Ed’s EA Square Table, which took place at Eleventh Street Bar, was the place to be earlier this month. A group of 25 editorial assistants and assistant editors from titles ranging from Parents to Marie Claire eagerly flocked over to the Lower East Side to tap into the brains of five senior staffers.
The experienced editors included: Kate Hogan, Style News Editor at People.com; Lindsey Unterberger, Senior Online Lifestyle Editor at Glamour.com; Jessica Dodell-Feder, Staff Editor at This Old House Magazine; Andrea Lavinthal, Online Style and Beauty Director at UsMagazine.com; and Christie Griffin, Digital Director at Fitnessmagazine.com.
The EAs/AEs joined Ed for this networking event not only to seek out advice but also simply because they had never been able to attend an Ed event before. Laura Knipping, an EA at Woman’s World explained, “I was never able to make the happy hours, so now that I’m an EA I’m happy to see there was an event for us too!”
Split into tables of five, the EAs/AEs picked the brain of each new editor who rotated to their group, after 15 minutes. (Think of a speed-dating session!) While enjoying cocktails and candy, they asked questions ranging from how to stand out amongst the other EAs/AEs on staff to how to ask for more editorial responsibilities. The senior editors also made sure to share their advice on how they managed to get their first promotions.
So what do you need to know to climb your way to the next rung on the masthead? Kate Hogan claimed it’s your willingness to help out. “Whether it was offering to stay late to cover an awards show, pitching a series of photo gallery ideas or writing a story no one else wanted to write, saying yes and showing I was eager to contribute were qualities that made my editors take notice.”
“My biggest piece of advice for getting promoted is to speak up,” said Lindsey Unterberger. “At my first job, I was dying to work on the entertainment team, so I told them that if anything ever opened up, I wanted in.” Additionally, there were tasks that Unterberger made sure to take on in the meantime. “I started constantly pitching my editors ideas and offering to help them with stories, blog posts, events—anything I could think of to get my foot in the door.” What was the end result? “About a year later they were ready to expand their team, and I was a natural fit. The move led to my first promotion.”
Jessica Dodell-Feder expressed a similar view. “I learned the importance of telling my boss what I want,” she said. “Most bosses don’t assume their employees want to take on more work or responsibility. They can’t read our minds.” Dodell-Feder also shared that it’s important to push yourself and make it known that you’re ready and willing to do more. “Once I did that, I was promoted—twice!”
Another big question that EAs asked was how to go about explaining to their boss that they have too much on their plate. Andrea Lavinthal said the best thing you can do is ask your boss to help you prioritize your current responsibilities. “It’s a professional way of saying, ‘I’m drowning and you need to help me.’”
The night ended in a complete success. To sum it up, “I am relieved to know there are other EA’s out there like me, plus plenty of senior editors who are willing to help,” said Knipping.