Ask The Expert – Noa Nichol

March 18, 2021

What inspired you to start your career as an Editor-in-Chief at VITA Daily?

I went to journalism school in Toronto and got my masters in journalism 20 years ago at Ryerson University. I’ve actually always known what I wanted to do from a young age which made things easy. Since I was little, I would design magazines and newsletters and do the layout then would hand them out to neighbours. It was always really clear what career I wanted. 

What are your predictions for the future of the media industry?

I am really passionate about print, at VITA we publish a monthly magazine along with the digital website. I won’t count print out moving forward. I believe people still enjoy picking up a magazine or a newspaper and having a cup of coffee while they read. We are all struggling with screen fatigue and print really helps us read on paper and take a much needed screen break. 

In terms of digital, the journalism industry has known for a long time that web and online assets would continue to take over and we have embraced it. I think the goal is to continue embracing digital and moving forward with both mediums. 

Media is an important part of how people get their information and I see real value journalism. I hope in the future, people will continue to support journalism. 

If you were not in media – what industry would you work in?

No other industry! As I mentioned, I love what I do and have always wanted to do this. 

Although, if I was really forced to pick something else, I am a big fan of yoga and have been doing it most of my life. I’ve had a little dream of operating a yoga studio. If I had to, I would go in that direction. 

Additionally, at the beginning of the pandemic when everything got pulled from all publications and we didn’t know what would happen to journalism, I thought maybe I could be a barista at Starbucks. I like the process of making coffee for people and my husband joked he’d like to see me hanging out by an espresso machine. 

What has been a highlight of your career?

Since I’ve always known what I wanted to do, part of that dream was to have my own publication. So when I joined VITA, it was called Vitamin Daily at the time, it was just a website. I had a background in print journalism and was willing to help out on that end. So we decided to launch their print magazine which had not existed until then. So I’d have to say that has been the biggest highlight. 

What motivates you in your work?

The content. Especially on the print side, creating interesting, engaging content. This is also true for the digital side too. This may be one of my shortcomings, but I have a very strong tie to print. It’s not that I’ve been slow on digital or joining that side of things, our website has a big following on social and has been running for 20 years, but what I love to do is design and create the magazine every month. So I would say that’s what motivates me most. 

What is something you wish others knew about your career?

In terms of journalism, the field has changed completely in the last 5-10 years. After graduation, I worked at places like FLARE and glossy fashion magazines and there were full news rooms- full of people! With a team of photographers, proof-readers, editors, and writers. Usually 100 people in a room and now I do this by myself at my kitchen table. That’s how things have changed.

I think people would be surprised how much of a solo-job it has become, and I believe my peers and colleagues would agree. It’s just not that team environment anymore so those things you see in movies in a big newsroom just don’t exist or soon to be out of existence since it is no longer sustainable. 

What advice would you give someone that wants to pursue a career like yours?

Out of journalism school I took a couple of internships. Even going back further, I really liked Journalism school, that was actually another highlight of my career. I’m not sure what journalism school looks like these days but back in those days it was something very viable and a career you could definitely pursue from school. I don’t know if that’s changed or a necessity to get a journalism degree anymore. Maybe you just need to get an internship or entry-level position at a publication or get going and start your own, or start a blog.

Just start writing! Start pitching stories. You have to be very proactive. There’s lots of opportunities, and there’s so many websites looking for content if not print publication. I think you need to take opportunities into your own hands and not wait for anyone to hand anything to you. You need to come up with ideas and your brain has to always be thinking about the latest stories, trends, and “what can I weave together here to make a feature?” and then pitch it! You never know when someone is going to say yes. 

Connect with Noa on LinkedIn! 
Learn more about VITA Daily and the publication here.