The Monday Media Diet with Casey Lewis

On Gen Z, Media Star, and teen magazines

Casey Lewis (CL) is a friend of WITI. She just wrapped up a good run at NY Mag’s The Strategist, and is working on new projects. She also publishes an essential Gen Z newsletter called After School. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I'm an editor and "content person," mostly. I've worked at Teen Vogue, MTV, and most recently New York Magazine's e-commerce vertical The Strategist. I also started a media company for teen girls called Clover Letter (which doesn't exist anymore). These days, I'm consulting full-time. I send a newsletter every afternoon called After School. It's a link roundup of youth culture news -- a little tech, a little marketing, a little retail. I've always been obsessed with youth culture (a fact about me: I had a blog and was on a SXSW panel in 2006 about Very Online Teens when I was a Very Online Teen). And I run an Instagram account about teen magazines called @thankyouatoosa

Describe your media diet. 

The first thing I look at every morning is Media Star, which comes at 6 a.m. sharp and delivers all the media gossip my little former journalism student heart could ever want. I also read Public Announcement’s newsletter every morning. Then I scroll through my Feedly, which is perfectly fine, but I continue to miss Google Reader. I skim everything: Hypebeast, Dazed, Vogue, Vice, Glossy, i-D, Paper. I read most everything published on The Cut. I love Gossamer's emails, and I'm a big fan of Kim France's blog Girls of a Certain Age even though I'm not yet of a certain age. I read at least some of the New York Times most days, but especially Sundays. As far as print publications go, I'm at a point where I could take it or leave it (though I have like 300 teen magazines, which I still love). I'm still loyal to print books though. I've never used a Kindle, and I'm not into audiobooks. I go through phases with podcasts. Last spring, I loved taking meandering walks while listening to pre-pandemic podcasts from when things were normal. These days, I'm taking fewer meandering walks and spending so much more time actually doing stuff that my podcast consumption is down. 

What’s the last great book you read?

I recently reread Goodbye Vietnam by Rachel Khong and was reminded of what a perfect little book it is. I would read anything by Rachel (her piece on pickleball for the Strategist, for example, is outstanding). 

What are you reading now?

This summer, I was in my hometown in rural Missouri and my mom and I were swapping novels almost weekly. Then I got back to New York, and I have hardly touched a book since. I've had How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell on my nightstand for two years and I still haven't moved past chapter two, which says a lot about a lot, I think. That's a long way of saying I'm not really reading anything right now, but I aspire to read books soon. I have a few in my stack ready to go: Transit by Rachel Cusk and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (which was swiped from my mom).

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I don't have a single print subscription. When I was growing up, I was really madly in love with teen magazines and I would read each issue from cover to cover. I'd literally memorize the words. Coming home from school and finding a new magazine in the mail -- there was nothing like it. I subscribed to every single one out there: Seventeen, Teen, Teen Vogue, Teen People, Elle Girl, Cosmogirl, YM, Jump. Now no one is cranking out a teen monthly (Teen Vogue and Seventeen still exist, but not like they used to). 

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

 There are a handful of newsletters that bring me great joy: Gossip Time by Allie Jones and Sifted, a food Substack (foodStack?) by two ex-Great Joners. Buy Bitch! and Okay Zoomer is also great. I love getting Claire and Erica's A Thing or Two newsletters and I read every Lean Luxe email the second I get it.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

This is not technically non-famous, and it's probably going to sound like an ad, but Shopify has a consumer-facing app called Shop that I think (maybe?) most people don't know about it and it's great for tracking purchases and deliveries. I love online shopping, a little too much, really, and it's extremely satisfying to me to track my packages. The app also recommends products you may like, and it's pretty dead-on for me. I'm a real nerd about social commerce. I wholeheartedly believe that the stuff we buy is so much more than just stuff; it says so much about us! This app doesn't solve that, but someone really should. Some of us share our purchases on Instagram, of course, but I want an all-in-one app with product recs, reviews, sale notifications, etc. 

Plane or train?

Love both. I get very carsick, and neither plane nor train inspire that kind of reaction in me. As long as I have a window seat, I'm good. 

What is one place everyone should visit? 

Coming out of Covid, I think everyone should go everywhere, any chance they get. More specifically, though: My brother has lived in Portland Maine for years, and there have been moments where I've seriously considered moving there (those moments were not in the winter). It's not exactly a hidden gem, but there's a reason why people flock there. The beaches! The hiking! The beer! A one-hour flight from NYC! It's all so great.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

When I was a college student at the University of Missouri, I absolutely devoured New York media gossip. It was extremely uncool of me. I was a college student! Why was I reading about Julia Allison and Dennis Crowley when I could have been doing keg-stands at parties? Anyway, I recently found myself on, like, page 12 of Julia Allison-tagged stories on Gawker, which then inspired me to look up JA's short-lived blogging empire NonSociety. 2005 was a weird time on the internet. Remember Imaginary Socialite? (CL)

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Casey (CL)

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