Her dreams became her realities
Photo by Taylor Soule, photo editor
Erika Owen is busy.
Besides being a double major in magazine journalism and international relations with a minor in entrepreneurship, she also has three jobs and runs a music blog. The Wisconsin native is a junior at Drake University.
Owen is also editor-in-chief of Drake Magazine, a publication assembled once a semester by the university’s magazines majors. As EIC, Owen makes all the important calls — from assigning stories to deciding the final layout.
“I’m that magazine’s mother pretty much,” Owen said. “I have control over everything that goes into it: design and stories.”
Katherine Dewitt, a magazine and marketing double major from Wichita, Kans., is the managing editor for DrakeMag and works closely with Owen.
“I’m basically Erika’s sidekick and we’ve been doing DrakeMag since freshman year together,” Dewitt said.
Dewitt says Owen is a great editor to work with.
“The past two EIC’s (editors-in-chief) I’ve worked with have been somewhat worriers, which gets people nowhere really,” Dewitt said. “Erika knows things will fall into place — and they do. But Erika has made the editing process much more fun and relaxed, which I’m sure everyone on staff enjoys.”
Owen’s work has not gone unnoticed.
“I’m a finalist for the American Society of Magazine Editors internships, and National Geographic grabs their interns from there,” Owen said. “Usually all the juniors who are magazine majors apply for that. Two of them go on to be finalists and one person gets it from Drake.”
Owen also works for Des Moines’ well-known magazine publisher, Meredith Corp., as a copy flow-coordinator. In this position she receives stories edited by in-house editors and sends them to editors that work at home.
Owen’s love for magazines goes back to her childhood.
“I grew up with National Geographic and Rolling Stone so I’ve always wanted to work for those,” Owen said. “My dad has had a subscription to National Geographic since before I was born.”
She also is in charge of marketing for Locusic, a Des Moines start-up for local bands, which Owen describes as Pandora for local bands. Eventually it is going to be nationwide, but is planning to start in Minneapolis, Minn., then Austin, Texas, followed by New York City.
Owen’s love of music can also be seen in a Des Moines music blog she just created. The blog, dsmbandbombshell.wordpress.com, covers local shows and gives access to interviews with local bands. Owen also said it will be a networking site.
“It’s also going to be focused on freelance musicians; musicians that are in tons of different bands,” Owen said. “So, if a band has a show and they realize they don’t have a bassist, they can look on my blog and then look up all the contact info and find someone to play for their show.”
Her third job is with Eggcrates.
“I’m a marketing intern for this other start-up called Eggcrates,” Owen said. “It’s eco-friendly furniture; just wooden crates pretty much that you can make into shelving units.”
Owen listed some of her biggest accomplishments as getting the editor-in-chief position at Drake Magazine, getting an article published in “Do It Yourself Magazine,” and being selected as a finalist for the American Society of Magazine Editors internships.
Owen has recently added a another accomplishment to her resume: an internship with GQ.
“I spoke with a Drake alum, Max Plenke, and he gave me some advice as to how to get in touch with the editors,” Owen said. “I cold emailed one of the editors, and that led to me emailing another and then finally getting in touch with their editorial assistant who set up an in-person interview for while I was on the NYC trip.”
That interview was just the first for her. “It went really well and they scheduled a phone interview with the deputy editor. He’s pretty much a journalism god, so I was freaking out, but it went well. They emailed me half an hour after the interview to let me know I got it,” Owen said.
Owen still has to figure out where she is going to live, but she’s not too concerned about that for now.
“I’m so excited. I’m not event worried about the little details, they’ll fall into place. I’ll find somewhere to live (eventually) and I’ll get used to living without a paycheck (maybe),” Owen said. “My first trip to NYC was earlier in the month, and I absolutely loved it. So, no, I’m not nervous. Just excited.”
That being said, Owen says she could go down a number of paths after college.
“I would love to travel and write… it’s weird because this summer, usually for magazine journalism students, wherever you get an internship there’s a good chance that you’ll get a job there when you graduate, so it’s kind of an important summer,” Owen said.
“But I’ve always wanted to join the Peace Corps. So, I’d be totally OK just traveling wherever and writing. I would love to go back to Africa and just write stories about that.”