Director of Publications and Communications

Marlo Welshons

Tell us about your work---what do you do? The "publications" part of my title means that I am in charge of the publications office, a nonprofit unit within the Graduate School of Library and Information Science . We publish two journals and various scholarly monographs each year. I do everything, from writing budgets and managing the editorial staff to marketing the publications and overseeing the ordering and inventory process. The "communications" part means I am responsible for all public relations material for the school, which include recruitment brochures, alumni newsletters, and press releases. I am also the school's webmaster: I write the content and then create the html pages myself or hire out the coding for more complex pages. What skills are needed? Excellent writing and editing skills are vital. It's also important to be able to manage people and projects. My biggest advantage, though, is my willingness to tackle anything and learn what I need as I go. What was your major? English , Liberal Arts How did you get started in your career? In college I was offered a job as an editor on the yearbook, which opened my eyes to the possibility of publishing as a career. I then sought freelance editorial work wherever I could get it. By the time I graduated, I had a substantial resume, which led to bigger and better full-time positions. What experience do you need in this job? Lots of writing. The technical writing class I took in college was probably the most important one, in terms of teaching me how to write clearly and concisely. Even though I do very little copyediting or production work, experience in these areas is critical to managing a publications staff. Describe your "typical" workday: There is no typical day, because I do so many different things. But that's what I love about the job: the variety. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Attracting and keeping subscribers to our journals, in a time when institutional budgets for subscriptions are dwindling. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? A degree in library and information science is one of the hottest commodities right now, because of the explosion in demand for people who have information organization, access, and technology skills. Being a part of the effort to educate students in this field is very satisfying. It also feels great when a publication you nurtured from early manuscript stage arrives from the printer. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Read and write and read and write some more. This field is, bottom line, about communicating ideas and information, which you'll be able to do (and help others do) if you can recognize good writing and write well yourself. Given the direction the publishing field is going, I would also highly recommend some basic computer programming and/or website design courses.
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