Clark Mitchell – Senior Editor, Endless Vacation
Most employees get two weeks of vacation and tend to find a sandy warm beach or explore a faraway city full of museums. But for Clark Mitchell, the adventurous and luxurious idea of the perfect getaway is his everyday job as senior editor of the travel magazine Endless Vacation.
Mitchell has plenty of work to do in his New York City office, work which does not involve sitting on a remote island drinking margaritas. He takes care of contracts, answers emails, plans future line-ups and meets deadlines set by meticulous project managers. Mitchell says he is excited about his new gig.
“I really like the creative office here at Story Worldwide,” he said. “It’s a very cool place to work.”
Story Worldwide is a cross-media agency that produces rich content, film, electronic games, social media, smartphone apps, magazines, e-newsletters and every other kind of content and online experience for their clients. Endless Vacation is part of that package and is designed as a quarterly planning guide for families who are timeshare owners and frequent vacation travelers.
Mitchell joined the staff after almost a decade at Travel + Leisure, where he had most recently served as an associate editor. He says he was ready for a change but misses his old colleagues.
“They’re the best in the industry, and after seven years, they were like family to me,” he said.
It is interesting that he never really aspired to be a journalist, it happened “by a total accident.” Fluent in German, he went to graduate school for linguistics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Then, with no plan and two weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, he moved to New York City, taught German at Columbia and made birthday cakes at Magnolia Bakery at night.
While he was tutoring, a student of his put him in touch with the arts and research editor at Travel + Leisure, Mario Mercado, who hired him as a freelancer in August 2003. From there, he worked up the editorial ladder to an assistant editor and eventually to an associate editor.
“I think living abroad and speaking a foreign language definitely prepared me for a career in travel magazines,” he said.
Endless Vacation’s editor-in-chief, Barbara Peck, also previously worked at Travel + Leisure as an executive editor. Mitchell has found that the travel magazine niche is smaller than most would think.
“I like bringing on writers that I’ve worked with in the past,” he explained. “When you look at bylines in various magazines, newspapers, and websites, you’ll see that the world of travel journalism is really quite small.”
Last January, Endless Vacation launched an ezine, which lets their almost two million readers engage in the month’s new content that is exclusively on the Web.
“It’s a way to reach our readers, since we’re only a quarterly print publication,” Mitchell explained.
With the ever-shifting media landscape, Mitchell’s idea of journalism has expanded. “I think social media has allowed anyone to be published, something that was formerly only the privilege of a select few. The traditional media has taken note and the world has changed in a fundamental way,” he said. And even though the world is a lot more connected thanks to both Facebook and Twitter, he is a firm believer that there will always be a place for trained journalists.
Personally, Mitchell tried to avoid the obsession with it. “I quit Facebook a while back mostly because mundane status updates were driving me crazy,” he said. But then he eventually felt the pressure, “It’s just too tempting not to be a part of what’s happening,” he explained. “So I’m back.”
One of those trained talents that Mitchell regards as a mentor is Travel + Leisure’s editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod.
“She’s about as good as it gets. She’s a very likeable person and is quick to laugh, which I think is a good quality in anybody,” he said. “And she’s a legend in the industry.”
He also notes his new boss, Barbara Peck, is someone to gain knowledge from. “I’m already learning a lot from her. You never stop learning when it comes to editing,” he said.
Looking ahead, Mitchell’s long-term goal at Endless Vacation is “to produce the best travel content that I can.”
In the meantime, he plans on a trip to Japan. Sushi anyone?
Mitchell prefers to receive press materials via email and finds useful subject lines are helpful.
He is looking for destination-specific information and accepts attachments.
He doesn’t think a follow-up phone call is necessary. “I will usually respond if I’m interested, but following up via email is fine,” he said. “Sometimes emails slip past me.”
Mitchell’s only pet peeve is when press materials are not relevant. “Know the architecture of the magazine and know what content would work for the publication,” he added.
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