10 Questions with Scholastic's Jorge Escobar
Fun fact about Scholastic’s Jorge Escobar, in addition to his love for traveling and passion for biking around the city (which, he noted, is his version of meditation and stress relief): he knows Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” pretty well. So well, in fact, that he’s on a dance troupe that comes together each Halloween to perform the number.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Escobar now works in production at Scholastic, which is a multinational media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents and children. Among its properties: classroom magazines such as Scholastic News, Upfront, Storyworks, and SuperScience, as well as popular book series like Clifford, Goosebumps and Captain Underpants.
Working in the Classroom Magazines division of the company, Escobar’s work—along with his colleagues—reaches nearly 25 million students every year! Get to know Jorge:
1. What does production mean for Scholastic?
Production is the facilitator of the magazine team; we try to be helpful reminders of deadlines to both the editorial and design teams.
2. How does production fit in with editorial and design?
Production is the liaison between both groups and helps editorial stay on task. We specialize in certain programs that help us troubleshoot issues that may arise with files provided by design before they go to press. We also help both departments transfer all of the print content onto a digital format.
3. Media has experienced a transition from relying on print to now embracing (and relying on) online/digital publishing. Describe how this change at Scholastic has impacted your job and how your job has changed from this seismic shift.
The shift has resulted in more digital content — since it can be more dynamic — and we can incorporate media components such as video and audio. This has resulted in production working with other departments outside of editorial and design, like the video and media departments. I welcome this change.
4. Most challenging part of the job? How do you meet this challenge?
The most challenging part on my job is to try to stay current with the latest technology. We try to meet this challenge by researching what programs/software are the most helpful to our clients.
5. What skills are crucial for working in digital publishing, and how did you learn these skills?
You need to know InDesign, Photoshop and Acrobat. We currently use Adobe Experience Manager for our digital content, and you should be well versed with this platform. Some of these I learned by taking courses outside of work because I wanted to further my skills, others, we learned at the job.
6. What headaches, and joys, have you experienced in your job when including the online/digital process with the traditional print process?
The unpredictability of trying a new digital platform; we won’t know what the user will encounter until we try it, but when there’s a positive outcome the rewards are great.
7. If you could give someone starting out in the media/production industry one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be adaptable! Don’t get hung up on “this is how things were done.” There is always a way to improve the process, and technology can provide us with the necessary tools.
8. Why do you value your Guild membership?
I value building a community with shared goals. I know that I have the support and protection of the Guild, and they are looking out for my best interests.
9. If I wasn’t working in Scholastic…
I would probably be a trip leader in Adventure Tour Guiding. I enjoy exposing myself to new cultures and countries, and I thrive on learning how other people around the world experience life. It gives me a better perspective on my own life. I don’t like just traveling to another big city; I like to travel inside the country and meet the people living in the rural areas.
10. What makes you hopeful for the publishing and media industry? What worries you?
What worries me is the current narrative of fake news by politicians and discrediting journalism because they report an unfavorable story. What makes me hopeful is that people now more than ever are craving factual news and recognizing the importance of good, unbiased journalism.
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