ATLANTA – I really hate when journalists use adjectives just to fill space.
Stuck here at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta awaiting a flight back to New York after spending the weekend covering FOX Fan day at Six Flags Over Georgia (search), I’m forced to watch CNN, where I just learned that singer Avril Lavigne’s first album sold “a whopping 14 million copies.”
Why can’t Lavigne have simply sold 14 million copies?
It’s got to be “whopping.” I think it’s safe to say that 14 million copies is pretty high up there, wouldn’t you?
But thanks to the reporter, we now know that 14 million qualifies as "whopping." Whew.
It’s akin to "Today" show co-host Katie Couric (search) introducing her recent guest Donny Deutsch by saying he was the host of the “highly rated ‘Big Idea with Donny Deutsch’ on CNBC.”
But I do understand what she was doing. She was qualifying Deutsch’s show with some kind of adjective, just to have something to say.
For journalists, the state of just being is never enough. We have to add our own stylistic lingo to the deal. That’s why Deutsch’s show is “highly rated” and Lavigne’s CD sales are “whopping,” and above, I wrote “pretty high up there,” when just “high up there” would have sufficed. What’s so pretty about it?
But every once in a while you meet people who just get it.
Last week I interviewed Janice Min (search), the editor in chief of Us Weekly. Now forget what you know about the celebrity magazine. No matter what you think of journalism that's all Hollywood, all the time, the job of being the top editor of such a publication is, to quote Jerry Maguire, “a day in, day out, mind-numbing, pride-swallowing siege.”
Min is reportedly pulling in over $1 million a year, and I know what you’re thinking: “For that kind of money you might endure the siege.”
Well, yes, I concur.
However, Min is not only an accomplished editor who is simultaneously smart and nice to boot — a rarity in the world of celebrity journalism — she’s also a mother and a wife. That balancing act for a woman in the world of big media is monumental.
I admire her.
Under her tenure, Us Weekly’s circulation has ballooned to 1.7 million per week. That’s not a small feat at all, considering people actually have to pay for the content, as opposed to just clicking a link online.
“It’s all about the blurb,” says Min. “You can have the best pictures and the best stories inside the pages, but if people don’t like the cover they’ll never see them.
"We are aware that the women who buy our magazine are in a rush, they’re at the grocery store or newsstand and only have about two seconds to decide if they want to buy your magazine,” she says.
Some of those blurbs include “It’s a girl,” with accompanying pics of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and "Cojo needs a kidney. Again,” referring to celebrity stylist Steven Cojocaru and his body's rejection of a recent kidney transplant.
Min is also widely respected by her staff, because they know she’s one of them.
She worked up through the ranks just like anybody else who doesn’t have a family friend in the magazine business or other well-placed connections.
“I run a strict meritocracy at the magazine,” she says. “Nobody gets ahead without hard work. One of the things that turn me off is people who aspire to having a title, but are not willing to put in the work.”
Hear, hear! No Grrr! there. Min’s The Real Deal.
So I spent the weekend in Atlanta covering FOX Fan day at Six Flags Over Georgia for FOX Magazine, The Real Deal and FOXFan.com.
Thankfully, most of the shoot was located around Skull Mountain, Six Flags’ water park. The temperature in Atlanta was north of the 100-degree mark for most of the weekend. Now I know why they call it “Hot-Lanta.”
"FOX & Friends Weekend" co-hosts Juliet Huddy, Mike Jerrick and Julian Phillips were on hand to meet some fans and sign autographs at the Pavilion.
Huddy is my hero, and, she’s The Real Deal, too.
She readily handled the heat, the live shots and even the “Sky Coaster,” a contraption that hoists brave souls sky high and then drops them in a free fall before swinging them up and over the park, and then back again.
Not only did Huddy do this for a run-through, she did it again live on "FOX News Live."
The chemistry between Juliet, Mike and Julian can’t be faked. It’s no wonder they're dominating morning cable news on weekends.
Tune in to FOX Magazine this Sunday and also The Real Deal this Friday to see how it all went down. To find out when and where the FOX Fan patrol will hit next, visit FOXFan.com.
As for me, I’m off to Boston tonight to do a behind-the-scenes feature at the Rolling Stones' tour. How cool is that?
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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for FOXNews.com, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on FOXNews.com.