Media, Darling: Maggie Wrobel

Maggie started at the Globe and Mail in 2005 as a copy-editing intern
on the night News desk.

She was also part of the team that launched Globe Life (the
paper’s daily lifestyle section) in 2007. She worked as the production editor in the Style section for
five years before moving to her current position as assistant Arts
editor in the newly merged Life & Arts section in March of last year. In her current role she assigns and edits Arts stories both
short and long, with a particular eye to popular culture and music.

Image source: Maggie Wrobel

Twitter: @maggiewrobel

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what
other careers were on the horizon?
In grade six, I wanted to work for the United Nations. By
the end of university, I was getting set to move to Africa and work for a
non-profit. But I’d always loved reading and writing, and spent several years
as a writer and editor at my university paper (UWO’s The Gazette).
 So, when I landed a summer copy-editing
internship at The Globe and Mail, I jumped on it. Eight years later, here I
still am.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
In the audience for Saturday Night Live‘s 43rd
anniversary special.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t pretend you know what someone is talking about when
you don’t. I don’t believe in ‘fake it till you make it.’ I think asking
questions is important – it shows you’re curious and willing to learn. I’d pick
genuine enthusiasm over bravado any day. That said: read. Read everything. And
then read some more.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
The New York Times and New York Magazine are both leaders
in our field and offer much inspiration, especially in the ways in which
they’ve embraced digital content. is a must-visit every morning, offering PDFs
of front pages from all over the world, and always leads to much surfing.

And I admit it surprised me, but Twitter has a great
rhythm for daily news, both high and low-brow.
Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
I had a lovely interview last year with Laura and Kate
Mulleavy, the visionary sister act behind Rodarte. They were gracious,
interesting and genuinely down-to-earth.
As for bad interviews, they do happen, and for many
different reasons. But there’s always a way to make a story great. You just
have to find it.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was a young, eager up-and-comer, a colleague (now
friend) once told me she noticed I nodded a lot in meetings. I thought about
it, and she was right.
 I was trying to
seem encouraging and enthusiastic, but quickly realized that having a bit of a
poker face can actually be much more effective sometimes.
 Staying aware of your body sounds like a
silly thing, but the way you are perceived – even physically – can have a huge
effect on your career.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Always, always be kind. It can be hard to put yourself
into other people’s shoes, but it is essential to at least try.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know who you’re pitching to and what they do. Read
mastheads, stay on top of Twitter and, if you still don’t know, ASK. You’d be
shocked how many people still think I’m the travel editor, a post I held for
less than two months more than four years ago. (For the record, the Globe’s
real travel editor is Domini Clark, who gives the world’s best advice on
everything from banking to, ahem, body language in meetings.)
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Anyone who gets me what I need on deadline becomes that
day’s hero.
I hate?
Short-sightedness and pasta salad.
I love?
My job!
Also: the J. Crew catalogue, BarreWorks (the only
happy-making gym in the world), Moleskins, brunch and watching the tiny
inflatable Raptor bounce at Raptors games.
Best place on earth?
A diner on Saturday with a stack of pancakes and a new
Dinner guest?
J.D. Salinger! I’d probably nod a lot.
I am lucky to have many. My mom is the strongest woman I
know and my dad the nicest man. My friend Lori Mastronardi is an amazing
wordsmith and has the incredible ability to always see the good in people and
situations. I also get a lot of strength and inspiration from hip-hop, be it
coming-up stories like Kendrick Lamar’s or the unapologetically upper-class
rhymes on Watch the Throne.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these
 I make a mean playlist. My day would not be the same
without Rdio for BlackBerry.
Pool or ocean?
Both, preferably within walking distance of each other.
Voicemail or email?
 Email. Or lunch.
Theatre show or cultural event you’re most looking
forward to this year?
The Arts & Crafts’ Field Trip has all the makings of a
killer time. Can’t wait. (Ed. note: we agree!)

Media, Darling: Laura Serra

We’re so excited to have Laura Serra On The Fourth Floor as our Media, Darling today.

I am the mother of the most beautiful tawny, green-eyed Chihuahua named Chloe. For work, I cover parties for the Globe and Mail (@GlobeParties) so be nice to me or I’ll put an unflattering photo of you in the paper or, God forbid, not feature your photo at all (just kidding :P). 

I’m also the Head Mistress, Whip-Cracker and Founder of Paws for the Cause (@pawsforthecause) – we dress up dogs and throw fun parties to raise money for sick animals. By “we” I mean the Paws committee, which is made up of my closest friends and respected colleagues, who also happen to be the smartest, prettiest, coolest people on the planet. This year, WE established a Paws for the Cause scholarship at the University of Guelph for a vet student and this is my most prized life accomplishment to date. 

Twitter: @lauraserra

What was your favourite class in high school? Why?

English Literature. Everyone in my family is an English major and my mom is even a high school English teacher so I probably didn’t have a choice. I like words more than numbers. I’m also excellent at bullshitting so essay writing came naturally.

How did you get your start?
A few years ago, an extremely wise woman named Sue Grimbly let me cover a party for The Globe and Mail. Pretty soon my uncanny ability to drink mediocre red wine and generate small talk was undeniable.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Crying, obviously. Or, probably having inappropriate relations with a bearded 20-something student as a professor of modernist literature at a B-class university.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
I don’t even know the password to my work voicemail.

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?

Writing emails more than one paragraph long.

Hiding the time and date of an event at the bottom of the email.

Sending emails more than 1MB in size.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset – I usually fall asleep just before sunrise.

I wear Chanel Bleu for men but my favourite scent to smell on a man is Gucci Pour Homme.

I’m savoury over sweet but if I have to, I choose regular ol’ chocolate chip.

Pale pink peonies.

Only on my right hip bone.

Shower or bath?

Usually bath then shower – relax, then wash hair. I know, I know, water usage, blah blah blah.

Les Invasions Barbares is my go-to answer for the favourite film question and yes, of course, I’m a cliché and love Wes Anderson stuff. What you don’t know is that my guilty pleasure movie is Fever Pitch because I love Jimmy Fallon and I love the Boston Red Sox stories about the curse of the bambino and the bloody sock. But mostly, I love it when Jimmy Fallon’s character says to Drew Barrymore’s, “You do this thing… it’s so cute, I wanna kill myself.”

This guy on Twitter who I’ve never met, one of my ex-boyfriends, Ryan Gosling and Fabrizio Moretti.

First job?
Cashier at Shoppers Drug Mart when I was in Grade 9. God, I loved being a cashier and I was so good at it! I still remember the code for an in-store bottled water special – 1042876493.

The usual suspects: art, photography and fashion. But also: my parents, a good conversation, surprises, and love. I had trouble answering this question so I asked my friend Maggie, who knows me better than I do, and she said, “Fashion, Chloe and your friends.” So, I guess I’m on the right track.