because I just really wanted it to be summer by then! As for the giant Mint Chip Gelato cone? Umm, YES, PLEASE. It’s like the issue was begging for a beach outing!
That said, of course the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover merits mentioning. That story was just enormous on so many fronts, but I think most of all for how it put a print book in the epicenter of a social media explosion, where Caitlyn was trending on Facebook and Twitter for days and days. I read in the Wall Street Journal that the story had 3.9 billion (yes, billion with a b) social media impressions, and it gave Vanity Fair a huge boost at the newsstand, resulting in its highest-selling cover in 5 years. Fascinating, and heartening, to see in real time that social media can drive newsstand sales for print magazines—which, even in the age of the Internet, still have much to offer our collective cultural conversation.
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