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Stability is not necessarily a feature of working in magazines. Pay is very low as you start out, so it is necessary to move around a lot in order to increase your salary. Increasingly, many jobs in magazines are becoming freelance, especially on the content side, for writers, photographers, designers and illustrators.
The hours can also be crazy, especially when you are trying to meet a deadline, but working for a magazine can be very exciting. Since there always seems to be a new magazine being launched, you will be invited to many different parties. There are some people lucky enough (depending on how you look at it) that plan these posh events as their full-time job. As you gain responsibility, there is the potential for travel as well.
Desired Skills & Traits
Research: Due to their longer format and less frequent publication, research is even more important in magazines than newspapers. Not only is it important to get the facts straight, but far more granular knowledge of subject matter is required. Research in newspapers tends to be broader, but in magazines it is inclined to be more focused.
Writing: A unique writing style is necessary to capture the brand and personality of the magazine. A more personalized style also guides readers through longer stories commonly found in magazines. On the flip side, there are many magazine features that now require highly creative and "punchy" copy for features that offer readers quick pops of information.
Expertise: As magazines become more and more niche oriented, it is helpful to bring a unique area of expertise to the table, even for more general publications like Time or Newsweek. Many writers and reporters for magazines are increasingly freelance, so it is important to begin building a knowledge base in a particular area like health, business or entertainment. As a result, you can write for any magazine, rather than limiting yourself to one magazine title.
Business Skills: In such a highly competitive marketplace, where most newly launched magazines fail within the first year, business skills are crucial. Understanding demographic research, database management and direct marketing are a must. Even on the creative side, it doesn't hurt to understand the basics of business and how to better connect with your target audience.
Entrepreneurial Spirit: Last year, over 400 new titles were launched in the U.S. While established titles may not champion the entrepreneurial spirit, start-up magazines definitely do. A "can do" attitude, good organizational skills, creativity and the ability to solve problems are all welcome traits in helping to establish a new magazine title.
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