Jessie Frary is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Good Night Magazine.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
I'm Jessie Frary and I have been involved in the music industry for the past four years as a writer/photographer/editor. I've been involved with journalistic writing for roughly five-six years. I'm currently sliding into home base and finishing my last two months at Georgia Southern University. I'll graduate in May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Two Dimensional Design with a double minor in journalism and creative writing.
What drove you to choose your career path?
I've always enjoyed writing and I've always had a passion for music, both since I was very young. I picked up my first instrument at age 5, and I was always writing short stories or song lyrics. As I got older, I discovered there was a way to marry the two together. I was definitely the kid in high school that told her friends about the new and upcoming bands... You honestly couldn't get me to shut up about music. I think it finally clicked that I enjoyed writing about music when I was a part of my high school's monthly news magazine called The Odyssey, which I joined August of my senior year. As my final "senior choice" article, I wrote about Jimi Hendrix after I discovered a whole classroom of students had no idea who the man was. Because of that, I felt it was my duty to educate my peers.
How did you go about getting your job?
I created it! I started up my own online magazine in August 2013 called Good Night Magazine. My current content editor, Collin, actually reached out shortly after my site went live and became my first writer. It was just the two of us for a little bit until another friend joined as a writer and has been with us ever since. Then people just slowly started to trickle in. I had an upwards of 60 writers during summer 2014, and no lie, it was a bit overwhelming for me to handle editing on top of my day job, which led me to hire my managing editor, James, in September 2014.
My final undergrad semester proved to be daunting and I sadly neglected GNM for two months (December and January). If there was no one to hand out assignments to writers and edit half of the reviews, the gears of GNM weren't turning. I spoke with Collin and James about the possibility of unfortunately putting us on a hiatus until May, but Collin put his foot down and said it would be sudden death if we stopped now. This led us to finding Senior Editor Carly, who is a friend of James. She took over my share of the reviews to edit and I was able to focus on my artwork and still be able to have my hand in GNM without being so stressed out all the time. I'm really thankful for having these guys and I'm glad they are so dedicated and excited to watching this mag grow like I am.
What kind of education and experience did you need?
Having a year of strictly news oriented journalistic background absolutely helped, but I definitely had a leg up being a volunteer writer at a previous online mag for a year and a half. My then editor briefly went over things I should touch on in my reviews and I just went at it. Since this past August, I've been a writing tutor at my university, which has even further honed in my skills. I also dabbled in a bit of PR work so I could check out the other side of the tracks, and I plan to hop back on that train come May. It's also helped me with my magazine work because I get a few perspectives. So bottom line, hands-on experience through interning or volunteering is definitely is key.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
Currently... Art related assignments and projects for my BFA exhibition this May. Otherwise I am matching assignments to my writers based on their music tastes and overseeing editing from my other two editors, James and Carly, and site content editor, Collin. I also keep up with our GNM writer/photographer applications, social media pages, and help out my staff with questions, comments, thoughts, or problems.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
I don't think a lot of people realize the organization, time, and self discipline required to keep a mag like this mag up and running. You're constantly tweaking things since there's no go-to formula for readership or for getting in the music magazine spotlight.
What are your average work hours?
Now that I have help from two awesome editors, I'm able to get some sleep at night. So now, I'd say it's gotten to be about 10 hours a week that I do magazine related things. I hope to get my nose to the grind a bit more after I graduate and really amp things up.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Spreadsheets, Asana, and a private Facebook group that we all chat in has made my communication with the staff easy, and the organization clear!
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
We all have slightly different jobs, but I am the woman with many hats at GNM. I'll edit, take concert photos, write reviews, conduct interviews, and do general site upkeep. I don't specialize in doing just one task. A wise man and good friend -- not my father, though he is a very wise, good man -- told me I would be useless until I was 30 or 40, and by then I would be running a company because I would know how to do it all.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
The door is always open and we love it when smaller bands reach out to us for a review. As an artist, I know how crucial it is to get feedback (positive or constructive criticism) for your craft. We definitely want to help out and review the talented local/smaller bands, not just the well known major leagues.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
Editing can get very monotonous, especially since I currently am a paid writing tutor, so I try to do 3-4 at a time instead of waiting for them to pile up. Sometimes that happens though, because life happens, and it gets stressful. But you get through it.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Either getting great feed back (see? There's the whole "feedback for your craft thing" again) and a shout out on twitter, or witnessing one of the writers get so pumped about interviewing someone or having a band acknowledge their work. I remember how ecstatic I was with my first interview and my first official, personally addressed 'thank you' from a band
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
I've found money has proven difficult to find! This is all out of love and dedication at the moment but we really want to start hitting up local businesses for advertising.
How do you move up in your field?
Hard work and networking the crap out of yourself. Join groups and surround yourself with like minded folks. It opens a lot of doors, and man I am so thankful for all the people that have given me a leg up.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Always find ways to better yourself and your craft. Step out of comfort zones. Eventually what was scary at first becomes a part of your comfort zone. You'll adapt. It sounds so cheesy and cliche but it's true. If you aren't constantly trying to improve and take steps forward, then something isn't right. Go big or go home!