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The Write Stuff: 101 (6114 hits)

The Write Stuff: 101

When it comes to breaking into the magazine publishing arena, there are no set rules, a road map or how-to guide on succeeding, yet most in this field would agree that although the steps to getting in the door are not easy, once youíre in, itís an ideal journey, especially if this is the career of your dreams.

College students and those seeking to break into the magazine industry came from near and far notebooks and pens in hand to soak up every ounce of information they can get from industry insiders chosen from some of the top publications in the world. Mimi Valdes (Senior Contributing Editor, Latina) served as the emcee for the event dubbed, Find Yourself in Magazines; the career insight conference hosted by Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) designed to introduce new audiences to magazines as well as showcase the wealth of diverse and multicultural talent within the industry.

The magazine industry is deeply committed to increasing diversity in its talent pool and weíre doing that by providing access to some of the best minds in the business all of them role models equipped to explain why working in magazines is the career of choice, said Shaunice Hawkins (Director, Diversity Development, MPA), who was the catalyst to jump start this movement.

Originally planned for 100 attendees, Ms. Hawkins said she was awed that nearly 300 registered for this first-time in MPA history conference. She further stated that the attendees, who traveled from all across the country, challenge her. This conference tells me that our industry has much to do. My work has just begun.

Conference speakers echoed similar sentiments throughout the day. Guest panelists included: Amy Barnhart, Manager of Staffing & Employee Relations, Hearst Magazines; Andrea Chambers, Director, Master of Science in Publishing Program, NYU; Andrew Simon, Managing Editor, Complex; Carmen Torres, US National Account Manager, Cuatro Media, Inc. (Fox Sports en Espanol); Chandra Czape Turner, Executive Editor, CosmoGIRL! & Founder/President, Ed2010.com; Christina Albee, New York Advertising Director, InStyle & Associate Publisher, InStyle Weddings; Clare Lambe, Associate Features Editor, TimeOut New York; Corynne Corbett, Executive Editor, Real Simple; Danica Daniel, Editor-in-Chief, Black Beat and Right On!; Elizabeth Thomas, Manager of Staffing & Employee Relations, Hearst Magazines; Florian Bachleda, Creative Director, FB Designs; George Pitts, Director of Photography, Life; Jada Yuan, Contributing Writer, New York Magazine; Karen Bakos, Research Director, Time Inc.; Meg D'Incecco, Director of Public Relations, Golf For Women and Golf World; Rosie Amodio, Executive Editor, The Knot; Sarah Vinas, Deputy Art Director, Portfolio; Sheryl Hilliard-Tucker, Editor-at-Large, Time Inc.; Sonia Alleyne, Careers/Consumer Editor, Black Enterprise; Stephanie Scott, Beauty Market Editor, Life & Style; Ted Hatwood, Director of Finance & Business Development, Vibe; Vanessa Bush, Executive Editor, Essence; Won Kim, Editor and VP of Business Strategy, Asian Diversity; and Wyatt Mitchell, Art Director, O, The Oprah Magazine.

Where do you want to be in the next five years? asked Ms. Hawkins the audience during her opening remarks. Write a commitment to yourselves today as to what you want for your career in the next five years. In 2012, Iíd like to see each one of you on a masthead! She exclaimed as the everyone stood, hands raised, pledging allegiance to become the Magazine Class of 2012.

By the end of the conference, attendees walked away empowered with a new syllabus for their lives and their careers. Hereís highlights from the event:

Panel 1: Which Magazine is Right For you?

If you donít know what magazine path is right for you, the experts had the advice to get you on the write journey!

Moderator Vanessa Bush lead a group of diverse panelists which included, Clare Lambe, Carmen Torres, Teddy Hatwood, Meg DIncecco, and Karen Bakos.

If finance is your passion Teddy says:

Finance is a very important part in the magazine business. Itís good to know for the sake of your managing editor who has to know the budget for hiring writers publishing is not what it use to be, so weíre always finding new ways to bring revenue into the Vibe Atmosphere.

Each day Mr. Hatwood prepares a one-sheet to get through his day this allots an hour each for meetings with every professional under the sun (i.e. producers, lawyers, iTunes music store, Vibe On Demand and much more!

Research Hound? Karen offers 18 years of experience in this arena:

The skills that are still needed are curiosity, finding out the latest trends, someone who likes to build a story, sense of humor and creativity In research we have to bring content to life.

Public Relations & Communications:

Meg, who got her start as a producer for ABC News, decided the field wasnít right for her and made the switch to public relations. Transitioning from her stint in fashion at Conde Nastís Glamour, she landed the job of a lifetime at Golf for Women and Golf World Magazines:

Let your passion fuel what you search for, says Meg.

Do you have the write stuff? Clare offered a few pointers on upping your writing game:

When you get in the door, internships are a great way to get started. Be technology savvy, really good at the basics, make yourself invaluable and go above and beyond with your writing assignments.

Panel 2: A Day in the Life of a Designer

I never knew designing could be so much fun! After listening to the creative stories behind the master lens-men, I found a new respect for the photo journalist. (Conference Attendee)

George Pitts, who had a chance to work with the Notorious B.I.G, welled up with a few tears as he looked back at the Vibe Magazine image captured of the slain rapper. After leaving Vibe after 10 years, he landed a job as Director of Photography at Life and boy oh boy, those Black & White pictures have never been savvier.

Work with money as best as you can but be frugal and modest, says Mr. Pitts. Cost effectiveness is one of the challenges in our field. If there is a limit in finances be clear about the financial parameters upfront.

By the end of this panel all agreed that if you do not have the opportunity to attend design school, it will NOT hold you back from getting a job.

You can learn in school to fill in blanks, states Wyatt Mitchell, but the focus is the portfolio, personality and talent.

Sara Vinas shared her journey from the Dominican Republic to Conde Nastís new publication, Portfolio while the audience experienced a presentation of her avante garde designs.

In between panels, the audience experienced three executivesí respective journeys into the world of magazines. Varied, Andrew Simon, Won Kim and Danica Danielís captivating stories transported everyone in the room on a trek from the brownstones of Brooklyn to countryside of Virginia to missions in Cambodia to McGraw-Hill in just enough time to hear practical advice on what makes an ideal internship, entry-level and graduate school candidate.

Panel 3: The IT Factor: What Makes an Ideal Candidate?

Ok, so the IT factor is not some sort of hypro BLING glow that one must have to get a Hollywood star; this IT factor is about the hard work and assertiveness it takes to get in the door and stay there. Do you have IT?

Moderator Corynne Corbett kept it real simple as her panelists Amy Barnhart and Elizabeth Thomas gave the inside scoop.

Be knowledgeable. Donít just get on the phone and say Iím willing to do anything because I wouldnít know where to direct you. The more knowledgeable and specific you can be, the more helpful I can be, says Amy Barnhart.

The Top 5 Things every entry candidate should know:

Know what a masthead is!
Do your homework and research the company.
Show enthusiasm for working with the ideal company.
Follow up on any outstanding matter in a timely manner.
Be memorable and stand out from others.

At the end of the panel, all agreed that misspellings are a DEAL BREAKER, stalking is an absolute no-no and being accurate about your experience will land you a second interview.

Panel 4: Practical Advice: What You Donít Know:

Did you know that the average influx of resumes for an open opportunity at top magazine is about 1,000 a day and on average about 10 people will be interviewed? Rosie Amodio, Sheryl Hilliard-Tucker, Christina Albee and Jada Yuan offered their best advice:

Internship! Internship! Internship! Get in the door and experience the environment. Be sure this is the field you want to be in.
Get your resumes in EARLY! At the end of your internship be sure your manager and human resources department has an updated copy of your resume for early consideration of open opportunities.
Stay in touch with your supervisors and managers you may not be the candidate for an opportunity now, but you could be later!
Panel 5: Whatís Next: Your Career Options:

The day was nearly over. We had our lunch break and everyone seemed antsy - not because they wanted to leave, but all were anxious to get started on their dream jobs. However, there were a few more tidbits the future publishers and editors needed before they went on their merry way.

The secret to getting good internships is to apply off season (spring). The internships are longer and hardly anyone applies for them, states Chandra Czape Turner.

Donít overlook community trades. They are often understaffed, yet can be a creative outlet...community papers still receive benefits of bigger publications (i.e. invites to events etc). says Sonia Alleyne.

Former magazine executive, now Director of New York Universityís Master of Science in Publishing Program, Andrea Chambers gave the audience invaluable information and advice about the importance of higher education in magazine publishing.

Before sending the students off with their career sights in mind, Moderator Stephanie Scott had one last thing to add: Nike has an old saying, just do it! I encourage you to go out there and keep going.

With a gentle wave and a warm smile, Mimi thanked everyone for coming.

Class dismissed!

Visit: http://www.magazine.org/diversity/

Dominga Martin is the Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Creme Magazine (www.creme-magazine.com), an e-magazine highlighting celebrity and tastemaker lifestyles.
Posted By: Jehan Bunch
Wednesday, April 4th 2007 at 3:48PM
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Monday, April 23rd 2007 at 11:44AM
Tanisha Reid
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