By Alex Domine
Being submerged in a culture is a powerful learning tool. I job shadowed Laura Dannen, Arts Editor at Seattle Metropolitan Magazine on March 19th. I learned more about the publishing business in that one nine-five work day than I would have in a weeks worth of lecture. An editorial board meeting of an award-winning magazine, an intensive course on story-pitching and online management and a pre-screening of the Hunger Games with Seattle critics stocked my arsenal of journalistic experience.
The office was exactly what you would expect an arts magazine office to look like. There was a generously spaced lobby with modern décor such as geometric furniture and paper lanterns. The first thing you see after the enormous front desk is a wall display of every issue of Seattle Met and its sister publications in Oregon and Hawaii.
The first event on the agenda was an editorial board meeting. The board room was full of each section editor and interns. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I was met with an interrogation about my editorial experience. I’m sure it was nothing but innocent curiosity—a characteristic common among journalists, however, I was as nervous as a cub among beasts when it came to editorial experience.
I learned how stories are pitched. It was reminiscent of a declaration of independence. You need to tell them what you want, support it, give it direction, reason and convince them why it is unique. The amount of evidence and support one needs to have for a successful pitch is surprising. We learn about pitching stories at school, but either this editor-in-chief is stringent on stories or I haven’t been paying attention in school. A healthy mixture of both, I’m sure.
I happened to catch the Arts Editor on the day she needed to train the Assistant Arts Editor on the website. SEO stands for search engine optimized. Most things online are SEO. When tagging material, strategically type keywords fast because the average searcher will spell the tag wrong. These are just a few of the things that I rapidly took note of during the training sessions.
The clock struck 2pm and I knew it was time. When I found out I was attending a pre-screening of the Hunger Games, I knew I hit the job shadow jackpot. It was the best coincident I’ve ever been a part of. Sitting an auditorium full of professional writers, bloggers, and personalities didn’t feel like a midnight premier. Rather, I was fly on the wall of the presidential ballot counters. Would the movie live up to its hype? Here is my review
The Arts Editor and I had an in depth recap after the movie. I was stunned at the amount of detail she caught. She allowed me to look at her notepad. She only wrote keywords, but the little she wrote down brought back vivid recollections of movie scenes. I knew exactly what scenes she was noting when I saw single phrases such as “Twisted Olympics” and “Lord of the Flies”
The thought of this day being a typical work day took me high. I felt as though I had just gotten off a caffeine drip after a meal at the Sweet Factory.
Categories: Art & Music