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Do readers want to read articles where the author refers to themselves and their experiences, or would they prefer the author to leave themselves out of the article?

When I say 'readers' I'm specifically talking about women reading high end magazines.

Thank you, Tara

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4 Answers

Is the topic one on which you have special experience, or is it a piece you've researched? Is the article a column or editorial, or just a regular piece?

If I'm reading an article written by a woman I'm familiar with, I'd be fine with "I". (eg. if Angelina Jolie decided to explain her decision to adopt, "I" would be good). If the person who wrote the article is recounting a unique adventure, I'd expect "I". (eg. if the article is about a woman's solo crossing of the Sahara, I'd expect first person). If the article is an editorial or column in which writers are expected to express their opinion, I'd expect "I".

Otherwise, I'd want third person. If the article is designed to inform me, I want to hear from the experts, not from the person who has put the experts' opinions together.

I'd also recommend that you check the style used by the magazine to which you're submitting - what has everyone else done?

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I would ask your editor, different magazines will have different guidelines on this kind of thing and what one magazine will love another will hate.

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It's going to heavily depend on the topic you're writing on and the magazine you're writing for.

If the article is one of personal experience - your experience raising an autistic child, your fight against cancer, etc. - then you would use "I" in the article.

If the article is primarily a research or academic type article - new diabetes medication, a literary analysis of Twilight, a weight loss place, etc - then you would write the piece in third person.

This doesn't just apply to magazine writing but also for writing school essays, news articles, and the like. But if you're ever in doubt whether you should write the piece in first person or third, contact the editor of the magazine/newspaper/whatever and ask for clarification. They'd much rather answer your question than have you write it wrong and either waste their time rejecting it or asking for a rewrite.

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Ask your editor. Some publications have style guidelines for these things.

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