A photo of 16 magazine seniors were chosen to participate in the three-day Bill Glavin Magazine Benchmark Trip.

Magazine seniors visit top publishers, hear #realtalk on Glavin trip

by Nicole Engelman

January 31, 2018

Sixteen magazine seniors were chosen to participate in the three-day Bill Glavin Magazine Benchmark Trip.

A winter storm described as a “bomb cyclone” failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 16 seniors from the magazine department as they took to the freezing streets of New York City in early January for the annual Bill Glavin Magazine Benchmark Trip. Students visited traditional print and digital-only media companies to glimpse the lives of magazine editors and writers and grasp an understanding of the skills and experience necessary to land that first job after graduation. The three-day event is made possible by a generous donation from Eric Mindich and his wife, Stacey Okun Mindich, a Newhouse alumna and student of Professor Glavin, for whom the trip is named.

This year students met with staffers from top publications such as People, The Foundry, Time, Glamour, Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Hearst News Division, and Insider Inc. (formerly Business Insider). At each publication, staffers stressed the ability to work in a team, the increased importance of reporting and writing, the need to understand search engine optimization and the emerging importance of video content. Matt Dukor, executive producer at Bon Appétit + Epicurious and the brains behind their viral cheesesteak video, urged students to conceptualize a video element for any story they want to tell.

At Harper’s Bazaar, senior digital editor and magazine alumna Julie Kosin '14 told students, “People always want the best stories. You just need to adapt them to the best media channel to convey them.” Nikki Ogunnaike, senior fashion editor at Elle.com, suggested students be able to take an idea and frame it for seven different platforms.

In an era of fake news and of media buyouts and closures, many editors wanted to convey a sense of optimism for the industry to students. “The days of an editorial assistant getting someone’s dry cleaning and grabbing coffee for the office are over,” said magazine alumna Andrea Lavinthal '01, People’s Style & Beauty director. “We need everyone on board to do all that we need to do. Assistants write, research, pitch, build stories. We need them, and we want to give them opportunities.” Others delivered inspiration and encouragement. “As journalists you are the firewall between the public and lies,” said magazine alumnus Nate Hopper '12, opinions editor for Time. He advised students to be intellectually curious, to go with their instincts, and to have confidence in their abilities―especially when starting their first jobs. “Don’t swallow anything whole that anybody tells you,” he added.

In addition to visiting publications, students also received résumé critiques and attended a panel discussion featuring recent graduates. Alumni from Vanity Fair, Self.com, Condé Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, Fast Company, Insider Inc., Broadway.com and Hearst offered advice on everything from starting salaries to the do’s and don’ts of apartment hunting and networking. The group also attended an alumni meet-and-greet at Stout that attracted more than 70 guests.

After three busy days, Newhouse students left New York City with vital magazine industry insights, new networking connections, and excitement at the prospect of beginning their careers in just a few months. “It’s been my goal since my freshman year to go on the Glavin Trip,” senior Chazz Inniss said. “My favorite part of the trip was meeting so many alumni who were ready and willing to help me with my career goals. The Newhouse Network is real, and it’s definitely strong!”

Nicole Engelman is a senior magazine major at the Newhouse School.