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Yitka Winn – Associate Editor, Trail Runner

The trail running community is full of driven individuals who live out their passion in the backwoods of the world dripping sweat and constantly testing their limits. For people like newly appointed associate editor Yitka Winn of Trail Runner, the journey to happiness begins and ends on the trail.

Joining the magazine in January, Winn is ecstatic. “This is a dream come true for me – getting to devote so much energy to my two greatest passions in the world, writing and trail running,” she said.

Not every writer is born with the enthusiasm she has. When she was just a kid, she started her career out with “publishing” family newsletters and sold them to her parents for a quarter. And she continues that excitement today as she said that starting out a new role that combines what she loves has that effect on a person.

Winn grew up surrounded by dog-eared copies of On Writing Well and her newspaper editor father’s red pens. She had her first experience in outdoor journalism as an assistant editor and social media coordinator under the wing of Outdoors NW publisher and editor, Carolyn Price. She credits Price for taking a chance on a young writer fresh out of college and showing her the ropes.

It’s hard not to be excited when talking with Winn about writing. She believes that now is the most exciting time to be a journalist and encourages young writers to ask what makes them come alive, and write it.

“Do not believe the headlines about journalism being a dying art! Find a niche you enjoy writing about and run with it,” she said. “Don’t be too proud to write. Work for free at first or for cheap, to help build a portfolio.”

In her new position, Winn hopes to inject greater variety and expand content to reach a wider audience of running enthusiasts at all skill levels and backgrounds.

She is well aware that in this new role the lines between work and play will be blurred to near nothing. But that, she said, is a positive. “I’m excited to immerse myself full-time in a subculture that is such a big part of who I am.”

Writing with a specific niche is exactly where Winn wants to be. She finds it helps her get in touch with her audience on a more personal level because trail running is a common bond.

In a world of emerging connectivity and new social media platforms springing up regularly, Winn says journalists have the task of sifting through various mediums to figure out which are worth investing creative energy in.

In her specific coverage, Facebook and blogging are extremely popular with the trail running community. “Two weeks ago, we asked followers of the Trail Runner Facebook page to share their favorite trail marathon—and within an hour, we had tons of ideas for great races to profile,” Winn said.

The recent surge in social media has had both its positive and negative effects. But with no gatekeepers on the vast majority of content, Winn said pressure is placed on both the readers and the editors. Pressure on readers to be more discerning about what content they opt to read, and on editors to be more discerning on what they accept.

Winn brings her love of writing, and more importantly, her love for her subject matter that is sure to inspire enthusiasm in her colleagues and audience. She hopes to inspire other writers to find their own path and run with it.

Pitching Tips

Winn is always on the look out for a solid story idea and some evidence the writer can pull it off.

“A short bio, writing portfolio, or blog to showcase the writer’s style. Bonus points if a writer has photos in mind to provide,” she said.

She also said that an email that’s warm and friendly always reads better than something that looks like stock email.

Find Winn also on her blog Proximity to Water.

About Neal Gregus

Neal T. Gregus is a Features Writer for Cision Blog. He is also a research aficionado focusing on print media in Cision’s Research division. He is hopelessly addicted to live music and can be found front row anywhere in Chicago. Or find him on Twitter at @NealGregus.

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