Traditionally, publishing has been a print industry, but in recent years the internet and digital media have transformed this field. Many magazines, newspapers, and publishing companies have transitioned to include digital distribution.
Magazines: The field of magazine publishing covers a wide variety of content and job opportunities. There are over 18,000 magazine titles published in the United States, focusing on everything from news to fashion to lifestyle, including every sport, activity, or hobby imaginable. There are many facets to magazine publishing, including content and writing, art and production, and business and marketing.
Books: Book publishing is a relatively small industry in the publishing field. The field covers a huge array of genres, including classics, cookbooks, children’s literature, textbooks, and religious texts. Common positions in book publishing include editors, marketers, graphic designers, digital specialists and production experts.
Newspapers: Although the newspaper industry as a whole is in decline, newspapers continue occupy an important place in American media. A vast array of publication types, like local or community papers, regional or metropolitan dailies, and specialized papers that cater to specific populations, allow for a broad range of positions in the newspaper business. Positions at newspapers include writer, editor, digital content specialists, advertising sales, publisher, and circulation manager.
Positions in publishing are often exciting, deadline-driven, and may have you doing something different every day. The publishing industry employs workers with a variety of skills, and the state of the industry encourages creative, adventurous people who are dedicated to preserving print media. Those with experiences across a variety of functions and departments are also highly valued.
Magazines employ workers in a number of different fields, including content, production, and business. Common entry level positions include editorial assistants, associate editors, copy editors, researchers, and reporters. More experienced positions are senior editors, managing editors, editorial directors and editors-in-chief. On the production side, assistant photo editor and production assistant are common entry level positions, reporting to art directors and production managers. Magazines also employ marketing managers, circulation managers, advertising managers and publishers in pursuit of their business goals. Newspapers similarly employ staff in different fields, like content and business. Desk assistants, copy editors, proofreaders, reporters, photographers, graphic artists and editors all work to produce content, while account executives, marketing and promotion staff, and publishers work for the business side. Likewise, despite the breadth of genres in this field, all book publishing employs editors, marketers, salespeople and production specialists.
Like many fields in the media sector, most people find their full time positions in publishing through networking/word of mouth and current or former internships. You can meet people in the field by starting to attend networking events or conducting informational interviews. Additionally, working with student publications is a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio of work. And, LionSHARE as well as specific, industry job boards (see below) can aid in your search to find a great opportunity. While there are always outliers, most employers in the field recruit interns and full time employees a semester prior to the position start date.
Recently, editorial, sales, and HR representatives from New York City publishing houses visited Columbia to meet with students and shared that most publishers are looking to fill entry-level rolls within 2-3 weeks of conducting interviews, so be ready to apply later in your last Spring semester. Another way they recommended getting into the industry is to find temporary positions through a temp agency, which will give you exposure to the field and allow you to network with colleagues along the way. Some large publishers may also have post-graduation or 'after college' internships available, which can be found on the career pages of the company website.
For your application materials, a thoughtful and well written resume and cover letter are required. Hiring managers in this field are not only looking at your communication and writing style, but they want to know why you are passionate about the position, department, and organization you are applying to. When applicable, you should also include a link to your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile on your resume, so employers can see your past writing, design, or project experience. If you are applying to digital or marketing positions, be sure that you include relevant social media profiles that have been updated to be professional and relevant to the organization you are applying to.
- LionSHARE: Thousands of positions are posted on LionShare every year. Past employers who have recruited for publishing positions include Allure Magazine, Forbes Media, Penguin Group, and Newsweek.
- Fall & Spring Career Fair: The Fall Undergraduate Career Fair and the Fall Graduate Career Fair, each held in September, and the Spring Career Fair include organizations from many industries including media. Recent publishing companies who have recruited at Columbia Career Fairs include Crain Communications Inc., Rodale Inc., and Open Road Integrated Media.
- Book Publishing Showcase: Held once every academic year, this career panel and networking events hosts representatives from a variety of companies, including Oxford University Press, Springer Nature, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Workman Publishing, and International Publications Media Group LLC.
- CCE Sponsored Internships: CCE sponsors internships in the spring and summer in a variety of fields and industries. Read about a recent Columbia Arts Experience participant’s experience interning at The New Yorker here.
- Vault and WetFeet Guides: CCE subscribes to these web-accessible career guides, which provide in-depth descriptions of industries, companies, and careers. Check out Vault’s Career Guide to Book Publishing and Wetfeet’s Career Overview: Writing and Editing Industry Overview: Journalism and Publishing.
- Alumni Profiles
- Brooklyn Brainery- find classes on anything and everything including writing.
- Center for Communication- non-profit focused on preparing college students for careers in media.
- GalleyCat- News on the latest digital and print publishing trends, and new books and authors.
- LiteraryMarketplace.com- this directory of American and Canadian publishing has listings on 30,000 companies, books, periodicals, awards, courses, and events.
- Meetup.com Writers Groups- find other writers for support and feedback.
- Newspaper Association of America- news and opinion about the newspaper and journalism industry.
- Publishers' Marketplace- an online marketplace for publishing professionals to connect with one another and access current information about the industry.
- Publishers Weekly (PW)- Weekly magazine that features articles and news on all aspects of the book business.
- Publishing Trends- Monthly periodical that explores and explains industry trends.
- Shelf Awareness- Weekly newsletters featuring best books of the week, author interviews, and more.
- Association of American Publishers
- The Association for Women in Communication
- Digital Media Association
- Magazine Publishers of America
- Young to Publishing Group (YPG)
Last updated March 2016