Editors at Work: The New Yorker

Meghan Dahn served as a poetry reader for The New Yorker for over two years. She currently works as development director at the Center for Fiction.

How did you end up at The New Yorker?

I went to Columbia for my M.F.A in poetry. Around my last semester, my adviser came to me and said, “There’s a job opening at The New Yorker. Would you like to consider it?” I hemmed and hawed for about 10 seconds, then decided, “That’s crazy. It’s The New Yorker. You should go for it!” What I was hired to do was essentially read through poetry submissions, pitch potential poems for inclusion to Paul Muldoon and help him with some general correspondence.

How many poems did you read in a day?

We got around 100 submissions a day. If somebody sent a poem to general submissions, I read it. The New Yorker has about two poems per issue. It’s a total of 50 poems a year that Paul can select.

So what were you looking for in a poem?

Paul didn’t want to give me too much in the way of guidelines for what work I should select. He was interested in me being a neutral reader. If I saw something in my daily reading that I liked, I would flag it, continue reading the rest of the submissions, then later go back to the things I flagged and read them again. I always want to feel like I’ve learned something. If I don’t, I tend to pass.

Would you look at poems from well-known poets more closely?

 Yes. I read the poems first as blindly as I could. If my response was an immediate “No,” I would take a look at the poet’s bio just to check myself. If someone had published 10 books or won a Pulitzer, I would’ve thought twice and asked if there was something I was missing. But I tried to let the names and biographies be my second tier of reading and let the work initiate the process. One of the arguments that people used to have against blind reading is, “How can we make sure the work we’re presenting is from a diverse range of authors?” But weirdly it turns out that the blind reading does lead to a much more diverse range of authors in almost every case than not. What does that say about how far we still have to go in terms of biases we have when we’re reading? I think that’s an interesting topic.

What’s the process for editing poetry at The New Yorker?

They go through edits. They go through proofreading. It could be a year before the poem shows up in the magazine. It’s not always Paul’s choice which issue the poem will go in. It’s almost always up to the layout department.

What is your own process for writing and revising a poem?

I tend to go through four phases. I do a lot of research about the stuff I write, so I keep a file of things I know might be useful for poems. Then I do a writing dump where I just try to get something on the page. After that, there’s a very strong urge to show that work to people. I try to resist that and put it away for a week or two, and then take it back out, read it again. I go through a round of edits then, sometimes structural, sometimes sequencing. A lot of the time it’s what I call “de-purpling,”—taking a lot of the frilly language or words that are a bit too baroque out and replacing them with simpler words. That two-week drawer period is really useful.

—Allison Craven, ’17


Editors at Work: Global Press Journal

Krista Kapralos is managing editor of Global Press Journal.

What is the mission of the Global Press Institute which publishes the Global Press Journal?

The goal of what we do is to hire people in places that mainstream news organizations do not cover, or do not cover well. [In countries where] there is a lot of misinformation or no information, our goal is to provide news that you are not getting anywhere else. It’s very rare for us to tag along on big news stories. We try to find other stories that aren’t coming out.

Why is the perspective of journalists from countries outside of the U.S. so important?

All of our reporters cover their own communities. There are some cases in which Western journalists can effectively go and cover news in foreign locations, but in many cases, if not most cases, I think the most effective way of covering foreign countries is by having people cover their own communities. They understand the local languages, the local culture, the local context. At the same time, there is an added level of danger for them because they are not actually leaving. So when we think about how to cover stories, we think very long term, keeping in mind that our reporters live there and are going to stay there. That’s really core to who we are and what we do.

How did you get started working in journalism?

I started off just wanting to be a reporter. Some of my friends told me that at one point I said that I was going to be the owner and publisher of the Wall Street Journal. So I always had some reporting in my blood. I went to journalism school, then took a job at a small daily newspaper, which was the best decision. I’ll always encourage journalism students who want to become the world’s best investigative reporter, or best feature storyteller, to take a job at a daily newspaper where you will be the only person at work the day the mayor shoots his wife. That sort of stuff happens at small newspapers. You want to be the person there to take that gig when it comes along.

How did you end up at the Global Press Journal?

I called the founder and said, if you ever have an opening, I’d love to come on board, and before long I was able to. I started off building the syndication platform for Global Press Journal which is now known as Global Press News Service. That was a learning point for me because I had no interest initially in doing a job like that, but I wanted to be a part of this organization. When an opening was available to become managing editor, it was a natural fit. I had experience on both sides, and I had a much better understanding than I did as a daily newspaper reporter to how the business of journalism works.

How did you get interested in international journalism opposed to domestic journalism?

I’ve done a lot of domestic journalism, and I think that’s always really important. I started out covering small town city councils. I learned how to develop relationships with people there. A lot of people, particularly in small towns, tend to have a fixation on power, and they would hold it over the little journalist. After having all of these experiences, I wanted to expand. I always had an interest in refugees and immigrants. I spent quite of bit of time working at a refugee camp in Germany, and I developed an interest in international affairs. I figured out the stories that worked best for me to tell.

Do you do any writing still as managing editor?

I produce very little myself. I’m not out doing my own stories. I’m helping reporters develop stories on their own, figuring out the best way to get a story, figuring out the best avenue for a story, and all the technical details that go into it. So the story is still theirs. I think that was the surprise for me because when I was finding some success as a news reporter, I found that I couldn’t imagine being an editor. But I love seeing someone succeed.


The Global Press Journal offers internship opportunities in editorial, social media, and press freedom at their headquarters in San Francisco and in Washington, D.C. Opportunities will be listed as they are available for summer, fall and spring terms.

—Ayana Tabourn,’16

Editors at Work: Southwest Magazine

Brad Pearson, ’06, is managing editor of Southwest: The Magazine. 

Can you tell us how you got to where you are now?

After graduating from Saint Joseph’s in 2006, I moved down to Washington, D.C., with the intention of going to graduate school. Instead, I got a job writing for community weeklies, which ended up being a great decision. I was an international relations major at SJU, but I minored in English and focused on journalism. By not going to grad school, I had to become a reporter really quickly. At 22 I had to teach myself if the nut graph was working or if the syntax of my story made sense. My then girlfriend (and now wife) got a job in Dallas, so we moved down here. I got a job writing for the city of Dallas magazine called D Magazine, for which I wrote for three years on and off. I was an online writer, healthcare editor, senior business editor and front-of-book editor. When I left for the last time last year, I came to Southwest Magazine where I am the managing editor.

What does the managing editor do?

I’m not involved in magazine production. I edit personal essays, staff features and the front-of-book pages, including the “Eat, Drink” section. I still get to write some features as well, but they’re mostly small. I write cultural pieces but edit the serious stuff. As an editor, I see a mix of everything you could imagine going into a magazine.

How do you gauge the type of material people want to read while traveling on a plane?

Well, for starters, we can’t run stories about people being murdered or any type of death. That doesn’t necessarily mean we shy away from stories that are sad or depressing because that is still a human emotion often conveyed through a good story. We really like to write features that we feel like people should read, whether they’re on an airplane or not. One of the perks for working at an airline magazine is that we don’t have to rely as heavily on cover lines because we’re not forcing people to buy our magazine. It’s rare that a magazine has such a captive audience, but because it’s distributed on a plane, our readers can’t go anywhere.

Working for an airline magazine, do you get the opportunity to travel often?

In 2014 I was granted the Marshall Memorial Fellowship, where I got the opportunity to travel through Europe. I learned about the differences between the European and United States press. It puts into perspective how much more freedom we have in the United States press compared to publications in Europe. But for the magazine, I travel less than you would think. In the year I’ve been working here, I traveled for four stories. I always try to hit a few birds with one stone when I travel. For example, every December we publish a feature called “Spirit Guide,” so whenever I travel I frequent local bars and restaurants to find great cocktails to include in the feature. Being a top editor, the magazine can’t really afford to have me absent for a long period of time, so I always make good use of my time away.

Do you freelance at all? If so, how do you balance freelancing with your staff position?

Because I only write a few features for Southwest, I like to do some freelancing on the side. Having a staff position while freelancing is hard. I do a lot of research at night and on weekends. The best part about freelancing is that you can email an editor, say “this is my idea for a story” and get your foot in the door. This is an industry about connections, and by freelancing and reaching out to editors, you can meet people that you will want to work with for the rest of your life.

What’s your biggest accomplishment?

I wrote a piece for Philadelphia Magazine last year about the time I was kidnapped outside Saint Joseph’s campus. I worked on and off for about nine years, making sure the story was as perfect as it could be. I was lucky enough to have someone in my household, my wife, read every draft and give her objective opinion. In the last year of writing, I spent every single day thinking of my kidnapping, the reporting of it, making the sentences factual. I had to visit my kidnappers in prison. When this is haunting you every single day, the end product is that much sweeter. You know how much work you put into it. All writers are narcissists on some level, and it felt really nice to have a lot of people read your story, even when it’s about the worst moment of your life.

Are there internship opportunities at Southwest?

We have internships! And they pay. (Not great, and you have to come to Dallas, but they still pay).

—Madeline Morr, ’16

Editors at Work: Global Press Journal (Engagement)

Staci Baird is the engagement editor for the Global Press Journal.

Can you describe what the Global Press Journal does?

Global Press Institute
 is a social enterprise that trains women in developing media markets to be journalists. We employ them to become professional journalistsWe employ 100 percent of our graduates as reporters for our award-winning publication, Global Press Journal. Then, Global Press News Service helps expand our reach through partnerships with media organizations and brands around the world. We don’t ever send journalists from the United States to another country to cover a story. I think that’s really key for us because we’re helping these communities where we have trained journalists to tell the stories of their own communities and to tell us what the story is. We get a different set of voices than anything else you might read in other international or national coverage.

What are some of your favorite stories that Global Press has covered?

Two of my favorite GPJ stories are from the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]: “In DRC, Electrical Shortage Powers Demand for Cellphone Charging Shops” and “Widow Fights Sexism, Earns Respect and Pride Repairing Life-sustaining Water Jugs in DRC.” I love stories about entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses and developing their own solutions to problems in their communities. These aren’t the kind of stories you generally see about the DRC.

What are your job duties as engagement editor?

My day-to-day job is sharing Global Press Journal stories on social media, but it’s more than just crafting the perfect tweet or the perfect Facebook post. We’re thinking a little bit deeper about what that term “engagement” really means for us and using our stories to start conversations. My challenge this year is increasing our readership across the United States and the world. We’re experimenting with a lot of new and exciting technologies and techniques for reaching both local audiences and global audiences.

Do you run into any barriers regarding language or have any Google translate mishaps?

We tweet in English, Spanish and French. Sometimes we’ll get a tweet back in a language I can’t even decipher. Luckily, we have our reporters and translators to help me translate. There’s also a cultural consideration to think about as to why some tweets get more clicks than others or why some stories generate more conversation. So that’s been interesting for me to learn. The support for different fonts and characters on the web can be really challenging. But we’re working on expanding our language reach.

We’ve seen how Snapchat is used by many press outlets to keep readers invested and in the moment. What do you think the next big social media trend/app will be?

I’m no social media savant, but I think as technology continues to develop and evolve, and as more people gain access to the Internet, there will be more real-time conversations happening between people all over the world. This socialization of news and information is encouraging because I believe accuracy and verification, and thus journalism, will always be a part of it.


The Global Press Institute offers a variety of internship opportunities at their offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For internship listings, check out the organization’s website.

                                                                                               —Cristiana Caruso, ‘16


Editors at Work: Running Press

Teresa Bonaddio is senior designer at Running Press in Philadelphia.

How did you get to where you are in the world of publishing and design?   

I started my publishing career as an intern in the kid’s editorial department of Running Press. Coincidentally, when that was ending, a job opened up on the lowest rung of their editorial department, and from there I moved up about three rungs to associate editor. Eventually, I went back to focus on the visual art aspect of life. My undergrad was a B.F.A. in printmaking and book arts from University of the Arts. I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art for a graduate degree in graphic design and then wound up coming back to Philadelphia to be a designer at Running Press. I reconnected with one of my coworkers, and they just so happened to have a job opening. So now I’m back, on the design side of things.

What is the process of making a children’s book?

A lot of children’s books are agented, especially middle grade and teen Young Adult, but there are also a lot of projects and ideas that actually come about through in-house development. We create the text or do a work-for-hire agreement, in which we find a writer who we feel is great for a project, and commission them to complete it. Then the company owns the project. In the children’s book world, you don’t have to have an agent, especially with picture books and illustrators. I think often times those types of projects can come into your inbox unsolicited in a way that’s serendipitous. It ended up with the right person for the right reasons.

How do designers work with authors and editors?

We go through various stages. When the designers get the manuscript, we’re faced with the task of creating a look and feel for it. We have conversations with the editor about whether the book will be done with illustration or photography. We bring options and samples to the table and have a group discussion about it. There is a step where we share options with the author. At these check-in points, we do design samples with sketches and illustrations, and then the designers lay it out and oftentimes come up with two or three variations for each page. We’ll review that and say what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s a mix-and-match game, and there is a lot of back and forth. But ultimately, the author is always consulted in some way because we want them to like their book and also do well in the marketplace.

How many book projects are you usually working on at any given time?

We’re usually working on 15 to 30 projects at various overlapping stages. For example, right now we’re working on getting spring ’16 out the door, developing fall ’16 and acquiring projects for spring ’17.

With all of these projects, how are you able to find time for your own creative work?

It’s an everyday challenge, but you have to create habits for yourself. I grasp any time I can, whether it’s my commute or my lunch break, for thinking or jotting down an idea. Sometimes I come home from work, take a breather and then say “okay, I’m going to work on my own project from eight to eleven.” It’s about establishing time for yourself, whether you’re doing it for more money or even for more work that’s gratifying in another way.

What advice would you offer to young people trying to get into the world of publishing?

The publishing world is a mentor-based industry, and most people start out as interns. At a publishing house, they take you under their wing. Publishing is a ladder-climbing industry in that you’re always looking to go up the next notch and take on more responsibility. I worked a lot of projects that I didn’t want to as an assistant, but I found that the more different people I worked with, the more I learned. Even if you have to start at the bottom, you can always learn from the people around you.


Running Press offers a variety of internship opportunities for college students in the fall, spring, and summer terms.

–Alyssa Evans, ’16

Editors at Work: ESPN The Magazine

Ty Wenger is deputy editor of ESPN The Magazine.

What does it mean to be a deputy editor?

Deputy editor is what we call a top editor in the magazine business. You work with writers, you assign stories. The deputy editor is basically the quality control. You work above the story editors, and it’s your job to help them craft the story ideas and be that second layer. Basically, you are the more experienced version of a story editor.

Do you have an accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I would say the piece on Yasiel Puig and his escape from Cuba that ran about 18 months ago. It was nominated for an ASME, a national magazine award, and was one of the finalists in reporting. The reason why I am so proud of that piece is because it was a story that hadn’t been told. It shed a new light on the plight of what Cuban athletes go through to get off the island. The writer, Scott Eden, declared to me when he filed the piece that his intent with the piece was to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The absurdity of the policy was such that to him, this story brought to light the human impact of that. Within a year, the U.S. embargo on Cuba was over. Whether that’s coincidental, I don’t want to confuse correlation with causality. I would say of all the pieces, that is what I’m most proud of because that actually ended up having real-life implications.

Is most of your work dedicated toward editing or writing?

Mostly I’m editing now. I don’t do much writing. I definitely think editors should continue to write because I think it’s very important to be able to understand both sides of the equation and empathize with writers. Sometimes the only way to do that is to actually write yourself. I think it is a mistake when people just go down the editing track because they can lose the connection with the reality of what it’s like to be a writer.

How do you break through the organizational walls to tell the hard, truthful stories about sports?

First of all, don’t be afraid to write around it. Most of our great profiles and features have been about subjects who have never cooperated with us. You don’t need the source at the heart of your story to tell a great story about that source. In truth, there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people around those people who know the narrative. The other thing, research the hell out of your subject.

What advice do you have for students coming out of college and looking to break into the field of journalism?

I could have answered this question better 20 years ago because the Internet didn’t exist, and there were very codified entry points. I think so many people ignore the old school ways, which is calling up [an editor] and sending a pitch traditionally. Nobody ever pitches me anymore. Fifteen years ago I would receive two or three pitches a day from writers I had never heard of.

Here’s the answer: Go and find the people at the magazines. There are books. Buy the book, find out who the editors are and go the traditional way. Put yourself in front of them and just keep throwing yourself out there, and eventually you will find an opportunity. If you don’t throw yourself out there to be rejected 17 times out of 20, then you’re not going to find that one time that you’re accepted. I think that’s the honest answer. It’s a lot of banging your head against the wall for the first couple of years. Getting in is the hard part, but once you’re in, you have the opportunity to prove what you can do. You learn, you get better, you grow, and then you potentially have a career.

What advice do you have for those interested in working for ESPN? 

ESPN absolutely loves to raise homegrown talent. It is a slow process, but it absolutely exists. There are ladders built within this company to allow people to enter early and ascend up through the company. You have to run the risk of potentially being annoying, but also understand that people will get that you’re trying to make a career. It’s a hard thing to get into journalism these days, really hard. But when you have that foot in the door, make sure you follow that foot up by sticking your whole lower leg in, then the knee, before trying to wedge the whole body inside.


Interested in climbing the ladder at ESPN? Explore possibilities with ESPN The Magazine and other avenues of the company here.

—Sarah Panetta ’16


Editors at Work: Public Radio

Jackie Fortier is a Weekend Edition host and producer at KUNC for Colorado Public Radio based in Greely, Colo. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English/Creative Writing from Colorado State University and a graduate degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I report in the morning. There is a newscast at 2, 4, 5 and 6. I edit in the afternoon.

What is your greatest challenge?

Thirty seconds before I have to go on, I have to change the story. A lot of what I do, rather than the longform stuff which you students get to do, is Hemingway-esque. It is quick. It is concise. I have 45 seconds to tell you what is going on in your state, how it impacts you, or what taxes you’re going to have to pay. I need to make it about the listener. I need to contextualize the story.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I’m an only child. “Sesame Street” tried to teach me how to share, but I don’t do that very well still. I don’t have a producer, and I don’t have an engineer. I decide the order of the stories, how “hot” I want to make the board. I do the newscasts and the breaks. I like working by myself in that capacity.

What is the key difference between editing content for radio versus a print publication?

The key difference is how it sounds. When I’m editing I will read the story aloud for clarity’s sake. I don’t care what it looks like grammatically. I need you to understand what I’m saying, and I need that to happen before anything else.

How does your creative writing background affect your process?

I don’t like alliteration. I’ll change it. You have to be careful with anything that sounds similar to the next word. Colorado legalized pot, so I say, “marijuana,” “pot” and “fracking” all the time. You have to be careful with any word that sounds too similar to the next. You don’t want people to get lost. Most people when they listen to public radio, they’re making dinner, driving in their car. It’s radio. We’re not fire-side chatting with you. I need to grab you, make you pay attention. But I don’t really think Don DeLillo has much to do with what I’m doing now.

Was your graduate degree in journalism essential in securing your current job?

Yes, however, a lot of the people that I work with are English majors but do not have a degree in journalism. I am in the minority. You can get a job at a radio station without a graduate degree in journalism. Our music director has an English degree. I think having an English degree is a great idea because for me, it taught me analytical thinking and much better writing. You ask better questions if you’ve read good literature.


Interested in public radio? WHYY, the public media provider based in Philadelphia, offers a variety of internship opportunities for college students.

—Megan Dunn, ’16


Editors at Work: Psychology Today and Women Under Siege

Michele Hirsch teaches journalism at Manhattanville College, writes for Smithsonian Magazine and is a book review editor at PsychCentral. Previously, she was assistant editor at Psychology Today magazine and associate editor of the “Women Under Siege” reporting project, founded by Gloria Steinem.

Could you start by telling us a little bit about the trajectory of your editing career?

My first big foray into editing was when I was on the staff of Psychology Today magazine. My job was split between writing and editing, which for me anyway was pretty ideal. I got to write my own pieces and also conceive ideas, find freelancers and edit their work. So that, for me, was my first big editing job in the journalism world, but I was casually editing friends’ cover letters and other people’s essays from a pretty young age.

After Psychology Today, when I was asked to work for “Women Under Siege,” my job was again a hybrid of writing and editing. I loved the combination, and at “Women Under Siege,” we were starting from scratch with the website, which was a very different experience than at Psychology Today. At Psychology Today, I had just started to understand this process that was already in place that other people had been using for years, and at “Women Under Siege,” I helped craft it from the start and helped think about big-picture editorial things, not just line edits on a particular piece but also what kind of work were we going to do, what kind of people we wanted to write for us.

What’s one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

Psychology Today had a very big impact on me. Going through the print editing process, copy editing and making sure everything looked good, then getting a real magazine that I saw on newsstands, there’s nothing like that.

What kind of experiences should we be gathering right now to do this kind of work?

Editing your peers can be an incredible way to practice—and going outside of your comfort zone. It’s also a combination of trusting yourself and not being full of yourself. You have to not let your ego get in the way, and you have to admit to the person you’re editing—“Hey, I just need you to clarify what this means”—because otherwise you’re going to mess something up. You also have to put aside your “I’m the editor, I’m in charge” [mindset] and just ask them and have some humility about it.

How much do you think your own personal passions about topics feed into your work?

I think that a good editor or journalist should be able to work on anything. I always found psychology very interesting, even though I am no expert at all. That did feed into my ability as an editor and a writer at Psychology Today because any time you’re excited about something, I think you do better work. At “Women Under Siege,” the fact that I really cared about it did make it easier. I will say that when you are an editor at a place that writes about rape in war zones, especially as a woman, it is extremely psychologically taxing. You end up reading and editing and writing about completely horrific things, and if you don’t at least have some sort of passion about getting information out there about that subject, it would not necessarily be a good match.


Students  interested in applying for internships at the Women’s Media Center (the parent compnay of the “Women Under Siege” reporting project) should visit Women’s Media Center for more information.

—Angela Christaldi, ’17

Editors at Work: Philadelphia Magazine

Tom McGrath is chief content and strategy officer at Metro Corp., which publishes Philadelphia and Boston magazines.

How do you distinguish Philly Mag from your competitors?  

It’s not what we cover but how we cover it. Magazine writers have a point of view on the material whereas newspaper writers aren’t really in the story. They’re just presenting the facts. Magazine writers are encouraged to have a take on the story and bring a perspective and be engaging. We try to do that with our daily online stories too. We want the content to be fun, and we want to produce different stories.

Are there any advantages still to print?

For the print magazine, it’s still the best way to do longform journalism. No one wants to sit and read 5,000 words on their phone. It’s also more visually pleasing. It’s cooler to look at a beautiful photograph on a nicely printed magazine than it is on the tiny little screen on your phone. When it comes to print journalism, you can also be creative and in-depth.

How has the rise of digital media affected that print product?

Commercially, it’s affected advertising. The ad revenue for print has been flat for the past few years. However, ads on the website have gone up a lot. Digital has also affected the number of copies on the newsstand that have sold. I think digital media is just where people are getting their news from now. There’s not a need to pick up a magazine at the checkout line.

As a writer or editor, do you have one moment that has stood out to you as your biggest accomplishment?

Writing a book was fun. The day the box showed up with the first copies of the book was kind of cool.

What about in terms of Philly Mag?

I’m proud of the quality of the print magazine since I’ve been editor. We’ve won a whole bunch of awards since then. I’m also proud of the fact that we have been able to make this transition into the digital side of things. It wasn’t easy to do.

What do you look for in a potential writer for the magazine?

It’s a talent business. One of the things I look for when hiring is: Can you write? It sounds simplistic, but it’s the first thing I look for. The cover letter you send says something. Use it as an opportunity to write for me. Get the editor’s attention through the cover letter because I will dig down deeper.

Advice for students looking for jobs right out of college?

Start looking at smaller publications. They hire people without as much experience. I always tell people that you want any experience that you can get. An editor that wants to hire you wants to know you can do this, even if you weren’t paid for it.


Philadelphia Magazine offers editorial internships during the academic year and the summer. Internships are unpaid, and students must receive academic credit.

—Katie McLaughlin, ’16

Editors at Work: National Geographic

Emily Shenk Flory is the editorial quality assurance specialist at National Geographic in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Jillian Michelle

How did you get your start?

I’ve always been interested in writing and editing and got my earliest experience as the editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook. I majored in journalism at [Loyola University Maryland] in Baltimore and had a variety of communications internships during that time. After college I did a variety of part-time and freelance gigs, including copy editing for newspapers, managing a literary magazine and writing travel articles for a Baltimore tourism publication. I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2007 and was the managing editor at the Child Welfare League of America for almost five years. During that time I got my  graduate degree in journalism by taking night classes at Georgetown University. I joined National Geographic in 2011.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Every day is very different, and it depends on what projects and other things are happening, but let me tell you about what my today looks like. I will be writing facts for the Atlas App, editing the “Photo of the Day” caption and working on a travel post on Manchester, England. A big part of my job is editorial quality assurance. I check for any errors that slip through like typos and make sure links aren’t broken. I’m looking at it all as a package before it goes live.

 What is your favorite part about your job?

I love to travel and am always planning my next trip. I’ve been to six continents so far. I like my job on the digital copy desk because I get to work with many different teams at National Geographic and see the incredible content they’re creating in adventure, culture, science and exploration. The best thing about this job is that I get to see the world from my desk every day.

Is there a project or piece of writing that has been your favorite to work on?

I’ve worked on many interesting projects, but I think the Deepsea Challenge project stands out because it was during my first year at National Geographic. We launched the Deepsea Challenge site while James Cameron was attempting his record-breaking dive to the deepest point in the ocean. It was exciting to read dispatches from the ship each day and play a small part in sharing the expedition with the world.

 Is working at National Geographic something you always wanted to do, or did the opportunity just happen to present itself?

 I always knew that I wanted to work for National Geographic, and I had tried to get in here for several years. I applied for 5–10 jobs before, and when I applied for this position, I finally got my first interview and am now here.

Why did you always want to work for National Geographic?

 I think most journalists can remember looking through National Geographic magazine as a kid and being completely captivated by the stories. I know I can. The sense of wonder National Geographic’s storytelling inspires is something that never gets old, and I say that as someone who now reads our content every single day. It’s an exciting place to be.


National Geographic offers a limited number of internship opportunities for college students. Internship positions are offered in various divisions at the company’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. For more information and to see listed internships, visit www.FoxCareers.com.

—Katherine Grygo ’16