The streets of New York City buzz with anticipation and a frenzied hurriedness. People crowd the streets and hustle to work. Among the crowd is Texas-raised, SMU alumnus Meredith Carey.
Carey graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Spanish. She currently works as the Assistant Digital Editor for Condé Nast Traveler, a multimedia company renowned for its high-quality content and international presence. Carey is a jack of all trades, with many different interests and skills.
“When I was a sophomore in high school…I always thought I was going to be an engineer,” Carey said. “I was really good at math, even though it’s every journalist’s Achilles’ heel.”
Carey credits her shift in interests to her former English teacher, Tyneeta Canonge. During Carey’s sophomore year at Parish Episcopal School, Canonge convinced her to take a journalism class in order to improve her writing.
“I credit a lot of who I am to [her],” Carey said. “I was really surprised with how much I loved talking to people and hearing their stories.”
Canonge was impressed by Carey’s writing skills and strong voice, but she also pushed her to do her best.
“I was a bit critical,” Canonge said with a laugh. “Her skills needed to be tweaked a little bit, but I think she took this as a challenge and wanted to rise to the occasion and do better. [Carey] is a natural leader and someone who wanted to make an impact on the world.”
While attending SMU, Carey was able to blend her love of math with her new-found passion for writing by adding a math minor to her degree. Her dedication to her writing, however, was unwavering. Her commitment and enthusiasm for journalism earned her the Meadow’s Outstanding Achievement in Print Journalism Award in 2015, an award given to outstanding Meadows students. Her achievements as a writer allowed her to write for publications like Southwest: The Magazine, the New York Observer and D Magazine.
Upon her graduation, Carey made the decision to move to New York City despite having no real job offers on the table. She lived with her uncle, who had a permanent residence in New York, and slowly began to build her network. It wasn’t easy at first.
“I lived unemployed [in New York] for about 3 months,” Carey said. “I spent the first month and a half on my computer in my pajamas and applying to jobs online.”
Carey knew that in order to build her network, she would need to meet with as many people as possible. She said she exhausted what little resources she had to build a chain of people. She even resorted to social media outlets to reach out.
“I started randomly tweeting at people and calling people,” Carey said. “I was asking my [parents’] friends if they knew anyone in any media industry in New York. I went out to coffee all the time just to talk to people…I was so well caffeinated at that time in my life.”
Carey’s coffee shop set-ups eventually landed her in front of an estranged friend of a friend that was able to connect her with Condé Nast. Soon afterwards, Carey became the Editorial Assistant of Condé Nast Traveler, the entry level position to her current job title.
“Nothing worked out the way I thought it was going to,” Carey said.
Carey transitioned into her current role as Assistant Digital Editor nearly seven months ago and took on a host of new responsibilities. She currently manages the morning news on the Condé Nast website as well as produces and hosts two podcasts: Travelogue and Women Who Travel. Her work has taken her to various destinations over the years.
“I go all over the place,” Carey said. “I went to Argentina for 48 hours to visit wineries, I went to Albuquerque for [a] hot air balloon festival and I covered Air BnB in California. I went to London and Scotland… and in the course of eight days I stayed in six hotels.”
For Carey, the work never stops.
“It sounds really cool, but it’s also exhausting,” Carey laughed.
Carey recently helped relaunch the Condé Nast website and is currently editing city guides for cities like Austin and Nashville. She is planning a trip to Austin to see old friends, but not-surprisingly, will be heading to the city early so that she can continue her work. This is yet another example of Carey’s work ethic. Even though Carey looks forward to her upcoming projects, she doesn’t forget her valuable experiences at SMU.
She gives SMU students this advice: “Network your face off. Every person you meet is a person who can potentially take your career to a whole new level. Always treat people well and keep in touch with people and professors.”
Carey’s journey serves as an inspiration point for hopeful journalists. Whether she’s writing for online publications or hosting a podcast, it’s clear to see Carey feels right at home in the swarming streets and hectic lifestyle of New York City.