Jordan Scott is one of the winners of ASBPE’s Young Leaders Scholarship award in 2020. She is the assistant editor for USGlass magazine and editor for Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal.
How did you get involved in the business?
After spending a year as an associate producer for Baltimore’s ABC affiliate I was eager to return to print journalism and long-form writing. My introduction to business-to-business journalism came by chance as I searched for jobs in the Washington, D.C., area. While I may not have set out with the intent to write for a trade publication, I am glad I was able to take advantage of the opportunity. I was thrust into the highly technical and complex world of architectural glass and haven’t looked back since. It’s been thrilling to learn about the industry’s many segments, trends and obstacles from experts in the field. Speaking with architects, glazing contractors, fabricators and manufacturers has given me a completely different perspective on a topic I perceived as straightforward prior to my time with USGlass magazine. Being able to understand the technical advances, policy and labor issues facing the industry and relay that information in a helpful way to the glass industry has made me feel like I’m making a difference. I’m currently assistant editor for USGlass magazine, which is published monthly, and editor of Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal, which is published three times a year.
Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?
In the next five to 10 years I hope to be the editor of a more frequent publication, making audience-driven content decisions that provide an in-depth perspective on what is impacting, driving and evolving the industry at focus. I’d also love to explore different types of media, such as podcasts, to tell industry stories.
What are the top challenges editors face today? What are possible solutions to those challenges?
The potential for ethical conflict in journalism, especially business-to-business publications, is a battle that must be fought constantly. As media continues to evolve, business decisions become increasingly important to keep publishing companies afloat.
However, there is always a risk that the role advertisers play in supporting a publication could impact the editorial content. I think it’s important to keep the advertising and editorial arms of a publication completely separate to prevent editorial departments from being used as a tool to drive advertising dollars. News media has the advantage in that they don’t often have to cover their advertisers and, in many cases, they aren’t aware of the advertisers’ identities. However, in the business-to-business world, your advertisers are constantly at the center of editorial content. Unless companies have processes in place that prevent an overlap in sales interest and coverage, the lines can blur and threaten the integrity of a publication.
Another major issue I see facing business publication editors is the push to take on more roles. A common example is delegating social media responsibilities to the editorial team. While taking on additional responsibilities such as these make sense, as many companies cannot afford to take on additional staff solely for social media coverage, the execution of this delegation is often poor. It’s imperative that companies create a social media strategy with well thought out goals, expectations and rules. Without training or guidance, social media is often an afterthought which can be detrimental as people increasingly rely on social media for news. Whether a publication brings in a third party, creates the guidelines in-house or uses an online program, business editors need to have a plan in place to stay relevant in today’s online environment.
How has your job changed since the onset of COVID-19?
My company already had remote work infrastructure in place so the transition from working in an office setting to working from home has been relatively smooth. Key Media & Research has implemented daily Zoom calls with the entire staff to keep us all feeling connected and to facilitate communication. I’ve only had one unexpected Zoom interview so far that’s required me to change clothes in panic mode. Otherwise, my job has largely remained the same outside of the lack of travel. I’m used to traveling eight to 12 times a year for conferences and trade shows so I have missed seeing my industry connections in-person. However, it’s been interesting to watch organizations and companies switch to virtual formats for events, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these platforms evolve as we continue to adapt to the world amid a pandemic.
Jordan Scott graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with Bachelor of Art degrees in English and international studies. She began her career as the county government reporter for the Tullahoma News in Middle Tennessee, where she won two Tennessee Press Association awards. She then worked as an associate producer for ABC2’s “Good Morning Maryland” in Baltimore. She serves as assistant editor for USGlass magazine and editor for Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal. ASBPE awarded her the 2019 National Gold Award for webcast series. She has been with Key Media & Research since July 2017.