My publishing placement was a five-month stint with content marketers White Light Media. White Light publish a large range of magazines and publications for clients in the academic and financial services sectors – but what they’re best known for is Hot Rum Cow, a consumer magazine title dedicated to the history and culture of drinking. I worked as an editorial intern on Hot Rum Cow and on the company’s other major venture in the world of booze: World Whisky Day.
My work on Hot Rum Cow saw me working on several features that made it into their Fizz issue, which was released in March, from performing telephone interviews with producers of elderflower wine in Perthshire to interviewing BBC television presenter and bubble physicist Helen Czerski for a Q&A item. I sourced photographs, transcribed interview recordings and also helped out proofreading and copyediting other features for magazine, as well as working with the subeditor-at-large to implement her suggestions.
When it came to World Whisky Day, I spent my time writing copy for regular promotional email newsletters, ranging from short features and fun list articles to Q&A interviews with influential whisky bloggers from around the world. I researched dozens of whisky cocktail recipes for use in a fortnightly recipe newsletter and spent hours striking up a correspondence with tourism bureaux on remote Polynesian islands, trying to persuade them to hold their own World Whisky Day events in order to cement the international status of the event. I spent most of a morning working on a fake press release for April Fool’s Day, writing up nonsensical tasting notes (personal favourites: ‘five o’ clock shadow’ and ‘departure lounge’) for a made-up whisky launch.
Working at White Light’s Leith studio was a pleasure. The team are quick to teach each other tips and tricks of the trade, whether that’s the optimal picture size for a Mailchimp layout or how to resize images for Instagram using Photoshop.
During my time with White Light, I’ve learnt to make a decent (well, drinkable) gin martini, found out what cocktail bitters are for and why Irish and American whiskeys are spelt with an ‘e’, and developed a competitive streak on the office table football. It wasn’t all fun and games – even compared to freelancing, I don’t think I’ve ever produced so much content in such a short space of time – and they hold everyone to a high standard of quality. It certainly benefitted my practice as a journalist, and seeing such a well-regarded and close-knit team in action, coming together to produce brilliant publications and content every day, was quite a privilege.