Current Employer: Complex Media in New York City
Major: Magazine Journalism
By Paige Ernste
Skylar Bergl found a way to combine his love of fashion and magazine journalism in a city known for its style: New York City. Skylar landed an internship at Popular Mechanics in New York the summer before his senior year, and right after graduation he headed back to the city for an internship at Fast Company. Today he’s a style writer for four-pins.com.
What exactly is your job, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I work for the magazine portion of Complex Media in their style/satellite side called Four Pins. So I’m a style writer. The best part is that it’s in an area that I really enjoy. I’m really into menswear and fashion. It was always something I wanted to get into, but none of my jobs in Des Moines, or even when I got out here in New York at first, gave me the opportunity to do. It’s in an area that I already love, so work is barely work.
How did you land a job in New York?
I had an internship here the summer between my junior and senior year, so I already had that experience. I’m sure they saw when I graduated a year later that I had already been in New York and thought, “Okay, this guy’s already been here. It wouldn’t be that hard for him to adjust.” They probably thought it wouldn’t be a huge risk hiring a kid that graduated from a college in Iowa since I’d already worked in New York.
When did you start working in New York?
I got an internship at Fast Company right after graduation and moved out there four days after I graduated. I started to work immediately. I was there as an intern for a year, and then they hired me on full time as an editorial assistant for the print magazine. I was there for a full year in that position, and then I joined Complex just a couple months ago.
What is the most difficult part about your job?
I’d say it’s sort of the expectation to turn out a certain amount of content per day. But it’s not that hard; it’s just a little bit of a bump in the day. I have to make sure I get the right amount of stuff out.
What activities did you participate in at Drake that helped prepare you for your job in the real world?
I was on Drake Magazine. I started my sophomore year, and I was just a writer. I was never an editor or anything. I was partly, I guess, the “de facto” style writer. When the editors came up with a story that they wanted to do, like on a menswear store in the Midwest, they would approach me and I would do it. And if you consider the senior capstone an activity, I was editor-in-chief of my capstone in the fall of 2011 for Urban Plains.
What advice would you give to current Magazine Journalism majors on how to prepare for jobs in the magazine industry?
I’d say learn as much about web content as possible because while print’s all well and good, and there’s still a lot of ad money in that industry, web is where the more innovative content is being put. So while you can have a great story or feature in print on a company or some person, you can only do so much with the presentation, whereas on web, you have a lot of other outlets and means to present a story in a more interesting way for the reader. I think that’s one of the main differentiators between the publications and sites that really succeed and are really great versus the ones that sort of just put content out there.
Keep up with Skylar on LinkedIn.