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Campus Celebrity: Anna Claire Conrad

Most of us love reading magazines (obviously!), but this week we got to chat with someone behind the scenes. Anna Claire Conrad, senior in journalism, is the editorial assistant and editorial intern at Auburn Magazine, the alumni magazine of Auburn University. Anna Claire is also the Head Copy Editor for The Plainsman, the University’s weekly newspaper. It’s safe to say Anna Claire knows the ins-and-outs of one of our favorite industries. From writing feature stories, to taking photos, to blogging — Anna Claire’s done it all. 
 
HC: How long have you been working for Auburn Magazine? 
AC: I’ve been there since last fall (2013), and I’ll continue to freelance throughout the summer.
 
HC: What made you want to work for Auburn Magazine? 
AC: My friend Summer Austin recommended that I write for the magazine. She was an editorial assistant and intern there before I started, and she really enjoyed it. I was also eager to learn more about magazine and feature writing and get more experience in that area of journalism. And I am so glad I did! I have become a much stronger, confident and more descriptive writer since I’ve started working at the magazine.
 
HC: What duties does your job at the magazine entail? 
AC: The other editorial assistant, the other intern and I all write a variety of stories for the magazine, including multi-page collaborative features, featurettes and profiles. I’ve also written multi-page features on my own, taken photos and composed flashback pieces for the timeline at the front of our magazine. I also do a lot of research at home, in the office and at the University library. I also write sections for obituaries and marriages, and I write and publish blogs with photos for the magazine’s website.
 
HC: How do you balance work at the magazine, at The Plainsman, and your other class work and extracurriculars? 
AC: Sometimes, I don’t know. It’s a lot to take on my last semester as an undergrad, but I love it. I love staying busy and productive. For me, journalism isn’t work. It’s something I love to do, telling people’s stories. I think of it as a privilege. One thing I make sure to do is leave as much work as I can at the office. I spend as much time as I can outside with my dog, Milo, at the dog park and just around town. I also love to cook, and exercising has always been a great stress reliever. I’m lucky to have friends, family and a boyfriend who support me 100 percent. 
 
 
 
Anna Claire and her dog, Milo 
 
HC: What is your favorite thing about working at the magazine? What is your favorite story you’ve written? 
AC: I love the amount of time I have to work on a story. I’ve worked at The Auburn Plainsman as a reporter, and although I enjoyed the upbeat, chaotic atmosphere of the newsroom, I have fallen even more in love with the magazine. I have weeks to build up a story, get to know my sources and make sure what I’ve written is exactly how I want it. It’s a luxury I’m lucky to have.
 
I recently conducted an interview for a multi-page feature that reminded me of why I ever wanted to be a journalist in the first place. I interviewed Pete Turnham, a 93-year-old WW2 veteran who guarded a castle in Southern Germany stocked with priceless artwork stolen by the Nazis. He’s an adorable man with a big, warm heart, and I was in awe after hearing all that he did straight from his mouth. I was given a 1,100 word limit, and I used every single bit of it to write his story. It was such an honor, and I was humbled by the faith my editor had in me to write such a story. Not only did he have an incredible story to tell, but I was lucky enough to tell it.
 
HC: What is the hardest part of working at the magazine? 
AC: The hardest part is writing for a specific audience. At a newspaper, you serve as the watchdog of society. You call people out when they’re wrong, no matter who they are, and you’re writing for a much larger, broader readership. At the magazine, I’m writing what Auburn University alumni want to read. Luckily, I love Auburn, and I love writing about it.
 
HC: How would you encourage others interested in magazine journalism to get involved? 
AC: Get as much experience as you can. It doesn’t matter what publication you’re writing for, just write. Think descriptively, and write in a way that paints a picture in the readers’s head. But most of all, have fun with it! The best part about writing for a magazine is that it’s not a newspaper. You’re allowed more time, longer word counts and colorful language. Use it.
 
HC: How has working at the magazine prepared you for your future endeavors? And what are your future plans? 
AC: Working at Auburn Magazine has solidified my desire to work for a magazine after I graduate. I love newspapers, and I love The Plainsman. I know I could work in a newsroom and produce an enjoyable, interesting, informative product, but I just enjoy magazine writing more. I’m interning at Bassmaster in Birmingham this summer for its B.A.S.S. Times magazine, and I’m definitely going to be a fish out of water, pun intended. But, I feel that Auburn Magazine, my journalism classes and The Plainsman have prepared me for this internship.
 
As for the future, I hope to get a job with a magazine or publishing company in Birmingham. I just want to keep writing, no matter where I am.
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