For an experiment, Victorinox Swiss Army asked to come along on a typical day at our headquarters with an editor. Here’s how we roll.
Adam Ruggiero wrote about a “day in the life” as GearJunkie’s News Editor. He is a journalist (and avid adventurer) who has written for the publication since 2014; Ruggiero lives in Minneapolis and works from GearJunkie’s headquarters in the city.
TAKE A LOOK OUTSIDE ON A typical Minneapolis morning and you’ll witness a subtle, shifting rainbow. Streetlights cast copper pools along dark streets. Neon signs flash, the sky erupts from obsidian to orange.
In the middle of it all, two little bike lights blink at passing cars—that’s me. Each morning, at about 7:00 a.m., I hop aboard to pedal into another day at GearJunkie.
The bike ride is just the beginning. If you’re reading, you know the work we do, but work at this office is unlike most any other 9-to-5.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens “behind the screen,” follow along for a day in one GearJunkie editor’s life.
Coffee & Commute
My job might be unorthodox, but I’m still human. Since the news cycle starts in earnest—in fact, it never stops—I throw a sad breakfast into my face, shower (usually), and rush to the local java hut. But getting there is half the fun.
Everyone at GearJunkie locomotes differently. Some drive, some bike across the city, and some run. Heck, when it’s winter, we’ll fat-bike or ski. Needless to say, a backpack and a change of clothes are mandatory.
After the blood (and caffeine) is pumping, I dive into writing. It’s a full-court press every single day. The day begins—as do many people’s—with email. My inbox is loaded with updates, from big brands teasing the latest product launch to athletes and GearJunkie fans sharing their latest adventures. We read it all and consider everything for a story.
It’s a lot of work, more than one person could possibly do. GearJunkie’s editors are peppered across the country—a managing editor in Denver, testers from Georgia to Oregon, and a contributing editor in Idaho all complement the Minneapolis crew.
My position as News Editor is just that—I am in charge of staying on the pulse of the outdoors world and writing about the news of the industry and beyond. Some days that’s a scoop on the puffiest puffy jacket. Other times we’re looking at a 21st-century hippie bus.
I pitch headlines and trade story ideas with Sean “Broman” McCoy, GJ’s managing editor in Denver, and our founder Stephen Regenold. Next to me at HQ is Nate Mitka, an associate editor who writes, copyedits, and tests gear.
The four of us constitute the main editing team, and we manage 15 contributing writers based around the country and the world. In all, we publish about five articles per day, or more than 100 stories a month.
And, of course, we test gear. Weekends aren’t just for play; they’re when we start our reviews. That means camping trips throughout the year, 100-mile bike rides, nighttime climbing sessions, and a lot of getting dirty, wet, cold, and tired.
A few times a year we get way out of the office. This year saw the staff testing gear and writing about experiences from all around America, to the Alps, Iceland, New Zealand, and more.
Lunch Break? Try Adventure-Run Hour
When 9-to-5ing it, we try not to let adventure slip too far from our grasp. As the day wears on, our brains get overloaded with emails, edits, and image libraries. So, after midday, we slam our computers shut, lock the doors, and get outside.
Some days find the Minneapolis crew trying to best the 5.5-mile “Adventure Run” record time. This is a friendly, no-drop run.
But it does include a lake-jump off a dock (see below), a 12-foot leap of faith from an overpass, hopping sharp chainlink fences, and a bone-jarring jog along railroad tracks.
And when we’re feeling frisky, we’ll toss in a shimmy through the urban “spider tunnel” and a free-solo climb up a bridge.
Suffice it to say, we return wet, exhausted, and more often than not, a bit bloodied.
Outdoors Journalist: The Realities Of The Job
My job is great—no two ways about it. But it’s also a grind. For every second I spend outdoors, there’s a minute spent pounding the keyboard. I’ve never written a story right the first time. Everything we do needs to be better than we could do it alone.
Not only are we making stories as close to perfect as we can before publishing, we’re figuring out the best way to get them on your screen. That means social media. Mallory Paige packages each story for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
GJ Insider Steve recently returned from an epic gear testing trip and had this to say, “I’m in Chamonix, France, the prototypical mountain town. Steeper than the Rockies, taller than the Cascades, these mountains are big, bold, and rich. It’s no wonder that it’s ground zero for the modern trail runner. It’s an ideal place to test Salomon’s forthcoming Sense Ride.” – Full article and review here: https://gearjunkie.com/salomon-sense-ride-trail-running-shoe-review ☝️link in profile
Meanwhile, our video guru Tyler Kittock reminds (forces) us to get in front of a camera and show you the latest and greatest gear.
And all of it has to go live on deadline. Since we’re a small crew, under 10 people, we’re hustling to be the first to test gear and report news for the outdoors world. It’s nearly impossible to top news feeds if our stories aren’t among the first and most shared on the web.
As with virtually any job, it can be tedious. Quality is paramount, but we don’t have the luxury of moving at a comfortable pace. It all has to happen as quickly as possible, without missing a detail, and it has to be interesting for you, the reader.
Last Stop Before Home
The typical day winds down with edits, some product photography for reviews, and maybe a quick beer with Conrad Anker, the Packing It Out crew, or whoever else is in town.
We sort through the day’s influx of packages: a down puffy, a Victorinox watch, climbing shoes, and much more.
We’re accustomed to being the first to touch “the next big thing” before it releases. But we still laugh and tear open boxes like it’s Christmas morning.
Before winding down completely and retiring home, we’ll work problems at the local bouldering gym, tune up before an alley cat bike race, or take an icy autumn lake plunge.
Whether we’re out testing gear or just horsing around, we’re always advocating for people to play outside.
And as the sun dips down on a red horizon and the streetlights and bar signs flicker to life, we gear up to do it all over again.
–This article is sponsored by Victorinox. Check out the products we used here.