Q&A: Lauren Elfman of Buzzine.com

7 Oct

The Q&A madness continues! Lauren is the Senior Managing Editor at Buzzine.com, a culture and entertainment site based in LA that I’ve been writing for for several years now. Lauren is the wife [Ed note: I originally put husband. I am an idiot.] of Richard (of Oingo Boingo) who is the brother of Danny (of Nightmare Before Christmas, among other things). They enjoy my writing a great deal (at least someone does!), and Lauren was more than happy to answer some questions I threw at her.

How was Buzzine established?

In 1996, a fellow named Aaron Stipkovich, who was a radio personality and had a lot of celebrity connections and a talent for photography, decided he wanted to create a magazine/webzine, so he did. Richard was a writer, then editor-in-chief, and ultimately the Elfman family acquired the brand approximately a year ago.

What are you responsible for on a typical day?

Currently we have a few dozen writers coast-to-coast, and a Bollywood site as well, but a rather small core staff to administer things.  I am responsible for deciding which articles are going to be posted and keeping track of when they need to go up, setting deadlines, etc. I also copyedit every article and make sure they are ‘perfect’ before I post them at night (also on our Bollywood site).  I contact the publicists after the articles are posted to alert them that their client is being featured on our site. I stay in communication with all the writers. I send press releases out to writers for assignments and keep track of who is covering what.

Can you talk a little bit about the entrepreneurial side of blogging?

With the Internet, pretty much anyone can create a blog and get their voice out there, and if they get enough attention from it, they can become very successful, although what we do is not really a blog, more of webzine and video content creator.

Do you think that this model of so-called “entrepreneurial journalism” is here to stay?

Yes, definitely.

Is it difficult balancing editorial duties with other things such as selling ads, etc.?

We work with a great company called AdPlayerz, who are responsible for selling our ads, thank goodness.  I would never have the time, and I’m not a salesperson.  You need a team of people who know what they’re doing, and that’s what we have now.  I don’t think it would be possible for one person to do both and be successful.

What advice do you have for anyone going into j-school? What specific tools do you think they need to have/need to master?

Develop a voice and personality in your writing.  People like to be entertained, even if they’re just reading the news.  Make your writing fun and interesting to read, even if what you’re writing about is not. It also helps to be able to understand sentence structure.


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