Would you like St. Petersburg to be In Your Pocket?
by Angelina Saule
After securing a Professional Writing and Editing qualification under her belt, and moments of serendipity in St. Petersburg, Jennifer Fell filled us in about her job as editor of the popular visitor's guide, In Your Pocket.
For anybody that comes to St. Petersburg for the first time, IYP cements all the cracks of knowledge together…..it's not the usual gushy travel tip lit about well-known sights; it also sets the record straight about day to day things that prove to be overwhelmingly difficult for foreigners when they first arrive here.
However, it's proved to be more than a guide: as expats and even Russians use it to keep up to date with all the latest openings, concerts and goss circulating the city.
"We promote St. Petersburg in a truthful way, while trying to be fair…..What we are trying to do is make the best guide, so that if anyone comes to the city who may not speaking any Russian can enjoy the city, do anything they want, and find out all the information from our guide. If they are going to buy a train ticket they should know that it's going to be hell. And, if they don't want to do these things [like deal with ticket sellers! -Ed], then they can pay an agency to do it for them. At least, they know what to expect".
The St. Petersburg IYP is the only Russian city that is covered by this worldwide series. It was begun in St. Petersburg by Charles Hoedt and Bonnie van der Velde four years ago and the guide is completely self-reliant through advertising. There have regular clients who are happy with their advertisements, and the fruits they bear, proving to be a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Hence, Jenn's team collects info gradually. The staff of eight are dependent on word-of-mouth, reviews, and of course, press releases. Generally, not all the info can always be trusted - the internet is especially suspect in this regard. But, Jennifer notes that her staff aren't stay at-home people anyway, which means that a lot of info comes straight from the horse's mouth.
Down to earth, Jen is nonchalant about her position, which allows her to utilise her skills, while giving herself over to the city. The act of writing and editing in a foreign place also stimulates the process: preparations for a Moscow IYP are also underway, as well as for the desire to plan ahead. Although this desire can't always be fulfilled (as relying upon press releases to arrive prior to publication for the following month can be frustrating, and sometimes miss out on publicizing certain events), Jen takes it all in her stride.
"I can't imagine that I would get excited writing about a potato festival in Australia…the fact that it's Russia is much more interesting. Even if I wasn't an editor now, I'd write about Russia and send it to other countries…the fact that things change everyday, that time is so different here…there seems to be more possibilities here…."
In Your Pocket is available online, as well as in hardcopy from different outlets.
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