Guest Post, Bianca Peterson: The Ins-and-Outs of the Content Coordinator

Content CoordinatorWhen I first received the position of content coordinator for Superstition Review for the fall 2013 semester, I only knew the basics of the position: that I’d be logging content submissions and that I was chosen for it because I have good attention to detail. Only when the semester began did I come to understand the full scope of the position and the various skills I would need to acquire. Along with logging the incoming submissions into spreadsheets, I would likewise be required to send proofs to contributors and build the web pages for each new issue. A considerable number of hours in those first few weeks as a full-fledged intern were spent learning the ins-and-outs of programs like Google Spreadsheets, Submittable, and Drupal. However, the biggest scare for me was that a content coordinator must possess a working knowledge of basic HTML—a skill I knew absolutely nothing about.

Fortunately, a friend came to my rescue with a two-inch thick book providing descriptive, step-by-step guides on how to write and read HTML coding. He bookmarked which chapters I would need to study and, after a few weeks of work, I found myself growing in comfort with the idea of coding. Despite the initial scare it provided, it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the position. While scanning lines of code looking for errors and the causes of weird spacing or character issues is certainly long and grueling work, there was something satisfying about knowing I contributed to making the magazine look professional and clean.

As a whole, the role of a content coordinator does involve much detail work. Logging submissions requires a close eye with tracking changes in the editors’ votes on submissions, catching duplicated submissions, and watching for withdrawn ones. Building the content pages by far requires the most detail work, especially with longer submissions of fiction and nonfiction—my particular responsibilities include fiction, art, and interviews. Imagine reading a block of text consisting of a single long paragraph with no page breaks or indents in search of a particular set of words or characters—this roughly describes the process.

I also want to stress the responsibility and amount of trust between the content coordinators, the editors, and our founder that comes with the position. As content coordinators, we are trusted to log submissions on a consistent basis in order to keep up with the votes and decisions of the editing interns. Likewise, we are trusted with the responsibility of making sure the submitted content is spaced and formatted properly and that the building of the issue itself is completed before the launch date.

The year I’ve spent interning for Superstition Review has been a experience I will never forget. It has provided me with the opportunity to hone skills I possessed prior to the internship and obtain a substantial list of new ones, including a working knowledge of basic HTML. Furthermore, the skills I obtained through interning with Superstition Review will assist in future career endeavors, as I hope to find work at a publishing company or literary magazine after completing my degree. Tedious as some of the work might feel—especially after spending a few hours double checking editor votes or correcting code—it is very rewarding work and I’m delighted to have been chosen for the position.

Meet the Interns: Jessica Swanson, Web Design Team Manager

jessicaswanson_0Jessica Swanson is a Senior at Arizona State University majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Jessica Swanson: As the Web Design Team Manager I oversee projects for the Blogger, Web Developer, and Photoshop Editor. I initiate or remind the members of upcoming projects as well as assist them with certain projects or questions. During the past few weeks the team and I have begun a rebuild of the SR webpage which I am extremely excited about. This includes redesign the fonts, colors, and layout of the site as well as creating a new banner that will represent SR during the release of the fourth issue.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

JS: I have had a few classes with Trish in the past and had heard about Superstition Review a few times. Since it is my last undergraduate semester at ASU I thought this would be a great opportunity to gain some hands-on experience with this online literary publication.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?

JS: I am a fiction girl so I would have to say that section and the art section are my two favorite areas of SR. I primarily write fiction so I am drawn to that section just from a personal bias, and I am always fascinated by artwork and, therefore, attracted to that section.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

JS: Well he has already contributed to the journal, but I would really love to see a piece of fiction by Sherman Alexie. He is a very diverse author/poet and I find his work extremely influential in my personal life. I have a deep respect for him as a Native American author and would love to meet him one day.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

JS: I would really like to be a fiction editor (big surprise) or possible work for the marketing team.

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

JS: I am very excited about the re-design of the SR website. My team has been working very hard these past two weeks to get this up and running by the fourth launch and I am extremely excited to see the final result.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

JS: Well this wasn’t really one of the first books that I ever fell in love with, but this was the first book that made me cry. I remember being in elementary school and reading Where the Red Fern Grows, probably for pleasure and not as an assigned reading. I was home alone and it was an overcast, early winter day. I sat in an oversized plush chair in the living room, curled up with my feet underneath me. As I read the novel I became overwhelmed by what I was reading, never having read something quite like that at my age. I cried and cried until my family came home and at the time I was sad, but I was also thrilled because that was the first time I had truly interacted with a book. After that I just became an even bigger bookworm and you could not pull me out of library for anything.

SR: What are you currently reading?

JS: Besides schoolwork I am attempting to read a mystery called Beautiful Lies. This has been a feat considering the workload of the first few weeks, but I hope to have it completed soon. I am very surprised with the novel so far–something I wasn’t expecting since it had been on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. During the summer I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and I would like to start viewing the show True Blood which is based on the series. Also, I am greatly anticipating Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol which continues the Robert Langdon series.

SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?

JS: I think I talk about Sherman Alexie a little bit too much, but he has got to be my favorite author just because of subject matter (although I hear he is a pretty nice guy as well). He has really helped me not only as a writer, but also as a Native American who always felt a little bit like an outcast within the community. I appreciate his work because he is so true and honest and humorous. I truly respect him as an author and I greatly value his work.

SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?

JS: Dream class? Naptime 101. But that will never happen. I really wish I could take a class where I am being graded to read whatever I want. If I knew that I could devote two hours a night to reading some random fiction novel off the shelf for a grade then I would be in heaven. I have found that during semesters I really cannot dedicate the time I would like to read novels for pleasure. If I could have a class where I was allowed to do that then I would be overjoyed.

Meet the Interns: Heidi Nielson, Fiction Editor

heidinielson_0Heidi Nielson is pursuing concurrent degrees in English (Creative Writing) and Journalism (Digital Journalism), as well as a minor in Music.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Heidi Nielson: As a fiction editor, I send solicitations to authors for work, as well as for interviews, read, discuss, and decide on submissions along with Riki, and conduct at least one interview with an author.

SR: How did you hear about SR?

HN: I first heard about the internship while I was interning at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, working with Hayden’s Ferry Review. Shortly thereafter, I volunteered at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers’ Conference at ASU and was able to attend a class on literary journals that Patricia Murphy was teaching, and met with her after the class ended. During the last issue, I helped with the blog, though I wasn’t officially an intern. I’m very excited to be an intern this semester.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR and why?

HN: As a fiction writer, I tend to gravitate toward the fiction section of any journal first. I am an avid reader, as well as a writer. I feel like I learn the most about writing fiction from reading the work of more experienced and talented writers, like those in Superstition Review.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal?

HN: My dream contributor would probably be Jhumpa Lahiri. Her prose is beautiful, and I admire the way that she is able to immerse her readers in Bengali culture.

SR: What job would you like to try out?

HN: Probably blogger. I really enjoy social media and had a lot of fun when I helped with the blog during the last issue.

SR: What are you most excited for?

HN: I would say that I am most excited to just read submissions. We are writing to so many amazing writers this semester to request work.

SR: What is the first book you remember falling in love with?

HN: I think the first book I fell in love with was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. What made that book so compelling to me as a child, I think, was that their family felt so similar to my own. I come from a family of six girls, and one boy, and the personalities of myself and the three sisters closest to me in age, always seemed so similar to the four sisters in Little Women.

SR: What are you currently reading?

HN: I’m currently reading a compilation of T.C. Boyle’s short stories, entitled simply, Stories.

SR: What are your favorite websites to distract you from homework?

HN: I noticed that most people were saying Facebook, and I can’t deny that I do check it more than once a day, but I think the website that usually distracts me from homework the most is etsy.com. It’s a website of handmade or vintage items, and I can just spend hours browsing through the thousands of items. I also get distracted by my Google Reader. I subscribe to about 50 blogs, and so I’m almost constantly reading posts.

SR: Do you write? Tell us about a project you are working on.

HN: I write fiction, mainly short stories. I have been working on revisions of two stories I wrote for my fiction class last year since the last ended, and I’m on my sixth drafts of both.

Meet the Interns: Michelle Leabo, Content Team Manager

michelleleabo_0Michelle Leabo is a Senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences majoring in English with a concentration in Literature.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Michelle Leabo: As Content Team Manager, it is my job to keep SR’s content organized. I make sure that our spreadsheets are continually updated. One of my major responsibilities is to ensure that no work get lost. I remain in close contact with other teams and practice excellent communication between my teammates and other interns.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

ML: I heard about Superstition Review last semester when I took a class with Patricia Murphy and answered her Call for Interns. This is the first issue of SR that I’ve been involved with.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?

ML: My favorite section is Interviews. They are so personal, honest, and candid; one really gains insight into the work of an author or artist by asking questions. I enjoy the intimacy that interviews allow for. I also enjoy forming interview questions and conducting them.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

ML: Toni Morrison. She is such an established writer and I feel as if she could provide not only great material, but great strength to the magazine. I believe she still occasionally teaches courses; perhaps she would be willing to respond to a student-edited literally magazine.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

ML: I would like to tackle the role of the editor.

SR: What are you most excited about for in the upcoming issue?

ML: I am most excited to keep all of our content organized and to succeed in not losing any work.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

ML: I remember reading Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt in 5th grade and absolutely falling in love with it. This book recounts a fictional family’s life throughout the Civil War. Through its characters, it taught me that people who lived even centuries ago experienced the same happiness and heartbreak as people today and that we can relate to them. Irene Hunt remains one of my favorite authors; other favorites of mine from her are The Lottery Rose and Up a Road Slowly.

SR: What are you currently reading?

ML: I am currently reading a collection of short stories. I love the art of the short story; I am a fan of Hawthorne, Faulkner, and Joyce.

SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?

ML: Through subject matter, work, and motto, I have connected with Faith Hill. She sings about aspects of life and love that I can relate to. Her music expresses the importance of love, friendship, and family in life. She has a very classy composure, and least in my opinion, and I admire that; she’s hardly ever found on the cover of tabloids. She has a motto that family comes first and she always seems to honestly follow it.

SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?

LM: I’m a fan of Lucille Ball and I enjoy searching for information and memorabilia relating to her and ‘I Love Lucy’. I’m also a fan of the Duggar family from TLC’s ‘18 and Counting’ so I enjoy following them through clips on YouTube and sites of that nature. They’ve recently announced they’re expecting their 19th child!

Meet the Interns: Mariah Beckman, Solicitations Coordinator

mariahbeckman_0Mariah Beckman is an English Literature Senior at Arizona State University and is pursuing a Technical Writing Certificate.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Mariah Beckman: I review current solicitation list and update contacts, and maintain this list so that the following issues have a solicitations list to build off of. I also work with Editors to add names to list and constantly update the Solicitation List with author responses. My job consists largely of helping to garner submissions and organize the responses to those submissions to provide clear and updated list of works to be featured in Superstition Review.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

MB: I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by one of the managing editors/founders, and was thusly recruited.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?

MB: I think that poetry is going to be my favorite section of SR. When I was in high school I dated this boy, and his brother was featured in Hayden’s Ferry Review, another Arizona State University literary magazine, and I remember thinking how awesome it was that he was valued enough to be represented. His submission was poetry. I really love to read poetry–no matter how busy I am, I can pick up a copy of my Cummings or Hughes or Frost collection and browse through a finished project, and that is what I love about poetry. If literature is the Christmas Tree, poetry are the Ornaments that make it dazzle even without the lights. I’m so excited to read the submissions and have an opportunity to read some up-and-comers and professionals, side-by-side, and compare the changing face of poetry today.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

MB: I think that I would love to feature Mark Danielewski (author of House of Leaves) or Chuck Palahniuk (author of the novels Fight Club, Snuff, Choke, etc). While each of these authors feature often mature content, their wit and eloquence are excellent artistic representations of Americans ever-changing and subversive culture. These authors publish challenging and exciting, often funny and always memorable works that have stuck with me and that I can relate to, and it would be amazing to feature one of their interviews or short stories to see what insights they could offer about writing in the 21st century.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

MB: I would like to work with contributors whose works are chosen to fine-tune and polish their work for submission. I would love to be the person who not only delivers the great news that an individual’s work is publication-worthy, but also work with them to craft their writing and to make them the best vehicles for their art form, because written word is truly a timeless and powerful art.

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

MB: The finished product and readings are the milestones that I most look forward to for this upcoming issue. To see all of our efforts come to fruition will be amazing, and I just can’t wait.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

MB: As a reader, there are so many books that I really appreciated and grew up with. The first book, however, that I can remember finishing and then reading all over again was Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The characters in this novel were so vibrant–who doesn’t know and love a Captain Yossarian, tragic and clever anti-hero of life’s red tape? Or a Milo Minderbinder, enterprising get-rich-quick businessman with great demeanor and no conscience? Major Major, the Chaplain, Hungry Joe–there was a piece of all of America in every character, even the most despicable.

SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?

MB: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”–Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde in his The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most prosaic and devilish books I’ve ever read. I’ve always considered myself a fan of Sylvia Plath, but never of her methods–her poetry is divine, but her short works and her life fell short of what I thought her work expressed her capable of. Oscar Wilde, however, was as much a modern philosopher as he ever was a writer. Everything he said or wrote is quotable–I don’t think the man ever had a mundane thought.

“Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.”–Wilde

SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?

MB: I am loathe to say Facebook, but there it is. I think that I blow more of my time on Facebook then I do checking my email. I Can Has Cheeseburger.com used to be high on the list, not because I’m a freak but because I have a lot of pets and every one of them seems to be represented in adorable photo form. don’t judge me. T-Shirt Hell.com–it’s awful and wrong, but I love it. I only wish I could buy up the site. If you’ve never been, you should check it out–it’s the most offensive and off-color t-shirts you would ever not want to see.

SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?

MB: YOU: A Montage

I would like to take a class that allows a person to gather together their most favorite and expressive mediums of expression–photos, written work, audio, video, links and things and ideas and beliefs–and turn it into something tangible…like a collage that one would be graded on. The final project would be in explanation and defense of not only the project, but the personality and individual it represents. My final would be a life-size mannequin, decked out to look like me but in clothing made of my favorite works, eyes that you could look into and press my nose to see a slideshow, a button on my mouth to hear me recite something of my choosing, and spaces cut out of my arms, legs, back, whatever, to put (assuming money isn’t the issue) clips of movies like “Vanilla Sky” or “Harold and Maude” and other favorites to show viewers, in a snapshot, me. This would be like the ultimate self-exploration, and it would involve a lot of actual project work, which isn’t something that I’ve really done since high school.

Meet the Interns: Tabitha Gutierrez, Advertising

tabithagutierrez_0Tabitha Gutierrez is a senior majoring in Business and English Creative Writing.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Tabitha Gutierrez: At SR, I am in charge of advertising and getting the word about SR out to the public. I write press releases/newsletter providing updates about upcoming readings, submission periods, etc. as well as pursue ways of gaining advertising.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

TG: I heard about Superstition Review through an email from the English department regarding internship possibilities. I selected SR as my internship because I felt like a student run magazine was new and interesting.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?

TG: I especially enjoy the artwork. Being an English major, I read multiple works from various authors daily. However, I have always loved art and find that the art included in SR makes a nice change.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

TG: My dream contributor would be Tim Burton. Although I am obsessed with his movies, I absolutely love his artwork that he does. He has albums filled with art for movies and characters that are truly unique. Also, I think that any stories submitted would be different and fun.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

TG: I think that it would be interesting to work with art selection. I would love to view and compare different works of art and discuss how others view it as well.

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

TG: I am most excited to see the results of readership. I feel like an increase would reflect a contribution that I did in advertising.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

TG: When I was younger, I really loved the Diary of Anne Frank. Although sad, I felt like it was the perfect combination of history, youth, nonfiction, relatability, etc.

SR: What are you currently reading?

TG: I cannot put the final book of Twilight down. I already read the series but loved the last book that I had to read it again. I know it is a sensation but I find a real art to the way it is written.

SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?

TG: I usually get distracted by YouTube. Not matter your mood, you can always find something to fit your desire. If I am in a funny mood, hilarious pet videos always keep your mood up. Or, if I am in an artsy mood watching people sing and try to get there name out there can be inspiring.

SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?

TG: My dream course at ASU would be a Next Step class. I think that faculty focus so much on the transition into college, getting classes, and your overall freshman year, but barely focus on your Senior year. I wish there was a class that explained the best way of breaking into career fields, what to really expect, realistic salaries, etc. How are we supposed to base degrees and majors on something so unfamiliar?

Meet the Interns: Scott Sivinski, Development Coordinator

Scott Sivinski is a Senior at Arizona State University majoring in Literature, Writing and Film.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Scott Sivinski: I am formatting the work we have to be sent out to Amazon to use on Kindle.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

SS: I heard about the Review in an email, probably from the English department.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

SS: David Sedaris who is one of my favorite authors and memoirists would be a great contributor. He has stories for everything.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

SS: I would like to be involved with the nonfiction group, probably as editor.

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

SS: I just can’t wait to read all of the submissions and just see the issue in its entirety since it is something I helped produce.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

SS: Weekend by Christopher Pike was the first book I remember loving. It was a mystery and involved people just a little older than me and it really kick-started my reading habit. I still mostly read mysteries or thrillers along with the occasional memoir.

SR: What are you currently reading?

SS: I am currently reading the new memoir by Kathy Griffin who I find to be hilarious.

SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?

SS: I like Entertainment Weekly’s website because it covers all aspects of entertainment including music, film and book reviews. I also like a site called dlisted because it makes fun of our cultures obsession with celebrities and his blogs are always hilarious.

SR: Do you write? Tell us about a project you’re working on.

SS: I do write on my own and keep a journal, but right now all I am writing is papers for other classes. I have six classes and five of them are English courses so I’m doing a lot of drafts and stuff right now and working on my applied project for graduation.