WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
When I learned I could go to concerts for free if I reviewed them for a local magazine, I was in! That was in high school. In college, I was an arts and entertainment reporter for UCLA’s school paper, The Daily Bruin. I interned for TravelAge West magazine a year after graduating and immediately loved how travel journalism encompassed so many of the topics I wanted to learn more about. I joined the staff a year later, and I’ve worn nearly every hat at TAW since — from intern to assistant editor to associate editor to senior editor to, now, executive editor.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
My job requires a good deal of traveling on assignment, in which case there’s not really a “typical day.” Though, what’s common about my work trips is this: There’s very little downtime; I am frantically trying to capture the essence of the experience while also taking the perfect photos and jotting down key notes, and I’m happy — which is sometimes prompted by delirium from a lack of sleep.
When I’m in the office, I’m usually looking at a pretty jampacked day as well. Traveling for work means that I’m always scrambling to get ahead or catch up on a recent trip.
A typical day might include editing several stories for print and web; uploading stories into our CMS; building an e-Newsletter; taking calls regarding website, newsletter or print redesign/improvement projects; assigning stories to freelance staff and contributing editors; producing and posting content onto our social media channels; interviewing subjects for a feature or cover story; writing; attending meetings with travel companies or fellow editorial staff; helping balance our editorial budget; petting one of the dogs that call our office home; and walking outside for an almond milk latte, a cookie or a veggie dumpling.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
In my office, I have two large monitors set up side by side, which allows me to chip away at multiple projects in a somewhat organized way. I love my stand-up desk because I can move around while on the phone or reading. I don’t think buying a ton of gadgets is a panacea; having a space of your own, with a door, can really work wonders.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
Stop working! I am one of the biggest advocates I know for taking breaks; I can’t tell you how often solutions to problems or lede paragraphs just float into my mind, nearly fully formed, when I’m taking a long walk or finishing a yoga class. Also: traveling! There’s nothing more perspective-widening than immersing yourself in a new culture. I even wrote a guide on how to be transformed through travel: https://www.travelagewest.com/
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson probably had the biggest influence on me — I love their ability to communicate essential truths with literary and sometimes completely fictional (or hallucinatory) elements. Didion’s “The White Album” and Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72” are two favorites.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
The New York Times’ annual “52 Places to Go” gets better every year. Its immersive quality is very inspiring. We might not have the same resources as The New York Times, but in our website redesign, we prioritized having more flexibility in showcasing large images, video and social media content in our article pages. We also will be using Shorthand to create a truly beautiful user experience that allows for in-depth multimedia storytelling.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Now that we completed our latest website redesign, it’s how to put together an inaugural event in less than four months! We’re launching a first-of-its-kind professional development and networking nature retreat for the future leaders of the travel industry.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Take every opportunity. I’m not sure I know anyone who amassed clips and experience without taking some low-paying or non-paying jobs in the beginning.