My Media Day: Jennifer Lynn, editor, Scotcampus magazine

JENNIFER Lynn is the editor of Scotcampus, a free, bi-monthly student magazine distributed throughout Scotland from its base in Glasgow. She has been editor since October last year.

The 22 year-old’s journalism career began while still studying for her journalism degree from University of the West of Scotland: she had been permitted to study from London where she had secured work as a features and entertainment assistant, on the magazine, Glamour.

While at Glamour, she occasionally submitted fashion features to Scotcampus, something she had done throughout her time at university. Her dedication caught the eye of then editor, Chris Hammond, who invited her to become assistant editor. She returned to Scotland, only to be made editor within a few weeks of her arrival, when Hammond accepted a new job in Edinburgh.

Her return to Scotland also coincided with her graduating.

She submitted this on Tuesday, March 5.

What exactly is it that you do?

My job role is hugely varied, which is part of the reason why I enjoy it so much. As well as writing my own features, I commission plenty of them from our bank of student freelancers, and my editorial assistant. It’s tempting to keep the best jobs for myself, but part of my role is to help shape and encourage the students, so I have to take a step back sometimes. However, when I secured Rita Ora for the cover feature, she was all mine – I love her music and she was an absolute doll to chat to.

With online journalism becoming more popular, by the day, I also have to ensure that is updated on a daily basis, and that we’re driving traffic to it via Twitter, Facebook and our weekly e-newsletter. This really quickens the pace of my job, as it’s so immediate, but there’s nothing better than seeing our hits go up when I’ve been putting a lot of work into the online side of things.

My other main responsibility is helping organise our two annual events, Freshers’ Festival in September, and our Futures Fest careers event in March. I present both events, which can be a little nerve-wracking when there are thousands of people listening to me talking nonsense over the mic, but it’s a lot of fun too.

What did your working day today or yesterday comprise?

We’re now only two weeks away from Futures Fest, which takes place at The Arches on March 19th and 20th. So, needless to say, things are a little chaotic at Scotcampus HQ. I spent yesterday writing copy for the event prospectus, as well as liaising with our exhibitors, to ensure they had all submitted their artwork for the publication. I’m really excited to see how the event unfolds, especially the interactive workshops, and our games industry seminar with the guys from Guerilla Tea.

On top of that, our April issue deadline falls right after Futures Fest, so I have a constant flow of features coming in to be edited. I’m lucky to have such a great bunch of writers, whose work genuinely makes me smile, and it’s great to see their ideas progressing from month to month. Yesterday was a brilliant day for the magazine actually: I secured this issue’s cover stars, a band who I absolutely adore at the moment, and who are set to be huge on the festivals scene this summer. Watch this space.

How different or similar was it to your average working day?

Yesterday was Monday, so the morning would usually have been spent catching up with the weekend’s emails. But, on this occasion, I was super-organised and had done it on Sunday night. This is by no means a nine-to-five job, especially when we have events coming up and the workload increases quite a bit. But, thankfully, I love doing it.

My average day also tends to depend on how close we are to deadline. At the beginning of an issue I’m breezing around having nice meetings with potential contributors, heading out to review gigs and plotting my page plan, but as the deadline looms ever closer I become glued to my laptop until the magazine is complete. It’s always worth it, though, when I have the finished product in my hands.

How different or similar was it to your average working day when you started in post?

When I started writing for Scotcampus as a freelance style writer, I wrote an average of four features per issue, and submitted them directly to Chris. I had no involvement in the design of the publication, so I wouldn’t see the finished piece until the mag was ‘on the shelves’. And it didn’t take up a huge amount of my time. My average day then involved spending a couple of hours at uni, working part-time in River Island and spending most nights in the bars and clubs of Glasgow…

Then, as assistant editor, I worked quite heavily on the website, done a lot of subbing and picking up the ‘tricks of the trade’ from Chris. I began to have a lot more input into the layout of Scotcampus and spent time building relationships with the relevant PRs, but I never had to commission features, and the pressure was still relatively low.

Now I do feel the pressure a lot more, as essentially it’s down to me whether or not the magazine goes out on time, and whether it’s a success. Thankfully, I’ve been rising to the challenge for the past six months and I intend to continue doing so. One of my favourite sayings is ‘pressure makes diamonds’. I try to remind myself of this when it’s deadline day and I’m still writing cover lines.

How do you see the job evolving?

My job is really what I make it. I’ve already seen the magazine evolve so much since my first issue and I’m really happy with how it looks now, but I’m a total perfectionist, so I’m constantly trying to improve and push it forward.

I think will take centre stage this year, so I’ll be spending a lot more time on that, although the magazine will always be where my heart lies. We’ve spoken about adding more events into the Scotcampus calendar too, which is always exciting, and again shifts the focus. The possibilities are endless, really.

What gives you most job satisfaction?

I love seeing the magazine in print after the two months of hard work that will have gone into it. Of course, hearing positive feedback is always lovely. Similarly, when we host a successful event, it’s really nice to chill out and bask in the compliments afterwards.

Seeing the student writers progress is also amazingly rewarding, as it wasn’t too long ago that I was in their position, and I always get excited when I discover a new talent.

Oh, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the ‘freebies’ are nice – festival tickets are just one of the perks of the job!