In December, I was able to do a placement at The Independent, a local publisher near my home town in South Western Ontario, Canada. Essentially, they publish newspapers and magazines for the county I live in, and are the main written news and advertising source for our area. The Independent has a staff of five women, all of whom take on different departments of the company. From editorial, to design, ads, marketing and sales, they manage to take care of everything that needs to be done to ensure that the two weekly publications they have get sent out every Wednesday. I loved having the opportunity to see how publishing works in the area I am from, and being able to see how such a small company comes together to be a success. Over the course of my placement, I got to learn about each of the areas of publishing, from editorial and design, to sales and printing, and spend one on one time with each of the staff members to learn what it is, exactly, that they do.
When I started this course, I was sure I wanted to go into editorial, and that I wanted to work in book publishing. As we started to learn, I began to question this, because we were learning about so many different things I hadn’t even considered. Who knew that I really enjoyed design, or that I was really interested in rights? MSc Publishing has taught me a lot about all areas, and made me question if editing books was what I wanted to do. With these questions, I decided that maybe I should explore more than just book publishing, and applied for placements in books, magazines, and newspapers, in all different departments, to learn more. The Independent offered me a place, which was very convenient because it was while I was home in Canada for Christmas!
While I was there, I learned a lot. One of the tasks they assigned me was actually researching and writing articles for that week’s publication, as part of my time in editorial. One thing that really surprised me was that they gave me the Editor’s Column for the week, something that has only gone to one other person besides the Editor herself. I’m pretty sure my grandma cut that out of her copy of the paper and has it hanging on her fridge to this day. I was really honoured to get to write something for them, and Heather, the editor, helped me to evaluate my own work and see the differences in writing for books, magazines, and newspaper.
I think that the most important thing I gained from my placement is a better understanding of myself! I can now say that I definitely want to work in book publishing, but that I am capable of working in other kinds of publishing. I really enjoyed my placement, and I learned a lot, but I think books are for me. However, I would work with the staff at The Independent again in a heartbeat; they were all so kind, and I learned so much! I’m so thankful for my time there, and so grateful that they gave me the opportunity to learn more about publishing, and about my home town!