So you are the editor of the HIP2B2 Magazine, how did it all happen?
Chance and fate. No, seriously, education and creative writing have always been areas of interest for me. My CV happened to land on the desk of Atoll Media when a new magazine project was in the pipeline – until then I had been working as a freelance proofreader slash ‘editor.’ The big man there was interested in a newpaper project I had just completed. After looking over that, I was given the opportunity to put together some ideas for Mark Shuttleworth about how I would go about creating a magazine that made science, maths and technology fun. I jumped at the chance… and the rest is history.
What does your job entail?
As an editor, you’re responsible for the content of the magazine – the way it looks, feels and reads. You liaise extensively with the designer to ensure that you’re both on the same page – literally! You work with a team of writers too – you can’t write it all yourself! Sometimes work is commissioned to outside constributors, and it is the editor’s role to direct the writer as to what the magazine is looking for, and then tweak the written material, adding useful sidebars etc. Along the way there are a whole lot of other factors that come into play, including working alongside the publisher and advertising executive, making sure that the ads fit the magazine and if there are any editorial opportunities for partnerships. The actual printing process also falls to the editor (and designer) – the magazine must be proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes and entirely ready in time; the pagination must be checked and the colours must be matched with ‘best proofs.’ These are the print-outs you get before going to the printer. That’s it in a nutshell – a glossy overview of editing.(FirstStep says: Phew thats a lot of work!)
Did you always want to get into journalism?
No. Not necessarily. I’ve always known that I have writing and creative talent, and that I really enjoyed English as a subject. So I followed my passions at varsity and did a BA (English and Drama) and then did a Masters in English. At some stage I remember thinking that it would be really cool to be a teacher… except that public speaking is not a favourite activity – a bit of a problem when you’re standing in front of a class of thirty-something kids.
What’s a standard day like for Kate at the office?
First off, I plan the day’s activities. There are so many elements to contend with, I find that not having a to-do list, means things get carried over or forgotten when something ‘bigger’ happens or needs attention. I then check email – it’s amazing how many PR agencies send through things for consideration. Where you are in the magazine cycle determines whether it’s going to be a ‘spinner’ or slow-burning, methodical day. Towards print-in, things get a little hairy – time is running out and the pressure is on to get the editorial and design right, not to mention the artwork in for ads.
That would be telling! All I can say is that the magazine is headed for great things, and the whole HIP2B2 brand is being revamped and reengineered. We’re going for bolder and better. Keep an eye on the website – it’s going to be overhauled.(FirsteStep Says: We will definately check it out!!)
Best part of your job?
Seeing all your hard work realised in something tangible that you can take to your friends and family.
Worst part of your job?
Online picture searches.(FirstStep Note: We Agree, big time!)
Funniest moment in your career?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. We generally have quite a few good laughs around the office – but that’s PG rated! Kidding. A few embarrassing moments spring to mind, but I guess they’re only amusing to me. For instance, I constantly mix up the telephone numbers for our resident photographer and movie reviewer because they’re both called Luke. So I launch into photography briefs or movie jargon, only to fall upon stunned silence on the other end. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem!
Highlighted Moment of your career?
Each finished magazine is a highlight. But I have to say, I’m particularly proud of our latest magazine. Its cutting-edge cover really draws you in, and it shows the editorial team how far we’ve come since producing the first mag, nearly a year and a half ago.
What you’d being do if you weren’t the editor of Hip2b2?
Now that is a no-brainer. I’d be in the Transkei somewhere, exploring the coast.
Your message for young South Africans:
When it comes to your studies, follow your passions. Don’t choose your courses according to perceived usefulness. Rather explore your interests. Business skills can always be learnt at a later stage. With regard to your education, it is an investment in the future. Sure, it’s going to be hard work – nobody ever said that Science, Maths, Accounting etc were easy – but the rewards of a fulfilling career, comfortable lifestyle and career choice flexibility are well worth the effort.