Q&A with Justine Lorelle LoMonaco

19 02 2013

Current Employer: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Degrees: Magazine Journalism; Writing

Graduated: 2009

By Yijie Du

Justine Lorelle LoMonaco always knew she was going to be a writer, but even she is surprised by where her love of writing has taken her. After award-winning work at Drake Magazine and three high-profile college internships, Justine achieved the goal she set for herself before graduation: to “move to New York and get a fabulous job at a lifestyle magazine.” Her first job after college was at The Knot. Then her career direction veered from editorial to social media management. She now works for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as a social media manager. She’s also a contributor to YBA (Your Beauty Advisor) and continues to expand her personal blog.

JustineLorelleLoManacoHow do you describe your current job at Martha Stewart Living as a social media manager?

It’s different from what I have done in the past, which involved more editorial. I currently update Facebook pages for our brands. I also work with editors from other magazines and help them figure out what they should do for their social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and advise them on the best practices for those platforms. A big part of my job is really keeping up-to-date with what’s going on the social media. Also, to get to know the audience very well.

How did you get the job?

It was through a connection in my junior year internship at Cookie Magazine in New York. I kept in touch with Sarah, my main editor there over the years. She joined Martha Stewart after Cookie folded and highly recommended me later on when I applied for my current position. Then after two interviews, I was offered the job. It was a good lesson keeping in touch with people.

You were a part of Drake Magazine for three years, won five awards, even served as editor-in-chief. What do you remember most about your experiences at Drake Magazine?

I loved every second of it, like every late-night meeting with the staff, coming up with headlines, editing stories, and writing my own articles. I always remember the day when I got the assistant editor position in my freshman year. I decided that I wanted to work for a magazine then. I always thought I was going to be an English teacher in a high school. I didn’t have any journalism experience then, but I really wanted it and worked very hard at my cover letter. I was so excited when they called me, and I vividly remembered the next day walking on campus, I felt I had a direction; I knew who I was and where I was supposed to be.

As a magazine writing and journalism major student, what are some of the essential qualities that you didn’t learn from classes?

You can’t really learn what it is like to work on a magazine until you do it. It’s sort of the difference of reading about doing something and actually doing it. You can think you like something that sounds really good on paper until you actually feel the stress of deadlines, learn how to work with different editors, and how to have your work critiqued or critique other people’s work.

You made a big switch from media writing and editing to social media management. Will you ever get back to where you were at the beginning, to write again?

I feel like I will always be a writer. The funny thing is you don’t have to work for a magazine or be a novelist to be a writer. Every business in the world needs writers. People sort of over-estimate how many people are good writers. I never try to create a plan that locks me into something. I am always doing some sort of writing even if it’s just writing my personal blog. That brings me joy and peace and I feel like I can always maintain those skills I learned regardless of what I am doing professionally. What I’ve learned is to always be open. You can always find a new way to express something you enjoy, whether it’s a hobby or a profession.

Media practitioners constantly have to keep updated with the current trends. How do you stay well-informed within your niche?

I read lots of research about how other magazines and businesses are promoting themselves through social media. I also have to make sure to understand how a new media outlet works and how people are using it. I read a lot of technology blogs and get a lot of social media news on Twitter and Mashable.com.

As a MSL social media manager, YBA contributor, online etiquette columnist, and the author of your own blog, how do you coordinate these multiple roles?

It’s always a choice. I will cut back on some freelance jobs when I am crazy at work. It just comes down to being well organized, knowing the priorities of your time, and how to schedule them. I know what comes up first and what I have to get done right away. I like a little bit of stress in my life to keep me from getting bored, though. You do have to know how much time you have and how much stress you can handle. It is just about balancing.

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