Sorry, I’ve been quiet…

It’s been a little hectic. Basically, I’ve decided I’m going to give New York a real shot and move here. Doing so on a limited budget, no actual job lined up (yet), and no housing lined up (yet) is terrifying. BUT DON’T WORRY! I HAVE A PLAN!

New York has been wildly fascinating. There are so many different neighborhoods and cultures and people, and I can’t even begin to explain how much I absolutely love that. It’s a city really unlike any other, and I’ve only really scratched the surface. In any event, the next few months are going to be a little rough, for sure. But something will come together, and it’s going to be wonderful. (: I have to believe that it will. Preferably sooner rather than later, but I’m not afraid of working hard. And if, after I give this a solid shot, I discover it’s not for me, I can make changes there too. I have to try though, and really, I’m excited for it! Also worried, but I can’t help that too much.

As far as the program goes, the book session is much more laid back than the magazine session was. I’m learning quite a bit, but it seems that there’s even more of the apprenticeship type of learning with book publishing than there is in magazine publishing. So I’ve got some base-line knowledge and will get some more before the end of this project, but realistically speaking, the job and house hunt are taking up more of my mental space than the program is. I’m dedicated to making it the best, naturally, but I also know that in the end, it’s not exactly what I learn but how I use that knowledge. And my goals are job-related in that aspect.


Plans and a quick Weekend Wrap-Up

On Friday, after a few conversations with friends, family, and general influencers in my life, and I still haven’t made any hard decisions yet, but I’m definitely leaning toward staying here after the program ends and finding a place to live and getting a job and basically just making the jump to New York. There are a handful of the people I know best who are all considering the same thing. Obviously, the validity and plausibility of it all will depend on how the job and house hunting goes – but here’s the plan:

  1. Send in applications in the upcoming weeks to any and all available positions that I feel I can apply for.
  2. Continue apartment hunting (trips to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Hoboken, and other areas are planned for the upcoming weekend) and be ready to move on it if it feels right.

I think the 4th of July weekend is going to be a good time to have a general decision made. Either I have a good enough idea about the potentials by then to make the commitment and throw all my eggs into one giant basket (aka NYC), or I don’t and go back home to re-attack the publishing thing in the future.

That sounds good. I’m going to start with that. Obviously, I’ll know more – after my resume review on Wednesday – about what sort of general thoughts HR people will have regarding my experience/etc. I’m going to try and come up with a cover letter template too. Maybe not for the review (I might run questions by the HR recruiter though?), but definitely after?

In other news, I went to Coney Island this weekend! I got a little burnt (on my back, so it’s not toooooo uncomfortable). And did laundry, and went to an HTML class (helpful, but not super informative in terms of what I already know) on Sunday.

Also, I just discovered that we’ll be getting free books for this session! The magazine publishers brought magazines too, some older issues and some current. But I didn’t expect we’d get books! This is my favvvvvoriteeeeee. (: 

Adulting is hard

Remember that stuff I wasn’t supposed to think about…? Well, I’m thinking about it.

A couple weeks ago, early in the program, I made a post about all the stuff I probably shouldn’t be worrying about yet. And a few posts ago, I started tentatively planning for the future. Well, apparently… I should have been worrying (or at least actively thinking) about all those things and vigorously planning for the future.

We didn’t jump right into the book stuff yesterday, as I’d thought we would (which was frustrating given the assignments we have now, but I’ll get into that later). Instead, it was “Career Day.” There were a couple panels: one of four HR managers and Talent Acquisition -ists (Simon & Schuster, Hearst Magazine, Twitter, Hachette), and the other was of SPI Alumni (seven who’d taken the course last year, who talked about the program, the job hunt, the apartment search, and what they do now.

The entire day was pretty helpful, except for the fact that now I’m really seriously torn about what to do. I started to realize a few weeks ago (about the time I started worrying about this sort of stuff) that trying to find a place to live and a job wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do from 1800 miles away in Montana, where I would also be working and have other responsibilities. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely a lot more stressful. House (Apartment) hunting is something I absolutely despise, and I prefer, heavily, to do it in person. To get a sense of the place, the neighborhood, etc. Job hunting also is much easier while in the city you’re looking for jobs. Employers have questions when it comes to things like “why is your address in _____, this job is in ______”. I get it. But in terms of the job search, I’m absolutely terrified that if I’m not actually here in New York (where most of the publishing jobs/roles are available), I won’t actually get a job doing what I want to do?

So, I thought a lot about it since yesterday afternoon, and I’ve talked to a few people, and I plan to keep thinking about things, but here’s what the situation is at the moment and what the options are as I see them.

  • I have flights back to Montana for the 16th – I may or may not take them, depending on 1) whether or not I find a place to live and 2) if I get a job or not.
  • There are dozens of job postings going up, several of which I’ve looked into and intend to apply to (after my resume review on Wednesday).
  • Until then, I’m looking into different imprints and companies and finding specifics about them that appeal to me so I have a better sense of direction.
  • Several of us from the program are going tentative apartment hunting next weekend. I’ll keep looking online during the week too though.
  • I’m also going to have some really serious conversations with people about rooming together, as well as with my parents and the other adults in my life about the actual feasibility of my making the jump to New York entirely in… 4 weeks. Why is that thought so terrifying????
  • I may or may not extend my NYU housing through the end of July. I think this will depend on how initial rounds of apartment hunting go in addition to the job hunt. I will decide on whether I’m extending housing or not by the last week of the program, and apply on July 5th.
  • If that does not work out, I will look into Airbnb options, and/or crashing on friends’ couches until I find something – maybe?

Other options:

  • Return home via my original tickets on July 16th. 
  • Return to work at YTI for an undefined period of time. 
  • Apply for jobs when I feel I’m ready to move to wherever it is I’m applying to go, if and only if I actually get th job, whilst being 1800+ miles away.

I will have lots of conversations to be had with people. Namely my parents, my boss and co-workers back home, my friends, and several of the people here in New York that I know and feel comfortable potentially living with in the near/distance future. I also have a lot of legwork to do regarding job and apartment hunting. Research to be done, resume and cover letters to revamp (ughhhhh), and a lot of hard decisions to make.
The good news? I have a good support system. The bad news? I have terrible anxiety that I need to work through before I actually get anything done. Ugh, being an adult is hard 😦

Bye Bye Magazines!

I am so happy to be done with the first section of this program. The magazine session was infinitely informative, and it was absolutely incredible to have the opportunities we did with the industry leaders we met and networked with. Our project turned out beautifully, even if the judges from our presentations today found that we “lacked passion” (yes I’m still bitter about that…).

Nevertheless, we learned a lot about the magazine side of publishing and I feel confident enough to say that while I don’t necessarily want to work in magazines (whether in editorial, advertising, design, or digital), I actually feel pretty well suited to do the jobs. Obviously some of the hard talents/skills would require some learning and training (I’m still struggling through InDesign and Photoshop. Never mind InCopy and all the other applications I might have to learn about), but everyone we’ve talked to has stressed the “be flexible” concept in working with magazines, because, due to the nature of the industry, everyone does a little bit of everything. Besides that, I feel like I have a fairly decent handle on what it means to embody a brand and to have all your work fit into a media brand in particular.

All that to say I feel like I wouldn’t be opposed to working in magazine publishing (whether in print or online or what have you), but it’s definitely still not my first choice. The pace of the work and the high stress level of the work are major turn offs for me, though manageable. Even worse is the emphasis made on advertising/business – it’s a business, first and foremost, and not so much about the content. And some of our speakers would have argued with that point, but the truth of the matter is that so much of the revenue for a brand (which allows a brand to continue existing) comes from the advertisers who want to partner with and/or advertise with the brand itself – in print or digital. And while I understand the nature of the industry, I don’t like it.


The presentations today were honestly all pretty good. There were some that were better than others, naturally. And ours was relatively okay. It wasn’t the best one, but it also wants the worst. I wasn’t exactly a fan of how the Q&A session with the judges morphed into a critique from the judges that no one in the groups could respond to. Moreover, I was frustrated with how harsh the judges were. They were, all three, higher ups at different publishing companies (such as Hearst Publishing Group, the umbrella company that is home to O (oprah), House Beautiful, Cosmo, HGTV, etc), and based on the way they critiqued the groups, it appeared that they were not aware that 1) these were hypothetical launch projects, and 2) 90% of us had no prior knowledge of the magazine publishing industry prior to the start of the program just over two weeks ago. Beyond that, the critique/feedback was, as our program director worded it, “very beneficial” but it’s hard to see the benefits of commentary that can’t actually be taken and incorporated into the project, because it’s not real, and it’s now over.

In any event, the groups that won had really awesome projects. Obviously everyone did a great, but I’m honestly not surprised that the top two groups were who they were. Their presentations were fabulous and their brand concepts were really well through out. That said, I also wish it hadn’t been a contest, because as much as the directors “wished [they] could give us all awards”, the awards just made the entire process antagonizing and demoralizing. Beyond that, they’re in charge of the program. If they wanted to, they absolutely could give everyone awards. But that’s neither here nor there, because I don’t have any power over things like this. (Yay, for being at the bottom of the totem pole!)

All of this sounds really negative and bitter, and yes, I’m a little upset at how little recognition was given to how hard everyone worked. But, I do admit that I know sooooooo much more about publishing (on the magazine side of things) now than I did on day one. And I’m really grateful for it (: This has been a really informative, eye-opening program so far, and I can’t wait to dive into the book session tomorrow/next week!

On a brighter note, most of our group went out to celebrate the end of the program and putting together a fabulous end product, and it was a lot of fun to just relax with friends (:

We have a “Career Day” type of set up tomorrow with a bunch of panels and speakers, and a brief overview of the book session before we jump into that on Monday. Then, it’s the weekend! I’m thinking downtown NY and Chinatown tomorrow/Saturday, plus an HTML workshop and maybe some shoe shopping with my roommate Sunday.

We present today!

Yesterday involved a LOT of computer screen time and a LOT of proofreading. But we have four final binders put together, and a video finished, and a presentation that’s getting wrapped up!

We have a 10-15 minute presentation (I don’t even have to speak!) later this afternoon and then the magazine session is done!!!!

Here’s a photo of the cover of our magazine, and a photo of Maggie, our design director with the feature story (her pride and joy)! Also, as a side note, this is a student project, and is not an actual magazine. This purpose of this project was to have us all come up with and create a fake magazine media brand.  Please don’t spread this around.

It looks really good! And I’m hoping I can get a off copy of the mockup later on so I can make my own copy for safe keeping! (:

Magazine Crunch Time!

So, all our reviews are done. And we’ve been let loose to finish our projects… Needless to say, we have a lot to do:

  • designing the actual magazine pages we’re presenting
    • cover
    • masthead
    • front of book (columns, etc)
    • features
  • finalize text of editorial components
    • brand mission statement
    • editorial marketing position (why do people need this brand)
    • editorial calendar
  • finalize text of business plan components
    • audience development plan
    • advertising/marketing plan
    • promotional/brand extension plan
    • media kit
  • formatting the above mentioned things to look fun and awesome for our presentation.
  • make a powerpoint/visual component of our presentation
  • put together a short promo video for the presentation

Did I mention we only have until Thursday afternoon? Or that we have to print four copies of everything and put it all in separate binders for the judges and program directors? Or that we have industry visits this afternoon, and limited color-printing access tomorrow?

I keep looking at it as just another 48 hours.  Well, just over 48 hours. Presentations are from 1-6pm on Thursday, with awards directly afterward. I’m hoping we’re maybe like, second or third in the lineup, not really anything after number five, but definitely not last, if we can help it. I just don’t wanna have to wait forever I guess.

Designing things is difficult. I created our OneSheet (a single-sided sheet that describes our brand, it’s editorial mission, the design philosophy, the business plan, the digital strategy, and all our circulation information) last night with a knock-off version of Illustrator/Photoshop that I’ve used before, mostly because I’m still only just now getting used to InDesign. Plus my InDesign is an older version and it’s making me made trying to go back and forth between programs. BUT I now have a much larger appreciation for my coworkers who do the design stuff. I always did, but now I really get it.

Anywho, back to work! If you don’t hear from me by Friday, assume I’ve collapse and have decided to sleep through the weekend.

Planning for the future…

Yesterday, a group of us went to Central Park, had lunch in the Upper East Side, and then ventured about The Met! Then my roommates and I went to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on 7th. All in all, the day was fabulous, and I’m still finding things that I absolutely love about this place.

I did some solo exploring around midtown New York today, which was a little hectic, but not too crazy. There was a Puerto Rico Pride Parade down 5th Ave, for something like 15 blocks so I walked a lot farther than I’d intended to, but that’s okay. I saw Grand Central Station, and the outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the New York Public Library, so I feel as though it was a productive day (:

I got home not too long after noon and ended up doing some preliminary house and job hunting. Talk about depressing. The cost of living in NYC is steep. I mean, I knew that before I got here, but wow. Also mildly depressing is looking for entry-level jobs that don’t require prior publishing experience. I found a couple things, but I still need to re-work my resume (we have resume reviews in a week and a half that’ll help), so I think I’ll hold off for awhile, until I’m a little less lazy and I maybe know a little more about the book publishing side of things.

Tomorrow starts week three – which really just consists of a couple more reviews tomorrow and two+ days to finalize things and put together out binders. It’s a little terrifying, but I’m glad the magazine session will be over soon. It’s been a hectic three weeks, and I’m ready for the book info (: