Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Editor-in-Chief

For our Day in the Life series, we look at the daily work habits, schedules and routines from people in a variety of roles and careers around the world.

Nina Tovey, Editor-in-Chief at Canstar

Nina Tovey is the Editor-in-Chief at Australian financial comparison site, Canstar, where she heads up a team of talented SEO experts and journalists.

My work days have a pretty frenetic pace. From the moment I hop on the train I’m scouting online for news and communicating with my team before I hit the office. One of the first things we look at each day is how our content schedule is looking and setting our SEO priorities.

After this point, my typical day varies, ranging from one of our regular team brainstorming sessions to pre-empt what topics will be important to our readers in the coming days and weeks, through to one-to-ones with managers in my team about how the teams are going and our progress on key projects. 

Whether it’s through email, Slack, video call or in-person meetings, my days are non-stop and filled with creative, clever and inspiring people. To ensure I am on top of the competing requirements of my role, I always make sure I have one document that lists key to-dos across teams. Keeping key information in one place enables me to refresh my memory when moving between meetings with various stakeholders throughout the business. 

Because of the busy nature of our work, lighter moments in our Editorial team’s Slack channel and in the office, is essential and keeps our team close and cohesive despite the distance imposed by the COVID-19 response. 

Come home time, I focus on switching gears to ensure I can be present at home. This usually means talking about what is important to my children – with my five-year-old son at the moment that would be about what sports cars I’ve seen lately and the latest security cameras he’s noticed. 

Once the kids are in bed, I make a habit of reading as much as I can get my hands on. This is important, as I find inspiration for story ideas in some unlikely places! 

Min Kumar, Digital Editor-in-Chief at The University of Sydney

Min Kumar is the Digital Editor-in-Chief at The University of Sydney where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the university’s content marketing strategy and governance of the corporate website.

I’m currently the Digital Editor-in-Chief at the University of Sydney.

This entails managing the university’s content marketing strategy, which sounds simple enough until you realise that on an average day you could be working on sharing ground-breaking research, elevating marginalised voices, promoting life-changing scholarships or showing off the incredible achievements of our students.

It’s a huge gig but when you’re doing work you truly believe in you can’t help but jump in head first each day.

My day starts at 5:30AM, I’m not a morning person, but I like to ease into my day and waking up early gives me the chance to prioritise and plan ahead.

Once at work, I review the meetings and milestones for that day. Depending on what’s on, I like to split my day into ‘supporting’ and ‘steering’ phases.

The supporting part of my day is about ensuring I’m available for consultation, making sure my team and stakeholders have what they need from me and that reports, briefs or admin tasks are reviewed, approved and completed.

The steering part of my day is when I take a step back to look at how we’re tracking towards achieving our strategic objectives and determining what needs to change or be maintained to keep us moving in the right direction.

Amy Malpass Hahn, Editor In Chief at The Grace Tales

Amy Malpass Hahn is the Editor In Chief at The Grace Tales, an online destination and community for style-conscious mothers which covers motherhood, fashion, beauty, interiors, travel, food and more.

My day usually begins somewhere between 4:30 and 5am, for my daily hour of meditation and mindfulness practice. Ha! Kidding. It actually starts half an hour before then (yep, always before 4:30am) when my three children emerge from their beds with the energy of pre-teens on Red Bull.

There’s no quiet and no calm, just a succession of food demands and varying toilet requirements for a consistent, brutal four hours until school time. My sons are 9 months, 3 and 6, so by the time my work day begins, I feel like it’s time for afternoon tea.

When I finally do sit down to my desk (after various lunchbox preparations, breastfeeds, breakfast clean-ups, laundry and drop-offs), I breathe a sigh of relief and then work away with the efficiency only known to mothers of small children.

My role involves looking after the range of editorial platforms on The Grace Tales, as well as our strategic partnerships. So my days are usually extremely diverse and incredibly busy.

Each day, I’ll be writing stories, interviewing experts, arranging or conducting shoots, researching and planning content, attending or organising events, uploading stories, scheduling social media posts, responding to reader feedback, liaising with advertisers and partners, speaking to emerging brands, developing partnership proposals and seeing them through to completion, managing contributors, should I go on?

Luckily, I thrive in busy roles where I can really get my hands dirty and be involved from the ground up, so I’ve certainly found my sweet spot at The Grace Tales.

Once 4pm rolls around, it’s time for children to be picked up, a bevy of after school activities and the dinner-bath-bedtime routine, with a healthy dose of homework, Lego building, Bey Blade battles and about 29 loads of laundry in between.

By 7:30pm, I am usually somewhat comatose while I shovel in dinner, stare lovingly at a glass of wine, chat to my husband, and finish off any work that came in post school pick-up. Phew!

Andrea Barbalich, Editor in Chief, The Week Junior at Dennis

Andrea Barbalich is the Editor in Chief of The Week Junior, a weekly newsmagazine for children ages 8 to 14, a brand extension of The Week, the most trusted newsweekly in America. 

I’m up by 6am, often earlier, for two reasons. One, our company is based in the UK and they are five hours ahead of us. So this allows me to check email and Slack and respond to anything that has come to me overnight. 

Two, the pace of a weekly newsmagazine is extremely fast, and I’ve found that having two-plus uninterrupted hours every morning helps me stay on top of the news and also think about the bigger picture of our brand. 

I also do my editorial planning during those hours. My most important job is to decide what goes into the magazine every week, and I make many of those decisions early in the morning when things are quiet.

My deputy editor is also an early riser, so twice a week I have a 7:30 meeting with her to look ahead to future issues, which is hard to do when you’re 100% focused on finishing the current issue. Then I have a status meeting with my full team every morning at 8:30. We spend 30 minutes reviewing what we accomplished the day before and setting our goals for the day. 

There is a real rhythm to a weekly magazine, and certain pages need to be finished every day in order to get each issue to the printer on time. Our deadline is on Tuesday, so I think of Wednesday as the start of the week and Tuesday as the end.

After that initial staff meeting, the day is a combination of calls with individuals or smaller groups of my editorial team to discuss stories and solve problems, meetings with sales, marketing, PR, and other teams we work with throughout the company, and hands-on work on the issue that is shipping that week. 

I talk through, make suggestions on, and ultimately approve every idea, article, photograph, and layout to make sure the text and visuals for every story are accurate, age-appropriate, intriguing, and exciting for our readers. I also work hand-in-hand with our art director on each week’s cover. My days end late.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.