Lawyer takes unexpected turn as editor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Kristin Sangid, editor of The Key magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma, possesses a passion for the challenges and diversity in editing.
In an email interview, she shared her unplanned journey to becoming an editor.
Sangid’s editing career resulted from a hiatus she had been taking from practicing law. She filled in for a friend’s maternity leave doing basic copy editing.
That experience is what drove her to take on editing as a career.
“I found that I really enjoyed the work because each day is always different,” Sangid said.
Her bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia Southern University provided her with the major skills needed in editing. Sangid also was involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma, which brought her to her current position.
Within the field of law, she enjoyed the writing and research aspect most. She said these proved to be very compatible with the skills of an editor.
“Lawyers question everything and that training had served me well in both careers,” Sangid said.
A typical day for Sangid depends on the particular cycle of the magazine. However, she completes writing tasks first thing in the morning when she is most alert.
“Much of my day is spent following up on others’ work and checking the status of items that are due,” Sangid said. “A good bit of time is spent planning and mapping issues.”
Sangid’s biggest challenge as an editor involves covering a variety of topics in a diverse way.
“I always strive to find new voices and perspectives,” she said. “It’s a challenge to match stories to the best writers.”
Her favorite part of being an editor is meeting new people and always learning something new.
“Just when I think there are no new topics to cover, our readers submit leads that energize and encourage me,” Sangid said.
When asked if she would change anything about her career choices, she said she wished that she had a degree in journalism. She also aspires to do more seminars with outstanding writers.
Sangid said the most important advice she can give is to always stay observant.
“Listen to where a story wants to take you rather than a predetermined destination,” she said.
She said this applies to both life and telling stories. Aspiring journalists must remember to listen attentively. Stories are developed by observing and understanding your subject.
“Sometimes it can be easy as a young person to check off a list of questions,” Sangid said.
Sangid said to listen to and read great interviews by individuals such as Diane Rhem (of NPR) and read inspiring interviews on the Paris Review.
Sangid’s final advice came from her experiences in both careers.
“You can’t listen too closely and allow pauses,” Sangid said, ” because sometimes the best quotes will come after a pause.”