Isabelle Wattenberg ’12

Major(s): English and Russian Area Studies
Concentration: Media Studies
Current Position: Researcher/Writer with the Labor Arbitration Institute in Northfield, MN

What is your current position? What are your responsibilities?

I am a Social Media & Analytics Specialist with MSP Communications, which publishes Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, and Sky among other magazines. I manage’s Facebook and LinkedIn page, produce e-newsletters, create online quizzes and contests, and provide reports and analytics research for our websites, social media accounts, and newsletters. I also write features for the Weddings section of and the arts blog, Arts Off the Cuff.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in this field?

After internships in journalism and book publishing, I knew a career in publishing would satisfy my interest in reading and writing. I’ve enjoyed editing and writing fiction, creative non-fiction and journalistic writing, so working with a magazine immerses me in the world, enabling me to interact with writers and editors on a daily basis and challenging me to find new ways to draw in readers.

How did you gain the experience necessary for this position?

 An internship with MSP Communications’ digital department familiarized me with the office environment and skills needed for the position. Strong mentorship with my supervisor allowed me to gain experience and take full advantage of the internship opportunity. An internship with the Northfield News during college helped me become comfortable producing content under tight deadlines.

How did your Media Studies coursework or experiences help you get where you are today?

Courses in the Media Studies program often focused or discussed the increasing mobility of content, and how one idea can be dispersed differently according to the platform, be it print, radio, or online. Additionally, we studied changes in how people consume information—a question MSP addresses with on a daily basis. Some information is better conveyed online, rather than in a print magazine—and sometimes we need to repackage the content to better suit a different platform.

Any advice you would give a Media Studies student knowing what you know now?

I enjoyed my media studies concentration for a number of reasons; the class discussions and coursework allowed me to absorb numerous perspectives on the subject, and my internships introduced me to different career fields. However, what I value most were those moments when I would unexpectedly run into Professor Sonnega and have the opportunity to pick his brain about the latest New York Times topic. The media studies faculty members, including Piper Center staff, are resources that helped me move beyond the college setting; they are ceaselessly available to discuss how the concentration opens doors to career paths, or simply converse on a new intersection between media and our society.