14 Newhouse magazine seniors spend three days in New York City networking with alumni, learning the industry

By Teresa Sabga

January 13, 2015

2015 is the 10th anniversary of the Bill Glavin Magazine Trip


Standing at the head of a conference room in front of alumni and senior magazine majors, Melissa Chessher, chair of the Newhouse magazine department, took a moment to remember her longtime friend and colleague, the late Bill Glavin. She wiped away tears while recalling the first magazine benchmark trip she and Glavin embarked on together 10 years ago.

“We visited three magazines and travelled in and out of the city in a day,” she recalled. “On the bus, students ate PB&Js — Bill always worried about students having enough to eat — and they gathered around Bill while he told stories and asked them about their lives. It was a great lesson in how teaching can extend beyond the classroom and his particular ability to be both charismatic and incredibly concerned about the lives of students.”

Alumni and students remember Glavin, a fly-fishing junkie and Harry Potter fanatic, for teaching Newhouse students the wizardry of storytelling for more than 37 years. Knowing that many students could not afford unpaid internships in New York City, Glavin created an opportunity for deserving students to make connections at the nation’s leading publications. After the first one-day trip, Eric Mindich and his wife Stacey Okun Mindich, an alumna and former student of Glavin’s, began to fund the annual excursion, which expanded to three days. In 2011, after Glavin’s passing at the age of 67, the trip was renamed “The Bill Glavin Magazine Trip.”

"The ones that love us never really leave us." Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This year, on its 10th anniversary, 14 Newhouse School seniors spent three days in the Big Apple visiting magazine offices, speaking to editors, receiving résumé critiques, and networking with alumni at a panel discussion and an informal meet-and-greet at a midtown pub, Stout. Recent grads offered reality checks on entry-level salaries, the search for reasonable rents and the importance of networking at every possible opportunity—even if that means drinking lots and lots of coffee with strangers.

The trip’s itinerary reflected the industry’s increasing online growth with visits to digital hubs Business Insider, Epicurious, Fortune.com, People.com, Cosmopolitan.com, and to legacy print publications GQ, Self, Esquire, Fast Company, and O: The Oprah Magazine. The office culture at one stop, Business Insider, buzzed with youth as three recent alums helped lead a discussion on breaking into the business after graduating.

“If you want to write about something, you just have to pursue it—determination is rewarded,” says Drake Baer, a reporter at Business Insider. He urged students to knock down doors. His fellow reporter, Newhouse alumna Christina Sterbenz ’13, encouraged students to be professionally curious.

“Be an expert dabbler,” she says. “You may never know you’re interested in something until you read about it for a couple of hours.”

Professionals at some publications talked about long-form in the era of online journalism. Sarah Ball, senior editor at GQ, shared that the publication’s interactive designs attract the most online traffic. One long-form story, “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit,” generated the most views on GQ.com in 2014. Marrying long-form content with immersive design elements has proven successful for stories that can run well over 7,500 words.

Print and digital journalists encouraged students to write and pitch ideas relentlessly. John Sellers, site director at Esquire.com, advised students to focus on one publication, pitch a story, and, in the face of rejection, pitch again. “They don’t have to be the world’s greatest articles. They just need to be decent,” said Sellers.

Newhouse alumna Erin Hobday ’03, managing editor at Self, also suggested researching, reporting and writing a story before writing the pitch to ensure a compelling, authoritative proposal. “Do all the work ahead of time,” says Hobday. “And use proper experts.”

One of many thrills on the trip included an early look at the new Condé Nast offices in One World Trade. Forget Anna Wintour—all fear Newhouse alum Eric Gillin ’99, newly appointed executive editor at Epicurious. He told students bluntly: “If you don’t succeed, it’s your fault.” Gillin described millennials’ expanded capacity to succeed thanks to social-media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. His favorite aspect of media: the ability for any journalist to be a chameleon. “Do it well all the time, and you beat the people who do it well once,” said Gillin. He ended an hour-long discussion by describing how competitive the industry is. “You gotta be a hustler,” he says. “The people who make it, do it.”

After three days of roaming the concrete jungle in single-digit weather, magazine seniors left New York City with invaluable exposure to the workplace.

“I was really amazed by how comprehensive our trip was,” says magazine senior Gabriela Riccardi. “As we're thinking about what we want to do after graduation, the chance to peek into such a wide spectrum of magazines—all with successful alums working there—showed my class how our careers will have endless opportunities.”

Students on the 2015 Glavin Trip included: Paige Carlotti, Laura Cohen, Tess Kornfeld, Jessica McKinney, Kelley Rowland, Kerry Wolfe, Abby Maddigan, Jillian Comoletti, Gabriela Riccardi, Rebecca Shafer, Yvonne Lee, Michelle van Dalen, Leigh Miller, and Teresa Sabga. Magazine professor Harriet Brown accompanied the students along with Melissa Chessher.