In these times when readers are responding to our books “more than ever,” when our authors—including Richard Blanco, Imani Perry, Robin DiAngelo, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, and Bettina Love—are appearing in the media, their ideas going viral on social media, their voices being heard on so many platforms, we thought it might be good to take a break to focus on some of the staff who work hard to find, shape, edit, produce, and promote those works. Our blog series “Beacon Behind the Books” introduces to you a member of our staff and gives you a behind-the-scenes look, department by department, at what goes on at our office. And not only our staff, but our interns, too!
This month, we introduce you to our digital and social media intern, Victoria Torres!
What drew you to publishing, Victoria? How did you find your way to Beacon?
When I first started college, I saw myself working in magazine publishing or doing political writing. But the more I talked to people in my classes about why they were passionate about book publishing, the more drawn to it I became. I always knew I wanted to work somewhere at the intersection between art and public policy, and Beacon felt like exactly that place. The mission statement and the books they have published line up perfectly with so many of the issues I’m passionate about.
How much of what you learn in school applies to your work at Beacon?
I’m a double major in English and Political Communications, so I find that both my literature classes and my communications classes have taught me a lot of the skills I use at Beacon. Everything from audience analysis to digital user experience and digital publishing trends are all things I talk about in my classes and use at Beacon every day.
What skills have you taken from previous jobs to help you do your work at Beacon?
A lot of the more technical, hands-on things I do at Beacon I learned through past internships and jobs rather than in my classes. Things like using Adobe Creative Cloud to create content for social media, gathering analytics, and the best ways to promote blog content.
What’s your advice for someone interested in entering the publishing field?
The biggest piece of advice I can give for someone wanting to enter the publishing field is to use your resources. Your professors, mentors, and university’s career center all have a wealth of knowledge and contacts that you can tap into in order to break into a new industry. Also keep in mind that publishing is so vast, so look into all of the different departments to find what the best fit is for your goals and skills.
How do you stay focused at work?
In true millennial fashion, I get super distracted by my phone if I’m not careful, so turning it on airplane mode is super helpful. That way I can still use all the essential functions without getting distracted by notifications.
As a political communications major, I love the Crooked Media podcasts. Since the company was started by former members of Obama’s communications staff, it has a specific communications perspective I don’t always find in other news podcasts. They also have a huge variety of podcasts and are constantly releasing new ones focused around specific issues, so there truly is something for everyone.
Best vacation destination?
Before working at Beacon, I actually took a semester off from college to work as a performer on a cruise ship, and it sparked a huge love of travel in me! My favorite port we visited was Aruba, because the port itself has a beautiful, walkable shopping district; and I was able to rent an ATV for the day with some co-workers and go off-roading around the island.
Favorite book ever?
My favorite book of all time is actually The Great Gatsby. I feel like a lot of people think it’s kind of a cop-out answer since it’s required reading in most high schools, but I find the language in it so beautiful and feel like I discover something new every time I re-read it.
Favorite thing about Boston?
I love what a big arts scene Boston has! I love walking through the theater district and seeing what shows are in town or searching on Facebook for film screenings, panels, and new exhibits at museums, or even just running into a street performer on my walk home. It always feels like there’s something new and exciting going on.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently about halfway through The Brief and Wondrous Life or Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.