Lauren Zalaznick’s latest journey In Curating life As She Sees It

the former NBCUniversal exec, who reinvented Bravo, has a new challenge: the LZ Sunday Paper, a newsletter for and about girls making an impression.

April 8, 2015

On a contemporary weekday morning, Lauren Zalaznick used to be sitting at a desk at the Tower Bar in West Hollywood staring closely at her smartphone. She wasn’t checking electronic mail; she was digging for news for her weekly e-newsletter, the LZ Sunday Paper, a e-newsletter for and about women making waves in industry and entertainment.

Lauren Zalaznickpicture: Adam Olszewski, courtesy of NBC universal

The deeply influential former NBCUniversal govt—the pressure at the back of such cultural game-changers as project Runway and prime Chef—has been publishing the LZ Sunday Paper for a year now, becoming a member of the ranks of individuals like Jason Hirschhorn, who created the popular REDEF e-brief about all issues tech and media; and Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, the women in the back of the sassily bundled information digest TheSkimm. in contrast to these entrepreneurs, however, Zalaznick does not see the LZ Sunday Paper as a industry. while the e-newsletter, which used to be firstly simply sent to chums and colleagues, has grown into “many hundreds” of subscribers, Zalaznick says it remains very so much a passion. Granted, it can be a passion that takes up most of her waking hours.

considering leaving NBCUniversal in 2013—where she dramatically refashioned Bravo into a success-generating community and cultural touchstone for young, hip viewers, and later oversaw the conglomerate’s digital technique—Zalaznick has filled up her calendar with board seats (Shazam, Penguin-Random home) and advisory gigs (Refinery29, Greycroft partners). but she spends most of her time sitting at her dwelling place of job in new york, sifting through the internet.

“it is only me at my desk, crazily pulling hyperlinks into this giant email repository per week,” says Zalaznick, who’s wearing a stylishly low-key black top and pants. “All week lengthy, i am literally emailing issues to myself as I see them. Or i’ve tons of issues ripped out of newspapers and magazines in a folder that then i am going and to find the hyperlink to and ship it to myself. but literally, they’re, like, ripped . . . things.” She rolls her eyes. “it’s silly.”

the method in the back of the LZ Sunday Paper could also be antiquated, or as a minimum rudimentary—she openly complains about her frustrations with the email service MailChimp—however its purpose is, like Zalaznick herself, a bit of headier. A lifelong pupil-cut back-expert-shrink-suggest of ladies’s considerations and how they get played out throughout the tradition, the newsletter advertises itself as “some of the Most vital news About ladies.” this means stories just like the Kleiner Perkins sexism case, the tech world’s gender imbalance, and a Slate profile of “feminist icon” Leslie Gore. for the reason that publication is printed handiest as soon as per week, Zalaznick would not seem to break the news. instead, she appears to be like for stories about these subjects which have, she says, “probably the most impression, cultural impact, non-public impact, context, completely different factors of view on the same subject.” (not that there aren’t the occasional calorie-free snackable gadgets, like a Mashable merchandise about Kim Kardashian going blonde and “finishing [Her] Transformation Into Harry Potter Wizard.”)

it’s good to name it required reading for a joint feminism and media research major. Or you need to call it a syllabus that successfully mixed excessive- and low-brow subject matter, in addition to extra- and not more-established outlets, as a way to paint an accurate portrait of the place issues stand today for one-half of the inhabitants. although if that makes it all sound in any respect dry or didactic, be reminded that Zalaznick as a curator is anything else however. The newsletter incorporates the heavy imprint of her trademark deadpan wit and whimsy—it is a one that regularly caps off phrases with an authoritative-sounding “ish,” and who, after expressing her meh emotions about 50 colours of grey, writes that she’s going to “continue to investigate my lack of interest and focal point on all things gray that I do experience. My hair. My mind cells. Most of my clothes.”

apparently, Zalaznick confesses to hating writing the personal, frequently humorous, observations that appear in the blog put up that precedes the links. “i do not like writing the top at all,” she says evidently. “i don’t like writing the weblog publish in any respect. it is actually unfun for me. it’s super unfun. i think like I shouldn’t have to do it, after which after I do not do it, or I do it much less, people say, ‘Oh, well that’s the one factor I want to learn, anyway!'”

the theory of a former excessive-profile entertainment government and movie producer (ahead of going corporate she produced kids and women town) unexpectedly dedicating herself to self-publishing a weekly e mail blast just for the hell of it will appear shocking, but in some ways the LZ Sunday Paper is an extension of what Zalaznick has been doing her complete life.

At Bravo, she brought a excessive-foreheadcontact to the low-brow fact style with displays like mission Runway and high Chef. And this is hardly her first exercise in cataloguing the arena so that you can make feel of it, the entire while holding a watchful eye on gender illustration. There used to be the yr she spent monitoring the big apple times‘s obituary pages, getting into the names of the deceased, their career, age, lead to of death, and gender, into an Excel spreadsheet. “I had a theory that it sounds as if although science said it was always approximately 50% male, 50% feminine, that for some reason most effective males were demise, consistent with the new York occasions,” she jokes. “And the only ladies who died have been flappers from the twenties and other halves of famous individuals and Princess Diana. which is the one people who died that yr, in step with the occasions.”

the subsequent 12 months, she did a equivalent study on the times‘s Op-Ed pages, discovering that “there used to be no longer a single humor piece by a woman—obviously, as a result of women don’t seem to be funny,” she says dryly. Zalaznick being Zalaznick, none of these tasks had been taken calmly. When she traveled out of the country, she would have her mom store a replica of the paper for her, caring that the global adaptation of the instances would have replica from the day earlier than and that it might “throw off my stats.”

subsequent up was the new York instances magazine—whose quilt she graced in 2008—which she examined to search out out many cover tales have been by and about girls (she was once one of the vital few). “That was once easy,” she says. “It used to be handiest fifty two weeks. It used to be an element-time job.”

the true origins, though, for the LZ Sunday Paper can also be traced again to NBCUniversal, where, as chair of leisure & Digital Networks, she oversaw Bravo, Oxygen, fashion, and Telemundo, as well as the digital residences DailyCandy and Fandango. to higher keep in mind female viewers who were increasingly distracted with the aid of smartphones and tablets and nonlinear entertainment options, and who “were gonna fall out of orbit if we saved announcing, ‘Watch this factor on this night time at the moment,'” Zalaznick helped begin a e-newsletter. referred to as women at NBCU, it was for somebody on the firm “who touched ladies’s content material,” as well as advertisers, companies, and producers.

“It was once a small checklist,” she says. “You knew each single individual on it. And it was once supposed to highlight one amazing analysis find out about we did. So it might link to the amazing research and have just a few issues about it that were straightforward nuggets of details about that one factor. women and their relationship to vehicles and the Detroit promoting market and what that supposed. That used to be a e-newsletter matter. A digital model can be girls in terms of this new thing which is emerging known as e-commerce. What’s that? after which there’d be a thing about how women use their units for e-commerce. It was once a spread of attention-grabbing issues about a subject matter.

“when I left, I truly used to be intrigued still, used to be very dedicated to doing a bit extra commentary and a bit of extra conversation about ladies in industry. Pure and simple. It used to be a intention.”

In a method, the LZ Sunday Paper has been Zalaznick’s own graduate route. no longer just in the warp-speed, digital news age, the place to post a publication as soon as a week feels “ridiculous,” she says, handiest 1/2-joking. (“that is like 10 years ago when magazines have been like, ‘No, no, we’re saving that for the cover.’ Oh. good enough. smartly, which is still me. i am waiting ’til Sunday.”) it can be a forced study of the subtle and now not-so-delicate inflections in how things are evolving both on the page and on the display for girls in this warp-speed age.

and how are they evolving? She points to male newshounds at PandoDaily—which was founded by way of a girl, Sarah Lacy—who are writing essential stories about sexual discrimination in Silicon Valley. and he or she calls a recent big apple instances A-1 that featured above-the-fold stories with the aid of and about women, together with a feminine-focused quilt photo, “a win” as well as “an interesting moment in time.”

That discovering ladies above the fold constitutes a “moment in time” suggests there’s nonetheless much work to be completed. but the free-for-all nature of lately’s information surroundings, where blogs are as avidly learn as the new York occasions, gives some hope. Discussing the up to date racist incident at an Oklahoma fraternity, which first changed into identified by way of a Twitter video, she says: “those tales are real tales. they’re one hundred% true, they usually’re getting surfaced in ways in which i think, on steadiness, are higher for the entire culture. Publishing the Pentagon Papers created plenty of issues—it’s Edward Snowden 50 years later—but in thought that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Zalaznick has no pretensions about her publication and how it figures into the larger media panorama—at one level she refers to it as “this teeny, one little factor”—nevertheless it’s clear that right now, or at the least this Sunday, it’s what she feels she’s intended to do.

[picture: Flickr user Remi]

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