Deputy Editor Corey McLaughlin, 29, has been seeing a lot of change in the world of journalism in his eight years working and writing for LaxMagazine.com. I got a chance to interview him to see just how his career has unfolded, what he thinks are the benefits of online journalism, and how up-and-coming journalists can make the most out of their career-paths.
A native of Bay Shore, N.Y., McLaughlin now lives in Baltimore, MD. He began his career with LaxMagazine.com, the news-site made and used by US Lacrosse, in 2007, while he was a student at Penn State University. McLaughlin freelanced an article on the indoor, Penn State-Denver men’s lacrosse game.
He went on to graduate Penn State in 2008 and juggled freelancing more assignments for Lacrosse Magazine for its print and online mediums, as well as working as a sports reporter for Newsday in New York. In 2010, a full-time job with Lacrosse Magazine became open and McLaughlin accepted the offer, prompting him to move to Baltimore.
McLaughlin said that in five years, he rose through ranks within the magazine, going from a basic writer, to editor of the website, and assistant magazine editor, until finally becoming deputy editor for the magazine. He has worked with print, web, social media, and video capacities, and said it has been a “rewarding experience” and that he’s learned a lot.
McLaughlin said the biggest challenge for him with writing for Laxmagazine.com is the use of social media, which he said is also a strength.
“The internet is a busy place, but if your content is quality and you know your audience, we’ve found people will eat up what you’re making as long as they can find it.” McLaughlin said.
The production and maintaining of the site require constant attention, according to McLaughlin. He said that the magazine is relatively small-staffed,
“Social media has made it exponentially easier for readers to find and consume our content. We now have more than 120,000 combined social media followers to go with the roughly 400,000 that can read the print magazine during a given month as a benefit of being a US Lacrosse member. It can be really tough sometimes, while also producing the web content we’re sharing, and a monthly 64-page magazine.” McLaughlin said.
According to McLaughlin, the most rewarding part to writing for the magazine has been putting time and effort into a story, and watching the reaction from readers. He takes pride in respecting a given story and all of the people in it. He’s also proud of the way he can still correspond with the people and/or sources of these stories after their stories have been published.
As far as blogging goes, McLaughlin talks about the change in journalism through technology, as well as the place blogging will have in the future of news-reporting,
“I think quality of content and storytelling ability will carry the day in the long-term, no matter the format, print, blog, long-form web piece, video, Snapchat, whatever.” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin had some tips on how a person who’s just starting out with writing for the web. He said that newcomers should read a lot and find great writers to learn from. He also spoke of how to act around editors and the assignments they will hand out.
“Don’t be a pain in the butt to work with and, especially early on, don’t turn down assignments…Relationships matter when dealing with editors who can create and give you assignments, and sources or story subjects that typically busy and don’t really need to talk to you in many cases.” McLaughlin said.
In closing, McLaughlin pointed out the realities of a career in journalism, and said that newcomers should think about whether this field of work is really right for them.
“Know that it can be hard. You can work long hours and the pay most likely won’t be great, especially starting out. Be prepared for some potentially tough times and some harsh realities in a constantly changing media world. And while we’re talking advice, listen to it, but eventually you have to make your own decisions and live with them. No matter what you do, work hard, love your family and friends, and enjoy every day.” McLaughlin said.