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Two Halves // Lisa Smosarski and Simon Hinde

twohalves
twohalves

Written by
Helen Carney
Published date
28 July 2015

Two Halves is a regular feature spotlighting two people connected by London College of Communication.

Our aim is to showcase the conceptual intentions, deeper thinking and personal insights that come with the creative process.

If you would like to nominate someone for Two Halves, please email Natalie Reiss (n.reiss@lcc.arts.ac.uk).

LISA SMOSARSKI

“To be creative you have to immerse yourself in all creativity – ideas come from everywhere.

  • I went to LCC when it was the London College of Printing, graduating in 1998 with a graduate degree in Journalism. I owe my career to that course!
  • (On what she’s working on) Our normal weekly issues, our special fashion issue in September which is perfect-bound and over 200 pages, our inaugural four-day event, Stylist Live, which is taking place in October as well as lots of other specials and brand extensions.
  • To be creative you have to immerse yourself in all creativity – ideas come from everywhere. So although I can’t claim to be able to work in any other medium bar print and digital journalism, to be a creative in my world you must submerge yourself in the worlds of art, illustration, film, all digital platforms, theatre… You name it; I need to know a bit about it!
  • I moved to Stylist in 2009 from more! magazine to launch Stylist – the idea was to create a freemium (free but premium) magazine for working women. We said it would be amazing quality, intelligent, never patronising, feminist and original. Six years, 45 awards and millions of readers later, I’m proud to say we’ve never deviated from that brief.
  • (On collaboration) I’m good at working on my own as I’m very self-starting and like my own company (!) but working with others always produces much better results. Good ideas become brilliant ideas. Average copy becomes excellent. No one has all the answers so it’s my policy to surround myself with brilliant people who excel in areas I don’t. Together we create brilliant things – and, to be honest, it’s much more fun. No woman is an island!
  • So much comes from reality. I frequently say that I can be seen stalking readers – listening to them in bars and on the bus, or on social media, or debating with them over email. Stylist is the readers’ magazine so it is my job to listen and respond. I think this too of our features meetings – it is the asides, the tangent conversations, the throwaway comments that make the best ideas.
  • (There are) always ideas on the go, but the big one is Stylist Live at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Four days of catwalks, culture and cocktails. We’ve organised loads of inspiring women to come and talk, shopping areas, fashion shows, learning labs. There’s even School of Stylist – all our department heads will be sharing their pearls of wisdom for getting into journalism throughout one of the days. So if you want to get into consumer magazines or websites, you should come along.
  • My first journalistic project… I can’t remember. I was sent to interview the Red Power Ranger but I don’t think you can call that art.
  • (Stylist is) a magazine I’m so proud of, and I’m so proud to have changed the face of British magazines. As more and more titles follow in the freemium model it is quite something to know we were pioneers, the new wave of print journalists. And it is great quality with a true heart, and remains eternally true to its beliefs. Not many people can say that!

Lisa Smosarski is the Editor of Stylist magazine, and an LCC BA (Hons) Journalism alumna. She’s currently working on the launch of Stylist Live.

SIMON HINDE

“A lot of what we call fine art is journalistic in character.”

  • I’m the Programme Director of Journalism and Publishing at LCC, which probably involves more admin than I’d like but leaves me enough time to do interesting stuff: working with students, thinking about the changing world of the media and how we can prepare the coming generation of journalists to succeed in it.
  • We’ve just signed a deal with a big art company to produce magazines for their members, so I’m trying to figure out how that will work and what kind of opportunities it will offer to the students and to recent graduates. We’re also launching a new MA in Arts and Lifestyle Journalism, the first in Britain.
  • I joined (LCC) two and half years ago after a career as a journalist in print and later in digital. I look forward to coming in in the morning (most mornings): it’s full of energy, a positive, inspiring place.
  • I’m really interested in the things that art and journalism have in common. A lot of what we call fine art is journalistic in character.
  • One of the really inspiring things about the art-school tradition is the commitment to experimentation and the refusal to compromise with commercial norms. Journalism could learn a lot from that.
  • One of the most profound changes of the digital era has been the opportunities for collaboration that have emerged, both with other journalists and the people we used to call ‘the audience’ (who can now be active participants in journalism). At the same time, the activity of publication, through blogging etc, has been radically simplified so that it no longer has to be collaborative. Personally, I tend to be a solitary, secretive and slightly paranoid worker: I’m consciously trying to be more collaborative
  • I’m planning an event next year on the relationship between journalism, art and technology with Google and, I hope, some interesting artists. I’m also getting interested in the role that plagiarism plays in journalism, which is probably a way of thinking about creativity by considering its opposite.
  • I don’t do much art but I did make a couple of letterpress pieces in LCC’s workshop recently that gave me a lot of pleasure.

Simon Hinde is the Programme Director of Journalism and Publishing at LCC.