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Meghan Harlow

Editor of  Edible Long Island and  Edible East End, Sag Harbor, NY

How long have you been in this profession?

Two or four years, depending on how you look at it. I began working with Edible as an editorial intern in February 2014. I became associate editor in 2015. In August 2016, I was promoted to editor.

What is a typical day at work look like?

Prepare to hate me: A giant perk of my job is that I get to work remotely. So most days I wake up with my husband around 7:00, catch up on emails in bed, and then I start to work “for real” at 8:00 when he leaves for the office. I work mostly from 8:00 to 4:00, but more often than not I answer emails from 7:00 a.m. to midnight.

I begin each day by posting new stories to the Edible East End and Edible Long Island websites. Then I promote whatever new stories I’ve published via each site’s social media channels. After this, I begin editing the next day’s batch of stories, answering emails, and writing. Some days I conduct interviews either in-person or over the phone; others, I work on sponsored campaigns, or developing the next month’s editorial calendar.

I guess my real answer to your question is that there is no typical day, really—just typical tasks that have to get done.

What is the most satisfying or rewarding part of your job?

Nothing is more satisfying than getting to hold each new issue of Edible in my hands. By the time it arrives in the mail, I’ve combed through it in PDF form at least a hundred times and still the thrill is undiminished. I am first and foremost a fan, so there’s a sort of attending magic for me.

I also find reader feedback extremely satisfying and rewarding. Because I work remotely, sometimes it’s easy to forget that my work is really just one half of the puzzle. We put things out into the world and then our readers complete the picture. Without them, there’s nothing, so hearing from them always makes my day.

For Stony Brook students interested in your line of work, what is your advice for what they should study or do at this point in their education?

If you want to be an editor, please do two things: Read and write. You should also definitely study English (the ignorant opinions of your old Aunt Alice be damned). If you can, sign up for an independent study with a professor you admire. And finally, email me. We are always looking for fresh voices at Edible , and I would love to work with you.

What would you look for if you were in the position to hire new graduates from Stony Brook?

Above all, I value passion. If a person is hungry for something, I know from experience that they will do what many would dismiss as impossible just to eat. So, that would be the first thing I would look for. After that, I would want to hire someone who is intelligent, responsible, and thoughtful. Your GPA would not matter to me, but your writing sample definitely would.

What are some of the skills that you learned through the study of English at Stony Brook? Are able to employ the skills that you learned under the department in your job or day to day life?

Hold my beer; I am about to launch into a full-throated defense of a liberal arts education. Studying English at Stony Brook was the second best decision I ever made. My first best decision was to marry someone who actually finds phrases such as “I am about to launch into a full-throated defense of a liberal arts education” charming.

Seriously though, I learned so many skills while studying English at Stony Brook. First and foremost, I learned how to think critically, which has proven invaluable. Through studying English at Stony Brook, I also learned how to write and otherwise communicate clearly, which is a skill I use every single day. Almost more importantly, though, studying English taught me so much about what it means to be human, and I would argue that the empathy that stems from that knowledge is the greatest skill anyone can own.

So, yes, I see the ability to connect things as a limitless skill—whether the connection in question is happening on the pages of a book, in a paper, or in life. And, in both my life and work, I try to use this skill daily.

 

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