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Erica Duecy

Erica Duecy (MSJ03)

 Co-Founder of Business of Drinks
Erica Duecy

Why did you choose Medill?

Medill was top on my list because of its reputation for turning out serious journalists, in both the business and lifestyle realms. That range was interesting to me, as my professional interests are varied. In different points in my career, I've worked at trade publications and major consumer publications, and I've been able to jump in and report any story, whether a financial update or wine region travel guide.

What was the greatest challenge you faced during your Medill career?

I didn't go to Medill until I was 27, so I was in a different position than recent grads. I'd been working at startups in the Bay Area, making a decent salary. As graduation neared, I knew I would be unwilling to work at a typical consumer publication as an editorial assistant, for entry level pay. Fortunately, I found a more senior editor job at a trade magazine covering restaurants, which paid better than other recent-grad roles.

Why do you think Medill is unique?

Medill offers a well-rounded approach that makes its grads more versatile in the publishing marketplace. Even if you don't anticipate becoming a news reporter, you should know best practices for reporting breaking stories, for example.

What was your greatest achievement or best experience?

My best story was a business profile of an Italian restaurant in Chicago. My success in finding a job at a restaurant trade magazine was largely based on that clip.

How has your Medill training helped you in your career so far? Are there skills or lessons you learned at Medill that you still use today?

The concept of the "Medill F" is something I've drilled into writers and editors who have worked under me.

What advice do you have for someone who might be looking to pursue a degree in journalism?

I'd recommend that people learn as many skills as possible -- marketing, writing, editing, social media, photography. As staffs get smaller and smaller, it's important for editors to wear all hats.

How have you tapped into the Medill network in your career?

Over the years, I've hired dozens of writers from the Medill network. When I was working for a travel publication, I would regularly assign city guides and travel pieces.