A Day in the Life of Becky Lang

Becky Lang is executive editor of the Kalmbach Media Science Group and editor-in-chief of Discover magazine, where she’s worked since early 2013. She moved to the magazine world from newspapers after 11 years as the health/science/environment editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She’s been writing and editing as a job since high school, when she covered minor league baseball in Helena, Montana (the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm team—go figure). She’s a graduate of Northwestern University. Follow her on Twitter @langb.

 

Becky LangErnie Mastroianni

Becky Lang

What I’m working on:

My brain is occupied with my new position of executive editor for our newly formed Science Group, a combined team of the staffs of Discover and its sister brand, Astronomy. I’m also editor in chief of Discover. So I juggle the demands of macro and micro work at Discover, as well as tapping into the strengths of both brands’ staffs to help each other out as much as possible. And right now it’s budgeting time, so that always gets me scrambling back to the words!

Where I work:

Discover’s offices are based at Kalmbach Media, a publisher located just west of Milwaukee, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The office is close enough to home that I commute by bicycle or motorcycle (an exception: when there’s snow on the ground in April).

Daily routine:

I’m usually up by 5:00 or 5:30, cruise through the NYT, Washington Post, and Guardian, head to the gym or run outside, then hop on email for a bit before getting to work around 8:30 or 9:00. Depending on the week, I may be slammed with four or five meetings in a day, or just a couple. I relish the blocks of time I do get to focus on our features and columns and websites, and think through big-picture things that are happening. I make a point to wander around and check in with editors, just to see how they’re doing and to get away from the screen.

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Most productive part of my day:

Early morning.

Most essential ritual or habit:

Working out. If I miss a couple days of cycling, running, strength training, or yoga, I start to go a little batty. Really.

Mobile device:

iPhone 6s, iPad.

Computer:

MacBook Pro.

 

Becky LangErnie Mastroianni

Becky Lang

 

Essential software/apps/productivity tools:

Google Drive/spreadsheets, Adobe InCopy/InDesign, Word, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter. A paper calendar. And many Post-it notes.

Favorite time waster/procrastination habit:

Cruising around the hallways at work or catching up on the latest news headlines.

My reading habits:

I read several newspapers each morning, and keep up with Popular Science, Scientific American, National Geographic, and Wired. I carve out time on weekends to read The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and SI. I read books each night before falling asleep; I’m in the middle of The Goldfinch right now. As a kid, I had a bad habit of having six or seven books going at once. It’s been a tough one to break!

Sleep schedule:

In bed before 10:00, up by 5:00 or 5:30 a.m.

 

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