I’m fresh out of college now and trying to find gainful employment of some sort that isn’t a soul-crushing SEO job. Would you be able to direct me toward any publications or websites that might consider recent grads? I generally enjoy weird cultural stories (e.g., most of the stuff in The Believer, that David Foster Wallace essay about the pornography-industry awards, essays in general), but I’m flexible. I’d love to find a writing/editing job at a cultural- or literary-leaning magazine and then build contacts so I could eventually freelance and then — even further down the line — write fiction full time.
My best advice is to get an entry-level job, any entry-level job—yeah, maybe even an SEO job. I know very very few people who were able to land a paid gig at a publication they loved, right out of school. Don’t be too picky and try to see the best in the each listing you see. Beyond MediaBistro or JounralismJobs, I’d look for job listings on the individual websites of publications you do read. Also, work whatever connections you already have to learn about more promising opportunities. The point is to get a job and start getting paid, and then you can worry about your side hustle. Which in your case will be freelancing and/or blogging on your own site the sort of quirky cultural stuff you want someone to (eventually) pay you to write and edit.
I know that’s not a link to a magical website with lots of entry-level jobs, but it’s the best advice I’ve got for you. Don’t dismiss the jobs you see out of hand. Editors care about what you produce, not about what you were paid to produce. So if you can be on autopilot while learning about SEO or writing tweets—skills that aren’t going to hurt you in the future—and save some energy to write good stuff or pitch freelance articles after hours, I think that’s a totally reasonable first step.