Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we sit down with Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, associate editor of Delaware Today and editor of Delaware Main Line Bride and 302Health. Danielle reveals the exciting hustle of the news business and shares her insider tips for how you can be a boss lady in the industry too.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I grew up in Pittsburgh and I think from a very young age I knew I wanted to be a writer. In middle school, my eighth grade English teacher Mr. Diskin had us keep a daybook, which was essentially a diary that he would read and grade. We had to write a minimum of five entries a week, but I always wrote more, because I just loved writing. It came naturally to me. I graduated from The University of Delaware with a BA in English with a concentration in Business and Technical Writing. I also received my Masters in Professional Writing from Chatham College. My first job was at The News Journal. I became addicted to the fast pace of it—the deadlines and the unpredictable hours. From there, I moved to Westchester, N.Y., where I worked for a small weekly newspaper covering the city of New Rochelle. I got out of the newspaper business for a bit when I got a job as an editor for a science textbook company. But I desperately missed the excitement of the newsroom. I returned to Delaware and became the beat reporter for the Hockessin Community News, another weekly. For almost two years, I have been with Today Media—I am currently Associate Editor of Delaware Today, where I write the monthly StyleSpy column. I am also the editor of Delaware/Main Line Bride and 302Health, both published twice a year.
2. What made you want to work in the publishing world?
Believe it or not, I specifically remember watching the 1989 “Batman” movie starring Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger. Basinger played Vicki Vale, a beautiful newspaper reporter. I remember watching the movie and thinking her job was so exciting. I was so enthralled with how much ‘power’ she seemed to have in such a male-dominated field! (Obviously at the age of eight, I didn’t understand that it was her sexuality that she often used to her advantage.)
3. Describe a typical workday.
There really is no typical workday for me, which can be both fun and a bit stressful. In the magazine world, we are always working many months ahead, so planning and organization are very important skills to have. I am always jotting down potential story ideas, researching trends and keeping up to date on new businesses that are opening. I try and write at least one web exclusive article per week for DelawareToday.com, depending on what I have going on; I also write our weekly Dining Insider blog, which is included in our weekly newsletter; I write all branded content articles for Delaware Today and Delaware Business Times; I write the monthly StyleSpy column for Delaware Today and anything else my editor assigns me; I am also in charge of Delaware/Main Line Bride and 302Heath, our bi-annual publications. Although they only come out twice a year, I am always researching trends, topics and story ideas; writing articles, assigning stories and planning photo shoots, and maintaining relationships with local businesses. That is a skill that I learned early on as a weekly newspaper reporter that I think has carried me through this business. I think it is very important to nurture those relationships, and I a make a huge effort to do so.
4. How has the publishing industry changed since you started your career?
To say the publishing industry has changed is of course a gross understatement. I think the key, however, is to embrace change, and the new opportunities the Internet has created. Delaware Today is able to reach such a larger audience now with the help of social media and our website, but we are also very lucky that print journalism, in particular magazine journalism, is still thriving. People love to say that print is dead—When they say that, they are mixing newspapers, monthly magazines, and weekly magazines as if they are all the same—but they’re not. In the past decade, my role as a journalist has expanded to now include such tasks as: posting to many/all social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; knowing how to write for the web, including how to write SEO-friendly headlines; taking photos and video; and using software such as Photoshop and InDesign.
5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I get to meet so many interesting and amazing people and tell their stories—how many people can say that? For StyleSpy, I often think about my grandma—she had impeccable style. She and I were shopping buddies growing up—I hope I inherited a bit of her fashion sense. I am also a voracious reader, so I am always looking to tell a story that has yet to be told. If the story has been told, I want to find a way to tell it differently or better for our readers.
6. Who is a Boss Lady that you admire and why?
I have met so many amazing women over the years, but a woman who is a constant source of inspiration in my life is my younger sister, Sydney. Eight years my junior, she is currently a senior financial risk governance analyst for Key Bank while also earning her MBA from the Kelley School of Business getting straight A’s I might add!
7. What advice do you have for women in business?
Women—especially in this field, need to have confidence in themselves and their abilities. I think women are still afraid to voice their opinions or ideas, and that needs to stop. I think it’s important to always keep your finger on the pulse at all times—my editor knows I am reliable and can always come to me for story ideas. Simply put, my best advice is to work hard, but to squeeze in a little fun, too.
MORE ON DANIELLE
Danielle would like to thank Michalyn Falco and Gina Davis, from Pagave Salon and Spa, for doing her hair and makeup.