A moment with author and editor Michael Hainey


Michael Hainey, the deputy editor of Gentlemen's Quarterly and author of "After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story," read an excerpt of his novel as part of the Kelly Writers Series. The reading took place Wednesday afternoon in the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media's Watson Forum. The DePauw Features sat down with him after the reading to ask him a few questions.

The DePauw Features (TDP): What made you want to pursue a career in journalism?
Michael Hainey: I've always loved writing, ever since I was a kid. I don't know if I really wanted to get into journalism, but I was afraid to be a real writer. So I went into journalism because there is always material to be done. It took me a long time to become a real writer.

TDP: What do you do as the editor of GQ?
MH: I'm the deputy editor, which means that there's the editor in chief, Jim Nelson, and then I'm below him. I do everything from helping to assign and create a monthly magazine, working with writers and photographers, working with other editors on stories and conceiving ideas and assigning them. I also oversee the website, and I also oversee a lot of there things that we do like a book or a special issue. Magazines these days, are sort of like everything in publishing, you have all these different pieces of it that you have to do now. You don't just run the magazine, so I tend to manage all that.

TDP: What is your biggest challenge as a journalist?
MH: I think the biggest challenge is something that happens for all of us. It is to keep evolving because in the last 10 years, it's about the technology and adapting to that, whether it's looking at a magazine on a smart phone and what is our website going to look like and making sure that we keep evolving so that someone who is 22-years-old, if they want to read a magazine on a smart phone, we're there.

TDP: What advice would you give to aspiring journalists or writers?
MH: I would say work hard. It's as simple as that. You have to work really hard, and I also think that if you want a good career in journalism, you need have to have ideas. A lot of people forget that. That's something that every month I have to put out a magazine. Every story in there starts with an idea. Every day on the website there's got to be ideas. You're never going to succeed if just you sit at the desk and are like, 'Hey where's my assignment?' You need to, even when you're deputy editor. I've got to a couple ideas to pitch people. It's about learning to think creatively.