Lauren Gelman (BSJ02, MSJ03) is the digital content director and health director at Reader's Digest. She is responsible for writing, assigning, editing, and curating all health content in the magazine and digital editions. Along with a team of junior editors, she contributes much of the health content on RD.com, and she usually writes a couple original slideshows each week. She oversees a six- to eight-page, front-of-book section and typically edits one or two features per issue.
Medill prepared her in so many ways for various jobs, Gelman says. First and foremost, her professors, particularly in her reporting and writing classes, taught her how to be a journalist. As the Internet becomes more saturated with bloggers and user-generated content, having professional reporting skills (and knowing how to coach writers and other editors in these skills) cannot be underestimated. Her magazine classes taught her to understand a unique audience and tailor content accordingly. She’s worked at a variety of publications, including Family Circle, Shape, and Prevention, and one of the most important things to know as an editor is "what makes your reader or user tick. Why are they coming to you, what do they want to read or learn from you?"
Without a doubt, her favorite Medill memory (and the one that best prepared her for a career in magazine/web publishing) was the Magazine Publishing Project during the master's program. There, she learned about the business of magazine publishing and how to thrive in a team environment. “It was like getting a year of editorial assistant-like experience under my belt before entering the workforce,” she says.
Another not-to-be-underestimated benefit of going to Medill is the ongoing networking you experience. “It's always such a great feeling to meet alums in various ways and bond over your time in Fisk Hall.”