By Jamé Jackson
No matter how much you love your job working as an editorial assistant, Ed knows junior-level editors are always looking for opportunities to move up into senior positions. That’s why he continues to host the ever-popular EA Squaretable event. Couldn’t make it? Here’s what you missed.
Located in the Wix Lounge studio, this year’s event got junior editors from all over to come out and learn at the feet of four masters: Jaimie Clayton, senior editor at HGTV Magazine; Danielle McNally, senior editor at Cosmopolitan; Matt Allyn, senior print editor at Popular Mechanics; and Karen Snyder Duke, health editor at Redbook.
The senior-level editors took turns sitting at a different table for 15 minutes each to discuss their career trajectory as well as answer any burning questions from the young whippersnappers. The room was filled with previous attendees as well as first-timers, and everyone came expecting to learn something.
First-time attendee Alicia Kort found the senior editors’ advice about pitching freelance stories particularly helpful. “It wasn’t something I was taught in school, so the tips on what kind of stories editors are looking for and how best to communicate that with them were helpful,” she said.
June Jennings also walked away feeling like she could devise a stronger pitch. “I’m the youngest person in my office, so if anything else, it was nice to see other people in my position from different publications,” she said. “I learned that if you’re wanting to pitch a brand, root it in the publication and format it to the specificity of the audience. It’s subtle yet so important.”
Many of the senior-level editors expressed excitement at participating in the event too. “This event gives editorial assistants an opportunity that they wouldn’t necessarily have anywhere else,” said Duke, who first attended an Ed Squaretable years ago when she was an EA. “My hope is that people learn that they are fortunate to have the job that they have, and realize it’s a tremendous opportunity, even if it isn’t always fun every day. You can develop your skills, learn a lot, and grow your way up in the industry. That starts from day one when you’re hired as an assistant.”
McNally added, “It always makes me happy to see young people still excited about magazines and true journalism. I want to help them navigate their careers, the steps they need to take to get further along, and what stories they want to tell. It’s important to keep people excited about journalism.”
That sense of enthusiasm is key for McNally: “When I look to hire people, I want to see someone with a positive attitude,” she said. “Someone who is willing to help however they can—your job is really to make your superior’s job easier. I think it’s important to be positive, flexible, and bring some great things to the table. People recognize that wonderful attitude, even if you’re not the best. They reward hard work.”
After sharing their brilliant advice, editors mingled for a while, exchanging contact info and answering any follow-up questions from anxious Edsters. This whippersnapper’s takeaway? Learn as much as you can, always keep in contact with previous employers, learn to be flexible in the industry, and most importantly, work hard and enjoy what you do. Oh! And come back and pass along your knowledge once you become a senior editor yourself.
Missed it? Stay tuned for more fun Ed events coming up soon!
Jamé Jackson is a freelance writer based in New York City. She loves all things fashion, beauty, and #GirlBoss related. She can be seen spreading her magic on Instagram @Theblondemisfit and her website, Theblondemisfit.com.