Profession: Magazine Lead Editor
Experience: 18 years
Location: Germany, Köln
I am a editor-in-chief of the travel magazine – ‘reisen EXCLUSIV’
The Hard part I feel about this profession as per my experience till now :
First of all, getting the job is like winning a lottery. Most of all being able to really make a living out of it. Additionally, you have to keep yourself up-to-date, online, social media, multimedia – the job has become much more than just finding a story idea, research, write and publish. As an editor-in-chief; in my position, I suffer from the decreasing marketing budgets in advertising.
I am simply not able to buy as many stories of freelancers as I was able to years ago. Business has changed completely. On the private side, as a mother, being a travel editor means that you are travelling away from your family. Even for short trips, that can occasionally be hard for everyone.
Things one might find interesting or feel “happy” about this profession :
This job is a blessing. And I am very thankful every day. I have the opportunity to see places, I have never thought I am able to travel to. I am able to take a peek into other cultures, get to know traditions, learn about respect, environment, art and culinary experiences.
I get to know outstanding personalities, who touched my life in a number of ways. I have even been so lucky to meet my husband on the trip.
Pros And Cons which I feel about this profession :
Pro: you stay open-minded, you can be creative, you are always able to see, learn and remember, you connect and you understand, you value, you cherish, you appreciate, you are up-to-date, you are able to talk to everyone
Cons: you are stressed because of deadlines, you are stressed because the business takes so many turns, that you need to keep up, you are stressed because numbers and statistics count more than good work
My Personal Experience :
As a kid, I was the editor-in-chief of our schools’ magazine. It happened more by coincidence, but I liked it. After school, I studied psychology but worked for different outlets writing stories. And I actually never planned to stay in journalism, because I was interested in finding a job in psychology. But it all turned out differently. I interned with a big travel magazine – coincidence again because the women’s magazine in the same publishing house did not like my work – but hey! in travel I did quite good.
After my internship, they recommended me to another magazine until I got pregnant and they decided, a mother is not able to be a good travel journalist. So I had to prove them wrong. My Mom had a small B2B-publishing house. Very small. She was her only employee. So I decided that we work together and create a luxury-travel magazine for the German-speaking market. That was 18 years ago.
We have grown from 10.000 issues to 100.000 issues. We have grown from 2 employees to twelve and another dozen freelancers. We have grown from one magazine to 4 different magazines, 5 online sites and one blog.
It hasn’t always been easy. You need to be patient, you need to be real, and you have to work for something you believe in. Something that you consider as fulfilment. I might not be able to sell you a vacuum cleaner, but I can sell you my product because it is my baby. And I put a lot of passion to create a product, that is read by others.
How I become a Travel Writer :
If young people ask me »How do I become a travel writer?« – I tell them, besides the obvious, that you need to be good in telling a story and writing it down in a fascinating and entertaining way, I tell them, that they need to have a strong will.
They have to be determined that this is the job they ‘REALLY WANT TO DO’ because times have changed. In Germany, you hardly get a permanent position as an editor. You are mostly freelance and in that case, you need to go and sell your stuff to media outlets. And sometimes that can be disappointing because nobody is interested in buying. You also need to know that the budgets are low.
You will not be rich and famous. The job is more about passion than success. Of course, you might be able to write a book, have a magazine story, travel the world, but you will not be paid an appropriate fee. But despite that all – this job is a life changer. It lifts your life to a new level, you will see the world with different eyes because you have the chance to experience different cultures and talk to different personalities. You can be creative, you can tell stories, you can make a difference. You can raise your voice, you can show the beauty, you are able to express yourself in so many different ways.
Today being a travel writer means you need to take pictures, shoot videos, interview, research, write, do social media, do marketing … it is a variety of talents you need to have, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and stay focused.
I have learned that being an editor-in-chief is a position that only has one good advantage. I can choose, what I want to write about and can create my own magazine. That is a blessing. On the other hand, it’s a lot of responsibility, for your team, for the product.
Decisions have to be made, that do not represent your ideology, your taste, your way of life. I am not a numbers person, but still, I have to look at them and see if the decisions I have made before were the right ones or a fail. And if it is a fail, I have to stand up and shoulder it. You have to believe in your opinion, be a strong character, be fair, be able to listen, but on the other hand to be able to swim against the stream.
www.reisenexclusiv.com is the online version of the ‘reisen exclusiv’ magazine.
www.kanadastisch.de is a blog about Canada.