Wanted: a scientist who loves to write

Thirty years ago, I was a "down-sized" engineer, the victim of contract cutbacks by NASA. I took a job as a very junior editor with Electronic Design magazine which, at that time, was based in Manhattan. Although I initially thought of the job as a temporary position, I enjoyed the work so much that I`ve been in publishing ever since. The idea of publishing as a career hadn`t occurred to me before I landed at Electronic Design. Howard Bierman, then the chief editor of Electronic Design, went to

Jul 1st, 1997

Wanted: a scientist who loves to write

Jeffrey Bairstow

Grou¥Editorial Director

jeffb@pennwell.com

Thirty years ago, I was a "down-sized" engineer, the victim of contract cutbacks by NASA. I took a job as a very junior editor with Electronic Design magazine which, at that time, was based in Manhattan. Although I initially thought of the job as a temporary position, I enjoyed the work so much that I`ve been in publishing ever since. The idea of publishing as a career hadn`t occurred to me before I landed at Electronic Design. Howard Bierman, then the chief editor of Electronic Design, went to great lengths to convince me that an editorial career could be rewarding in all senses of the word. Now, as an editorial director, I find myself in Howie`s position of encouraging scientists (and engineers!) to join the editorial ranks.

All this is by way of saying that Laser Focus World is looking for a special person: a scientist (or engineer) who loves to write and is willing to learn how to edit the work of other scientists and engineers. We have an opening on the staff of Laser Focus World for an associate technical editor to report and write technical news stories for both Laser Focus World and our twice-monthly business newsletter Laser Report and to edit technical features for the magazine. The job is based here at the main offices of PennWell Publishing`s Advanced Technology Division in suburban Nashua, NH, about an hour north of Boston.

We need a curious person

If you are interested, we`re not looking for an expert on lasers or optoelectronics or fiberoptics, but you should know how to define those terms in easily understandable language. I often ask job-seekers to explain what the word "laser" means, but I don`t expect a polished description of the workings of, say, a quantum cascade device. In fact, I`m happier with an honest admission of ignorance coupled with a determination to research a topic to find the answers. A very healthy intellectual curiosity is an absolute requirement for the job, as is a strong desire for technical accuracy in reporting.

As any of our editors will attest, working for Laser Focus World is both stimulating and demanding. There are frequent contacts with leading researchers by telephone, fax and by electronic mail. The editors attend major conferences and trade shows, such as CLEO and Photonics West, and also topical meetings of particular interest to the readers of Laser Focus World. At such events, editors search out the most important tech nol ogy advances and report on them. They also meet with exhibitors to report on the latest new products. We often talk with leading researchers to discuss future articles for Laser Focus World. Technical meetings and trade shows can be stimulating for the mind but tiring for the feet!

The work of an editor can also be very demanding because the deadlines are relentless. There are deadlines every few days: for news for the magazine, for news for Laser Report, for feature articles for the magazine, and so on. This is not a 9-to-5 job; when deadlines loom, editors are expected to meet them and to do whatever it takes to get the work done while meeting the high standards of editorial excellence that characterize Laser Focus World. Executive Editor Heather Messenger is fond of saying, as we struggle to meet our deadlines, "The magazine is a monthly miracle!" It`s a miracle that takes hard work.

We want to hear from you

So what should you do if you`d like to be a part of this "monthly miracle?" Send me an e-mail with a copy of your resume (my e-mail address is at the end of this editorial). If you have one or two examples of your writing (preferably published), you can fax those to me at (603) 891-0574. If I like what I read, you`ll get a phone call so we can discuss the position in more detail and you can tell me why you`d like to be an editor on the staff of Laser Focus World. After that, we may invite you to New Hampshire to meet with several staff members and allow us to get to know you better. Our hiring process isn`t particularly complicated but we take our time to make sure that we have the right person for the position.

If you are that special scientist or engineer who loves to write, I`d love to hear from you.

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