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© 2019, all rights reserved. For more information, visit the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Brooke Nelson

Reader's Digest, Trusted Media Brands, Inc.
Keller, Texas | Hendrix College

     To work at Reader’s Digest is to tell a story. In the magazine world, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in flashy premieres or expensive samples, but here, the editors find it more important to focus on inspiring stories, hero stories, stories about love and loss and victories, stories that stem from the reader as much as they stem from the Editor-in-Chief. In doing so, Reader’s Digest creates a family whose roots extend across the nation—but everything really begins right at my desk.    

     I start every morning at 5:30 a.m., catching the train out of Grand Central Station to reach the office in White Plains, NY and slide into my cubicle by nine. Usually there are a few emails waiting for me: maybe one from my supervisor with feedback on my latest article, maybe one from the web editor about a photo, and then maybe another from a features editor, thanking me for research they had requested. Because in reality, although I am technically an editorial intern, I don’t work in one specific department. Instead, I bounce around between helping the photo department acquire visuals for my articles, researching and fact-checking content for upcoming print issues, and mining old content (as well as writing my own!) for our website.

   Here, I am part of the team—part of the family. The work never ends, but it is never boring, either; most days, the hours quickly fall away until I look up from what I am doing to realize that, all too soon, it’s time to catch my train back to the city. Unfortunately, the days are falling away as quickly as the hours, and I already dread the day I will have to catch the train for the last time. I will miss my long commute because of the time it gives me to devour my constant supply of reading material, either gifts from an editor or novels picked up from the office’s free book pile. I will miss the coziness of my cubicle because of the people I sit next to: on one side, a cheery features editor who always sings “good morning, Brooke!” as she skips into the office, and on the other side, a generous, kind-hearted 60-year-old research editor who has a habit of giving gifts, usually in the form of food. I will miss watching thunderstorms roll in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and I will miss spending my Monday afternoons snacking on chips and guac (as per staff tradition). 

Brooke is a senior at Hendrix College studying International Relations and Business, with an emphasis in creative nonfiction writing. At school, she splits her time between editing the monthly student magazine, lurking in vintage clothing stores and burying her nose in a book.

All of these little anecdotes tell one bigger story: Reader’s Digest puts aside the glitz and glamour of life and focuses on the heart of life. Here at RD, I have found a family of journalists who care about what they do, and who care about each other. And even though I must move across the nation to finish school this year, those principles have grown roots inside me, guiding me throughout my career, always leading me back to White Plains.