EDvice: Web Skills to Pick Up Now


Erica Sanderson, Web Assistant for CountryLiving.com

Ed knows you pile your plate high and may not be able to see every speaker he brings to campus, so he’s going to make this easy. Every week this semester, he’s looking to treat you to a juicy Q&A session with an editor– delivered straight to your computer. Keep checking back to the website for his latest guest speaker and the newest piece of advice.


Erica Sanderson left the Newhouse building rousghly six months ago when she graduated from the Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism graduate program. The turnaround time between sitting with her fellow grad students at  commencement and moving to New York City felt like nothing; before she knew it, Sanderson joined Hearst Digital as a Web Assistant for Country Living (now training her own intern). She thanks good timing, networking, and the bag of tricks she picked up in multimedia Newhouse courses for her job. Now listen up as she dishes on what skills  her online position utilizes and where you can learn them.

ED: What are your day-to-day responsibilities at CountryLiving.com?

ES: I run the social media from the magazine, work on the sweepstakes for the magazine, write articles, crop photos, and I spend most time building flipbooks (photo slideshows) for the site. I also attend the weekly magazine production meetings and have weekly meetings with the web team.

ED: What specific skills (web or otherwise) from your time at Newhouse do you utilize most at this Hearst website?

ES: How to use a CMS! HTML coding and general web lingo. Photoshop. Working at TheNewsHouse really, really helped. I recommend everyone gets involved with that site in some capacity. I went through the MNO master’s program and never took a second of it for granted. I was like a sponge. I wanted to soak up all the skills and experiences I possibly could in that one year. Before Newhouse, I was afraid of web stuff. I barely knew anything about the web. Someone once told me to specifically do what scares you. So I purposefully took web and multimedia classes. So glad I did!

ED: What new skills have you aquired at the job?

ES: I’m learning tons more about SEO. More about web production. Getting better with headlines. Learning about syndication.

ED: What is your favorite project thus far?

ES: Pitching ideas and brainstorming this year’s edit calendar. I love creative meetings and working out ideas. I also liked creating social media buzz about CL’s February White Issue.

ED: What advice do you have for someone who is on the fence, undecided between print and web?

ES: I love print and web equally for different reasons. Just because I’m in web now doesn’t mean I’d rule out a print job next. My advice is don’t box yourself in and shut out opportunities, especially during these tough times in our industry. However, don’t go into something you know you’ll hate. You should never be miserable in your job.

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