From Medium to Vogue: A Teary Goodbye

By Isiah Magsino

It was the fall semester of my junior year when I found myself sitting across from Professor Beth Knobel PhD in her expansive office tucked in Faculty Memorial Hall. At the time, Dr. Knobel held the esteemed title of Chair of the Communications Department and I, having no idea what I was doing, was intimidated.

Dr. Knobel is no stranger on this campus. She knows everybody —better yet, everybody knows her. In a frantic e-mail regarding my missing official class credit (nothing to worry about, I’m graduating on time) with one of the athletic advisors, I informed him that I was taking on an independent study with the queen. His response was: “you couldn’t be in better hands.”

What’s the point of this introduction? The point is that it was that day, when naive me somehow stumbled into her office by chance, that ultimately launched my career that I am now so passionate about.

I’m stubborn, not easily swayed and very, very opinionated (refer to my past columns). Going into university back in 2015, I remember telling people that studying and pursuing journalism would never be on my radar. But somehow with her magic and way with words, Dr. Knobel pushed me into doing just that — something that I will be forever thankful for.

My life in journalism began on Medium, a platform designed specifically for people to write anything from op-eds to reported pieces and editorials. For my very first journalism class, I covered CLOT’s fashion show during NYFW. After I went to the event and wrote my piece on it, I confidently posted it on Medium only to receive feedback from my professor saying, “too much opinion.” Turned out, objective reporting was nowhere to be found in my initial stages of writing. Who knew people read things that do not have a stance on something?

Fast forward to two years after the series of tragic posts on Medium, I now have my own contributor page on Now, to make sure my final column for The Fordham Ram doesn’t consist of me boasting about myself, I’m going to continue on by arguing why journalism was the best thing to happen to me.

“There’s no money in it,” I used to say and still continue to hear all the time from older people in the industry. If that’s the case, then so be it — at least for while I’m young. Of course I’d like to make a lot of money; I love Valentino! But the events, people I’ve met and memories I’ve made in the industry thus far eclipse the shortened stipend.

Last Sunday, Vogue sent me to cover the debut of “Dreamland,” starring Margot Robbie, at the TriBeca Film festival. I was sitting in my town car on the way to the red carpet wearing a silk Marni shirt when it hit me: what other industry would allow me to experience something so glamorous as a college student? What other industry would allow me to do the things I’m doing now and live out the fantasy I have always dreamed of?

Because of journalism, I met one of my favorite designers, Prabal Gurung. Known for his efforts to close the gap between the East and the West, I learned that Gurung is as kind as he is talented.

Shortly after, I went to the Studio Museum in Harlem’s annual luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental where both Alicia Keys and Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief made an appearance.

I’ve been to five fashion months, rubbing arms with some of the industry’s biggest names. The list goes on.
Although I am now realizing that I did just actually boast about myself, I hope the experiences that I have shared ultimately motivate aspiring journalists to pursue what they’re most passionate about.

I will not lie and say it’s all glitz and glamour: it’s not. Fashion journalism is especially hard with the hits that many magazines are taking and, yes, a lot of your work will be for free (it shouldn’t be, but I’ve had four fashion internships that were all unpaid). It took me nearly a year of interning at Vogue to finally start reporting for them, but again, the experiences I’ve gained as a young adult are truly unmatched.

Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future or maybe I won’t, but until then, I’ll enjoy the glamorous events, endless champagne and sparkly clothes.

Overall, this rollercoaster ride of journalism is unique in itself, and I’m thankful I’ve never pursued something that requires me to sit at a cubicle all day. Journalism allows you to get out there, feel and experience.

You get to understand the world around you and help people get their voices heard. Cliché, but there aren’t many things more rewarding than that.

I remember coming across a piece published by National Geographic that documented the lives of marine animals living in plastic. Sifting through the piece filled with dolphins trapped in nets and fish weaving in an out of plastic bottles, I felt an intense feeling of guilt and revelation. It is moments like these when you realize how important journalism is; you have the ability to call attention to an ongoing issue.
Shifting from my preaching, I’ve decided to share some advice that I’ve received from various mentors:

1) Be bold: interview the people you want to speak with and never be afraid of their status.
2) Speak with your friends. Oftentimes, normal conversations bring up controversial topics and news.
3) To learn journalism, you have to do journalism.

To end my final column at The Fordham Ram, I want to ensure that the staff understands that they have played a major role in why I am so passionate about journalism. To have a prestigious organization publish my fashion rants about Vineyard Vines and other fashion faux-pas around campus goes to show how amazing they truly are.

In closing my fashion column, always remember: first impressions consist of the first thing that comes out of your mouth and what you wear. So stay chic and remember to always put effort in how you decide to present yourself for the day.

Until next time,
Isiah S. Magsino.