Kaitlin Cubria Q&A (BA, Public Relations, '11)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite class was Advanced Feature Writing with Professor Carol Fletcher, hands down — it gave students a chance to really exercise their creativity via the publication of the student-run Pulse magazine. My favorite professor was Ellen Frisina, who was also my advisor. She not only helped me with my classes/major, but she also convinced me to study abroad in Venice and helped me secure my first internship within the public relations department at Hearst Magazines.
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I secured my first job in April of my senior year at Hofstra. At the time, I was interning within the Web department at Seventeen magazine, and one of my former editors from Seventeen.com, who had recently made the move to Alloy Digital Media, asked if I wanted to interview for an editorial assistant position at Teen.com, where I would be writing primarily about pop culture topics (aka my favorite topics) as they pertain to the teen demographic (aka my favorite demographic). My former editor sat in on the interview with me, along with his boss, who conducted the interview; by interview's end, his boss said, "Welcome to the family." After that, all I needed to do was, you know … graduate. Considering I still work at the same publication — granted, it's a different position — I'm still learning from my first job. Every day. The most valuable things I've learned are the ins and outs of a website, at least this particular one. I know our readers; I know the demographic (you might think Teen readers and the teen demographic are one and the same, but teens that read Seventeen or Teen Vogue or J-14 are not always the same as those who read Teen.com); I know our content management system (CMS). I can take that knowledge with me wherever I go.
- What is your field of specialty?
Teen/young adult pop culture trends, specifically regarding celebrities, movies, television and music. YouTube/Vine is HUGE among our audience, so I'm trying to learn more so I can join that conversation as well.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
When I was asked this question two years ago (via HerCampus), I said to keep in touch with the people who best know your work and, more importantly, your work ethic. And I still believe that, wholeheartedly. They're the ones who can attest to your abilities when it comes time for recommendations or may even think of you if they hear of any job opportunities, so make sure not to burn those bridges. In this field, I'd highly suggest Hofstra students take advantage of the industry-specific clubs that are available. For public relations students, PRSSA; for journalism students, Ed2010 and HerCampus; and if you're looking into nonprofits, then She's the First. Those are great for networking and are great resume boosters.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What is your favorite part of your job?
As managing editor of Teen.com, I definitely don't get to write as much as I used to in prior positions, which was one of the best parts. BUT my job still keeps me on my toes. No two days are ever the same; one day, there's an interview; the next day, there's an event. Most days include heavy editing and management, but it's the overall NOT knowing what the day will bring that allows for me to get up in the morning pumped and actually excited to go to work.
- How has your degree helped you in your current position?
Pursuing my degree (BA, Public Relations) is what led me to meet Professor Frisina, who helped me snag my first PR internship at Hearst Magazines; that internship helped me secure two PR internships the following summer at WPIX and New York magazine; all of those internships helped me secure my Web editorial internship at Seventeen.com; that internship helped me secure my job at Teen.com. The name Hofstra holds a lot of merit, too. When I first started at Alloy Media + Marketing (now Defy Media), there were six or seven others within the company who came from Hofstra. So, to say that you graduated from Hofstra, at least within the communications/media industry, has clout.
- What is going on in popular culture right now that intrigues you the most?
Pop culture is a very broad topic, so it's tough to narrow down. I'm always fascinated by the differing opinions surrounding the Oscars, though.
In third grade, Kaitlin Cubria (BA, Public Relations, '11) told herself that one day she'd write for a magazine, particularly Seventeen. Although she didn't understand everything she read in the glossy publication — it was, after all, written for teenage girls, and she was only 8 at the time — the whimsical writing and colorful layouts drew her in … forever. (That ideation was only further enhanced when How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, in which Kate Hudson portrayed a magazine editor, hit theaters in 2003.) So when opportunity struck during her senior year at Hofstra University to do just that — write for Seventeen — she took it. No questions asked.
The difference between her childhood dream and this opportunity was that the internship was for the outlet's website. Little did she know that that was the beginning of her future career in entertainment journalism ... for the digital space.
After a year of gaining the skills to write for the teen demographic at an online publication, she accepted an editorial assistant position at Teen.com under the umbrella Alloy Digital Media (which at the time fell under Alloy Media + Marketing and now runs under Defy Media). In this position, she was able to cover everything from movies and television to celebrities and music. As an added bonus, she was able to get into the heart of the industry and interview some of her favorite celebrities, face to face — and that was fresh out of college! From there, she advanced within the company, gaining knowledge of all things teen and pop culture.
Kaitlin lives in New York City and continues with her career in the digital space at the same place where she began her professional journey — as the newly appointed managing editor of Teen.com.