Corinne Iozzio is the Deputy Editor of Popular Science. She's covered technology and innovation for over a decade, previously as the magazine's Technology Editor, an editor at PCMag.com, and contributor to publications including Fortune, Fast Company, and mental_floss.
How did you get into the industry?
I was lucky to know that I wanted to be a journalist early on. And it was doubly lucky that I went to college in New York City. My work on the campus newspaper directly led to my first internships at NYMag.com (then newyorkmetro.com) and Seventeen, which led to my first full-time job once I graduated. Journalism, I learned through those experiences, is a broad field. Having the ability to experiment—magazine vs. newspaper, digital vs. print, writing vs. editing, news vs. features—helped me to focus and clarify where exactly it was I wanted to go.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
As much as online journalism is expanding, there’s a contraction happening among long-standing magazine brands. The difference between the brands that survive and those that don’t is how essential each one makes itself. How do we make Popular Science a must-read, a source of insight and information and entertainment that readers cannot get anywhere else? In answering that question, we take a cue from our name: We make science popular; we are inclusive; we explore the world around us with a sense of wonder and candor that speaks to everyone.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We want to reach our audience whoever and wherever they are. That’s a geographic goal (most science and technology publications only talk to the coasts; we talk to the whole country), a demographic goal (we’ve rebalanced our online readership to include more than 50 percent women), and also a platform goal. Already in 2018, we’ve launched two new podcasts (“Last Week In Tech” and “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week”) and a shop (popsci.threadless.com).
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
We approach science and tech with a deep curiosity that drives us to answer nagging questions. Our perfect reader is experience is one of satisfaction (a sense that they truly understand something they didn’t before) and inquisitiveness (the feeling that they want to learn even more).
How do you motivate others?
As managers, we recognize that everyone’s current job is a bridge to their next job. We have completely candid conversations with the editorial team about their career goals and what they want to achieve next. This helps us define each editor’s responsibilities with an eye towards merging their work with their overall ambition. For example, if a junior editor primarily writes, but tells us they want to get more experience editing, we figure out how to double-dip: We find a project that will both make Popular Science’s coverage stronger and give them the hands-on time they need.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Work at and write for as many places as you can. Contributing to a variety of outlets is an incredible exercise in angling—figuring out how you can spin any story or topic to suit any publication. I believe there’s no such thing as an off-limits subject for an outlet. Journalists who understand that can work anywhere.
What do I do best?
I solve puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles, but everyday puzzles. It comes from being a visual thinker; every paragraph, every article in a magazine or on a website, every budget line-item is a piece looking for its place—where it meshes perfectly and seamlessly with everything around it. Just last week, I had to untangle a complicated story (five scenes, ten characters, and dozens of technical terms to define along the way); instead of endlessly moving paragraphs around in a Google Doc, I covered my desk in PostIt notes, shuffling the components around until they strung together just right.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Teaching helps you learn. I don’t think I was able to crystalize the nuts and bolts of editing until I became a manager, and had to put words to the things that I’d come to do automatically. Taking that step back—to guide someone less experienced—reveals an incredible amount about the way an editor thinks, the way we unpack information and figure out what’s what (or what’s not). Good teachers, I think, are simultaneously pulling double duty as students.
My Most Challenging Moment?
I’m on my second stint as an editor at Popular Science. I ended the first one by jumping off a cliff—not literally, of course. I felt stuck, worried I was becoming pigeonholed as a “Gadget Girl.” My ambition was greater than that; I was never going to stop covering tech, but I wanted to tell bigger stories—things beyond iPhone updates and Bluetooth headsets. So I went freelance, and it was the single scariest thing I’d ever done.
Do the most important thing first.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I grew up in a solo-parent household, so I often say I’ve gone through my life “collecting mother figures.” It’s honestly an amazing way to approach new relationships with the women around me. Rather than get everything—fashion, etiquette (or a total lack thereof), career skills—from an individual, I can find a new guiding force or forces at nearly any point.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I got my start as a technology editor, which, at Popular Science, means you look at literally thousands of objects every year. Seeing all the junk, all the disposable plastic nonsense, we bring into our offices and homes gives you a real appreciation for the products that are actually built to last. In my life, my favorite of those things was a Hamilton Beach stand-up milkshake mixer. My grandfather bought it in the ‘60s from a diner that was closing down, and, let me tell you, that thing was a tank. The motor seized up when I was in college, and we never managed to free it back up. I miss that thing.