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Anna asks: I'm interested in finding information on what sort of jobs are available for writing for magazines. I need to declare my major soon in school, and I'm trying to decide. If you have any information or ideas that would be great.

Hi Anna,

Writing jobs on magazines come in two basic flavors; staff writing and freelance writing.

For either you need some basic skills. Number one are computer skills (be good and fast and know how to research with it). Another basic skill is editing, and, a third is interviewing.

The recent recession has knocked out some staff positions and closed down some magazines. But, the economy is starting to pick up, advertising is coming back, so the situation should be better by the time you graduate.

Publishing, whether magazines, newspapers, books, or Net likes talent.

When you think of majors, think competitive advantage. If you want to get into magazines, take a journalism or communications degree and then minor in a field of interest and cultivate that interest. That can be food, fashion, sports, etc.

Focus on several interests while getting a broad, humanities education.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. The value of internships in getting a foothold in a magazine
  2. Excellent programs that prepare you for magazine work. Here are two of them: George T. Dellacorte Magazine Program at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Magazine Publishing Project at the Medill School of Journalism

The other thing to think about is whether you want to work on consumer magazines or trade magazines. That's something to investigate as a student.

Freelance writing is an option but it's highly recommended that you wait until you understand the dynamics of the publishing game before you get into it.

Writers on magazines write on specific subjects. Sometimes there is collaboration on a single project. As you get an idea of what sort of magazine you want to write for, read as many as you can. See what type of stories they run. What kinds of research go into the article? How extensive do they interview?

Again, we recommend you look for internships as you near graduation. You can contact any magazine in your region and inquire about them.

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