Meet Contemporary Media, Inc.: Bianca Phillips
Meet Bianca Phillips: Associate Editor, Memphis Flyer
1. What does your position entail? Associate Editor is my official title, but I'm really more like the news editor. I write, edit, and assign stories for our Fly-By section, the newsy section in the front of the paper. Some days, I'm out in the field reporting, and other days, I'm glued to my desk editing sections of the following week's paper. I also occasionally write stories for the arts/entertainment section and, of course, cover stories. And I manage the Flyer's editorial interns.
2. How did you get into this industry and what insight can you give someone interested in journalism, marketing, advertising and the like? I always wanted to be a writer, and journalism was the only way I knew to make a steady career out of it. Plus, my attention span is way too short to be a novelist, which is something I considered when I was younger. I started as a photojournalism major in college because I also love photography, but after interning here in 2002-2003 as a writer, I knew that's what I wanted to do.
3. On an off day from work, you will find me ... in my kitchen developing recipes for my next cookbook or testing recipes from other vegan cookbooks to review on my personal food blog, Vegan Crunk. Speaking of crunk, you might also find me in a gay bar. Or you might find me in my backyard hanging out with my mutt Datsun and my pit bull Maynard or inside cleaning up after my six cats.
4. What is number one on your Memphis bucket list? Run the St. Jude Marathon!
5. How long have you worked here? Give me a little detail behind your response. I've been here for 12 years this May. I started as an intern in 2002, straight out of college. I was an intern for two years before I was hired full-time as a staff writer. Soon after, I became the calendar editor and held that position for several years. I was promoted to associate editor when our former Fly-By editor left to work for Mayor A C Wharton's office. And I've been doing that now for about three years.
6. What do you think makes the Flyer different from other publications? Um, we're way cooler! When I was in college, I knew I could never work for a corporate-owned daily. The Flyer is edgy and hip and unabashedly progressive. As a diehard liberal, vegan, pagan, feminist, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't fit in in any other newsroom.
7. When did you know that you loved words and wanted to use them to tell people a story? I remember writing a short story for class in, like, third grade, and my teacher raved on and on about how good it was. I decided then and there that I was going to write children's books. And then I grew up and started to really dislike children. Sometime in high school, I decided I wanted to move to San Francisco and invoke the spirit of Jack Kerouac and write crazy poetry. But that dream died (thank god) when I got a full scholarship to my hometown college in Arkansas. At some point, I grew up and realized I could never make a career out of writing unless I went into journalism.
8. Tell me anything else interesting about yourself. Your favorite book, movie, part about working here, your dog’s ridiculous name, anything! Hmmmm ... let's see. I published my first cookbook, Cookin' Crunk: Eatin' Vegan in the Dirty South, in 2012. I'm currently working on my second book, a collection of veganized versions of trendy foods from the past century. I blog five days a week at http://vegancrunk.blogspot.com. I live with my partner of 10 years, Paul, and our two dogs (Datsun and Maynard) and six cats (Akasha, Pandora, Gelfling, Polaris, Ozzy, and Seymour). I love to run, but I'm just now getting back into it after a ridiculous seven-month stress fracture in my right foot. I'm also a chronic over-sharer.