Kate White’s 5 Things

The Cosmopolitan editor says 'Go big or go home'

“If Jay Leno isn’t mocking something about Cosmo at least once a month, I’m not doing my job,” said Kate White, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, during a talk at the Columbia Journalism School last night. White unabashedly discussed topics from the magazine’s coverage of sex to how Cosmo fits into today’s digital reality. Armed with a pink PowerPoint presentation, White also used the lecture as an opportunity to pass on the “5 Best Things” she thought the audience should know about journalism and editing:

1. Imagine your mantra. This came with advice to “broadcast yourself” and come up with a personal saying, similar to Cosmo’s “Fun Fearless Female” slogan.

2. Create your cocktail. We are still a little confused by this one. Perhaps become bartenders?

3. Go big or go home. This came with the lesson that the trick to successful magazines are flashy headlines.

4. Beware of the drag. Stay on course with your vision for a magazine or article.

5. Drain the swamp as you slay the alligator. Apparently the alligators are daily tasks while the draining is a long-term goal. For White, the draining was her desire to write a murder mystery novel, which she did, five times.

We will post the full audio when it is available.

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Katherine Bagley is a science, environment and health journalist based in New York City. She is currently working as a reporter for Audubon Magazine.