Catherine Hauser had a home advantage when doing a middle school writing assignment on grammar. She reviewed the homework with her parents, both trained journalists and magazine editors.
Yet Catherine was a tad dumbfounded when she didn’t ace the assignment.
“Her teacher was looking for the style rules she’d used in class, particularly for capitalization, but my wife works in The Associated Press style and I work more in Chicago style (The Chicago Manual of Style),” says Catherine’s father, Scott Hauser. “It was a good lesson for Catherine to see there are many writing styles and to understand that the conventions of writing often differ depending on what you’re writing—and for whom.”
For Catherine and her younger brother, Sam, there is no escaping family discussion about using proper English and writing. Not only are their parents editors, but also they have the same job.
Mindy Mozer is editor of RIT: The University Magazine, published three times a year with a circulation of 110,000. Scott is editor of Rochester Review, University of Rochester’s alumni magazine, published six times a year, also with a circulation of 110,000.
The couple met in 1992 when they were reporters at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Scott covered the University of Iowa and Mindy covered health, which included the medical center at the university. “Sometimes our beats would overlap and we would fight for a good story,” Mindy says. “We were very competitive.”
The family moved to Rochester in 1998 when Mindy became an editor at the Democrat and Chronicle and Scott became associate editor at UR. “I was the trailing spouse,” jokes Scott. Mindy, however, left the newspaper in 2010 and mirrored her husband’s career path when she joined Rochester Institute of Technology.
The editing duo earns a living by interviewing people. How do they hold up when they are the subjects of an article? Here are excerpts from a recent interview:
Q: What do family, friends and neighbors say when they find out that you hold the same job at different universities?
Mindy: They all laugh. The most common comment we get is that our children are set for college.
Scott: People find it funny and ironic. They say our kids will grow up to be the next editors of the other local college magazines.
Q: How often do you talk about work around the house? Do you share your ideas? Discuss problems?
Mindy: We can talk more freely about work now that I am not working at the newspaper, which covered the university. There were times when sensitive stories would come up, but we agreed not to talk about work, knowing these conflicts would come up occasionally. With my new job, I can now ask Scott for advice on a range of topics. We talk about content, design, printing issues. He’s been very helpful to me in my first year of transition as a magazine editor.
Scott: It was hard for us when the dichotomy was news and public relations. When Mindy was at the newspaper, we agreed not to talk about anything in detail. Now we can talk with more ease. She has questions because she is newer to her job. It’s nice that I can give her context and tell her what might work or give her an example of something that didn’t work.
Q: So are you now her mentor?
Scott: Oh no! Don’t say that! (chuckle)
Q: What do your children say about your work? Do they want to grow up to be writers/editors?
Mindy: Our kids have noticed that we talk about work more frequently than before. We have subscriptions to about 15 magazines – Esquire, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time… And we like to go through those magazines and share ideas. The kids will say, ‘Stop talking about magazines!’
Scott: The standing joke is that they want to do something different. Journalism is going through some difficult times, so it is difficult to say where writing and editing will be, long term. Right now, they have different interests anyway.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
Mindy: It is exciting to work at a university. I love meeting the students, who are smart and engaged. It is great to work on a campus that is growing. There are so many interesting stories to tell. What’s not to like about being an alumni magazine editor?
Scott: Universities are great places to work. We have the benefit of discovering interesting people and things to write about. We get to tell their stories. Our magazines share similar missions. They both try to reflect the spirit and personality of our universities. We fundamentally share connections with our readers and keep them informed and associated with two great universities.
Q: You are both from the Midwest and now you have made Rochester your home. What do you enjoy about Rochester?
Mindy: Rochester is similar to the Midwest. It is family-oriented and people are friendly. There is so much to do here and the schools are good. Rochester has become home.
Scott: Rochester has a lot of opportunities to do things, especially outdoors. You don’t have to drive far to ski in the winter or kayak or bike in the summer. Lots of world-class cultural opportunities. We have a range of things to do here and it’s all close.
Q: Journalists are competitive people. Do you see yourselves as rivals and/or at rival schools?
Scott: No, not at all. We both work at great institutions. And besides, in sports, RIT doesn’t have football and we don’t have hockey.
Mindy: We don’t see it as a rivalry. The schools are so different. The stories are unique to each school and that is what makes it special. Maybe a rivalry will develop when RIT sports joins UR in the Liberty League this year. We do have a rivalry with our alma maters. They play in football this fall, Nebraska (Mindy) vs. Iowa (Scott). Go Big Red!
RIT editor’s note: Sorry Scott, we had to give Mindy the last word.
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