Nene King: The Good, The Bad And WTF

It’s an unusually warm spring day in Melbourne when I make my way to Southbank to have lunch with Nene King at VECCI’s Women in Business luncheon.

“I wonder what she thinks of”, I hear myself say.

Launching a publication is no easy feat. Personally, it has been a long, hard road. The idea around came to me in 2002 when I worked in the media, devouring various business publications as part of my job.

And boy, did those things bore the bejesus out of me!

So I went to work conceptualizing a publication that speaks to women in a personal way. One that empowers women to take control of their business, career, relationships, health and money – basically their lives – without going all “professional”, intimidating and bloody boring.

The idea finally took shape in January 2012 and the rest, as they say, is a lot of hard work, little sleep and lots of hustling.

The publication is growing fast and I need any help I can get so what better way than to learn from the queen of the mag herself.

Nene King.

The theatrical, self-confessed show-off who took Woman’s Day to no. 1 at a time when magazines wielded so much power and influence, it was every woman’s staple news (read: gossip) diet.

Armed with an audio-recording app on my iPhone, a KikkiK leather-bound notepad and a Sony digital camera with optical zoom, I come to learn specific strategies and tactics Nene used to achieve phenomenal success with Woman’s Day.

But I don’t get that.

“I hate to tell you, I lurched from day to day. If you’re waiting for a deep and meaningful strategy, forget it”, she says.

So I put away my KikkiK leather-bound notepad, turn off my audio-recording and just go with the flow.

“I can talk about two things: myself and magazines”, she proclaims.

Nene does not disappoint because I get so much more. Her story and her journey: the good, the bad and WTF.

“I did not yell and scream at Kerry Packer. I didn’t need to because I was making him lots of money he thought the sun shone out of me”, Nene clarifies the hostile relationship portrayed in the mini series Paper Giants: Magazine Wars.

Happy to admit she knows nothing about the bottom line, Nene knows what she does have: an instinct for news.

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Robelen Bajar

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