An Insightful Career Q&A With Seasoned Digital Editor at MM+M, Jack O’Brien+ an Internship Opportunity!

Jack O’Brien is a SUNY New Paltz Journalism alumnus who conveys his talent for the written word by digitally editing publications for a pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing firm in New York City named MM+M.

Jack O'Brien. Digital editor for MM+M.

In addition, O’Brien has been published in the Washington Examiner, the Altamont Enterprise, the Albany County Post, New Hampshire Journal, the Williston Times, Red Alert Politics, the Legislative Gazette, the New Paltz Oracle and the Little Rebellion.

O’Brien joined Nancy Heiz of the Digital Media and Journalism and Communication departments to answer undergraduate students’ questions on topics in the journalism, communication and digital media field.

O’Brien answered a few questions initiated by students.

Question: What would you say is the best way to prepare for post-grad employment? 

O’Brien: Updating your resume…I always keep my resume updated because I never know when that opportunity is out there, and you want to be able to say here are my clips and here’s what I’ve done… (if not on the Oracle) I would be trying to get freelance work. They’re (employers) like oh, you had this GPA and took these classes, and they want to see what you’ve wrote and where it got published and what it looked like when it got published, too.

Question: Are there other things that would have helped you had you known them upon leaving New Paltz?

O’Brien: …Always being prepared for things that you’re not, you know-that you don’t know about, or maybe aren’t fully comfortable with and being able to somehow work that into how you do things… If you’re in the trade publications, you’re going to deal with sales and commercial and all that…you just have to be prepared for the ups and downs.

Question: What is a digital editor and what does one do?

O’Brien: As a digital editor I write every day. I write and report. My focus is primarily on Health & Media but we cover the pharma & biotech industries. Any sort of news there, I’m writing, reporting and talking with sources and conducting interviews. In my role as an editor, I edit two of our other reporters. (I am) Primarily focused on the clinical trials phase and medical results and want to focus on health policy and social media trends.

Question: So MM+M publishes periodically but you have daily deadlines. Can you explain how you balance those?

O’Brien: When we have the digital publication we’re not waiting to go to print on a certain date. We have to publish within 30 to 40 minutes. Being able to turn around that stuff very quickly. Having clean copy. Knowing the right people to talk too. Knowing where to source information. It’s a whole different animal.

Question: How did you learn about healthcare?

O’Brien: “Be very humble and have humility when you go into (any career field) because there’s a sense when people are talking things you don’t understand to say they are smarter than me or it’s intimidating but that’s how you learn. I wouldn’t know the things I know about health care and where I’ve specialized in my reporting without having a lot of other smarter people explain it to me.

In addition to offering insight accumulated over six years in the editing/publishing field, O’Brien ended the Q&A with a special opportunity for diligent students.

O’Brien: “We also just opened up today our internship opportunity at Haymarket Media with MM+M and our two sister publications, PR Week and Campaign US. They are paid internships in Manhattan They go from June 9th to August 10th. If you end up applying, please drop me a note because I’m a homer till I die so I will always advocate for any Hawks to apply.