by Breyanna Knoll
Students are flooding toward the magazine industry in a deluge, making the waters murkier and more dangerous to navigate. The competition is ridiculous. There are crocodiles — I mean, other students — who have seven, eight, nine internships. And they can’t wait to take you down.
Even if one goes to school in a city with a lot of publications, much of the publishing industry revolves around where you have interned and whom you know. It is an apprenticeship business, and it is intense.
As someone with past experience in the industry, a current internship and big dreams, I would like to use this blog to share what I have learned, what I am doing and how I plan to get where I am going.
I recently graduated from the University of Evansville with a degree in Creative Writing (yes, I am a college graduate working for no pay — we will get to that later). I have previous experience as a section editor at my school newspaper, and St. Louis Woman Magazine is my second internship. I completed one with a small national magazine in Connecticut the summer after my junior year. Someday, I want to move to New York City and work as an editorial assistant for a larger magazine.
It is unclear why the industry has seen such a torrent of interest lately, but I have a few theories. First, I think magazines always have been popular with aspiring young women. They have their glamorous parts with their connections to fashion, beauty and celebrities. These topics also give the career a great balance of power and femininity. Many of the top editors are women, and they can be popular, high profile role models.
Honestly, I think you have to be slightly egotistical to want to write. You have to believe that you have something to say and you can say it better than anyone else. And if you are an aspiring writer or just want to be heard, this is a great way to write, be creative, meet interesting people and occasionally, pay the bills.
However, I think certain elements of pop culture also bring in the downpour. I once worked with a columnist who only wanted to write about her relationships and her friends. I finally had to tell her, “Look, you’re an opinion columnist. You are not Carrie Bradshaw.” There a lot of girls out there who want the same kind of glitzy, fun lifestyle she has. And, unlike a columnist, there are a lot more opportunities and paths to becoming a magazine editor. Personally, I would rather do this because of the variety of topics and people I cover.
The television program The Hills might also be part of it. Sure, Lauren Conrad styles in the fashion closet rather than being on the editorial side. But it presents a unique career path to a lot of different women. And if they are not so interested in fashion — although, its ideal to have a passion for editing and the subject your magazine covers — they might consider becoming an editor.
Though there are no bad reasons to be inspired, I think a love of writing is essential for a lasting editor. I am here because I love writing. I love hearing people’s stories, organizing them, and I love the industry.
There are a lot of girls drowning, and I am just trying to keep my head above water.
*Look for a new diary post every Wednesday