Social media helps link cowgirls to their dream magazine
By Emily Taylor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dirt Road Daughters Magazine was created because of Twitter.
On the social networking site, Thea Driesbach met a group of like-minded woman, who shared a passion for a Western lifestyle, and the idea of a publication was hatched. Its website describes the publication this way: “It’s a new fashion and lifestyle publication for today’s daring generation of country girls currently enabling a sisterhood of cowgirl spirit & dirt road souls.”
Driesbach, who lives in New Mexico, manages to balance her full-time job as a CEO of a non-profit organization, ranching and editing the magazine. It’s published online and has a quarterly print edition. Her passion for Western life has led to a successful magazine and new friendships across the country as well.
In an email interview, she answered questions about her life, career and hobbies.
Q. Where did you attend college and what was your major?
A. I attended the University of Idaho and have two bachelor’s of science (degrees), the first in 2001 in business with a major in accounting and the second in 2003 in communications with a major in journalism and mass communications.
Q. How did you become interested in journalism?
A. I have always loved magazines and have a bachelor’s degree in journalism so it seemed like a great idea to start a magazine as a side project with some like-minded women.
Q. What other jobs have you had?
A. I am currently the CEO of a nonprofit organization; prior to that I worked with the New Mexico State Fair.
Q. Who thought of the idea of creating this magazine and why?
A. A few cowgirls, I had only met on Twitter, and myself came up with the idea for DRDM. We wanted to create a publication that would foster a sisterhood of women like us – women living a rural/Western/agricultural life in a modern world.
Q. Could you give me a brief overview of your typical day in your job?
A. I work on DRDM on the evenings and weekends when I’m not at my “real” full-time job.
Q. How do you balance your other job along with this job?
A. It’s rough. I try to set aside dedicated time for DRDM work on weekday evenings and on the weekend. I try and make it a specific time so that it doesn’t eat too much into my personal life. I also don’t do DRDM work while at my full-time job. I may update Facebook or answer an email, but while I’m at my full-time job, my full focus needs to be there.
Q. What role does editing play in your job?
A. The editor team works together to read and edit the submissions our contributors provide. We find the best strategy is for several people to read each submission to catch any typos and ensure the voice of the piece fits well with the publication as a whole.
Q. What is the most difficult part of editing for you?
A. Editing an article in a way that makes it clear and concise, but doesn’t alter the voice of the writer in any way is the most difficult part of editing in my experience.
Q. What is the worst part of your job?
A. It is high stress meeting the deadlines.
Q. What is one of your perks of having your job?
A. I love having the opportunity to work (with) talented women from across the country that I otherwise probably wouldn’t get to know.
Q. What is something that makes you look forward to this job?
A. I love getting the feedback from our readers when we complete a new issue and they love it as much as we do.
Q. Do you have a life outside of the office?
A. I do! I spend a lot of time working on the ranch, riding my horses and enjoying my time outside of the office.
Q. What advice do you have for students who want to have a similar job?
A. For those interested in really working in the industry I would recommend not taking the road I have! There has been a steep learning curve in starting a publication with no industry background. It’s been a learning experience and a ton of fun, but we are all working on this as a side project and it’s not our full-time career.
Q. What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you because of your job?
A. I had the opportunity to attend the Dallas Market this spring along with another member of the editorial team. It was special to get a sneak peek at all the newest Western fashion before it ever hit the stores.
Q. What is the most enjoyable part of editing for you?
A. The most enjoyable part of editing would have to be having the opportunity to feel like I am meeting new friends through their articles and columns.
Q. How do you feel about the current trend of going away from print production and more Web-based when it comes to publications?
A.I love it! I feel like print publications will always be viable because reading a magazine is an experience. I love the feel of glossy pages and being able to pull out articles and photos and put them up to inspire me. At the same time, having the opportunity to deepen the relationship we have with our readers makes online engagement essential. We can share more, get feedback and truly focus on our mission to foster a sisterhood of cowgirl spirit and dirt road souls.
Q. Who is your idol and why?
A. I had an amazing mentor while working at the New Mexico State Fair. She had handled the marketing and sponsorship for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for many, many years. She was so confident and sure of herself, and with good reason. She was a wealth of knowledge and I learned a lot from her!
A quick note about Dirt Road Daughters Magazine: DRDM is a magazine that is a side project developed and coordinated by a group of women with a common interest in the western/rural lifestyle and building a community around that sisterhood. None of the writers or editorial team are paid for their work. All revenue generated from advertising or subscription goes into printing and promotion of the publication.