Finding inspiration in journalism

As a junior at Wake Forest, Sarah Crosland (’04) had her sights set on law school. The English and political science double-major made good grades, studied for the LSAT, and completed a summer internship with a law firm.

Sarah Crosland

That’s when she realized becoming an attorney wasn’t for her. So, she took what she called a “right turn” towards journalism, and that’s when she developed a taste for luxury.

Crosland was recently named senior editor at Modern Luxury’s DC magazine in Washington, D.C., following years of climbing the editorial ranks of lifestyle publications in Atlanta and Charlotte. Now a day’s (and often night’s) work includes tasting the best foods, sampling haute couture, admiring fine design and mingling with interesting people from all walks of life.

Sounds awful, doesn’t it?

“Sometimes I can’t believe it. I absolutely love meeting and telling the stories of fascinating people – whether they’re top chefs, high-end designers, or even politicians,” said Crosland. “But my favorites are the people you might not have heard of – people who are both interesting and inspirational.”

Putting Her Taste to the Test

While writing for Charlotte Magazine, Sarah Crosland tried some of the Queen City’s most delicious dishes – from the Frenchie Burger at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar to the foie gras at Zebra. Her first book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Charlotte, will be released this fall – just in time to show those attending the Democratic National Convention what good taste Wake Forest alumni have.

Her favorite recipe is for salted caramel brownies from Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe, a 24-hour coffee shop. “Delicious? Yes. Easy to make? Not quite. But absolutely worth it!”

Crosland gently laughed when asked what a “typical” day is like, as it varies so much. Yet, some things are constant in the life of a magazine editor: writing, brainstorming, reviewing pitches (she gets more than 150 story ideas sent to her each day), assigning stories, and keeping up with trends.

Because consumer lifestyle publications are among the most challenging to break into for writers – particularly recent graduates – Crosland encourages aspiring journalists at Wake Forest to help themselves by writing as much as possible. Writing for the Old Gold & Black and Her Campus are good options, of course, but she says starting a focused blog on a topic of personal interest also shows initiative, interest and discipline.

“As in many other areas of life, students who are self-starters in writing will demonstrate greater potential,” she said. “If you change your mind about what you want to do during your junior year, it’s OK. But whatever you decide, practice and get as much experience as possible to give yourself an edge in the professional world.”

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