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Member Spotlight: Konnie LeMay

By Holly Eamon

Copy Editor, MSP-C

As small as the Minnesota publishing world may feel at times, we’re hoping to get to know one another even better by introducing a new Fine Print feature called “Member Spotlight,” starting with Konnie LeMay.

From traveling to France on a Rotary journalism scholarship to freelance work to working at a weekly South Dakota paper covering Native American issues, Konnie has been an avid journalist since starting a newspaper at her elementary school. She joined Lake Superior Magazine in 1998 as managing editor, and since 2001 has continued her career there as editor.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
The coordinating of the four shores (the magazine covers the region around Lake Superior, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin) and making sure we have a good balance.

How are you involved with MMPA, and what has been especially helpful?
I love that the group brings together the publishing industry and interests of Minnesota. A couple of years ago we hosted an event on freelancing; it was a really good evening. Because of our location, we don’t get to take as much advantage of MMPA activities, which is unfortunate, because I love going to the spring sessions [Summit & Expo] and the annual awards banquet [Excellence Awards] in the fall. From a judging perspective, it’s fun to see what other people are doing.

What is the most useful career advice you've received?
One specific piece doesn’t stand out, but what has been important are small, supportive acts and people more savvy than you helping you get to the next stage of knowledge.

What is the most memorable story you've worked on?
Recently, and in fact it won a gold award from MMPA, we featured a series about the Ojibwe population around Lake Superior. Native issues are a huge interest for me, so I was delighted that the magazine was supportive of us doing a series of articles introducing the culture and history of the Ojibwe. It was a big investment of space and reporting time, and very dear to my heart, and I was just so pleased that MMPA gave us an award.

What is your favorite publication to read?
There are several that I love, but my guilty pleasure is Reader’s Digest. It has a nice balance of short and long pieces with humor mixed in. I also love The Bark, which made the Chicago Tribune’s 50 Best Magazines, along with our own magazine, one year.

What skills are most important for success in the publishing industry?
Having started with daily newspapers before working my way to a full-color magazine, I’d say both the enjoyment of and ability to continue learning is the most critical thing you can have in this industry.

What skill would you most like to improve?
I am like many deadline-driven people and would love if I could have everything done way before the deadline.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
My dog, Rachel, is a delightful shepherd mix and so energetic, so I love spending time with her and my husband, Bob (who works here at the magazine, too). I also belong to a book group of wonderfully diverse women, and in the summer I do gardening. I also continue to do a little freelancing.

If you didn't have to work, what would you be doing?
Writing—that’s the fun of picking a career you love.