WHO: Chandra Turner, executive editor, Parents; founder and president, Ed2010 [a networking community of young magazine editors]
WENT TO SCHOOL FOR: Journalism, Indiana University. “I always knew that I wanted to go into journalism. By junior year in college I knew I wanted to be in magazines specifically.”
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOU, CHANDRA?
SO CHANDRA, TELL US...
WHAT MAKES A GOOD EDITOR?
It used to be just being able to line-edit copy. But now it's so much more than that. It's having a way with words and knowing how to use those words to reach your readers in more ways than just print. On the tablet. On Facebook and Twitter. Through video. Blogs.
FAVOURITE PART OF BEING AN EDITOR?
I love that no day is ever the same. There's so much variety in what I do. Some days I'm choosing audio that goes along with a recipe how-to video. Other days I'm looking at film from a photo shoot of an adorable baby. Or I'm selecting toys for the Best Toys of the Year guide. Or, I'm hunched over my desk untangling a complicated story. Or killing myself to come up with snappy cover lines. All the days are different, which makes it never boring. Nice to know I won't burn out for a while!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO EDITORS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS?
Meet as many people as possible in as many different editing positions as possible. Find out what they do and what they love about their jobs. Even if it's not something you'll want to do yourself, it's good to know what everyone else does. It helps you figure out how you fit into the whole equation.
MOST MEMORABLE EDITING MOMENT?
There are tons. The obvious is that it's fun getting to meet and work with celebrities or other notable people. At Parents, a senior editor and I emailed one of our food idols, food author Mark Bittman, on a whim. He invited us out to lunch, and we ended up hiring him as a contributing editor at Parents. Once he took us to [the restaurant] Jean-Georges, where we got to meet Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] himself! I'm a foodie so it was exciting.
I've also been invited to the White House, the UN, and all kinds of other interesting places I'd never otherwise get to go.
One of my favorite professional moments was when I was an EA at Good Housekeeping. Back in those days assistants didn't do much with text other than copy it and schlep it around the office. One week my boss was away on vacation and her top editor, Diane Salvatore (now the EIC of Prevention), asked me to edit one of my editor's stories in her absence. I worked so hard on that story – it was a small piece, actually, like 500 words. But Diane said I did a "superb" job on it. Her feedback gave me confidence that I could make it as an editor. Incidentally, she went on to hire me a couple years later at YM and then again at Ladies' Home Journal.
WHAT MAGAZINE DO YOU THINK IS DOING AN OUTSTANDING JOB RIGHT NOW?
I love, love, love the new Bon Appétit. I never really got into the old Bon Appétit. Too many recipes that I wouldn't ever have time or ingredients to make. But the new BA is like New York Magazine (another fave) meets food. It's gritty and real and sophisticated all at once. I haven't ripped pages out of a magazine in ages, but am with Bon Appétit. It's nice to fall in love with a new magazine. I was afraid I wouldn't again!
WHERE TO FIND CHANDRA ONLINE: