A window into our world

Women at Work

On Monday my bossfriend, Joanna Smith-Rakoff, explained to Bookslut what it is that we do all day at the mysterious place where we work.

What would you say a normal day at Nextbook is like?

Our days vary somewhat greatly and they’re different for different members of the staff. Let’s see: In the morning, we generally spend some time making sure that the day’s feature is ready to go, which means coordinating with our art director, India Amos, to see if art is ready. Having someone give the story a final proofread. Perhaps asking one of our assistants to add links into the story. Sometimes we’re running behind and desperately trying to come up with a hed and dek (or heds and deks, if we’re doing a package, or running more than one story); so we’ll email a few choices around, or gather at someone’s desk to brainstorm. At the same time, our assistants will be surfing the Web, choosing stories for that day’s Filter, then checking in with Sara Ivry, the senior editor who oversees it, about those stories. They’ll then write up the Filter and sit down with Sara to edit it.

On Tuesdays, we have our story meetings at lunchtime—we order lunch in, which is nice—during which we check in about various pieces in the works, bat around new ideas, suggest new writers, present pitches from writers, and sometimes discuss larger plans and initiatives. Often these meetings are long—two hours, sometimes more—because we really help each other shape story ideas (which is necessary, being that we never just say, “Okay, let’s do a review of the new Philip Roth novel”).

Hey! That’s me!

Although I work for all of Nextbook’s programs, not just the online magazine, I mostly function as a member of Joanna’s department, because it’s the only one for which I have daily responsibilities. (And, yes, the free lunch every Tuesday is nice.) So my day does usually start with uploading the home page image for the new feature story (which I can’t do until they finalize the hed and dek), and making last-minute corrections to the HTML and layout. (There are a lot of these right now, as our CMS, always under construction, has a number of very tedious annoying nasty bugs that are being worked out.) Then I spend the rest of my day documenting and showing editors how to work around the tedious annoying nasty bugs (now more fun, since our developer set up a bug! tracker!), dragging the mucky bottom of the Internets for photos, cleaning up HTML for past and future stories, researching and attempting to employ illustrators, and wrangling the occasional print job.

Photo: Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17F bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. Photographed by Alfred T. Palmer. From the Library of Congress’s fabulous new Flickr project. No known copyright restrictions. Yay! This photo is a completely accurate depiction of our office, except that not everyone who works at Nextbook is female. We do have three token males, on a staff of fourteen.

2 thoughts on “A window into our world

  1. Yes, sir. Matt’s here, too, and Jen freelances for us. We have the highest known concentration of Academy employees outside the Academy itself.

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