#CJW – Writing/Editing

Tag: #CJW – Writing/Editing


Do you ever watch a show and say “this is great, and I can pinpoint exactly why I love it”? Do you ever play a video game and say “this is awful,” and rant to your friends about the things you dislike? Well, consider putting that on paper! If you feel you have strong opinions on media, and you can write well, becoming a media reviewer of some kind might just be the job for you. There are two main types of media reviewing: TV/Movies and video games.

For video game reviewing, there are many sites that are almost always hiring, like Polygon, GameSpot, and IGN. Most accept freelance gigs and you can get your work put up on their website, and maybe a job opportunity can come through that. Otherwise, you can be hired as an editor. Freelance work, of course, is remote, but if you get to work as an editor, you likely will have to relocate. Polygon is based in New York, and IGN is based in Los Angeles. IGN is constantly hiring and have job postings up near perpetually (in both Los Angeles and New York offices). Since Polygon is owned by Vox, there are job openings on LazyApply and others (looking them up on Google doesn’t hurt… just look up “Polygon careers Vox” and they’ll pop up). And finally, GameSpot has jobs up currently on WellFound, and you can be remote or work in San Francisco.

To review movies, there are typically not many websites dedicated to just movie reviews. The New York Times, Variety, and the aforementioned Polygon and IGN all have OpEd writers dedicated to talking about film and TV shows. However, two big, modern sites dedicated exclusively to TV and movies are Screen Rant and DiscussingFilm. It appears that positions with DiscussingFilm are entirely remote, and to apply for a job there, you have to DM them on Twitter to ask if there is anything open… and Screen Rant, while based in Canada, has offices in Canada, the United States, and even the United Kingdom, and has their job postings up on their main site.

If you’re interested in the next level, and you have some experience in video production (that’s putting it very professionally, but maybe you just like making videos), you may have a place in creating videos for their YouTube pages as a producer. Job listings are the same as mentioned before, and if you like reviewing media and creating content, and you could start a YouTube channel where you do just that!

To be a reviewer requires writing experience and working for The Lawrentian would be a great place to get that experience. You don’t need to have a specific major to get involved. Just as long as you have interest and motivation in the subject, and your work is good, you have a good shot at getting involved!

Screen Rant Careers!
Sample GameSpot Job!
Polygon Jobs!
IGN Careers!

Spencer R. Brown is a senior in their second year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as the Career Peer Educator for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities in the Career Center. A writer and animator by trade, they are fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!


Are you a writer of some kind and think “man, I wish I had a place to publish my work, but I don’t think this fits The Lawrentian”? Maybe, a little bit down the line, you might like to be paid for your work? Then consider using Substack, a typically-subscription-based platform to upload your greatest of musings! It’s especially great for those that want to put their work out there and link to specific writings for future employment.

Instead of just giving you a rundown of what makes Substack so great, I’m going to create an account and post three separate articles about things I’m interested in, just to tell you about the process of creating an account and posting to it.

Very quickly, I want to mention payment. It’s entirely optional (most influential figures will not make you subscribe with payment), but if you create a base for your writings, you could open the opportunity to payment. I tried creating subscriptions for 10 cents a month and a dollar a year, but, apparently, they hate fun and want me to charge $5 minimum for a subscription a month and $50 minimum a year. They have to make a profit somehow, since they take 10% as a commissioning fee. So, I won’t be asking people to pay for my writings… I’m just going to write for the fun of it! Whoopee!

Posting a note and posting a post are very different things. Notes are made on the home page, while posts can be created on your Substack account. Click on “Dashboard” at the top right-hand corner, and then tap “new post” if you want to make a post: the big kahunas of your writing. Click on the down arrow next to the “new post” button, and select note for smaller things. Maybe an update, or maybe something that’s not really related to what you typically do on your account.

Something much appreciated is some emails detailing the performance of a few of my articles. I got one subscriber (hooray!!) and hopefully after this goes up I get, like, one more… but I’m not doing too bad on post reads, I’ve got three now! Woohoo!! But Substack gives you information on your post 25 hours after its initial posting, and gives you stats on how many people have subscribed and how many people have read your articles for the month a few days after the end of the month.

One thing I really appreciate is that since I’m my own boss on my Substack page, I get to write about whatever I want and post whenever. Of course, it’s nice to set a schedule for yourself and maybe a theme, but I’ve decided to write about three things that pique my interest: animation, esoteric political figures, and entertaining masterfully-deranged hypotheticals. Writings of any length are welcome!

It’s incredibly easy to edit a post after it is uploaded… just click on the post and go to the ellipses next to “Share”, and the first option is “edit”. You can also easily “cross-post”, which sends it as a post as well… and you can do that right under that same ellipses.

If you want a place to publicize your writings without any limits, Substack is the place for you. You can set up payment methods if you want to, but if you don’t, it’s a great place to publish your work. Below, I’ve attached three works I’ve made just for this paper if you want to take a look through. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s easy as pie!




Spencer R. Brown is a senior in their second year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as the Career Peer Educator for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities in the Career Center. A writer and animator by trade, they are fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!

The Denver Publishing Institute

By Lauren A. James-Spielman

Entering the publishing world is no easy feat, especially without experience. To stand out, additional education beyond Lawrence may be necessary.  Rather than attend a two-year graduate program, a much shorter training program exists to help you learn the relevant skills, create influential connections, and understand the ins and outs of the industry. The Denver Publishing Institute (DPI) is an option to turn your passion for books into a profession. 

Every summer, the Denver Publishing Institute enrolls 95 students in their four-week graduate-level publishing program that has launched the careers of over 4,000 participants across the country since 1976. Graduates can be found at work in every aspect of the publishing business–trade and textbooks, children’s and scholarly books. They have gone on to become designers and production specialists, sales reps and literary agents, editors, marketers, and publishers.

According to their handbook, “the program includes multiple workshops focusing on important processes within the publishing field. In the Editing Workshop, you will work on actual manuscripts to engage with the various stages of editing and will have the opportunity to practice editorial skills such as the preparation of a reader’s report, developmental manuscript editing, copyediting, and proofreading. In the Marketing Workshop, you will gain practical experience writing a publicity release for an actual manuscript, learn to identify target audiences and develop a complete marketing plan.”

In addition to hands-on workshops, prominent publishing executives from every area of the business will share their expertise on a broad range of publishing issues. You will also have many opportunities to gain general career knowledge, including tips on résumés, cover letters, interviews, and making job connections.

To learn more about the DPI, including costs and application requirements, visit their website here. Priority application deadlines are at the end of March, although applications are still accepted through early May.

What is Grant Writing?

By Lauren A. James-Spielman

Have you ever wondered how nonprofits and charities get the funds they need to complete their projects? Grants are given to these organizations by donors to support their missions of activism and social change. Grant Writers, therefore, play a vital role in the nonprofit and local community realm, using clear and specific language to persuade the reader of a grant application to provide the funds needed for potentially life-changing projects to come to fruition. Because of the wide range of programs, those who decide to pursue the path of grant writing can work in fields that are meaningful to them, including immigration, housing, food inequity, social justice, and more.

Grant writing is no easy task, but it does typically follow the same format. Those providing the grant (Grantmakers) will have specific rules that may differ from one another, but they will always want to see the following:

  • A short summary of your proposal that lays out the problem you are solving
  • The plan for the work you intend to carry out
  • A broad outline of the budget, distinguishing direct and indirect costs
  • The qualifications and experience of those carrying out this project

Despite the job title, there’s more to grant writing than just writing. In order to begin the process of developing a grant, extensive research is necessary to make your proposal as comprehensive as possible. This includes researching the impact of your project, the projects of adjacent organizations, related grants that have been accepted in recent years, and that only scratches the surface. It doesn’t just end with the grant itself, either. Tracking the progress and success of a grant makes it possible for other grants to be made for both your own organization and for others in the field who hope to also receive funding.

If you’re interested in becoming a grant writer, you’re already off to a great start if you’re enrolled here at Lawrence! Most positions require a bachelor’ degree, and majoring in a relevant field like English, creative writing, or any major that helps develop your writing skills can lay a strong foundation. However, the best way to begin grant writing is to get experience. Many organizations are looking for volunteers to help with their grant writing, so researching your local nonprofits can help you begin your journey and develop valuable connections.

Works Cited:




Content Creators

By Lauren James-Spielman

Depending on who you ask, content creation can equate to entirely different things, from a seasoned journalist to a bombastic YouTuber. Many of us wish we could make a living through live streaming and uploading videos, and while most won’t, it is completely possible to apply those same skills to a more traditional job. As long as you are producing and sharing information or media content for specific audiences, you are a content creator!

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the various content creation opportunities in the workplace:

Social Media Managers: Keeping up to date on the latest trends and applying them to a company’s social media pages is an essential part of branding and exposure. Social Media Managers create content that is creative with fun and innovative posts that encourage audiences to engage with your content.

Content Writers: Every company needs writers to clearly explain their products, persona, and values. Blog posts, articles, and newsletters are often the most informative ways a company communicates with their audience.

Graphic Designers: Logos, illustrations, and photographs all capture the image of a company when you think about them in your mind. Developing a balance of creativity and professionalism is the key to maintaining a company’s reputation, which is why graphic designers are so vital.

Audio Content Creators: The audio aspect of content creation has a wide range of options, including podcasting, music creation, and voice acting. Being the literal voice of a company makes it vital to curate your tone and energy accordingly.

If you’re worried about the amount of experience you have, creating content for yourself or others through gig work is one of the easiest ways to add to your portfolio! Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things in Photoshop, Canva, or various image, audio, and video editing programs to create your own content on topics that interest you.

One of the best places to complete quick jobs is UpWork, a gig-based job seeking site with new opportunities being posted every week! Browsing through their various openings may also give you ideas as to what kind of content you want to make.

Works Cited:


Creating and Pitching Television Shows, Movies, and Video Games

Television, movies, video games, and even web series are all things we consume at least somewhat frequently, and the entertainment industry is rapidly growing and looking for new ideas (This current deficit of new, fresh ideas is at least one reason they’ve been remaking so many movies that were already fine to begin with). If you feel like you want to make a show or a movie and have an idea that you think should be out there, chances are that others would absolutely agree. This article is dedicated to explaining the basics of what you will need to get started, and a groundwork for where to go next.

The most important part of creating a show is its pitch, specifically presenting it quickly while covering the most notable parts of your idea, called an “elevator pitch.” Elevator pitches are quick, abbreviated editions of the concept itself- so quick, you should be able to pitch it to an executive in an elevator ride. For example, Breaking Bad’s elevator pitch was famously “Mr. Chips becomes Scarface,” quickly describing how a high school teacher turns into a drug lord, which was so bold, Sony executives picked it up. When you get straight to the point of an elevator pitch, you jog the cogs in someone’s brain and they become curious if there is more, which helps you move on to the next part: the pitch meeting and the bible.

Following the elevator pitch comes the pitch meeting, where those interested in making a show or movie must talk to executives. You should create a bible, or a book/binder full of different ideas for the show or movie and bring a copy to the meeting to show executives. Spongebob Squarepants’ pitch was more of an experience than a regular pitch because the creator, Stephen Hillenburg, really put his all into his pitch. He and the creative director, Derek Drymon, showed off a tiny diorama of Bikini Bottom in an aquarium tank with tiny versions of the characters in it, wheeled it into the room, and blasted Hawaiian music both wearing Hawaiian shirts, truly making the pitch their own. They told their plans for the characters and ran down the pilot with executives. It was so good, the executives wished they had it on tape. So, the best thing to do in a pitch is make it your own and have fun, because if you have fun making it, executives will have fun watching it, and they will be more inclined to pick you up. You can read through the Spongebob Squarepants show bible here! There is no right or wrong way to do a pitch, but here is a good template for how you could structure your own pitch meeting. Feel free to build off it!

The best thing about the entertainment industry is that you do not need a degree from a big school, or even in any specific program (film studies, animation, English/creative writing, computer science, etc.). For example, Lawrence alum Josh Sawyer majored in history here and participated in theater and was able to become a design director at Obsidian Entertainment and has used his love of history to create one of the best-regarded games of 2022, and one of Obsidian’s best: Pentiment. Sawyer found early on he did not want to pursue a career with his history major and used his tinkering in web design and animation to jump into the world of video game development and directed Fallout: New Vegas and the Pillars of Eternity duology.

If your pitch does not get picked up at first, know that it is completely okay! Even the greatest creators have struggled to land a place with a publisher or network. But even if it is discouraging to have your idea turned down, it is important not to give up. There are plenty more people who will be willing to give you a chance. The industry can be for anyone (including Lawrentians), and if you have any interest, the worst thing you can do is not try to get involved.






Spencer R. Brown is a junior in their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a media and marketing assistant in the Career Center, and curates articles for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade and part-time mascot, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!