TwoCoversDuring the second trimester of my MSc Magazine Publishing course, the creators of new Four Letter Word came to speak at Edinburgh Napier. When the opportunity to intern for a start-up arose, I knew I had to take it.

Before coming to Edinburgh Napier University to pursue my MSc in magazine publishing, I worked as an associate editor for a B2B publishing company in the United States. Prior to that, I did several internships at various consumer and trade publishing companies. They all had one thing in common – that was that they had been in business for decades.

There are lots of pros to being with a longstanding, established company, of course, of which I won’t go into detail.

But the defined structure that exists and helps a company to thrive also presents a few challenges for a newcomer. To name a few:

  • Changes are much harder – and much slower – to come about;
  • Generally speaking, a new employee needs to fit into a role that is already defined for them; and
  • Although it’s often said that ideas are welcome, they aren’t usually truly taken into consideration, and almost never given an honest try.

It’s no secret that the publishing industry has had its ups and downs – it has experienced major change with the world settling into the digital age. When I was 18 and declaring what I would major in during my time at university, I was frequently criticised for my choice to study journalism, particularly by older generations. It didn’t help that the U.S. was just beginning to enter the Great Recession.

“Publishing is a dying industry.”

“Magazines won’t survive this next recession.”

“People just don’t read newspapers and magazines like they used to.”

They weren’t entirely wrong, but I knew in my heart – yes, I know how terribly cheesy that is to say – that the industry as a whole would get through the challenges and maybe even come out stronger. Although some publishing companies haven’t made it through, others have indeed come out on the other side, more innovative than before. And, even better, many new publishing companies have been born.

For the past couple of months, I have been interning with Four Letter Word. I admire the founders not only for having the guts to start a new media company, but also for what the brand stands for.

The creators have crafted a space for anyone and everyone – particularly the LGBTIQ community and its allies – to explore what it means to be human in the 21st century. Diversity and inclusivity is at the core of what the brand stands for.

Just to get an idea, check out this short video, the first in a short series of films made with DIVE Queer Party and Derek Anderson Photography. I asked Four Letter Word to briefly discuss the video:

The Annabels share their opinion on the similarities between us [Four Letter Word as a media entity] and them. They are aware that instead of dictating their media to them, we’re asking them to help mould their own media. We represent our audience – an audience that is underserved in traditional commercial channels.

The second issue of Four Letter Word, themed “The Growing Up Issue,” came out only last week. I highly recommend visiting the website and the company’s social media channels (Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Tumblr; YouTube; Pinterest) to find out what they are all about.