Job Shadow: Magazine editor balances work, performance, life

By Alyssa Anderson

Eric Christenson leads a hectic life, to say the least.

With his many duties as managing editor at Eau Claire’s Volume One Magazine, performing comedy or music by night, and taking care of a rambunctious cat named Mikey, this Eau Claire resident is one busy guy.

Eric Christenson, Managing Editor at Volume One Magazine, explains the basics of page design Photo Alyssa Anderson

Eric Christenson, Managing Editor at Volume One Magazine, explains the basics of page design.
Photo Alyssa Anderson

Christenson, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2013 with a journalism major and creative writing minor, first set foot in the journalism world while writing for the campus newspaper, “The Spectator”.

“I started out as a copy editor,” Christenson said, “But eventually I moved up and became editor-in-chief for a semester.”

Christenson was always drawn to the more artsy stuff, he said, which led to his contributions to Volume One while he was still a student.

“A lot of Volume One writing is done by student contributors,” Christenson said.

Volume One is Eau Claire’s very own “arts” magazine, which showcases various sections including local literature, community event calendars and columns on local topics.

The contributions eventually led to an internship during the summer of 2011. After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Christenson interned as a feature reporter for the Green Bay Press Gazette, where he was eventually hired fulltime, but was laid-off three months later.

After a short stint doing page design for a Minnesota paper, Christenson moved back to Eau Claire.

“I knew a publisher, Nick Meyers, from my internship at Volume One,” he said.

Christenson has now been working for Volume One for a year and a half.

Volume One, puts out a magazine every two weeks. The first week consists of assigning stories, planning and getting content, while the second week is dedicated to design.

“My schedule varies from day to day,” Christenson said. “All kinds of little things pop up and I just have to be prepared for anything.”

Christenson strikes a pose with Volume One's Advertising Manager Brian Maki strike a pose on the red carpet of the Contribys, an annual, goofy awards show for the magazine's contributors.

Christenson (right) strikes a pose with Volume One’s Advertising Manager Brian Maki on the red carpet of the Contribys, an annual, goofy awards show for the magazine’s contributors.

According to Christenson, Volume One has a small staff so employees have to adapt, or there will be total chaos.

“Everyone is part of the team,” He said, “We all have to contribute to a lot of different things.”

When prompted to give advice to young journalists Christenson said that it is important to be flexible.

“Every single day is a completely different day,” He said. “You have to teach yourself to be comfortable in weird situations.”

Christenson may be a journalist by day, but by night, he is a stand-up comedian and musician.

“I do stand-up every week with a group called Clearwater Comedy, which is a growing scene in Eau Claire.” He said. “I also play music under the name Two Castles.”

With a schedule like Christenson’s, flexibility is a must. “Things won’t always go your way,” he said, “You have to wiggle around the parts that stink in order to get to the parts that are nice and rewarding.”

 

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