Student story: CUB Magazine, Queen Mary & The New York Times

Angelica Hill, 3rd year English and Drama student

After spending a year after school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, I discovered that my passion lay in the words and not in the acting.  I signed up for the English Literature and Drama Joint Honors Degree at Queen Mary.  As soon as I arrived I started writing for the various student publications available: The Print, The Tab, and CUB Magazine. Coming from an arts background, the publication I was most drawn to was CUB.  It gave me the opportunity to write about global cultural events and issues in whatever style I wished.

ang1

After writing a few articles during my first year I applied to become the Arts Editor of the Magazine at the end of my final term of first year.  A year later I managed to be appointed Editor-in-Chief for my final year.  I will hand over to the newly elected Editor-in-Chief on March 22nd.

This progression from Contributor, to Editor, to Editor-in-Chief allowed me to first see how a magazine works from the perspective on a writer, and to receive feedback on my writing on a range of different topics, from an array of different people.  Any improvement to writing style can only be good for studies, and it was something fun to do – particularly trying different style of writing to engage in alongside the academic writing I was doing as part of my degree.

Moving on to being an editor, I developed a focus on detail concerning grammar and punctuation, as well as enabling me to see all the different styles of writing the contributors had: what worked, what didn’t.  More importantly, it taught me how best to communicate with those submitting their work concerning changes and content suggestions. 

ang2Finally, as Editor-in-Chief I had to take a step back from the writing and shift my focus to the business and logistics side of a magazine: getting finance, printing the magazine, finding content, and keeping everyone in the team motivated, informed, and on deadline.

Working for CUB, as an Arts Editor, and as it’s Editor-in-Chief has taught me a lot, both about myself, and about the dynamics of working within, and running a substantial team (the CUB team is currently 58 people). It has forced me to significantly improve my communications and organizational skills. I try to make sure that everyone on the team knows when the deadlines are, exactly what is expected of them, as well as keeping a close eye on printing and distribution deadlines when it comes to the four print editions throughout the year. It has taught me how to deal with money, how to attract sponsors and advertisers, how to apply for grants, as well as allocating funds for launch parties and events.  Most of all it taught me the importance of teamwork.  None of this would have happened without our amazing team.

When I first took on the role of Editor in Chief my vision was for a magazine that reflected the best of Queen Mary’s University: diversity, inclusion, and quality.  I am proud that the work CUB has produced over the last year, and continues to produce, both online and in print, delivers this. 

ang3The experience at CUB has also set me up for the next chapter, following graduation in June.  A good degree is no longer enough to differentiate you on the job market.  You need to be able to demonstrate all the “Skills and competencies” that modern day interviews are designed to test.  Paired with the external work experience I did during my time at university (most notably the summer I spent working at The New York Times), the investment of time and effort in CUB enables me to show what I can deliver in terms of commitment, hard work, teamwork, and creativity.  The work at CUB has set me up with evidence of the experience and skills I need to be in the best place to get a job and progress in my career.

I am planning either a move to New York to work at The New York Times (provided my visa works out), to apply for the BBC, or perhaps to complete a Journalism Master’s at Columbia or Berkeley.  I doubt I would have been given any of these opportunities had I not worked on CUB Magazine.

My advice to all you aspiring writers and editors is to get involved! It doesn’t have to be CUB Magazine (although it is a great magazine to be involved in).  If your interest is more in politics then write for Politics Made Public; if it’s poetry write for Peach Magazine; if your passion is current affairs and campus news, then contact The Print; or if you are an aspiring playwright get involved with QMTC (Queen Mary Theatre Company) and their New Writers Festival.  Just don’t waste your University years watching Netflix.

Queen Mary has a huge range of publications, media outlets, and societies for you to get involved in, so make the most of them!

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