It's time to introduce PolicyMic's new associate culture editor Laura Donovan. As part of our editors' blog, we introduce each one of our awesome editors, so you can get to know PolicyMic's all-star team. Check out my interview with Chris Miles here, Elena Sheppard here, Sam Meier here, Michael Luciano here, Alex Marin here, and Michael McCutcheon here.
Feel free to ask Laura more questions in the comments below! Follow her on Twitter @LauraDonovanUA.
Jake Horowitz (JH): What’s in your daily news diet? What are the sites, blogs, or outlets where you go to get your news?
Laura Donovan (LD): Right now, my favorite site is the Atlantic, which seems to have mastered the news/opinion model in a way that other online outlets haven't fully grasped yet. I'm a longtime reader of Slate, the LA Times, Mother Jones, New York Magazine, The Frisky, Jezebel, the New York Post, the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post Women, Reuters, The Daily Beast, the list goes on. My guilty pleasure is Us Weekly (and TMZ on occasion). I start my day on Twitter, the fastest way to receive news, and I also check my Facebook newsfeed for interesting articles my friends may have shared.
Who’s your journalism role model and why?
I've been a fan of Lara Logan since college and love her fearless foreign reporting style. She bounced back from the horrific Egypt sexual assault quickly and is also unafraid to call out the government for its handling of foreign affairs and the war on terror. I can't even begin to imagine what it must take to be as brave or resilient as Logan, but I hope to channel her assertive side as I get older and feel more settled and comfortable in my career.
Before joining PolicyMic, you worked at the Jane Dough, which is a site dedicated to women in business. Given that business is still considered to be a male-dominated field, what kinds of challenges did you encounter as a journalist?
Journalism poses the same kind of problems for women as it does men. It's a glamour industry, so the pay is low and hours are long for everyone. Research has shown women have fewer bylines, but that's not a challenge I've personally faced.
I will say that I've always been among just a handful of females at any given office. While I'd like to see more female journalists at male-dominated publications, I have nothing but glowing things to say about the men I've worked with, some of which I consider my greatest friends. They have all been fun, honest, hilarious, and hard-working.
You also worked as a political journalist in Washington, D.C. What’s the biggest difference in culture and environment between NYC and DC?
I loved my job in DC and miss my coworkers and friends there to an unhealthy degree, but the culture in Washington is incredibly stuffy.
I hated my commute every morning because I was constantly surrounded by people in suits and corporate attire, and all I wanted to wear were sundresses and pastel colors. NYC seems to have a greater appreciation for the arts, and not everyone dresses like they're running for office. On any given subway ride to work, I can have an investment banker sitting to my left, a beauty editor holding the straphanger in front of me, and a homeless guy singing "Under the Boardwalk" to my right. I love the diversity this city invites and fosters, and while everyone I know in NYC is a train-wreck in some way, insanity and ambition fuel Manhattan.
You join PolicyMic as an associate culture editor. What are three unique things you’re hoping to bring to our culture section?
The token right-leaning voice, more personal anecdotes in articles, and an increase in stories on education and bullying.
Is there a way to cover celebrity news in a thoughtful, PolicyMic way? What are examples of smart culture debates we should be having?
Absolutely. A good way to look at celebrity news through the PM realm is to consider our culture's demanding approach to celebrities. I've called upon the public to back off Rihanna for dating Chris Brown post-abuse scandal, and that started a dialogue on abusive relationships, her assumed "duty" as a role model, and our unrealistic expectations for people we don't even know. The story went from being a celebrity gossip rag topic to an actual discussion on societal issues. Another PM writer went on to make a similar argument a couple of weeks after I wrote about the subject for the site, and I'd love to see more pieces that spark dialogue in this way.
Now for some quick hits: Favorite David Sedaris book and why?
This is going to sound like a cop out, but my favorite memoir of his is definitely the first one I read, Me Talk Pretty One Day, because it's the best compilation of his peculiar life stories. I started reading the book sophomore year of college and immediately loved the first chapter, which is about his elementary school speech therapist trying to get him to lose his lisp. Rather than train himself to speak correctly, young David goes around it by going out of his way not to say words with the letter "s." I could really relate to this chapter because I was a stubborn child as well. There's just so much life to this chapter and book as a whole.
Favorite city you’ve lived in.
Favorite French word.
Tie between "Il faut" because I'm always talking about what I need to do next and "c'est dommage" because I'm an inner cynic!
Secret dream job.