October 31, 2013
/ by Peter.Benincasa
Maintaining a robust social media presence is an absolute must for most contemporary journalists, and for good reason: never before have content producers and consumers engaged so freely and effectively. In the wake of this trend, a swath of professional opportunity has emerged. Jessica Wozinsky, Parade’s new social media editor, has taken full advantage of this shift. Her job didn’t even exist ten years ago, but that’s not an issue. She’s adapted to the brave new world of social media and is ready to jump right in.
Wozinsky’s new responsibilities at Parade exist primarily within the social media sphere. Her roots, however, are much more editorial. After graduating with a degree in media studies from The Catholic University of America, she decided to teach English and math in East L.A. Following that, she worked as a production assistant in Hollywood. But eventually, her persistent inclination to write got the best of her.
“The feeling that I wanted to be a writer was always in the back of my mind,” she said. “I decided to move back to New York, where I’m from originally, to try to land a job in magazines. I thought that was the best way for me to become a better writer and learn from people in the industry. I quickly learned that getting your foot in the door at a major magazine wasn’t such an easy thing to do.”
Breaking into the magazine industry may not have been easy, but ultimately she did succeed. She initially worked in the page program at The Late Show with David Letterman, but after honing her craft and publishing a couple pieces (including a personal essay at Jane magazine), she landed a job as the assistant to the managing editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. At first, this position was mostly administrative, but within a year she was doing celebrity interviews.
“My experience working with celebrities at Letterman really prepared me for that type of position,” she said. “I always tell people that just getting your foot in the door is what matters. Once you’re there, it’s likely you’ll be able to take on more responsibilities. Also, I’ve learned that no job is a wasted experience. Even if you’re not doing exactly what you want to be doing at the time, there are probably things you’re learning that will translate to aspects of what you’ll need for your dream position.”
Wozinsky was most recently a senior editor for Walter Scott’s Personality Parade, the most popular page of the magazine, for which she interviewed celebrities and oversaw gift guide packages. Prior to that, she worked for Weight Watchers International, first as a fitness editor for the magazine, then as a blogger and social media editor. While blogging for Weight Watchers, she cultivated an interest in social media and the skillset to match. For Wozinsky, social media introduced vast new possibilities for her work and a novel way of engaging her readership.
“I love having a direct way of conversing with readers,” she said. “When I was writing for [Weight Watchers] magazine, I’d rarely get direct feedback from readers, with the exception of a letter to the magazine every so often. Once I began blogging, I’d have comments almost immediately. I loved having that direct contact with the reader. For all of the magazines I’ve worked at, we always had an idea of who the reader was, but it wasn’t until I began working in social that I felt like I had a real understanding of the people we were creating content for.”
In her new role at Parade, Wozinsky plans to make the magazine’s social imprint comparable to its huge readership, building upon the small but enthusiastic following that’s already established. She will also continue producing Parade’s successful social chats, which have included Facebook and Twitter chats with various celebrities and authors, including Deepak Chopra, Debbie Macomber, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, the Pulitzer-prize winning Connie Schultz, and others. Additionally, Wozinsky intends to expand Parade’s presence on Foodily and Google+ while seeking out opportunities in emerging social platforms.
Wozinsky will also serve as an advocate for social media within the company, helping the staff utilize social platforms as an increasingly relevant industry tool. “I’m looking forward to helping all of our editors think with a more ‘social’ mindset and also working with our Parade.com contributors and newspaper partners,” she said.
Although Wozinsky has forgone her editorial role, she will continue blogging about fitness and beauty for Parade.com. As an Ironman triathlete, CrossFitter and self-professed “beauty junky,” she’s unlikely to give up those beats any time soon.
Wozinsky does not cover the social media scene in an editorial capacity, so please do not pitch her about social media trends. However, she is receptive to pitches about fitness and beauty.
“In general, I prefer to receive pitches by email instead of by phone,” she said. “When I was handling products for the magazine, I preferred when PR professionals reached out to me before sending products to the office.”
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