At College Music Journal, alumna Lizzie Plaugic writes news, album reviews

By Anna Batt

Lizzie Plaugic Photo supplied by Lizzie Plaugic
Lizzie Plaugic
Photo supplied by Lizzie Plaugic

Lizzie Plaugic, a 2012 J/MS graduate and assistant editor at The College Music Journal, knows how to turn music into words with wit and ease.

The College Music Journal (CMJ) is a music news/event/online media company that hosts a popular annual music festival, the CMJ Music Marathon. Established in 1978 as a bi-weekly magazine aimed at college radio programmers, CMJ has changed drastically throughout the years. The journal also releases a monthly mixtape of music for fans and DJ’s to download to discover new music.

As the assistant editor Plaugic is responsible for writing and editing music news, album reviews, interviews, compiling the monthly Mixtape and weekly Scene Report, organizing downloads and reviews for staff writers. She is also in charge of CMJ’s social media components like Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud.

She has worked there since May 2013.

Working for CMJ, Plaugic uses skills she learned at J/MS every day. Professors like Bruce Reynolds helped her sharpen her interviewing abilities, knowing what to say and what not to say, and developing her ability to go out and find interesting stories and write them quickly.

In her professional life, she has gotten the opportunity to go to various concerts and festivals for free, and has interviewed more than 100 bands. “Usually when I do interviews I try to make them fun,” said Plaugic. “It’s usually just someone talking to me and me laughing a lot.”

Plaugic is dedicated to covering local, lesser-known bands that would not be written about in mainstream media. “I think it’s better to interviews with lesser-known bands because they are more excited to talk to you,” she said. “With an artist like Drake, they are not really that into it, and it would be more boring.”

Before working at CMJ, Plaugic held an assistant editorial position at Nerve is an American online magazine dedicated to topics like sex, relationships and culture. She was in charge of writing feature stories, various social media projects and photo editing.

She free-lanced for Time Out New York, a print and online guide to the best events, places to go, and nightlife in New York. “I would go into the office and basically do whatever they told me to — a lot of it was fact-checking,” Plaugic recalled. “I would call places and say things like, ‘do you still sell this ice cream for $2?’”

During her time at Rutgers, Plaugic wrote for the Rutgers Review, and eventually became editor-in-chief. She was one of the creators of the column called “Potpourri” about random events going on in New Brunswick or whatever members want to write about. At the Review, she learned how to use Adobe InDesign, and learned valuable skills she uses in her job.

Plaugic lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where she said she sees famous people pretty often. The comedian Joel McHale was standing behind her in line, and she saw actor Edward Norton during CMJ Music Marathon “in a coffee place around 10 p.m. He was the only one in there, and we locked eyes. He looked he was having a rough day.”

Plaugic is currently working towards her master’s degree in Creative Writing at the New School in New York.