CLAS Career Night: Exploring Journalism Careers with CLAS Alum Emily Abbate ’10

Are you interested in pursuing a career in communications or journalism? Want to know more about what a typical day in the life of a journalist is like? Check out the alumni interview below with Emily Abbate, Freelance Journalist and former Fitness Editor of SELF Magazine. Also, come meet her in person at CLAS Career Night on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 which will feature “Day in the Life” sessions with outstanding CLAS alumni in the following industries:

  • Communications and journalism
  • General business
  • Social services and health care
  • Law, government and policy
  • Education

CLAS Career Night
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
6:30 – 8:30pm
Laurel Hall 102

Emily Abbate ‘10
CLAS Majors: Journalism, Political Science
Current Position: Freelancer
Previous Position: Fitness Editor at SELF Magazine
Twitter/Instagram: @emilyabbate 

What is your favorite part about your job?
I get to wake up every day and do what I love. A lot of people don’t feel that way about their 9 to 5. For me, being a journalist in a certain niche (fitness/wellness) allows me to combine my biggest passions, storytelling and fitness, in my profession. Not to mention, I’m not stuck behind a desk 24/7, which is pretty wonderful. So much of my job is community-based. Trying new workout classes, establishing connections at major athletic companies, getting to know the hottest trainers, talking the talk and walking the walk. It’s bigger than the words you put down on paper (or online!). And to be honest, I never imagined that this is what I’d be doing when I graduated from UConn.

What is a typical day in your job like?
There is no such thing as a “typical” day for me, but I’ll give this a whirl. My alarm typically goes off at 5:08 a.m. (Quirky, I know.) I drink a cup of coffee and get my act together to run (literally) to a workout class roughly 3 miles from my apartment. This is when the to-do lists start. By 8 a.m., I’m back home, have gotten my news download via Twitter during my commute, and by 9 a.m. I’m showered, done with breakfast, and have written in my “5-Minute Journal.”

This is when things get fun. Some mornings start with market appointments, peeping what the biggest brand names from Nike to New Balance have coming down the pipe for seasons to come. Other mornings involve a work workout, where brands highlight a new product and host a group of media at an event space. Since going freelance, my next step is typically posting up at a WeWork space (a popular chain of co-working spaces in New York City), where I get organized for my day. Writing happens. Edits happen. Some days, lunches or coffee dates happen. Mid-afternoon, I’m usually trying some other wacky thing, like a meditation studio or buzzy new food spot. or meeting a new expert. Nights are pretty low key, drizzled with the occasional wellness panel or event.

What are the current trends affecting your industry?
The publishing industry is in an interesting place right now. Having been let go twice in the past year, neither of which were indicators of my performance, I’ll be the first to say that it’s tough times. To be a journalist, you have to be passionate and driven. Open to finding new ways to deliver content, whether that be through video, photo, or other means. You have to be easily adaptable, and ready to take on challenges you may not have signed up for. As print continues to decline, now is an important time to hone in on digital skills, and market yourself as a valuable asset.

On the wellness side, business is booming. Innovation is everywhere. Trends pop left and right, and everyone and everything has to deal with health. From the technology inside your iPhone to insurance initiatives, if you’re not moderating your wellbeing, you’re behind the times. It’s especially an exciting time to be a health-centric journalist in New York City, arguable the pulse for the wellness industry in the United States.

What advice do you have for current students looking to enter this field?
Find your niche, and become an expert in it. I was super hesitant to dive exclusively into wellness, but it ended up being a defining and critical part of my career. After joining the team at a wellness website, I made the decision to become a certified trainer and run coach, both of which have helped me as I progress through my career. If trending news drives you wild, hone in on a lifestyle topic that feels comfortable. Learn everything you can. No matter how long you’ve been doing this, there’s always new information. Be open to it. Embrace change. And no matter what happens: Be your own biggest advocate.