Exclusive Interview with NYC Journalist, Madeleine Streets
You come from a journalism background, how did you get your start?
I have always loved to discover and tell stories. I knew that a career in journalism was right for me by the time I turned 15 and I’ve never really wavered from that goal.
From 17 years old, I made sure to gain experience wherever I could: local newspapers like Camden New Journal, national magazines like Look and Stylist, and everything in between.
At Camden New Journal I reported on local protests; at Stylist I researched and wrote accompanying sidebars to print magazine stories. At university, I started writing for the official student newspaper Epigram during my first semester and was then made Style Editor for two years. I spent my summers working in media, learning as much as possible.
Then I moved to New York to complete my Master’s degree in Journalism at New York University. New York is where my career has really kicked into higher gear.
I worked for Marie Claire and Observer, writing several bylines within my first few weeks. At Marie Claire, I worked with the magazine's most senior editors on a special issue feature titled "Women and Guns" and at Observer, I wrote numerous articles for the Fashion, Arts & Culture and Business verticals.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Building my own strategic content program at Footwear News has been my biggest achievement.
The format was successful at our sister magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, but our publication was new to the idea and still learning how to create a program that would work for us when I was hired. As the only member of my team, I have been responsible for every package of branded content that has been published since my arrival - 9 projects, with 3 more lined up so far - and this has been an incredible way to really leave my mark on the magazine..
Since I have joined, we have seen rapid growth in the number of partnerships we have sold; one single issue sold over $50,000 worth of branded content, featuring the Portuguese footwear association APICCAPS and the footwear brand Creative Recreation.
We also conducted a multi-part series of content for the Two Ten Footwear Charity, the industry’s largest non-profit organization, in honor of its 80th anniversary. This growth looks to continue in 2020 and I’m very excited and proud of that.
What is one project you wish to pursue in 2020?
I would like to work on a content series for a major brand for our magazine, using the skills we have developed this year to create something much bigger in scope.
I believe that we have figured out how best to use our magazine to really tell valuable stories for these brands; our Bearpaw FN Lab celebrated the brand’s history and introduced its new line, Luxe de Leon.
But with a series of pieces, we could create something much more wide-reaching and connect with even more people, all through the pages of our magazine and our website.
We have just confirmed a 4-part series for financial services firm Rosenthal & Rosenthal in 2020, which I believe will be a great example of this.
What are 3 of your favorite people you have interviewed or topics you have written about?
I loved the opportunity to cover a conversation between actor Ewan McGregor and Esquire’s former editor-in-chief, Jay Fielden. McGregor is an award-winning actor and was able to talk about his new film at the time, the sequel to Trainspotting, which I covered for the Observer ["Ewan McGregor on Directing, ‘T2’ and a Possible Obi-Wan Reprisal."]
I have also enjoyed writing about the shifting nature of brick-and-mortar retail stores. For so long, shopping at stores has been a national pastime; now most of us shop online. From reporting stories about the future of the American mall (“Why 2019 is the Year of the Mall Makeover”; “How developers are turning malls' challenges to opportunities”) into writing about the pop-up trend for direct-to-consumer brands (“This Company Is Helping Digital Brands Break Into Physical Retail”), there are so many angles to explore.
Discovering how brands, retailers and shoppers are navigating this new world of retail has been fascinating and I look forward to covering it more.
Lastly, I would say I have been very interested in writing about the shift towards more sustainable practices and products.
Consumers are demanding more environmentally-friendly materials, so I wrote about using fruit leather and algae as alternatives to plastic (“How Fruit Could Be the New Frontier in Sustainable, Leather-Free Footwear”; “The Next Big Sustainable Material Might Come From Your Local Lake”).
I’ve also written about making supply chains more effective (“How a Sustainable Supply Chain Can Be Good for Both Planet and Profit”). By writing about these topics, I am able to educate the industry on the most pressing concerns facing their businesses so that they are able to modernize and stay afloat.
What is your process of creating a great media-friendly piece?
The most important thing is understanding who your reader is. What do they already know and what do they want to learn more about?
I write about a lot of technical subjects like 3D-printing so I am careful to make sure I only include the information that is relevant for our audience; when I wrote my latest magazine story, “The Future of Fit”,I interviewed companies like Carbon and Formlabs about their collaborations with Adidas and New Balance, to stay on-topic for the footwear industry.
It’s also important to do your research. The process should be like an iceberg: the bit above the water that the reader can see is the final story, but the 90% underwater is all your extra reporting and information.
When I reported our guide to Miami retail, “Best Places to Shop in Miami — And It’s Not Just a Mall Town,” I made sure to speak to the local tourist bureaus, real estate experts and local brands about the truly best areas to visit for shopping.
Being able to gather all this additional material allows you to pick out the most important bits and spot the trends. And it should never too long! Readers have shorter attention spans now, so being clear and concise is crucial. - Madeleine Streets