Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Andy Zunz: Hooked on Success

On his first day of classes freshman year, Andy Zunz, a 21-year-old Tampa, Fla. native found his picture on the front of The Central Florida Future’s sports page, a spot that the student run newspaper traditionally held for seniors.

Zunz began his journalistic pursuit after his English teacher at Gaither High School noticed his writing skills and encouraged him to join the school’s newspaper. Zunz was immediately hooked. After committing to the University of Central Florida, he knew that he had to write for the college paper.

As his freshman year approached, Zunz began reaching outsomewhat somewhat obsessively, he admitsto the editor-in-chief and sports editor at The Central Florida Future. In his emails, he expressed his eagerness, send pitches and even wrote a sample sports column. Zunz speculates that the editor-in-chief found him to be annoying, but when a story fell through at the last minute, his persistence paid off and his sports column took its place.

After adding “sports columnist” to his resume, Zunz worked his way through the ranks of the paper to become a staff writer, sports editor and finally the editor-in-chief for a semester during his junior year. On top of that, he’s balanced a spot as the managing editor of UCF’s student run magazine, Centric, for a semester and internships at the daily Orlando Sentinel and Golfweek.

It was at the latter that Zunz became interested in magazine writing.

“I’m honestly more compelled to tell someone’s story and figure out why something happens rather than just reporting on the facts,"  he says. "The time spent on each magazine feature is a really valuable thing as well as the design aspect that plays a huge role in the story.”

This passion landed him at Field and Stream for the summer as part of his ASME internship, and although Zunz admits he is the only one in his family who isn’t really interested in hunting and fishing, the experience has given him the opportunity to write, research and even work hand-in-hand with deputy editor and former ASME intern Colin Kearns.

Zunz say that Kearns really gave him a hands-on experience at his internship and helped him learn the role of an editor.

“He’ll give about half of his stories to me without telling me what he thinks of them and say ‘Give me your thoughts, write me out a couple paragraphs about what it needs,’” says Zunz.

Despite being intimidated at first, Zunz found that for the most part, he and Kearns see eye-to-eye. He must have done something right as he was given the opportunity to act as the assigning editor for a feature story on pike fishing in the fall. During this process he not only reworked the two-year-old pitch to make it more relevant, but also offered his opinions to all aspects of the package including the art and design.

When it comes to his future, Zunz has nothing to worry about. After he finishes up his internship, he has two days off before starting a full-time job as the assistant digital editor at Golfweek, a position that the magazine held for him while he was away for the summer at Field and Stream. While Zunz is excited to start his career in his home state, he admits that returning to New York City is not out of the question.

“If you would’ve asked me in the beginning of the summer if I would return, I would have said ‘no way,’” he says. “But, now I think I could make it work.”

--Written by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple
Edited by Alexandra Whittaker, Marquette University, InStyle

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