Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Difference Between Style and Style

As much reading as I’ve been doing about where to eat, shop and save in the city, I’ve also been trying to keep myself fresh for my many intern tasks. While I haven’t started work yet, I have been in contact with my boss, who’s told me that my tasks will be as various as writing short pieces for the magazine (in print and online, of course) going with editors on market appointments and to trade shows, and maybe (hopefully!) a little work in the fashion closet.

I know that there will probably be a lot of things outside of these tasks that I’ll be asked to do – in fact, I’m expecting it. Coffee runs, stuffing envelopes and cataloguing outfits will likely be a regular part of my life. But I am pretty glad to know at least a few of my everyday tasks in advance so that I can prepare for them as best as I can.

For example, I’ve been brushing up on my grammar and usage rules. I nearly jumped for joy when I found out that the publication I’ll be working for uses Associated Press style – AP has been in my training as a journalist since day one, so I’m pretty confident that I won’t invoke the ire of any copy editors when I start filing stories. But it’s always useful to know certain stuff, like the difference between rebut and refute (which, as it happens, is pretty significant), and when something should be hyphenated or abbreviated.

In addition to that, I’m working on building up and diversifying my interviewing skills. I’ve done quite a few in my time, but most of them have been pretty lengthy and intense. A 50-word clip about a new line of accessories isn’t going to require a 30-minute interview, so I’m going to have to learn quickly how to get as much vital information from an interviewee in as little time as possible. This has been happening mostly through conversations with friends, so I hope I don’t drag things out too long when it happens in real life.

Between economizing words both spoken and written, trying to make sure I have everything I need in my bags, and trying to learn as much about New York as possible, I’ve got enough on my plate until next Monday, when all of my preparation will come together on my first day.

Just a tip: If you’re following the AP rules, too, see if your office has an online subscription to the style guide. It’ll save a lot of time and energy normally wasted on flipping through hundreds of pages of information trying to decide if you should use toward or towards (two points if you can get that one right without looking it up!).

I know some of this stuff may seem a little obvious, but if you worry about the little things before you start working, they won’t be a problem by the time you do.

Have a great night interns! More tomorrow. 

- Trade Intern

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