Bonnie Fuller 2.0: On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re A Famous Magazine Editor!

Ms. Fuller’s vision with the site, she said, was “to use celebrity news as the entry point into women’s lives, to use it as a kind of a lens to talk about their relationships, and their diet issues, and their style and beauty issues, and their friendship issues, and their decisions about whether to have a family.” Articles tend to end with questions, inviting reader feedback.

In a sense, the concept behind “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” informs the entire site. Her audience, Ms. Fuller said, views celebrities “almost as their good friends.” She elaborated, “If they look at J.Lo’s issues with fertility and suddenly she has twins, it gives them hope that they could do that.”

The leveling effect works in reverse as well, turning the site’s writers into demi-celebrities. “I always felt very strongly that the reporters and editors, the writers, should also have name recognition on the site,” she said, noting that contributor photos are also prominently featured. “They should be a part of the circle of friends: just as we see celebrities as part of our circle of friends, we’re your friends.”

The writers seem to appreciate the attention. Chloe Melas, an entertainment reporter who has been at the site since its inception (she previously worked at CNN after her graduation from Alabama’s Auburn University), contributes news reports as well as a column, “Chloe Says.”

“I just want to be a very relatable girl,” Ms. Melas told The Observer. “I want to be our demographic. We have guys writing for the site, and Bonnie’s more the mother-of-four role. I’m a girl in my 20’s, out there dating and figuring stuff out.”

Ms. Melas noted that her duties extend far beyond blogging. “I wear many hats,” she said. “I have a lot of responsibilities and I really like it that way–you bite off as much as you can chew and then some!” She has a weekly on-air spot on Fox 5 news discussing celebrity goings-on and reports frequently at red-carpet events. “I love the adrenaline before I talk to a celebrity,” she said. “I’m jealous of myself!”

Her staffers’ challenge is considerable, Ms. Fuller said. “You have to do a lot more with a lot less,” she said. “It forces you to focus on the content and the celebrities and the areas of interest that your audience is the most obsessed with.”

As for her own celebrity obsessions, Ms. Fuller has none. “It’s who our audience is most interested in,” she said. “They’re very interested in Kristen [Stewart] and Rob [Pattinson], Twilight people, Taylor Lautner, Kim Kardashian, a lot of the reality show people, Kim particularly. Sometimes Khloé. They’re interested in her fertility struggle–her infertility struggle.”

The web has allowed Ms. Fuller instant feedback on which stories work, a luxury she didn’t enjoy as a print editor. Despite a reputation for keen instincts, “it was frustrating,” she said. Publishing a magazine is “a one-way conversation at all times. You’re always putting it out there!”

She added, “It’s hard to gauge because the audiences today are so of-the-moment–so A.D.D.–that three months later, they forgot what they were interested in three months ago!”

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_

Bonnie Fuller 2.0: On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re A Famous Magazine Editor!