CJR Audio: Joanna Coles on the Reporter’s Life

You may not picture Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, scribbling on her legs in a bathroom her notes from a no-notepad-no-tape recorder-allowed interview with OJ Simpson, but before Coles took over this women’s magazine, she worked as a reporter for twenty years with the Times of London, the Guardian and the London Daily Telegraph. Coles spoke about her experiences in journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism on February 19.

“The key to being a good foreign correspondent is never ever do anything except let your boss, the news desk back in wherever they are based, have anything other than your cell phone,” Coles says, “because that way they never know where you are, and you can always pretend where they need you to be.”

Her stint in the glamorous world of fashion magazines comes after living the mundane life of a newspaper reporter, and recalled a lesson from her previous career: “You have to want to be up at five in the morning, standing outside the courtroom, and not always is that a great thing. Sometimes its cold or its wet or its rainy, but if you want to be good it, you have to be able to do the thing that someone else is not going to do.”

The complete lecture is available here.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.