We’re accepting entries in SIX brand-new categories this year. I’m looking at you, poets, graphic novelists, cookbook authors, and literary-journal types.
I went to Toronto for the annual American Society for Environmental History meeting, and this is my post about it for the MIT Press blog.
My guest post about bike commuting for the MIT PressLog
Interview: Kelsey Wallace, web editor for Bitch Media
- I interviewed Kelsey Wallace, then–web editor for Bitch Media, for my magazine publishing course at Emerson College.
- Kelsey Wallace is the web editor at Bitch magazine. It’s a job she finds rewarding at a media outlet she’s loved since before she started working there (and still loves). Working for an independent magazine, even a successful one like Bitch, has its downsides, though. The following is an excerpt of a phone interview with her about her career path.
- Me: What’s the main role of a web editor at a magazine?
- Kelsey: Well, my main role is to cultivate content for the website, and that includes editing other people’s work and also writing blog posts, myself. So, we try to get between two and five posts up on the website every day, and I either schedule those posts and edit them or write them myself.
- Me: How did you get to be a web editor? Were you more interested in the magazine/editorial side or working on the web in general?
- Kelsey: You know, I’m not quite sure, honestly. I was mostly just interested in the organization. I do edit some stuff for the print magazine, too, but that’s mainly because we’re a pretty small office. . . .
- I actually started here as an intern after I graduated with my Master’s degree, and I was kind of toying with the idea of doing a PhD dissertation and using [my internship here] as kind of first-person ethnographic research to do a dissertation on independent feminist media production. And I liked it so much that waited until I could kind of weasel my way into a job. So it was really good timing, actually, because they were kind of re-shifting things around at the organization. . . . There had not been a web editor prior to my being here, but, you know, the fate of the publishing industry and the way things are going, we realized that we couldn't stay just a print magazine and exist. They were already in the process of expanding before I got here, but it just kind of worked out that there was something else for me to do. It was great because I had blogging experience and web-editing experience previously. . . . And I had my own blog before that, too.
- Me: What do you like most about your job?
- Kelsey: Gosh, that’s tough because I love this job.
- Me: It sounds like everything you do really fits in with all of the interests you had to begin with!
- Kelsey: It’s true, yeah, and that’s what’s so great. I think, honestly, coming from a graduate program, it was really refreshing to do a different kind of work and feel like, “Wow. I’m putting time into something and I’m putting it out there, and it’s actually being seen by people.” And, you know, this idea that I really do care a lot about providing feminist criticism, and my Master’s degree is in media studies, so I really care about media advocacy, and the feeling that the work I was doing [before Bitch] wasn't making any kind of an impact. . . . I think it’s really nice to be able to interact with a larger community and to just feel like there are other people who want to see this content and who I can kind of engage with on the website and via email and just kind of be a part of a larger community. . . .
- On the other hand, it’s just really nice to be able to get other people’s opinions and kind of do that work in a forum that’s more interactive. It just feels really great to talk to people who love what we do because we love it, too.
- Me: How do you feel about working for a non-profit media outlet, as opposed to one of the giant ones?
- Kelsey: I really like it. I’m definitely of the mindset that independent media is important and that we need a variety of voices. Not to totally hate on corporate media—it’s not that I don’t watch NBC or whatever—but we need more than that. We can’t exist in a space where we only have two or three big outlets feeding us our information. So I really like the idea that we’re sort of outside of that.
- On the other hand, it gets frustrating because we have less money and less visibility than we would if we were purchased by Viacom or something, but we can say what we want. Not everyone has that luxury. It’s really nice to not have to worry so much about content. . . .
- I’m also a web editor for a blog for Kenneth Cole, the shoe company. It’s kind of funny because it doesn't really fit my interests—well, no, the blog does because it’s actually a social-justice-issues blog. It’s a lot different; even though it’s a progressive blog, just being a part of a larger corporation means that there’s a lot that we really can’t do on there.
- Me: What are your future career goals?
- Kelsey: Ideally, I would stay here as long as they’ll have me here. . . . I’m not totally sure, but I really like editing, so I’d like to stick with that. I like blogging. I really do like new media. . . . I really like the democratic nature of new media and I really like being a part of that. . . .
- Since I've been out of grad school, I have three jobs, and it’s like, “Oh, that’s just kind of how it goes, I guess.” If you've got a standard of the kind of work you want to do, you better be willing to do like three or four things part-time.
DIY Journalism: How some students’ great ideas are evolving with the new age of journalism
This post was a contribution to now-defunct web project Writer 2.0, created and edited by Pagan Kennedy.
The City University of New York isn’t the first school to offer courses based on the changing landscape of journalism. A couple of years ago, though, its Graduate School of Journalism became the first to award student journalists with actual seed money from the McCormick Foundation to establish businesses based on ideas they pitched for their entrepreneurial journalism class. The instructor, Jeff Jarvis, detailed the results of the third year of the course in a lengthy BuzzMachine blog post last December. The students who developed the four best business plans received a total of $57,000 in grant money.
"It’s important for journalists to understand how to sustain the business of news," he told Mark Glaser of PBS’s MediaShift after teaching the course for the first time.
“We must give journalists an understanding of business so they can make good decisions as journalists and managers, so they can work independently (as more and more of them will), and so they can sustain journalism.”
Rather than starting at straightforward reporting gigs at local newspapers and moving up from there, journalism students are finding the points of entry to be endlessly varied and, in many cases, untested. Blogs and podcasts seem perfect for them, but how do they create moneymaking ventures using such outlets?