I’m currently in high school and my dream is to work in the magazine industry. My all-time favorite magazine is FOAM. It’s the perfect fit for me as I would love to work for a California-based magazine. When I get to college, what should I major in if I want to work in magazines? Also, I don’t JUST want to write; I want to be involved in promotions and events. What do they look for when they hire? I always wondered if, after having an internship with a magazine, do they consider hiring you? Thanks a lot!
Stephanie, Honolulu, HI
Your college major matters less than the writing experience you get from your college newspaper, magazine, or yearbook. Many magazine editors majored in journalism, communications, English, creative writing, and the like, but there are many other editors who majored in subjects like history, French, and music, but they got relevant experience through their student publications and internships. So focus on getting the experience instead of picking a certain major. Of course, if you’re interested in journalism, then you should major in it!
That’s great that you have a deep interest in a particular magazine. Once you’re in college, you should find out how you can apply for an internship at FOAM by emailing an editorial assistant or other lower level editor there. Interns are typically assigned to a specific department (like editorial, art, photo, advertising, promotions, or marketing), but if you have other interests besides editorial, you may be able to gain exposure to these departments during your internship. All hiring editors look for smart, enthusiastic students with lots of writing experience and a demonstrated interest in magazine writing/editing.
And some internships turn into jobs with that same magazine; many don’t. Either way, internship experience prepares you for staff positions and introduces you to editors who may be able to help you get jobs at their magazine or their friends’ magazines after you graduate.