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Journalist Spotlight | Interview with Shannon Jenkins, Editor at frankie

13 March, 2024

This week, Medianet is joined by Editor of frankie magazine, Shannon Jenkins. Shannon shares her insight on the different practices and strategies needed for print vs digital media, her own history reading the publication she now heads and what she has accomplished in her career thus far. 


ShannonJenkinsCould you tell me a bit about your start in journalism and how you came to be the editor of frankie?

In Year 10, I did two weeks of hands-on work experience at the local newspaper in my hometown, Broken Hill. I loved writing news stories, so after high school, I made the big move to Melbourne to study journalism at La Trobe University. I got some great experience by writing and editing for the journalism department’s news website, Upstart. 

After graduating in 2018, I got my first real journo job as a reporter for The Mandarin – an online publication aimed at Australian public servants. I was there for about two years. Then in September 2021, I became the digital editor and assistant editor at frankie.

Going from writing hard news every day to working at an art and fashion mag was a huge change, but I’d been reading frankie since I was 17, so it was my dream role. In April 2023, our amazing frankie editor Emma Do left the mag and passed the big job down to me.


What do you think are the biggest influences for the resurgence of print mags? Is this a fad driven by younger people that will, like all trends, fall to the wayside, or is print here to stay?

I think a lot of people – including young people – still value the experience of being able to hold a magazine in their hands. Everyone needs a break from all the screens every now and then, and searching for top-notch content online can be exhausting. In a way, it’s less of a mental strain to pick up an aesthetically-pleasing print mag rather than scouring the internet for inspiration. 

In the case of frankie, our unique cover art also makes it a bit of a collectible item – something that you can display in your home. I’d be lying if I said the print industry wasn’t struggling, but I think there will always be people out there who want that tangible experience.


What are some misconceptions, or how have perceptions changed, regarding entertainment and lifestyle publications like frankie?

One major misconception is that we are a big team. We’re not! There are only five full-time staff members at frankie, and four part-time staffers. So, putting together this beautiful mag every two months is a massive task. It’s not glamorous, but it is super-rewarding, and we couldn’t do it without our amazing community of freelancers. I’m sure that it’s the same for many other Aussie publications. 

On perceptions, magazines definitely used to be viewed as leaders in trends. The online world makes that impossible these days, so I think magazines are now seen as avenues for carefully curated, timeless content that can be inspiring and relaxing to consume.


You’ve mentioned that the articles in older issues of frankie remain relevant and contemporary. Is there a difference between the editorial/curatorial process when it comes to print vs online?

Absolutely. For print, we aim to produce stories that will inspire people to think, make, do or be. That means showcasing the clever, talented folks from across the country (and the world) who our readers might not know about yet. It could also mean putting together a beautiful fashion photoshoot that will stand the test of time, or publishing a silly, ranty personal essay that will make folks giggle every time they re-read it. It’s more of an in-depth experience. 

For online, it’s more about curating interesting artworks, products, and quirky little stories that people can look at when they feel like a quick scroll online. That’s not to say that online content isn’t as valuable – sometimes you just don’t feel like reading a 128-page mag, no matter how thought-provoking and eye-pleasing its pages may be.


Part of what makes magazines unique is the influence of the editors during their time at the helm. How is frankie different under your direction and what legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I’m keen to evolve the brand so that it remains relevant in this fast-paced digital world. However, as a long-time frankie reader myself, I understand how important it is that we stay true to our roots. My main priority is showcasing local talent – Australia has a huge community of creatives who deserve recognition. It’s also frankie’s 20th anniversary this year, so it’s kind of the perfect time to celebrate that community. 

In terms of my legacy, all I can hope for is that people will be able to pick up their old copies of frankie in 20 years’ time and still think, “Hey, that was a bloody good read”.


You’ve been at the head of two publications thus far. What else do you hope to achieve in terms of your writing and journalism career?

Oof, this question is gonna give me an existential crisis! 

Look, I’m only 27, so I’ve got a lot of learning and growing to do, and I want to make frankie the best it can possibly be during my time here. I’m probably going to be working for another 40 years, so as long as I’m proud of what I’m doing, I’ll be happy. I dreamed of being an author when I was a kid so maybe there’ll be a book somewhere along the line? 

Don’t make me think about it too much, please, or I might implode!


And lastly, what do you look for in content pitching/submissions?

A clear subject line that is straight to the point. Same goes for the body copy. If we don’t know what you’re pitching by the second paragraph, then we probably won’t get through the whole email (because we get a lot of them!). 

Also, if you’re pitching something that has a visual element, please attach an image so we can see it right there. Links to your online portfolio are also essential. 

Lastly, make sure that what you’re pitching is the kind of content we cover. If it’s creative, fun, inspiring or curious, then it’s probably for us!

Medianet is the ultimate PR platform connecting you with media contacts and outlets to get your story told.

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