September 2, 2013

2013 40 Under Forty: Brittany Durgin

Durgin

Title: Editor in Chief, Worcester Magazine

Company location: Worcester

Residence: Worcester

Favorite movie: "The Shining"

Favorite book: "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Career highlights: In five years, with the encouragement and trust of my supervisors, I jumped from the positions of staff photographer to online editor to editor in chief. As far as awards, I placed second for photo series in the annual NENPA Better Newspaper Contest in 2011, with judges describing the "24 hours in Worcester" series by saying it was an "interesting challenge, carried out very well." In 2012, I placed first in the categories of entertainment video for a multimedia video including photography and video clips of Worcester Mag's chili dog eating contest, and in transportation reporting for the story "Red Light District: The road to making Worcester intersections safer," which I co-wrote with Jeremy Shulkin.

Community involvement: Believe it or not, sitting in an office emailing and calling folks is not how I'd like to interact with the community. I make an effort to attend gallery art openings, festivals, eat at a variety of Worcester's food establishments and schmooze with everyone from politicians to musicians over a beer at local bars.

Biggest success: Every time a reader objectively shares their interest, appreciation and enjoyment with Worcester Magazine.

Biggest challenge: Keeping things in perspective. For example, when one reader calls yelling or crying about a story, that doesn't necessarily mean the other 27,499 readers feel the same way.

Mentors: Those who equally provide helpful criticism with compliments. Beginning with my photography professor, Peter Laytin, at Fitchburg State University, who warned me I would be faced with many challenges as I pursued photojournalism, having to learn to be a "quiet focus" when entering a space, to Scott MacDonald, who I worked with at The Salinas Californian newspaper in Salinas, Calif. Scott made no effort to sugarcoat his judgment of my work and was the one to teach me that the effort put into something is irrelevant; it's only the end result, the quality presented, that matters.

Hidden talents: Having grown up in Maine, many of my personal talents lie in the outdoors. I've been snowboarding for 18 years and taught lessons at Shawnee Peak, a mountain in Bridgton, Maine, when I was in high school. I've learned how to hike and backpack safely on the tallest mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. While I don't consider myself a talented runner, I did run and complete my first marathon May 2013 in the Lake District, England. (Yes, I plan to run more.)

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