The story I’ve been working on was in its next stages this week.  Once the creative part was mostly approved, I dropped temporary images of all the products we are using onto the magazine’s server so that the Art Director could create a mock-up–this is basically a rough draft of what the final spread will look like, with not-final images and dummy text.  It was pretty cool seeing the work I had done so far appear on what is starting to look like real story in a magazine, rather than just images and credits on a presentation board.  On Tuesday, I had another meeting to go over these mock-ups, and this time the Editor-in-Chief was there.  She went through all the spreads, cut two of them out altogether, and decided to add another room to the mix.  She went through a stack of other options with the Creative Director and chose another component I had to work on.

In addition to working on another presentation board, I had to start “calling-in” products for the parts of the story that had already been approved.  This means that I created a spreadsheet that I shared with the Market and Lifestyle Directors who are the technical producers of this story.  Even though they handed the task over to me, it’s still important that they are up-to-date with where things are.  In the sheet, I have every item that’s in the story along with a link and contact.  I then contacted every single PR representative from each of the companies requesting a credit sheet, a high res “silo” (quality photo of the product against a white background), and a physical sample request from items that we have to photograph ourselves.  All day for the rest of the week as I was working on other tasks, whenever I got a response from one of the partner companies, I would have to drop the credit sheets on the server for the fact-checkers, drop high res images in another folder for the photo department, and keep track of this information as well as shipping tracking in my spread sheet.

My spread sheet on the screen, and one of the mock-ups on my desk with notes written by my boss on it

My spread sheet on the screen, and one of the mock-ups on my desk with notes written by my boss on it

I really learned how important it is to deal with emails and calls right away or else things can get easily confused.  No matter what I was doing, if a PR rep sent me a question, a credit sheet, or images, I had to respond to them and file their materials right away before getting confused or forgetting about them altogether.  While working on my story, I still had other tasks to do as well.  For example, I had been helping my other boss in the Lifestyle Department with a Christmas story involving dozens of different samples of wrapping paper that I had to call in from companies who featured their new designs in Lookbooks only, as their newest collections aren’t on sale yet.  While communicating with different partner companies, getting countless deliveries of wrapping paper to my desk each day, tracking shipping, keeping track of which paper I lent to the photo department to scan and which ones are set aside for the photo shoot next week, things could have easily gotten jumbled with my other story.  Keeping my spread sheet updated became imperative to staying both organized and sane.  On Fridays I intern with another magazine on a different floor of the magazine; this week, I came down to HGTV both during my lunch break and at the end of the day to drop all the materials that had been sent to me during the day as well as send shipping information to companies that I needed to have send products in as soon as possible before the photo shoot.

Especially in the publishing industry where there are less staff members doing more tasks to save on costs, I gained a new kind of respect for my coworkers and all that they have to keep track of each day.