Editors at Work: Weight Watchers Magazine

Katerina Gkionis is the associate managing editor of Weight Watchers Magazine.

How did you end up at Weight Watchers?

I decided in high school that I wanted to do some kind of journalism, so I did a number of internships. In the summer of my junior year in college, I saw there was a Weight Watchers Magazine internship. I had been interning at CosmoGirl and Seventeen, but I thought, “Hey, this is a smaller magazine. I’ll get more experience there.” So I applied and I got it. I did research. I wrote. I was able to do so much because it’s a smaller staff. When there was an opening as an editorial assistant there, I got that job, which I did for two years. Then I was assistant editor and associate editor and now associate managing editor.

What do you do as an associate managing editor?

My role here is very different from a traditional managing editor at a magazine. We had some restructuring last year, so I took over part of the production side of the magazine. I manage the workflow and deadlines to ensure that we ship the magazine to the press on time and also handle success stories content and fitness content for the magazine. For fitness, I pitch ideas, then work with writers who produce the piece. Then, I edit and send to my editors. For success stories, I find the Weight Watchers members, present them to our editors and write their stories myself. It’s an exciting job with many different tasks, but I actually prefer it that way.

What’s your strategy for keeping your content fresh?

That is always a challenge, especially with weight loss. We used to redesign the magazine every year because the topics were basically the same, and the issues that people tended to have were the same. So we had to find a different spin, right? It’s really about interviewing people, finding experts, looking in the news and always reading the latest studies that come out. Of course it’s hard because one day the research will say “Start eating butter again,” and the next day something else will say, “Oh, my god, butter kills you.” At Weight Watchers Magazine, we always read this website called Science Daily so that we can check out what’s new and fact check everything before putting content out. Every day, I get bombarded with press releases about a new expert or a new study or new guidelines, and that’s how we go about doing something fresh.

Does writing about health and fitness content spill over into your everyday life at all?

Yes, absolutely. I am constantly trying out new fitness classes, gadgets and apparel. It’s so fun to be on the cutting edge of fitness, and it adds variety to my workout routines, too. I am also inspired by members who are making healthy changes in their own lives.

Is it a requirement as a Weight Watchers Magazine employee to pilot the Weight Watchers program?

It’s not a requirement for magazine employees to be on the program. The company does, however, encourage employees to visit a Weight Watchers meeting so that they can understand the Weight Watchers consumer. Personally, the reason I was drawn to the company was from my own experience with Weight Watchers over the years. Most recently, I rejoined the program in January 2013, and I have lost 50 pounds since. It’s a program that I believe in and that I am proud of.

 

Be sure to check out Gkionis’ self-described “best work yet,” the magazines bare-all body image issue, which was featured on Good Morning America. For information on Weight Watchers Magazine’s summer internship program, visit JobVite.

—Samantha Puleo, ’16