How did you get into the publishing industry?
I graduated from college with a major in English and a minor in Journalism. Journalism jobs were very tight in the post-Watergate boom. The news business was hot. But I needed a job, so I went to work for the federal government, testing commodities in a laboratory at the General Services Administration. A very odd job, complete with a white lab coat and officious clipboard. It was a function I was ill equipped to perform. After almost a year I realized it wasn't for me and began pitching every newspaper, radio and TV station I could find in the New York area. After writing a few stories in local community papers, Fairchild Publications invited me in for an interview. At the time, Fairchild was one of the few organizations willing to take a chance on an inexperienced idealist. They offered me 12k a year and since I had been making 8k with the Feds, I thought I'd stolen the Brink's truck. I was offered an entry level reporting job writing up the earnings of public companies and reading the Dow Jones wire. I knew nothing about business…earnings, sales, net, gross, earnings per share, etc…These things were all a mystery to me but I had great teachers and I learned fast. I was highly motivated because I didn't want to go back to the laboratory. And I found business journalism fascinating because of the tension between big money factions and creative, outsized personalities.
Guest Question: How has the WWD brand evolved with the evolution of street style blogs and stay ahead in such a saturated market?
Ironically, WWD invented street photography decades ago, long before bloggers and digital saturation. Even before photography, the paper would sketch fashionable women on the street under the banner, They Are Wearing (TAW), which was copyrighted in 1924. We hadn't been all that active with it in the 90s and would weigh in when we found a compelling event or trend…Bill Cunningham, arguably the greatest living fashion journalist (and a WWD alumnus), pretty much had street style photography to himself for a long time. Now his spawn are everywhere. As digital exploded the genre, we realized we'd basically invented it and went back to our roots, stepping up our own coverage under the TAW banner. Now we produce TAWs once a week, each from a different international city and they're among the highest trafficked features on WWD.COM. We like to think the paper's editors bring a certain expertise to street style, which often distinguishes us from a typical blogger who might not have the journalistic eye or style filter.
What are the difficulties you've encountered making the shift from print to digital? Greatest successes?
The biggest challenge and difficulty from an editorial standpoint has been the true emergence of 24/7 journalism. WWD gathers information globally so news is happening somewhere all the time. In the past those cycles were managed around the daily print schedule. For digital, there is no schedule. That becomes a significant strength in that digital flattens out all the distribution costs associated with the daily physical paper, which makes dramatically expanded global readership an inevitability. Interestingly, the physical paper is increasingly viewed by our subscribers as a prestige play, fixed in time, and a collective reader experience. Everyone is seeing the stories curated in the same context. But one of our most gratifying successes has been the paid content model for WWD.COM. We were among to first to initiate a pay wall based on the niched, focused and self-generated nature of our content. And it's been a significant growth vehicle, despite the early naysayers.
What is it like being a male in a women-dominated industry?
It's funny but there are an awful lot of men in the women's business. I've never felt particularly out of place, although it is peculiar sometimes explaining what I do for a living to people outside the industry. The so-called "civilians" have generally heard of WWD but they don't read it or really understand what we do. We're really a very traditional newspaper, with classical journalistic values covering a giant, influential industry. Get the story first. Be fair. Be accurate. It's not about you, the reporter or the editor. It's about the reader. And ultimately, the story. But given the exotic nature of the fashion business, with its eccentric big-money personalities and red carpet excess, those values are sometimes hard to explain to someone who doesn't read us. So for the uninitiated I'm the guy who edits a newspaper about dresses for a living. So be it.
Who and/or what inspires you to be the best?
I'm inspired by my tireless colleagues who day after day overcome snowstorms, hurricanes, tragedies, natural disasters, feverish cross-channel competition, and an unstable and shifting media landscape. The same core group gets their stories out no matter what and I'm continually inspired by that.
What advice do you have for the next generation of editors?
My advice for the next generation of editors would be to stay as current as possible with new communication and distribution platforms but never lose sight of your core ethics. Sound, credible journalism with an unshakable core of integrity will win out in the end over the solipsism that permeates much of the new media. Do your own legwork and don't try to piggyback on someone else's labor. Even though an "aggregation" model might seem low-cost and comprehensive, there's no substitute for original journalism. Especially if you're driven by the one quality essential to any great editor or reporter: curiosity. Why would you want to ride someone else's wave? Do the story yourself. And don't lose sight of the fact that print is still alive and, in my opinion, has a distinct future that plays to fixity, context and editorial judgment.
Guest Question: What is your opinion on high-end brands adopting the mass-market trend of untouched photograph campaigns?
Personally, I think retouching is out-of-control in all forms of photography. Forget the complaint that retouching sets up unrealistic physical standards for impressionable readers…retouched models look like balloon dolls. Not people. I'm not saying if someone has a boil on the end of their nose that the editors shouldn't help them out a little bit, but it's gone way too far and taken the realism out of photography. And real imagery is almost always more interesting than bland, fake, overly fabricated perfection. Reportage over manipulation any day, especially in photography.
What literature is on your bed stand?
My nightstand reading is a spinning rotation. Currently I'm reading Jim Harrison's "Brown Dog;" Wallace Stevens "The Palm at the End of the Mind;" Bruno Schultz's "Street of Crocodiles"; Reed Whittemore's "The Boy from Iowa" and John Ashbery's "French Translations". And countless newspapers and magazines.
Top 5 up-and-coming designers to focus on are...
There are really no "Top Five" young designers. We keep our eye on all kinds of designers all the time. Some of the newer ones we think have real staying power include Public School, Christopher Kane, Joseph Altuzarra, Creatures of the Wind and Tim Coppens. But, as I say, we're seeing newcomers all the time who are creative and worth watching.
What's next for WWD?
What's next for WWD, besides tomorrow's issue or the next update on WWD.COM? Ultimately, flat-world global readership and news gathering. A story about Selfridge's in London or Lane Crawford in Hong Kong will have the same importance and resonance as a story about Saks or Macy's. We're also dedicated to continue innovation in methods of communication and distribution in print and digital media, as well as events that bring the industry's top thinkers together to exchange ideas.
Guest questions by Brigitte Berman:
Brigitte Berman has reached over six million people through her professional speaking around the world. At 14 she wrote the book Dorie Witt: A Guide to Surviving Bullies, which has ben incorporated in over 60 school curricula. She helped pass anti-bulling legislation in Massachusetts and went on to become the youngest person to complete a NASA mission. Brigitte currently lobbies for anti-bullying reform in congress as well as speaking at conferences and schools about respect and tolerance. She is a U by Kotex Generation Know Ambassador and a strong supporter of the Anti-Defamation League. Brigitte is finishing her second book, A Blacklisted Body, and directing two, self-written, short films, which she looks forward to screening in the coming year.
Edward Nardoza has been Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) since 1991. Prior toWWD, he was Editor of Daily News Record, a business/fashion publication for the menswear industry. Mr. Nardoza joined Fairchild in 1978 as a general assignment reporter for Footwear News.
At WWD, Mr. Nardoza has expanded the paper’s international coverage, marketing, media, financial and technology beats, and has steered its reporting into varied distribution channels. During his tenure, the paper has launched new publications and special editions, including WWD The Collections, WWD Accessory and WWD Beauty Inc.
In 2008, WWD relaunched its website, WWD.com, with a paid-circulation, 24/7 news model. The site won Media Industry Newsletter’s 2009 “Best of the Web” award for design.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Nardoza is married with two children. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in English.