By the time lunchtime rolls around on a typical working day, Jude Barback has usually interviewed someone, posted a news story or two online, worked on a feature article draft, edited an article from a contributing writer and smashed through about 50 emails, many of them press releases.

Jude is a magazine editor; she edits Education Review and INsite (aged care and retirement) magazines, published by NZME. Educational Media. She loves the variety that comes from the two very different titles.

“I cover cradle to grave,” she jokes, before adding, “Each sector is different and each has its own challenges and issues, which means there is never a dull moment.”

Jude’s foray into the publishing industry started after she left university. Graduating from the University of Auckland with a BA/BCom, the Matamata girl went to the UK and found work in Oxford at Blackwell Publishing (now Wiley-Blackwell) in the medical journals department. Blackwell helped to contribute towards her master’s degree in publishing, which she completed part-time while working.

Fast forward a few years, and Jude returned to New Zealand with her British husband and two small children in tow. She was nervous about finding work and trawled SEEK constantly.

“The editor position jumped out at me,” said Jude. “I didn’t have any journalism experience, but I knew I could write.”

Her publishing background got her an interview and then Jude was put through her paces with several writing assignments. Her writing got the nod of approval and Jude got the job.

Although NZME. Educational Media is based in Wellington, the 34-year-old works from home in the Bay of Plenty.

“People often ask me how I manage to stay focused working from home, but I actually find myself way more distracted in an office environment,” says Jude. “The deadlines demand focus. The problem I have is actually switching off from work.”

Five years on, she now has a journalism diploma, completed via ‘on-the-job’ training with the journalism industry training organisation, Competenz.

The nature of trade magazine publishing has changed over the years. Jude finds herself spending more time on updating the publications’ websites and social media sites.

“The ever-increasing workload is a challenge,” says Jude. “It is hard to juggle the print and digital demands of two different publications while keeping the standard of writing high.”

But Jude is grateful for the opportunity to do what she loves for a living – write.


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