Oxford American Magazine Managing Editor Eliza Bourne explained a day in the life of an editor and the path she took to reach her current position on campus March 18.
“I can’t really remember when I learned that [magazine, book and newspaper] editing… that there is somebody besides the writer who helped to get this piece of writing out into the world,” she said.
Bourne started her writing career as a children’s theater critic for Arkansas Times in 9th grade.
From there she went to Wellesley College and was on the campus newspaper staff.
Bourne interned for Oxford American, worked at a bakery and did informational interviews during her time in college.
Bourne said internships opened her doors to different publications.
She recommended that aspiring editors do an internship and write for campus
media because it will help them get more experience.
She said it is important to learn how to edit and work with writers in publications, create networks, leave resumes in different companies and ask them to keep those resumes on file.
Bourne said if someone wants to be an editor, he should be flexible and not limit his search to a particular geographical location, because this will broaden the opportunities to get an internship or a job.
She also advised not to limit the circle of the publications: there are some job opportunities in non-profit publications, in professional magazines like trade and business, online publications and editorials.
Bourne said some of the features good editors need include taking initiative and having a good attitude.
Bourne said Oxford American interns should have extraordinary work quality, leadership experience, research ability, proofreading knowledge, the ability to meet deadlines, the ability to develop story ideas and distinguish themselves from others.
When applying for the internship, Bourne said a cover letter is extremely important and usually plays a major role in choosing a publication intern.
For the cover letter, an applicant should introduce himself, list the biggest qualifications such as education and work experience, show a voice through the cover letter and personalize it as much as possible to make an impression.
“The employer will see that you are interested in their publication,” she said.
Bourne said interviewees should be prepared to answer why they want to work for a particular publication and what their favorite article is to read.
She added that it is important to read past issues of a publication and examine the company’s background.
Bourne talked about the importance of “thank you” notes and helping a research assistant or a professor as a beneficial experience.
Senior Hunter Brooks said the information was useful because he’ll be graduating in May and is already looking for jobs.
“I usually don’t get into creative writing events because journalism is my major and I know that’s what I want to do when I graduate,” he said. “But the event mixed my major and my minor, speaking on how to be creative and how to use literary citizenship in the field of journalism.”