Career Conversation Series: Editing with Nathan Medcalf – by Rebecca Bartley


“If we live in the age of information, then communication is how you wield that power.” editor-career-conversations

Nathan Medcalf, a freelance editor and editor of Equipment Journal, was invited to campus by the Humanities Target Learning Centre (HTLC) this past February 28th to give a talk on his career as an editor.

Career Conversations are a way to bring professionals from different fields (particularly in areas related to the Humanities) to campus to meet with a small group of 15-20 students who would like to find out more about a particular career of their choice.

Nathan began his journey into the world of editing during his university years, volunteering with the school newspaper as well as offering his services to students to edit their papers. It took him four years after graduation to get to his current position, editing more than half a million words annually as the editor of Equipment Journal.

Nathan also shared with students the benefits of working as a freelance editor: not only does he get to work from home, but sometimes also travel all over the world, he has lots of alone time and control over what gets published. The ultimate benefit of working in editing however, Nathan shared, is that you have the ability to work anywhere in today’s job market including magazines, production studios, book publishers, government, and much more.

“Freelance and volunteer work helped me to gain experience. Sometimes these are essential to fill the gaps in your resume,” explained Nathan. “Your resume should contain at least one editing experience under your work and volunteer headings.”

Networking is also an important aspect of working towards becoming an editor. “It’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know,” said Nathan. The Editor’s Association of Canada (EAC) – of which Nathan is a member – is the ultimate place to network and connect with editing professionals. As a member, you can attend workshops and events, as well as be part of a community full of people who all share a passion for editing.

Nathan encouraged students to join the EAC, which offers its members many special privileges, especially for full-time students. Some of the benefits of becoming a member as a full-time student are half-price membership fees, a mentorship program, editing and writing workshops, a scholarship opportunity, and the chance to network with professionals in different areas of editing. More information can be found on their website: http://www.editors.ca

Nathan gave one final piece of advice for students at this event: “If you’re interested in editing, start now. Find the opportunities, if not, than make your own opportunities.”

The Career Conversations series continues in March, with many other career professionals visiting campus to talk with eager students.  Upcoming Career Conversations include:

  • Immigration Settlement Counsellor/Employment Specialist, Tuesday, March 19 @ 6pm, with Thary Phy
  • Music Therapist – Thursday, March 21 @ 1.30pm, with Rachel Finnerty
  • Public Relations – Tuesday, March 26 @ 4:30pm, with Allyson Wenzowski

Spots are limited to 15-20 students, so make sure to email htlc@mcmaster.ca in order to reserve your seat!