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EIU 360

Making a Splash

Jessica Sedgwick took her childhood love of entertainment news and -- with the guidance of her experiences at Eastern -- became art director of Splash magazine in Chicago.


You never know what seemingly mundane aspect of your youth will end up influencing the career path you choose. For Jessica Sedgwick, it was watching famed movie reviewers Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on television.

“They got to see something and then they just got to talk about it,” remembers Sedgwick, a product of EIU’s Department of Journalism and the art director for Chicago-based Splash Magazine, a former property of the Chicago Sun-Times until its recent purchase by the Tribune Company.

“That was their job. I just remember thinking: ‘How cool is that?’”

Sedgwick says she and her friends would plan their weekends around what Siskel and Ebert said about this movie or that. “Without knowing it at the time, I think that was my introduction to entertainment journalism,” said Sedgwick. Fast-forward to today, and you see Sedgwick definitely took that ball and ran with it. Splash, as she describes, is a style and culture publication that covers parties, fashion, shopping, dining, weddings, and real estate.

“Everything is completely local,” said Sedgwick. “It’s all Chicago.”

While a look at Splash’s website reveals the occasional piece written by Sedgwick, she says her responsibilities revolve more around the actual nuts and bolts of laying out and getting the magazine ready for print.

“It’s my job to take everything we’ve planned — all of the photo shoots, all the ideas we have on how to illustrate a story — and put everything together,” said Sedgwick. “I design the magazine.

“I really enjoy taking all the pieces of the puzzle — the story, the photos — and make it come to life. To put it all on the page is a lot of fun for me.”

Sedgwick says she arrived at Eastern with no clue, no plan … and that was okay.

“Eastern helped me figure that out,” said Sedgwick. “And I came out of it with an idea of what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and headed on a path to journalism. I’m grateful to have the experience.”

And if what Sedgwick does for a living sounds appealing to you, she thinks you ought to give it a shot.

“This has to be something you feel really passionate about,” she said. “You have to really love it. You have to really want to do it. If you really want to do it and really want to be a writer or reporter or designer, then you should go for it.”

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