Why Q & As don’t work

Why Q & As don’t work: Last week, I heard a legendary magazine editor say he was not a big fan of the Q&A format. After reading this Q&A on mediabistro.com with Allison Arieff, editor-in-chief of Dwell Magazine, I concur with the opinion of the legendary editor: the Q&A is rarely executed with skill. As this example displays, the Qs need to be intelligent and insightful, rather than (as in this case) bland and predictable. Worse, yet, is when the Qs display display little preparation or research. For example, the interviewer here displays little awareness that San Franscisco has a rich magazine history and once even served as home of a Time Inc. new title skunk works. Also, the whole line of questioning about how a shelter/design title can be edited outside of New York fails to take into consideration that Des Moines, Iowa, and Birmingham, Ala., are the homes of shelter books with larger circulations and revenue streams than any such book published in New York. Bottom line: It’s better to keep your questions to yourself than to reprint them and, well, what Mark Twain said. By the way, what Allison says in her As is worth reading.