A Tale of Two Job Openings
a.k.a. Both Resident Advisor and The Wire are hiring new editors, and the job listings say a lot about the current state of electronic music journalism.
Two of the most important publications in electronic music are hiring new editors.
As reported in last week’s newsletter, Resident Advisor’s current Editor in Chief, Whitney Wei, is slated to depart at the end of the year, so the company is now on the hunt for someone new to head up its editorial team. It’s a plum job opening, especially considering RA’s perceived stature within the electronic music realm, though serious journalism buffs might be more interested in what’s happening over at The Wire, which earlier this month announced that it was looking for a new Commissioning Editor to join the vaunted magazine’s staff.
Both jobs will be filled, probably rather easily. Given the generally dire state of affairs when it comes to contemporary music journalism, landing an on-staff editorial position is one of the only ways for even the most experienced writers to earn a steady living, and after more than a decade of shrinking budgets and near-constant cutbacks, those jobs tend to be in extremely short supply. (Positions at “prestige” outlets like The Wire and Resident Advisor are even harder to come by.) That alone will likely get the applications flowing, but there are other perks too; both of these positions are full-time, both come with decent benefits and both are based in desirable cities with vibrant music scenes. (Resident Advisor is apparently accepting candidates in both London and New York.) And don’t forget the clout aspect; music journalists may not win many popularity contests, especially these days, but saying “I’m an editor at The Wire” or “I’m the head of editorial at Resident Advisor” still sounds impressive, at least in certain circles.
So yeah, someone is going to get hired at both of these publications, and in all likelihood, they’ll probably be pretty stoked about it. But once hired, will they actually enjoy the work, or find themselves in a situation where they can realistically succeed? After looking at announced parameters of each position, I’d say that’s far from certain, and considering how these jobs have been—and will continue to be—shaped by the trying dynamics of today’s music media landscape, whoever lands these gigs will be facing a dauntingly uphill battle.