Former Magazine Editor And Business Writer
Job Title: Editor
Type of Company: I was recently laid-off from Business Leader Media, one of the largest families of business magazines based in North Carolina. Their target readership is people who run companies: chief executive officers, chief financial officers and senior managers.
Education: BA, Political Science, State University of NY at Binghamton MA, Public Policy, Harvard University Certificate, Professional Writing, NC State University
Previous Experience: I began my career doing housing and economic development work, including writing grants, flyers, brochures, etc. When writing became my passion I went back to school to get a certificate in Professional Writing from NC State University. Since then I have been a community editor at The Clayton News-Star and an editor at Business Leader Media.
Job Tasks: As an editor for Business Leader Media, I was responsible for making sure there was enough written copy to fill four magazines a month, either by writing it myself or assigning it to others. If it was assigned to others, I still had to edit it (correct copy and make suggestions) to ensure the text met our quality standards.
The company had four monthly magazines: Business Leader-Triangle; Business Leader-Triad; Business Leader-Charlotte and Business Leader-South Florida. The South Florida magazine is fairly new and the company's first venture outside of North Carolina.
It also had magazines that focused on women in business in the North Carolina "Research Triangle," technological developments in the Triangle and real estate in the Triangle.
I also had to edit copy for the company's many web sites, which provide brief business profiles of companies along the eastern seaboard.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts of my job were meeting interesting people and learning about interesting companies; the chance it gave me to be creative in my writing; helping less experienced writers perfect their craft; and helping companies to learn what they needed to be successful.
The worst parts were editing the web sites, which was both boring and time-consuming, and the tight deadlines (almost all the time). Editors of monthly magazines must be willing to work beyond 40 hours a week at least 1-2 weeks a month.
Job Tips: I love the career but it is changing. It used to be enough to be a good writer. Now you have to be familiar with web design and social media (Facebook, blogging, etc.), as well.
In the Triangle, I would also focus on technical or scientific writing (including biotech) as that is where most of the jobs are. There are fewer and fewer magazines jobs, but more writing jobs in technology firms and other corporations.
Additional Thoughts: I would have started my career earlier. I stayed in public policy because I knew I could do it but I never liked it. I doubted my talent in journalism. It took me 15 years to make the change, but I never regretted it. So, corny as it sounds, I say if you have a dream and talent pursue it. Don't focus on something else just because it seems easier or there are more jobs in it.
For writing, focus on science and technology as that is the wave of the future. Knowing about web writing is a good idea too. Anyone can start a blog or a web site.
Also read, read, read. It is amazing how much about writing you can pick up just from reading other people's work.