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Evolution of the editor’s assistant

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As the world evolves through technology and social media, so do our roles within it. Sergio Kletnoy, executive assistant to Joanna Coles, Cosmopolitan magazine, is no exception. His role as a magazine editor’s assistant is taking on new life as it moves away from “The Devil Wears Prada” stereotype to a role with more involvement within the company.

Here’s an inside look into his life and the evolution of the magazine editor’s assistant:

  • The days of “The Devil Wears Prada” are over. The role of the modern-day editor’s assistant is a welcome change from the situation documented in the book by former editor assistant Lauren Weisberger and marked by “stinging indignities” and menial tasks.
  • Financial challenges have brought change. In the face of financial challenges, magazines have been forced to endure budget cuts and operate with smaller staffs. For assistants, this has been a good thing, as editors can no longer afford to lose out on the talents of the employees they have left on staff by limiting them to menial, worthless tasks.
  • Some duties may never disappear, such as grabbing coffee, which may always be on their to-do lists.
  • New responsibilities emerge. Assis­­­tants are becoming more em­­powered because they’re from a more connected generation and have grown up with awareness of how to use computers, the Internet and social media. Modern assistants’ skills include an “understanding of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that time-stretched (and old school) magazine executives lack, and in­­creasingly they are assuming responsibility for spreading the magazine’s message, and brand, across social media,” Christine Haughney writes.

— Adapted from “The Gofer’s Expanding Portfolio,” Christine Haughney, The New York Times.

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