Career Crossroads: A Journalist and a Photographer Combine Passion and Experience in New Magazine Venture
For most magazine editors, time is marked by non-stop meetings — that is, when they’re not glued to their computer screens with writing or editing.
Conversations can span the day, talking issues and changes with pages in progress, strategizing covers and layout design, and working with writers to turn out content.
Big teams are brought together via department heads, so they successfully can divide into their own areas of expertise to conquer the next issue.
For Julia Eskins and Aleyah Solomon, co-founders of Here & There Magazine, it looks a bit different.
As a self-run digital publication with a small team of contributors, the duo wears many hats.
Eskins acts as editor — planning content, coordinating interviews, and writing and editing stories. Working with publicists and hunting for strategic partnerships falls under her job description, too.
Solomon leads the visual side as creative director and photographer. She focuses on designing layouts for the magazine and website; she also coordinates shoots and manages the Instagram account.
For editorial meetings, they take turns at their home offices or head to a local coffee shop. And, they completely immerse themselves in their travel experiences — all in the name of pushing out a good story.
The pace is hectic; no two days are alike.
Eskins and Solomon split the major roles, but no moves are made without each other’s feedback and consent.
They finalize each issue together, bringing their unique experience and perspectives to the table.
Eskins, a writer inspired by the New Journalism movement of the 1960s, has a passion for travel. Before settling into life and work in Toronto, she spent time living abroad in Berlin and Helsinki.
She’s contributed to notable publications like Canada’s The Globe and Mail and SUITCASE Magazine, and has appeared as an on-camera travel and fashion expert on MTV and OutTV.
Solomon studied photography and the arts, and learned about storytelling through her travels with documentary filmmaker and photographer Nance Ackerman. Her career started in fashion, where she started to shoot lookbooks and do product shoots. She also worked for publications like FAJO Magazine.
Before taking the leap together into self-publication, Eskins and Solomon crossed journalistic paths for a number of projects.
“After collaborating with Aleyah, I knew that we worked really well together,” said Eskins. “Whenever we were on set or covering an event, we would always have a blast, and as a result, turn out killer content because we were genuinely having fun.”
Out of much discussion came a quarterly magazine concept that embodied their mutual passion for storytelling, covering art, design, and fashion in cities around the world.
“It’s a taste of life in a city, through our eyes,” says Solomon. “Each city has a unique experience, and whether you are visiting or living there, you can feel the energy — the magazine explores that.”
NOT YOUR ORDINARY TRAVEL AUDIENCE
But make no mistake. Here & There is not a city guide.
With a focus on in-depth features and striking editorials, each issue gives readers an inside peek into the world of artistic exploration and wanderlust.
According to Eskins, it’s a journalistic, conceptual impression of cities around the world.
Their target reader is “not your typical tourist who is simply looking to cross items off their bucket list,” she says, “but, rather someone who likes to curate their trips in order to experience hidden gems in a city.”
Volume one was launched in 2015 and features North American cities Toronto, New York and Miami, with the final edition on Montreal released June 1. The following volume will tackle four cities in Europe.
During their trips, the duo works long hours and tends to experience the cities more as locals than tourists — running to meetings, walking everywhere, and grabbing quick bites to eat while on the run.
“It’s during these moments with the city’s creative inhabitants that we’re able to capture the true feel of a destination,” added Eskins.
PASSION & PERSISTENCE
Though the duo is pursuing their joint dream, it’s a lot of hard work — and it can be very difficult to manage as they constantly work to switch gears.
As far as advice for those looking to embark on a new challenge, Eskins says passion and persistence in following through on your concept is key, even if you’re feeling hesitant.
“You really have to love it or you won’t survive,” says Solomon. “When you are passionate about what you are doing, it translates through your work and your energy.”
Growing your own personal board of directors is important, too. Eskins suggested meeting with experienced professionals in your field.
“You never know what you can learn by meeting for coffee with someone,” she says. “You might pick up a piece of advice or a new contact that can really propel you to the next level.”
Have an interesting story to share about your media or blogging career? The Beyond Bylines’ Career Crossroads series features stories and job advice for journalists and bloggers from journalists and bloggers. Tell us your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Jasinski is manager of audience relations at PR Newswire and former magazine writer. Follow her on Twitter at @annamjasinski or on Snapchat at anna.jasinski. You can also catch her sharing the latest news in journalism and blogging on @BeyondBylines.