Starter Stories: Jenn Stookey, Editor-in-Chief at Highlight Magazine

Jenn Stookey, Highlight Magazine's Editor in Chief.

I got my start at Highlight Magazine how most others get their job in the music business, through connections. However, that’s not to say I didn’t (and others [don’t]) work for it and deserve it. The short version is I was at the same show as Ashley Osborn, co-founder and then Editor-in-Chief [of Highlight], back in 2012. We discovered we were at the same show and stepped outside to talk as friends. At the time Highlight was only a few months old, so it was a talking point we conversed about. After some time I had mentioned I had wanted to write for the online zine but was too scared to apply. Right then Ashley said I should come on as Highlight‘s Online Editor. I was so shocked, but this was an amazing opportunity I was ready for.

As time went on, I worked hard and learned everything by trial and error. No one told me exactly what to do, I just observed, took corrections, and fixed anything I was doing wrong. Eventually I was doing a lot more than just online material and was re-named Managing Editor about a year later. I began to help with features for the issue, managing more of the writers, building our online content, and creating new teams for the magazine such as our News Posting Team and our Digital Marketing Team. Again, all by trial and error. Another year had passed and a lot had changed. Ashley was pursing her dream of being on the road as a tour photographer and didn’t have as much time as she thought to commit to her usual duties of EIC, and she passed the torch to me. It was a really noble move as many people who co-found an organization have a rough time taking a break or removing themselves completely. But she and I both wanted the magazine to continue to grow because we couldn’t let it die. With the help of our entire staff being such great people, amazing writers, talented photographers, and supportive individuals, especially our Art Director and co-founder Cara Bahniuk, the magazine continued and I have been EIC now for almost a year.

Highlight taught me how to be self-made. It has taught me that you shouldn’t be scared to try something new. It’s going to take some time to get used to but if you continue on, budget your time, and know where your passion lies, you will make it! While doing Highlight, I’ve also been in school for music business, had opportunities to do amazing things like work the 2014 Grammy Red Carpet, 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and other various events. I’ve interned at a record label, publicity company, management firm in their tour marketing department, and am now a manager’s assistant.

The best way to get started in the industry is to try everything you can and experience it all. Each endeavor I have worked on has been a completely new experience, but it all relates to each other. I’m very happy Highlight was my start to all of this and that I never gave up.

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