Rolling Stone is my favorite magazine. So naturally, I was holding back fist pumps when I found out I would be able to tour the legendary mag’s headquarters at the convention this weekend. I must have texted ten people the morning before the tour, using emoticons and exclamation marks generously.
19 other conventioneers and I walked to the headquarters, which were located in downtown NY in an inconspicuous skyscraper. After signing in, we headed to the second floor where we met the deputy art director of Rolling Stone, Steven Charney. He lead us through Men’s Health and US Weekly headquarters to get to the Rolling Stone offices.
The first thing we saw was a wall of Rolling Stone covers dating back to 1967, when the magazine was created. Then we walked through the cubicles, stopping frequently to admire artwork that had been featured in the mag. We also saw spreads for the upcoming issue and a “special” issue that will cover the 100 best musicians of all time. Our last stop before Charney’s office was the music room, where up-and-coming artists play for the Rolling Stone staff. One of the most recent performances was given by Mumford and Sons. (!)
When we got to Charney’s office, we met Rolling Stone managing editor John Dioso. The two talked at length about their professional pasts. Charney studied illustration in college where he drew pictures for the weekly newspaper, and went on to work as a designer and assistant art director for various lesser known publications before signing on as an art director at Rolling Stone. Dioso worked as an editor (copy, associate, assistant, managing) for a bunch of different mags like US Weekly, National Geographic Adventure, and New York Magazine before coming to Rolling Stone.
Although the two have completely different jobs, they both emphasized…
1) that the media industry is cutthroat. They’d both been laid off or fired at some point.
2) that networking is important.
3) that you always have to be on your toes when working for a magazine. (When Michael Jackson died, they had a week to put together a tribute issue.)
3) that it had always been a dream to work for Rolling Stone, and they find their work very exciting and rewarding.
I left after shaking hands with Dioso and Charney, feeling pretty awestruck and inspired. Getting a job at such a high-profile magazine has to be crazy difficult, but hey, someone’s gotta do it. Dioso and Charney both dreamed about working for Rolling Stone when they were young. Who’s to say it won’t be you next?