Friday, March 23, 2012

Snowboard Journalism - A Dream Come True

First Issue of Snowboarder Mag
Early on in my collegiate career, I realized that I would be most successful as a journalist if I wrote about my strongest passion, snowboarding. With such a specific niche market, I knew that getting an internship would be vital to my success. Snowboard Magazine actually offered me an internship via twitter in the spring of 2010 for the summer, because they had seen my blog and tweets about my goals. It was through those mediums that they felt I was qualified enough for the position, but I was unable to take it. It was through that learning experience that I became serious about blogging and branding myself with the twitter handle “steezyneevy.”

Over the summer, my name and my twitter handle became more known throughout the industry, as I began to form personal relationships with a lot of professional snowboarders. In the spring of 2011, I convinced one of my professors to vouch for me, and say that I was one of his staff writers to help me snag a press pass for the Burton US Open at Stratton, Vermont.

Pat Bridges, Editor of Snowboarder Mag
It was there that I landed an internship with Snowboarder Magazine in San Clemente, California. I earned the spot in the most unconventional way, simply walking up to the editor, Pat Bridges, and asking him for it. He was so taken aback by how straightforward I was, he immediately said yes.

Spending the entire summer at Snowboarder Magazine was one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think my editors understand how much I respect what they do and how important the experience was to me. Snowboarding is my passion, with writing coming in at a close second, and the fact that I was able to spend three months surrounded by professional snowboard journalists, in a casual environment with professional snowboarders constantly coming in and out of the office to visit was one of the most rewarding aspects of the internship.

I learned how to write in the voice of Snowboarder Mag, their online editor recruited me to help her with transferring content to their new website, and the senior editor T- Bird and the editor in chief Pat both entrusted me with transcribing hours of interviews, which I now get paid for. Its nice knowing that I now do some freelance work for the mag I hope to one day regularly write for.

After my internship I knew that I just needed to really get on board with networking and start looking for positions in the industry, since senior year had finally crept up upon me. I landed another Burton US Open press pass and this time went in search of a job instead of an internship.

Louie Vito at the Burton US Open 2012
I was able to personally interview all of the professional snowboarders who had placed in the events, which was an out of body experience. I was so excited with the opportunity not because they were such talented snowboarders and because I was fanning out, but because I was actually doing what I had been working so hard to achieve. It was crazy, and an amazing full circle experience.  By the end of the weekend I got eight articles published on two separate websites and made a few key professional connections.

My goal is to eventually become the editor of a snowboard magazine, but for now, I am going to build my resume by continuing to get articles published and by working hard in the industry, networking and getting my name out there. I’m lucky because I knew exactly what I was good at and what I wanted to do early on, but I know that if my peers took a step back and really thought about their skills and passions, they too would be able to find a career path that made them as happy as mine does.

 ~Neev Zaiet, Student Aide at The Career Center

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