By Katie Konfino
On Nov. 28, Fordham’s Student Engagement Initiative and MODE hosted a question-and-answer session with Executive Digital Director of Vanity Fair and Fordham alumni, FCRH ’96, Mike Hogan. As Editor-in-Chief of MODE, Fordham’s fashion and lifestyle magazine, I was excited to moderate a conversation with Hogan. Vanity Fair is a fashion, popular culture and current affairs magazine that is published by Condé Nast. It is a monthly print magazine and publishes digital content as well.
Hogan majored in English and minored in philosophy during his time at Fordham. He also pointed out that he loves Pugsley Pizza—like your average Fordham student. After Fordham, Hogan began his successful career working as an assistant at Vanity Fair, and then worked at Huffington Post and AOL, before coming back to Vanity Fair where he began his Digital Director role.
Hogan explained to students that he thought he would be a playwright or an academic. However, it was Hogan’s aunt that pointed out to him that he reminded her of an editor. Little did he know, he would work for Vanity Fair and eventually attend the same events as people like Lady Gaga. Before starting off his impressive career, he says it was a professor here at Fordham that took an entire course and turned it into a grammar lesson that really taught him key lessons about writing. The class helped Hogan learn the best way to clean up other’s writing.
Outside of the classroom, Hogan was busy working on the paper and in Fordham’s Experimental Theater. Further, the paper allowed him to get reactions from people and entertain them. He also credits the theater for being a helpful asset in his digital career. Interestingly enough, Hogan did not intern during his college career, which now can seem like an essential thing to do. Instead, he worked at the Botanical Gardens, driving trams. When asked what piece of advice Hogan has for students, he mentioned that young people must have enthusiasm, which is a big asset that should be taken advantage of during their early years.
Hogan works hard as Executive Digital Director of Vanity Fair, running all the digital substance for Vanity Fair, as well as writing and editing. Hogan is responsible for making the digital aspects of Vanity Fair bigger and better. Hogan also works closely with Radhika Jones, the Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair. I asked him what his thoughts are on print media in a world that has taken a digital shift. He talked about how, with print, you have to think clearly on what you are trying to communicate to the world for a long time. A print magazine is something you can keep forever, which is something that I agree with him on.
As Editor-in-Chief of MODE, I appreciate a print magazine and the physical being of a creative piece of work. Hogan mentioned that having a copy of Vanity Fair in your house tells your guests and friends more about you, that you subscribe to this cultural magazine. Hogan also works on the podcast, “Little Gold Men,” from Vanity Fair, which discusses topics like awards shows and red-carpet premieres. It is a weekly podcast that has special guest appearances from critics, creators and celebrities. “Little Gold Men” goes into the history of the Oscars and other award shows.
Hogan has had conversations with stars like John Legend, interviewing him about his career and his performance in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” You can check out the podcast on Spotify. The conversation with Hogan was informative and demonstrated different ways a media student can incorporate their interests into their careers. To end on Hogan’s words, “If you are passionate about something, you can really make a big impact, you can make a difference.”