Staff Stories: An interview with Weston Poor
Tayler Lord is one of UNP’s newest staff members. She works tirelessly as a publicist, cool aunt, and dedicated Beyoncé fan. For the Press’ 75th anniversary—and out of her own curiosity—she is interviewing her more experienced co-workers to put a face on the twelfth-largest university press in the country.
Weston Poor is the project coordinator for the Journals division. He is ranked in the 95th percentile of height in the office and hopes to one day make it into the editors’ hall of fame.
Tayler: What’s your current job at UNP and how long have you held it?
Weston: I’m the project coordinator for the journals division, and I’ve been there for a month.
T: Have you held other positions with the press?
W: Yeah, I was an editorial assistant for the EDP books division.
T: Could you describe one of your most memorable moments at the press?
W: Yes. It was when I first started as a temp. I was put to work on the biggest project that the Press has worked on, which was Outside the Bible, a three-volume set. I was in charge of copying the manuscript, and I had five stacks of paper on my desk that were like at least two feet tall.
T: That’s terrifying!
W: It was horrifying. I also did a lot more work on it than just copying. I checked a lot of table of contents elements vs. running text heads and stuff, and just like made corrections. And the typesetter, her name was Laura, she and I made and checked over 1,000 corrections during the course of the production of that book and spent hundreds of hours on it.
T: Yeah, I’ve seen it. I haven’t looked through it but it looks like quite a feat.
W: Yeah, it really is.
T: Okay, what brought you to UNP?
W: I started as an intern in the same department, EDP. And I got that position by going to a career fair at the J School [Journalism College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln].
T: Nice. Then how did you start working in Journals?
W: I saw that there was an opening in Journals and I applied.
T: Nice and easy! Okay, which book or journal have you enjoyed working on the most, or which one has taught you the most?
W: Oh gosh…I’ll have to think about that one. I’d say for books, it would be…trying to remember the title. The authors were husband and wife, and their last name was Robinson. It was pretty recent, actually. It’s Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers by Robinson and Robinson. And I really liked it because it talks about the absence of government. And I guess kind of like martial law? I guess not really martial law…kind of like anarchy, just what people do in the absence of government or a governing body. And one of the authors gave this really interesting example of the deterioration of civilization at a preschool graduation.
T: That’s awesome!
W: I think it’s in the intro of the book, maybe one of the first things that they talk about. You should definitely read it. It is a hilarious story. And it’s also kind of disturbing just to think about humanity and how it can devolve so quickly.
T: Yeah, especially with preschoolers.
W: Yeah. And then with journals, I would say I’m currently working on the Journal of Sports Media, and I was reading an article about how you can repair an athlete’s image using a very specific formula. And it never really dawned on me that there was a specific formula to restore someone’s image! And they have like diagrams and all sorts of stuff and I’m just like, “Wow. It’s truly a business.”
T: Yeah, I believe it, since Tiger Woods is back in the game, then someone’s doing something!
W: He’s back! People don’t hate him as much.
T: Which forthcoming book or journal, again, are you most excited about? I guess you kind of answered that with the journal.
W: Let’s see….
T: Do you know much about the forthcoming book list?
W: No…well, I’m trying to think about one of the last books that I worked on. It would probably be Neihardt’s biography, Lonesome Dreamer.
T: A good Nebraska one. What author will you never forget?
W: Probably Clayton Anderson, because he’s done incredible things and he has an incredible story.
T: What advice do you have for people starting a career in publishing?
W: Depending on what you want to do, whether that’s marketing, editing, design, or acquisitions, just making yourself available to internships and really getting the most out of your experience at an internship. Just soaking up all of the information that they’re giving you and applying that to that same job in order to get the best experience possible. That just sets you up for either a full-time position, or another job opening somewhere else.