Doug Priest has a PhD in Soviet History from Michigan State University. “By the time that I finished I had concluded that academic life wasn’t necessarily the direction I was going to go in anymore,” he says. Currently, he is the Digital Managing Editor at Townsquare Media. He manages online and digital content for five different entertainment brands.
On a day to day basis, Doug manages multiple content contributors and helps clients create content for publication for Townsquare Media. His job mainly focuses on writing, editing, and collaborating with many different groups – but there are different tasks every week. Sometimes, he says, he even gets to be onsite at concerts to help produce video for online content! His ability to learn quickly, manage projects, and employ editorial expertise are just a few of the PhD skills that Doug uses in his day to day work. As a historian, he already had a lot of experience writing and developing content. The main difference? “The turn-around is very quick,” he says. Rather than focusing on a long-term, narrow project, Doug manages several different products with short timelines. The quick turn-around initially required him to hit the ground running when he started at Townsquare Media. But his favourite part of his job is the opportunity to learn more about working with different kinds of media. This position allows him to keep learning new things, an aspect of his current work which really energizes him.
What advice does Doug have for current PhDs looking to make the transition? “Trying to build a portfolio is really important,” he explains. “Show things that you’ve edited, that you’ve written, that you’ve created, so that you can prove to an employer what types of projects you have delivered.”
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