There’s no doubt about it—New York City is home to most of the top-notch publishing houses in the country. It’s safe to say that when you dream about landing a job at your favorite glossy, the NYC skyline is in the background.
But Ed warns that you don’t have to pack your bags, say farewell to your parents, and jet to The Big Apple just yet. Believe it or not, there are a slew of untapped (or maybe just less-tapped) editorial opportunities right in your neighborhood! These gigs are the perfect way to jumpstart your editorial career without having to uproot yourself. Ed looks into a few of them below.
Look to the Web
The most literal example of a publication right in your backyard is Patch.com. “We have 900 full-time journalists across the country, and most of them were hired last year,” says Brian Farnham, Patch’s former EIC and now the Executive Editor at Zagat.com. Patch offers opportunities for young journalists to become fully emerged in an editorial position so they can, in turn, obtain what Farnham calls, “a crash course in online media.” What sets Patch apart from your area’s county newspaper is that each Patch site focuses on one small-to-medium sized town. In addition, Patch offers salaries that are consistent across the map, which is not necessarily always the case for editorial jobs outside of large metropolises.
Look to Your County
Marisa Sandora, now the Editor In Chief of Animal Tales, formerly the Executive Editor of Health & Life magazines at Wainscot Media, said one of the best perks about working for the network of localized northern-New Jersey publications was being able to learn about her exact audience, instead of just having a generalized picture of them. Sandora said the more aware you are of what publications are around your town, the better connected you will be in taking advantage of when positions open up.
Look to Businesses
Melanie Wachsman, a full-time freelancer, says that even though you won’t find a market, in terms of pay, comparable to NYC, you can still work in publishing in any city. She doesn’t recommend the full-time freelance route for young editorial hopefuls but instead suggests researching corporate communications jobs, like those within hospitals and businesses. These companies produce magazines that you won’t find on a newsstand.
Look to a College or University
Where there is a local university, there is an alumni magazine to follow. Fresh-out-of-college journalists are what Stanford Magazine Editor Kevin Cool calls “a perfect fit.” Cool says that in general, alumni publications do work with less-experienced writers, and even if you can’t work at your own alma mater, these magazines can be wonderful places to “get your feet wet.”
Not only are these four examples proof that editorial opportunities lie outside of the concrete jungle, but they’re also great starting points for landing a summer internship when you’re home from college. Ed was able to snag these three tips to keep in mind when looking for work at smaller pubs:
Don’t over discriminate. “One of the most important things you can do is write a lot,” says Cool. “Don’t shy away from publications that don’t have large circulations or sound like they may not be a perfect fit.” Your main focus: Get the job, do it well, and get those clips and references!
Go pro bono (if you can). “If you can stomach an internship [or an unpaid writing gig]…do it,” advises Farnham. The thing that every editor is looking for is the hunger and experience, he says. “Get clips and experience any way you can, even if it is for free.”
Have a niche. Learn how to blend your magazine career with your other passions, whether they’re extreme sports, vintage clothing, or European history. “My niche was food,” says Wachsman, (who also is a former Senior Editor of Chef magazine.) When you have an interest or hobby, then you can market yourself as an “expert.”