by Breyanna Knoll
I enjoy knowing a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about a little. Researching and writing stories at a magazine allows me to do that without very much repetition. Sure, magazines have a regular monthly routine, just like a daily newspaper does. But the stories are so different that I am constantly learning something new.
I noticed this problem at my part-time jobs throughout college. In the retail store where I worked, there were always items to be organized, clothes to put away and customers to check out. Pretty soon, it was always the same aisles, clothes and people. I never felt I accomplished anything because everything kept coming.
This feels different. Even though I write stories every month, I can actually say I finished a story. And then I get to walk away from it. Even if I’m in the middle of writing a story and it becomes particularly frustrating, I can walk away from it. I just work on something else until I’m ready to go back.
Thus far, my routine for the month has gone something as follows: I do some research based on a general topic and come up with ideas for my next month’s stories. Almost all of these usually get rejected. I think as I learn more about the magazine and it’s style, I can sneak in more of my ideas.
The managing editor sends me a list of stories to work on. Sometimes I wonder if she already had this ready before I sent her my ideas, but it does not really make a difference. I come up with contacts, research the topics, write out interview questions and call the sources. Then I write the stories. This seems like a very organized and neat way to do it. Which is why I like my system.
It really becomes much more complicated when sources refuse to speak with me. Or when a source calls at 8:00 in the morning and says, “I’m returning your call about the breast cancer story.” I’m doing 10 different stories about breast cancer right now, and they’re all either done, half-written, interviewed or have no leads whatsoever. You are going to have to give me more than that.
The easiest sources to talk to are the ones that are expecting you. Otherwise, it can be tough. This job changes pretty fluidly, but I like it that way.
- ▼ March (4)