So you want to be an editorial assistant?

So you want to be an editorial assistant?

We rounded out the current crop of editorial assistants from both print and digital to talk about the good, the bad and (maybe) the ugly.

September is usually designated as the month of fashion, publishing and imagining what it would be like to be Andy Sachs. And contrary to the popular belief presented in The Devil Wears Prada about editorial assistants, the job is actually quite rewarding and allows you to make your own mark in the publishing industry. It is true, however, that being at the entry level means bearing a lot of the grunt work. But hey, everybody’s gotta start somewhere, right? A lot of the big names we know today started from the bottom, too, so that says a lot about where this title can take you.

This week, new Young STAR editorial assistants Neal Corpus and Gaby Gloria rounded out the current crop of editorial assistants from both print and digital to talk about the good, the bad and (maybe) the ugly. We get a peek at what it’s like in a day of their lives and discuss the growing influence of digital media and the resilience of print magazines in today’s Internet Age. We also discover that not all bosses are Miranda Priestlys, and that sometimes, the job of an EA involves getting animals for a shoot. They’ve got a long way to go, but with this new batch of creatives, the future of publishing looks promising.

Red Dimaandal, editorial assistant, Chalk magazine

On chasing the deadline:

My worst experience — ’di naman worst, masaya naman siya — was four days, ‘di kami umuwi. Thursday to Sunday, as in nasa office kami. Naglalatag na sa floor, doon na kami natutulog. Pero super fun.

On knowing where you stand:

As an EA, sometimes you have to know your place, but my editor told me, “I’ll fight for you, but you also have to fight for yourself.”

On advice:

You just have to be brave, industrious, and be ready to do whatever it takes. There will be challenges, but you have to be brave enough to overcome them.

On what’s next:

I want to be a lifestyle and fashion editor. During my job interview, my editor asked me about my long-term goals, because she doesn’t want someone who just wants to be an EA forever.

Yanna Lopez, editorial assistant, Preview magazine

On her first love:

Actually I loved fashion first — I wanted to be a fashion designer, but then I realized I’m not good at drawing and I can’t really sew. (So I said) “Sige, I’ll write na lang.” So parang halfway.

On working with her idols:

I like being able to work with people I used to only read about. My bosses, for one. Apart from that, the photographers, writers, stylists, even the talents, the artistas. It’s quite interesting to know that just a few years ago you were just seeing these people here and there, admiring them from afar. But now you actually get to see how they work and see who they are. That can be so inspiring. ‘Cause parang, I’m here, I’m an EA. I’m at the entry level of this industry but then you see all these people and you figure out that, “Oh, if I start out from here, I can be like that too.” It inspires you to work hard.

On what makes print special:

I think, more than anything, it’s an exercise in care, an exercise in being pulido, and mastering little details. It’s a training in meticulousness. That’s what I find compelling about print.

Miguel Escobar, editorial assistant, Esquire Philippines

On his editors:

You see them as great writers and you see their level of taste, and you associate that level of taste with strictness and difficulty to please, and yet somehow, in my experience at least, my editors have been warm — that’s a good way to say it — and willing to help me learn how to get on that level of taste.

On having conviction:

You have to be able to take a stand. As a storyteller and as someone in the media, it’s also your responsibility to stand for what you think should be stood up for.

On advice:

Read. That’s something I regret, not being a big reader. It’s ironic, because now I work for a very literary magazine. I wish I had read more. But at this point, I would be better read. You have to consume not just magazines, but books too. Look at them and see what makes them different. A lot of the job is something that you learn on the fly.

Aly Cabral, editorial assistant, CNN Philippines Life

On the workload:

I also get assigned to things that I don’t like to write about so much. But it gives me a new perspective on different fields. It’s good training, but at the same time, I get to write about things in a way that I really believe in since I’m in lifestyle, technically. I get to express myself creatively but still am able to write about facts.

On what she has learned so far:

There was a quote that stuck with me, that I always just keep reminding myself of every time I would have a bad day, or I’d get discouraged, or I’d get a topic that I didn’t want. I heard it from Erwin Romulo, but I think he got it from Nick Joaquin. He said, “There are no bakya topics. Just bakya writers.”

On the best advice her boss has ever given her:

My boss told me, “Don’t over-edit, and don’t kill the writer’s voice.” ‘Cause he also gave me a book that said when you’re writing, ultimately you’re not selling so much what you’re saying, but you’re selling who you are. Your voice. Lots of people can write about the same thing, but the one that will really attract them is the voice that they’ll listen to the most.

Janelle Yau, fashion and beauty assistant,

On working in digital media:

Sometimes there’s a current topic, a trending topic that you have to write on the site right away. So you have to adjust. There’s not just one formula for it. You really have to adapt quickly to be able to satisfy the wants of your readers.

On the best advice her boss has ever given her:

I’m the type of person who wants to stick to a schedule. I want to do everything in advance, I can’t relax until I finish everything first. But instead my boss is like, “Janelle, you need to learn the art of chill.” In digital, it’s very fast so you can’t really add more stress to yourself.

On advice for those who want to get started in digital publishing:

I think that you should surround yourself with really good mentors because they’re the ones who’ll guide you and also keep you grounded. Also, don’t be afraid of change because the digital world is always changing. So just embrace it.

On social media:

Social media is so powerful these days, so you have to be really careful. For Candy, it has to be about something trendy, something fun. But at the same time, we still have to give a positive message to our readers because Candy’s all about helping the teens become the best versions of themselves. You have to sneak in lessons to guide them pa rin.

Steph Sison, editorial assistant,

On the workload:

Because our deadlines are daily, it’s nakakapagod and stressful. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions every day. But at the end of the day, it’s fulfilling pagod because you’ve done a lot, you’ve been so
productive the whole day.

On working in digital media:

You want to write or release a story that’s very smart, you want to educate your readers. But you also have that challenge of playing around with the treatment of the story, how it would look on the web like using a Q&A format or GIFs.

On learning from her bosses:

I’m thankful ‘cause my editors hear us out and trust us na we can execute this topic well. And when they see us struggle, they help us naman. That’s where their tutelage comes in — they help us learn from what we’re trying to do.

Andre Orandain, editorial assistant,

On the workload:

Sometimes it’s a tradeoff. When you’re a fresh grad, you’re like, “I just wanna write what I wanna write.” But I can’t just do that. ‘Cause this is a publication, and it’s bigger than what I am. Even if I don’t want to write this, there’s always a necessity over your idealism as a writer.

On working in digital media:

I work from home so I really have to schedule myself. Sometimes the workweek is slow, sometimes it’s full of events. It’s fun, ‘cause I have to do some articles that are fast lang, but there are some articles which take time. I enjoy the job because it gives me the opportunity to practice what I like to do. I like to write food essays and they give me a chance to do it naman. It’s really all about scheduling yourself, when can you do all the things you have to do.

On advice for those who want to get started in digital publishing:

Bato dapat yung puso mo. You gotta shrug those comments off and you can’t let your head get big. When you have articles that people appreciate, you appreciate the appreciation, but it has to end there. You have to always be humble when you write. When you write, you always have to have a sense of purpose, of humility.

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