Where Editorial Careers Are Headed: Jobs That Combine Writing, Editing and Search Optimization
What will jobs and career paths look like for those working in the writing, editing and publishing world in the not-too-distant future? The Los Angeles Times has given us a clear-eyed look at one likely version of that future in a front-page article from March 6, titled “It’s Web 101 for This Experienced Intern.”
The story of a Lois Draegin, a former highly-paid magazine editor for TV Guide who lost her job in the spring of 2008, the article provides a unique glimpse into the ways editorial work is changing in the 21st century.
Gone are the former staples of story meetings at which editors debated only amongst themselves which stories to include in the magazine. These days, research using services like Google Trends — which provides insights into what users are searching for and thus, which stories are likely to capture the attention of Web surfers — fill up an increasing amount of every editor’s day.
I found this quote from the article particularly illuminating about the day-to-day worklife of an editor at an online publication, which in this case is the women-focused site wowOwow.com:
Everything … Draegin did that morning was more complicated.
In the past, she hadn’t bothered to learn such skills as writing tags and URLs because she was paid to think globally about the direction of her magazine. Now she had to think globally not only about each topic but about every word she wrote in the URL, headline, subhead, tag and links in the story.
Everything had to be crafted to draw readers.
“It’s really a challenge to do all of that at once,” Draegin said.
Leaning back and crossing her arms thoughtfully during a break, she admitted that her mind sometimes wandered. “I find myself wanting to turn my head to what would be good for the website overall — what kind of writers, kinds of new columns. That’s just what I’m used to.”
Really interesting insights from the Times, and you can read the whole thing here.