Women’s Appreciation Series: Chandra Turner
Meet Chandra Turner, the founder of Ed2010, a website which helps young editors and writers make their way into the magazine industry. With the Happy Hours and 60-Minute Mentors program, Ed provides tips and guidance for those who want land their dream job as a magazine editor or writer. We interview Chandra Turner to learn more about Ed2010 and what has inspired her along the way to become a successful magazine editor.
1. What inspired you to found Ed2010?
I had just moved to New York City from Indiana and didn’t know anyone except for my best friend who I dragged along with me — and she didn’t know anyone here either! We wanted to break into the magazine industry but everyone kept saying that in order to do so you had to know someone. So I decided that the people that I’d “know” would be my fellow colleagues at my internship at American Baby and then first job at Good Housekeeping. Turns out that they didn’t know anyone really either. But together we became a group of folks who knew people! It was fun.
2. What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of our 60-Minute Mentors program which has helped connect senior level people in this industry with junior level folks that are still trying to find themselves and where they fit in the magazine industry. It’s very hard to find mentors in any industry and we make it easy. If you have the passion, we’ll find you a mentor. And of course we don’t charge. We know that young grads are broke. The other service I’m proud of is our Trust Fund — we give out scholarships to students who are here in NYC working at unpaid magazine internships. Ed’s been so broke lately that we haven’t been able to fund a Trust Fund which really breaks my heart. So we started charging employers to post unpaid internships with Ed2010, which is a first. We’re hoping that it will bring back the Trust Fund for the summer, maybe even two. It’s so expensive to live in NYC when you have a job. Just think about moving here for a semester to intern and you don’t even get paid. It’s crazy. We’ve given out Trust Funds to about a dozen kids so far and that really makes me feel good. They’ve all gone on to do wonderful things in the magazine industry too.
3. Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
I have had many wonderful mentors. I owe my career to them really. One of my first bosses, a senior editor at Good Housekeeping named Diane Baroni, was the one who gave me my first big push into editing. She’d worked for 20+ years at Cosmo under the legendary Helen Gurley Brown before coming to GH. I was her assistant, but she let me write, edit and assign stories to her amazing stable of writers — back then (and still now some places) assistants only did admin work: moving copy, filing and faxing (remember faxing?). But she let me do real work. She was over trying to prove herself to the powers that be, and let me take reins over one of her sections of the magazine, a profiles section. I didn’t have my name on it, and the EIC at the time didn’t even know that I was the one assigning and editing it. But it was awesome. I learned how to edit by doing the profiles section. Diane was there to catch my errors or fix my mistakes, but mostly she just let me do it. It was great experience. When I moved on to Glamour I started assigning pretty quickly because I knew what I was doing and I had good writers. I also owe a big part of my career to Diane Salvatore who was my EIC at YM (may it rest in peace). Diane took a risk on me and made me a manager at age 25. She really took me under her wing and taught me how to be a good top editor. I learned how to edit people who were my age and even older than me. It served me well for later in my career.
4. What is your personal mission statement?
This is going to sound really dorky. But it’s something to the effect of, “Anything can be done if you start it now.” I’m the opposite of whatever a procrastinator is. I got everywhere I am now because I planned it, organized it and thought it through long before it was ever expected to be done. Not so sexy, but that’s the truth.
5. What would be your inspirational message to young women who are struggling to fulfill their dream?
I do believe passion goes a long way to scoring a job. There’s nothing better than having someone in a job interview be so excited to work for you that she can barely contain herself from jumping over the desk to hug you. Enthusiasm really is a key ingredient. But in today’s world, in the current magazine industry the way that it is, it would be irresponsible for me to say that wanting it badly is enough. Because the reality is there aren’t that many openings (at least paid ones with futures attached to them). So you have to be passionate but you also have to be skilled. And talented. And unfortunately, patient.
6. Can you tell us more about the “Happy Hours” you have created?
The happy hours were really the start of Ed2010. It’s where all of us unknowns got together to meet each other, gossip about the industry, talk about jobs that we know about and basically just make friends. We still have them, usually one a month.
7. Besides managing your website and providing people with tips to make their way into the magazine industry, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Because I am the executive editor at Parents magazine, that job takes up most of the hours of my day. Ed is my spare time! Ha! Seriously, my spare time is like anyone else who has kids — I have two, ages four and six — I go to girl scout events, swimming lessons, school concerts and dinner parties where the kids run screaming around the house while you try to enjoy a drink with friends. It’s not a bad life.
8. What advice would you give to women interested in becoming part of the magazine industry?
Be savvy about what the industry needs right now: we need jack of all trades in skills, but still experts in particular subject areas. So: know your social media as it pertains to promoting brands. Know video, tablet, and digital as it pertains to print publications. Then find a niche that you love and stick with it — whether it be music or food or health or fashion — and become an expert in that area.
9. What do you love most about your profession?
I love being a part of the conversation. The big fat world of media and what is spinning around — what is relevant, what is helpful, what is making a difference in people’s lives. It’s fun and exciting to be a part of that. And it doesn’t matter if it’s print or digital. That will never change.
10. Where do you see Ed2012 five years from now?
I think Ed will still be alive. He got passed 2010 — that was the trickiest! In five years he may have a more digital focus, that’s for sure. But he’ll still be here, helping whippersnappers break into magazine publishing in whatever form it is in until he’s not relevant anymore. Ed is kind of like Nanny McPhee as she famously says: “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.” It’s rather sad, really, but there it is.
11. Anything else you would like us to add?
I think I covered it!