Today’s Shero Spotlight is Katie Pittman, former editor-in-chief of Thread Magazine, American Society of Magazine Editors intern and current EA to the EIC at O Magazine! I met Katie when I was just a junior in high school attending the writer’s workshop at Ohio University and was immediately captivated by her drive and passion for magazine journalism. Katie continued to pursue her passion after graduation and now works in the magazine industry in New York City, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such an inspiring writer featured on my blog!
What would you say your greatest accomplishment as editor-in-chief of Thread was?
I think the biggest accomplishment at Thread ws getting into print, which was a really big deal for us. Even though we just had little mini issues that were one story from each section, for the five years at the time that I had been working with Thread we had never printed … So, getting into print and actually keeping that going was really cool. We didn’t have any funding from the school, we literally were selling grilled cheese like three nights a week. So, it felt really good to have the final product in our hands.
What was the greatest obstacle that you faced as editor and how did you overcome it?
So, I was EIC my junior year, which I was so grateful for, and was not expecting, it was incredible. But, I think some older people on staff felt weird about my being younger than them and sometimes it was kind of hard to assert my authority because a lot of times they did have more experience than me, especially people in the photography department or the design department because I didn’t know the technicalities that they knew. So, that was really difficult and we also had some situations with battling personalities. It’s hard managing a group no matter where you are or what you’re doing. But, it’s really difficult when people kind of start going at each other because of differing opinions. So, I would say that was probably the hardest thing to do and I just tried to make everything really open and let people air out their grievances. But at the same time, I tried to stand firm in decisions, where I knew we had to do what’s best for the magazine, even if it went against what some people wanted to do, or their creative vision.
What was the most memorable moment of your internship with ASME?
I feel like I have to say it was when I met Oprah. But while that was extremely memorable, something I really was not expecting was to meet one of my very best friends. We are random roommates and she lives in New York now and we still hang out all the time … It’s been super cool to go through the same phases in life at the same time with her.
What advice would you give to soon-to-be graduates who are preparing to begin job hunting?
I would say take whatever you can, even if it’s before you graduate or right when you graduate … And I would say to keep in touch with anyone you intern with, or if you have friends who are living in the city, ask if you can crash on their couch for night and talk to people. Right after I graduated, I literally slid into the DMs of all my favorite writers, which sounds stupid, but the worst thing they can say is no, and most of the time, they’ll take you up on that offer … And you know, rejection letters suck, and I got a lot of those too. But, something better is coming and there’s a reason that you got rejected from a certain place.
What overall advice would you give to girls who want to go into a more competitive field like journalism when they’re just starting out?
Definitely do not be afraid to say what you mean and say it confidently. I think something I sometimes regret is in competitive environments I tend to kind of shut down and just get really quiet and not say anything. It can be really nerve wracking to be somewhere where there are a lot of people around … But so often the times where I did take the chance, it’s always paid off. As long as you’re sharing an informed opinion and you’re not shrinking away, people are going to listen to you and that’s really important.