Media Specialist and Publisher Talks Design
By Rob Lawson
I am the media specialist and publisher behind Lawson Media & Publishing. Working in this industry in today's global economic climate is a bit like trying to be a rock or rap music legend. You have to hustle!
I have spent more than a decade working in media. I started my first professional gig as an intern by 18 years old at a recording studio and independent media company called No Alternative Media. No Alternative Media was located at Two Fish Recording Studios in Minnesota (R.I.P. Wes Schuck) and Moving Records. The company also ran Static Magazine. After spending time writing for two college newspapers, then moving on to edit the Minnesota State University, Mankato newsletter, I landed my first tech job at Affiliated Computer Services, where I was a technical support agent for NWA.com (the airline, not the rap group with Dr. Dre and Eazy-E). These were the earliest days of my career in media.
By my 20s, I had started to grind more and more, working jobs at restaurants while freelancing for newspapers, magazines, websites, newsletters and others. I did promotional work for bands and artists in Minnesota. I also recorded them from time to time. I spent a summer internship at Southwest Media, where I worked on digital media and print media. It was getting close to graduation time, but I was short one credit, in my major and needed to stay a full-time student, so I developed a course curriculum for an independent study class we called "Digital Journalism" that involved taking three separate classes in web development at Riverland Community College. I submitted my final project as a news website, coded and designed by yours truly. My thoughts were always the same: I want to be a media entrepreneur. I ran a mobile entertainment business in college as well, and I loved it! I kept working on design in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator and InDesign for fun and for starting the process of creating the vision that you see today. I also continued to write.
By 22, I started my first real job in Roswell, New Mexico as a crime reporter in this close-to-the-border city. I no longer needed to grind it out at factories or in restaurants. I continued to freelance even while working full time at the paper. The economy in the U.S. sunk into the recession and many lost their jobs where I worked. I left, then continued to freelance while in Minnesota and working again in restaurants. Digital workloads began to grow noticeably, then fate sent me back to the print industry working for another newspaper publisher, this time running my own in a rural community. I handled all aspects of running this newspaper as the editor. Then I finally realized that my heart was in freelancing and entrepreneurship, and I wanted to more fully utilize digital media and explore my other interests. I was 26 when I started LMP.
My experience with so many facets of media brought me to starting a creative and technical agency under my own name, but the truth is I work with a lot of people from all over the world. When I started I ran a print/digital magazine out of my apartment. Now I am publishing several different digital publications and contract my media services in print, web, mobile, events, social media and multimedia including audio/video for various industries including news/information, transportation, technology and several others. I have long been leveraging relationships with other agencies, referrals, my own network and freelancing websites to engage with customers and partners. I am attracted to a new site now called Toptal and the Toptal Design Community, as it was recommended as one of the 15 best freelance sites by Entrepreneur. The site looks promising and certainly seems to focus on quality, a cornerstone of my career.
I have contracted with companies and organizations large and small including IBM Midsize Insider (now PivotPoint), Popular Mechanics (Hearst), United Way Worldwide, Western Digital, Best Buy, Thomson Reuters, StubHub and several others. I ran my own event venue called Mankato Event Center. I manage more than a dozen social media accounts, websites, newsletters and other projects. I also work with ecommerce. I am glad to help with any kind of project any way I can. I love to write. I love to design. And I can meet deadlines.