Wanted: Magazine Writers with Great Panache

By Joy Tan Min Hui, Diploma in Mass Communication | Republic Polytechnic

Mr Andreas Winfrey has encountered many skeptics in his writing career. He encountered them when he joined Indonesia’s CLARA magazine right after journalism school at the age of 20. Three years later when he took the top job at the publication, Mr Winfrey had to confront those doubters again.

But Mr Winfrey said one of his best moments in his career thus far was to prove his critics wrong. “I do respect my seniors and all the writers that have been in this industry for a longer time,” he said. “Trying to hang on in this industry and journey even though there are a lot of people underestimating you, I think proving them wrong was my happiest moment.”

Mr Winfrey said his ambition to be in the magazine business began in elementary school. “I started and made my own magazine. I didn't know it was a magazine back then at that time. I kind of drew and then I wrote things and shared it with my classmates,” he added.

Knowing his interest and the impact magazines have on its readers, Mr Winfrey knew exactly what he wanted to pursue. He said: “I like the idea of being able to influence people. I have always wanted to inspire people. I think writing a magazine is my tool to do that.”

MANAGING CLARA: Andreas Winfrey talks about magazines around the ASEAN at All In! 2017

Mr Winfrey was speaking at a panel session on the second day of the All In! Young Writers’ Festival 2017. Held at *Scape, the session focused on magazine writing and the evolving markets in Asia.

Magazine editor Darren Ho, who was also on the panel, said change was inevitable in the publishing industry.

“When we first started this magazine, we had this concept of what we thought it would be,” said Mr Ho, who is a founding member of men’s lifestyle magazine Augustman. “It has changed over the years, many times, it is changing again this year. Any magazine, any brand, needs to be freshened from time to time.”

When asked for his advice to aspiring writers, Mr Winfrey said: “Many aspiring writers are too focused on developing their writing skills when actually having a good personality and attitude in this industry is very important.”

But beyond the hard work, magazine editor Darren Ho wants writers to “experience life in all its different forms”. “It gives you the ability to have the opinion that I’m looking for (in a writer),” he said.