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Editor for Life: Rehana Begg, editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine and REM—Resource Engineering & Maintenance, Annex Business Media

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Rehanna Begg

 

Rehana, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

A couple of decades ago, an internship turned into my first paying job as an editorial assistant at Homemakers Magazine, a women’s lifestyle magazine. I had the pleasure of working with a group of brilliant women who inspired me to change course from being an aspiring news reporter to pursuing a career in magazine editing. I stayed on that course for about 10 years, working at Canadian Home Workshop and launching a freelance writer/editor career. As a freelancer, I was able to peddle my magazine journalism skills all the way to Cape Town, South Africa, where a stint at Best Life, a men’s lifestyle publication, allowed me to interview sources from the sandy beaches of Llandudno. The freelance experience strengthened my belief that journalism nurtures an insatiable curiosity and clued me into what I wanted to focus on in the next leg of my career. When I returned to Toronto in 2008, I decided to pursue a master of journalism degree as a way to foster my interest in business-to-business (B2B) publishing. But the program did not offer business reporting at the time and I had to find a role that would give me hands-on experience. I accepted a contract role as the editor at Benefits Canada, a B2B publication formerly owned by Rogers Media, which was an excellent inroad into the world of finance and institutional investments. From there, I was offered an opportunity at Annex Business Media, where I would edit a couple of maintenance and engineering publications. My role at Annex has been more of a content manager than magazine editor because my multi-platform portfolio includes managing the content of two magazines, two websites, and newsletters, as well as developing events such as webinars, round tables, and video production. It’s a busy desk, but I have still managed to complete an MBA with a project management specialization in my spare time. Staying relevant has been pivotal in ensuring personal satisfaction and career longevity in today’s content farm environment. (more…)

Chasing fire trucks is not for me: my second beginning as an editor

Karen Kemlo

Karen Kemlo

By Karen Kemlo

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —A.A. Milne

I call my decision to change careers in mid-life my “second beginning”—for me it defines the place where I am now. It’s also about coming full circle again and being a late bloomer.

I grew up surrounded by books and newspapers and I was a secret writer who dreamed of having her first novel published by the age of 21. I read voraciously and critiqued everything I found. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, I worked for several years in a public library. I then decided that I wanted to be a foreign correspondent, travel the world and cover stories for the world press.

I took the plunge and applied for the two-year Journalism After Degree (JRAD) program at Ryerson and was amazed that I got in. In the early 1990s, I was taking my first steps toward becoming a journalist. Having worked for several years, I was also one of the oldest students in my class and my expectations were high. I soon realized that I would not emerge fully formed and be hired by the CBC as an arts reporter or as a feature writer for the Star. It was—and still is—a tough, competitive business and I had to run the race like everyone else.

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