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Q&A with Andrea Chambers - Director, NYU Center for Publishing

NYU's Center For Publishing provides incredible leadership within the publishing industry, providing an education which promotes the type of blended skill set necessary within a tech-oriented, high-velocity career in this rapidly changing field.

We had a chance to ask Andrea Chambers, the Director for NYU's Center For Publishing, a few questions about the program and how she looks at the changing landscape within the industry.

She'll also be attending Digital Book World 2018, so you can catch up with her there as well as learn more about the great work NYU is doing in support of publishers, large and small.

Thanks to her and NYU for the time and for taking our questions. Enjoy.


What is the NYU Center for Publishing? And what is its goal?

The NYU Center for Publishing is the leading pathway to publishing education for students interested in careers in book publishing as well as digital and magazine media. The Center offers an MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. We also offer executive education programs and conferences, including the renowned PubTechConnect conference co-hosted with Publishers Weekly about the intersection of publishing and technology.

The MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media is a professional graduate degree with a strongly global emphasis; classes are held in the evening to accommodate the needs of students working or interning in the industry. The program combines a study of publishing fundamentals with a hands-on exploration of the latest digital platforms and business strategies, emphasizing real-world, real-workplace learning in all aspects of publishing and media. Our faculty consists of leading publishing executives, including publishers, editors-in-chief, and marketing, sales, publicity, and digital directors who approach their classes as career preparation sessions. It’s not the usual “I’ll lecture, you listen.” With a focus on learning both inside and outside the classroom, the program also offers visits to digital media, book, and magazine companies and opportunities to volunteer at international book fairs including London, Frankfurt, and Beijing.

Our goal is to prepare students for success in the global publishing market along with long-term career satisfaction and, of course, to give them a competitive edge, whether they are just starting out or seeking to advance in their field.

The NYU Summer Publishing Institute just celebrated its 40th anniversary helping recent college graduates, rising college seniors, and young professionals jumpstart their careers in book and digital/magazine media. This six-week intensive includes classroom lectures and presentations by more than 200 leading publishing executives; industry visits; and weekend computer workshops in HTML, Photoshop, InDesign, and video editing. Students work in teams to prepare launches of hypothetical book imprints and magazine/digital media companies. At the conclusion of the program, students attend a major Center for Publishing career fair attended by all the leading book publishers as well as magazine and digital media/technology companies. For more information about the program’s 40th anniversary, please click here.

What skills, in your view, do students need to cultivate while in school, to be positioned for success in the publishing industry?

Publishing remains a collaborative field, so it’s key to cultivate a well-rounded knowledge, a team mentality, and excellent communication skills. We educate our students on how to be nimble: there’s an emphasis on innovation and finding new pathways. Increasingly, in addition to the mastery of publishing functions like editing, marketing, and sales, students also need to understand how to best deploy mobile and social media strategies and to make the most effective use of web analytics, video, and podcasting.

What metrics does the NYU Center for Publishing use to measure its own success or efficacy as an institution? What have been some of your biggest successes?

We measure success by our graduates’ placement track record and, of course, their career paths and advancement.

Graduates of our programs have gone on to the highest level executive positions, including careers as publishers, executive editors, and directors of digital strategy, marketing, publicity, and rights; they are web writers and editors, executive managing editors, and literary agents. The program prepares its graduates to advance in the industry, thanks to leading-edge courses taught by the industry’s best strategists.

What has been the single biggest challenge in running and growing the NYU Center for Publishing?

Constantly anticipating and preparing for a rapidly changing industry and making sure our students develop a nimble, entrepreneurial mindset to best position themselves for success. With the support of a cohort of leading publishing executive who serve on our Board of Advisors, we are constantly evaluating and updating our courses and curriculum.

Digital Book World 2018 centers around the notion of "the wide world of publishing" being larger than most people realize, spanning not just trade publishing, but also scholarly/academic publishing, 'corporate' publishing by companies in various other sectors (e.g. Southwest Airlines; Intel; Stripe), educational publishing, independent publishing, and more.

How does NYU's Center for Publishing counsel its students on how to identify publishing opportunities, in such a broad and splintered landscape, and how to pursue those opportunities?

Yes, publishing does have many faces. While trade is the most public, we prepare our students for careers in a wide range of segments including academic, educational, independent, and self-publishing. We also encourage them to look at how companies outside publishing are shaking up the mold with content-rich websites, content and influencer marketing, amazing social media and video, and more. The skills our students have honed in our programs translate well to positions in many companies that value the world of words and ideas—just in different ways!

You'll be joining us this fall for Digital Book World 2018, and we're excited to have you there! Which speaker are you most interested in hearing from, within the DBW 2018 program?

I’m excited, too. It’s always invigorating to hear how the business is evolving from the industry’s leaders. So many great speakers, where to begin?! I look forward to hearing from Pamela Paul, Editor of all book coverage at The New York Times, who has moderated a number of panels for us; Amanda D’Acierno, President and Publisher of Random House Audio, who recently spoke at the NYU Summer Publishing Institute; and Page Edmunds, Associate Publisher of Workman, who teaches in our graduate program!

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