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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   September 1999  issue

Trading Places   

Jane magazine throws a contest to allow winning readers to switch jobs with its editor in chief, Jane Pratt.


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      


Jane magazine makes reader participation a little more direct: The 10-times-a-year women's mag throws a contest to switch jobs with its editor in chief, Jane Pratt . The Jane Exchange's lucky winners, cousins Jenny Traig and Peter McGrath of San Francisco, get to hold court in the New York offices for about a week, while Pratt takes turns for a day as a researcher for a clothing manufacturer (Jenny's day job) and an office manager for an environmental organization (Peter's gig). Senior Writer/Editor Suzan Colón , the source of the idea, says the clincher for the winners was how they described Jane: "What we love about Jane is that among women's magazines, it is metaphorically the one that pees with the door open," they wrote. "These people are genuises," says Colón. Contestants were supposed to critique Jane's letter from the editor, but the winners instead created their own version, as if they were already editing the magazine. At least there are two of them to do one brand-new job, though Pratt's duties don't sound too hard. Traig and McGrath made up a sample schedule for Pratt's days, Colón says, which includes such responsibilities as, "8 a.m., call in sick...11 a.m., smoke, second glass of sherry."