The Insider: Elizabeth Spiers
We’re willing to bet that Elizabeth Spiers is responsible for at least one of your must-reads. A founding editor of Gawker, the whip-smart New Yorker has helped launch, among others, Fashionista, Flavorwire, and Crushable, and she was one of the very first supporters of this little site, Of a Kind. Here, she talks about her
current nearly over editor-in-chiefship at The New York Observer and what she looks for in a statement necklace. —jiayi
Q: Did you intend to get into journalism?
A: No. I fell backwards into it. When we did Gawker, I was working in finance. Then I heard that Gawker was going to be a full-time job—or a business, really, not just a hobby—so it ended up turning into a job for me.
Q: You’ve been working in the publishing industry for a long time now. How do you feel about the digital landscape changing journalism?
A: I don’t feel like it’s changing it that much because you’re still reporting and conducting your journalistic activities in the same way. What I do think happens is that if you want to be a reporter, the internet is probably the best thing that’s happened to you—it allows you to break stories as you get them, and you’re not really tied to the publication schedule. The internet offers a lot more reads, too. With a print newspaper, if we want to scale up the number of subscribers, we have to increase what’s called the rate base, which means, “How many copies are we printing and how are we distributing it?” With the web, you don’t really have to worry about that.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like things that are very tailored, but with a little punk accent. I have a necklace that’s beaded and has neon threading through it, but it also has bullet casings on it. I like things that have a little edge.
Q: Do you have any favorite up-and-coming designers?
A: Very early on, Claire and Erica had an Of a Kind edition by Lizzie Fortunato Jewels. I love their stuff.
Q: What are some of your favorite places to shop?
A: There’s a little store on Bleecker called Sucre that I really like. They have some clothes, but it’s mostly a jewelry store. The woman who runs it has a good eye for stuff that’s unusual and a little bit difficult to source.
Q: What would be your advice for up-and-coming journalists?
A: You have to figure out a way to get your work out there. I think the web is a great space for that. If you have time to start a blog, you should. It builds up a readership, and it differentiates you from other people who are just sending in resumes with random clips. If you want to write about something specific, what you should do is to assign yourself articles and just write them. If you come in to interview with me and tell me you want to write about fashion but all you’ve been doing so far is covering community board meetings, I have no way of knowing if you’re capable of doing that. There’s no reason why you can’t start a blog and do that sort of thing yourself because then you can demonstrate that you’re capable of doing it.