Name of Professional: Ms. Rebecca Silvestri
Profession/Title: Executive Editor
Business/Company Name: Plano Profile Magazine
Date of Interview: 28 September 2016
Going into my interview with Ms. Silvestri, executive editor at Plano Profile Magazine, I was eager to learn how the job duties of an editor are similar to and different from that of a writer. I was hoping to gain the perspective of an editor-in-chief rather than a journalist because I was curious if she would consider certain skills more important to the job than a journalist would.
Ms. Silvestri was able to provide me with new insight on the daily work life of an editor, as well as its pros and cons. Her account of the difficulties of having to cut stories, and be blunt or mean for the sake of meeting strict deadlines, gave me a look through the lens of an editor. Editors and journalists work closely with each other every day, constantly negotiating, correcting, and improving a story to make it publishable; arguably, a journalist’s relationship with their editor is one of the most important out of any in the workplace. Hearing Ms. Silvestri’s experiences made me realize that when I inevitably work with an editor eventually, I cannot take corrections, and/or my story being cut from an issue, personally. Everything they do is for the good of the magazine, and the only reason they can appear harsh is because they are doing their best to maintain the tone and flow of the magazine; if a piece doesn’t fit, obviously something has to change. This new information modified my previous knowledge of a journalist’s collaborative efforts in the workplace, and will greatly benefit me in my future as a journalist by allowing me to empathize with my editors and understand where they are coming from rather than getting heated or angry over simple things.
From the interview, I also learned the importance of being involved in my community as a writer. Ms. Silvestri capitalized how the majority of stories for the Plano Profile come from simply talking to Plano residents. By developing connections in the area you are writing about, you hear firsthand about stories that interest your target audience, stories that people would want to open a magazine and read about. I realized that by keeping up with community events and gathering details on them early, a writer, especially one for a regional magazine such as Plano Profile, can ensure that the material published is up to date and of interest to its readers. This new knowledge of the importance of community involvement expanded my previous grasp of the skills necessary to be a journalist, as it added a casual social aspect to my previous list of academic and professional attributes.
As I continue on my ISM journey, I plan to take this helpful information and apply it as I write future stories. Whether my stories be for a regional, national, or even international publication, I will take into account the people surrounding me and what is of interest to them. I will focus on being more actively involved and social among my target audience in order to make certain that I am producing material that people want to read. Furthermore, as I submit my stories to publications, I will remember that corrections and harshness is not to tear me down, but rather to build me up stronger than before.