Gillian Hearst Shaw Thinks "People Still Need The Sensory Experience Of Flipping A Page And Smelling It"

by Lydia Traore · December 1, 2010

Gillian Hearst Simonds, the great-granddaughter of publishing  magnate William Randolph Hearst, reflected on the state of journalism from the vantage point of her editorial role at her family's company. At the UNICEF Snowflake Ball last night at Cipriani 42nd St., we asked Hearst Simonds about how her great-grandfather might have viewed the quick changes of journalism in the digital age.

"There has always been trials for journalism," she said. "First it was radio; then it was television. It is the nature of the beast of the media world that it has to change and amalgamate. With Twitter and other online media outlets, news travels differently. However, I think people still need the sensory experience of flipping a page and smelling it."

Ultimately, she believes in the future of print and finds a comfort in the tangibility of such a page.

Working under the auspices of her family's publishing company, does she find her name a benefit or detriment while on the job? This is obviously a very touchy subject for her as she becomes animated.

"No matter what you do there will always be some criticisms," she said. "You have to ignore it and realize that you are there because you deserve to be there. I have some degree of intelligence. I attended Georgetown, and regardless of my family name, I invest as much work and effort into everything I do as anyone else. I enjoy what I do and I think I am good at it and I deserve it."

And with her assessment of the American meritocracy, she entered the ball.