Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There is No Place Like Home (Well, Except Maybe New York) 

This is it, my friends. My last post! I’m headed home to North Carolina with my suitcase full of knock-off bags and jewelry, a laptop full of notes, and an address book full of contacts. While I can’t say it’s been easy (if you’ve been a loyal reader, you’ll know that all the research and fact checking definitely has NOT been easy), it has been the best summer! The experience I’ve gained at this magazine is priceless, and I’m so grateful to the editors for giving me a chance.

Last February, on a whim, I applied to a few big name magazines. Never imagining I’d actually get one, I also applied to a few in NC. Miraculously, I got a call back from New York. So I packed my bags, kissed my momma goodbye, dumped that loser boyfriend, and hoped on that plane, not looking back!

The only advice I have for you is to take a chance. Don’t sit back waiting for the big names to come to you. There is no reason that you can’t be sitting in my cute little cubicle next summer. (With some luck, maybe you’ll see me ruling the city as a very powerful, super awesome editorial assistant!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Note From the Outside World

My internship may be over, but my work for the magazine is not yet done: I have articles to write and e-mails to check. I’m still receiving e-mails from events I attended or from company representatives wanting to know if I can help feature their product. I feel awkward replying, “Sorry, I was just an intern” when I spent the whole summer trying to give off the impression of being a full-time staffer. I forward or delete most of the e-mails, but it’s still fun to open my inbox every few days and see what I’ve got!

My big project from home is working on my articles. I was able to do the interviews for my remaining two articles in the beginning of my first week home. The more challenging task was writing the articles.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On My Love for School 

Hello there Edsters,

This is it, my last summer as a student is officially done with. How did I grow up so fast? How am I, all of a sudden, this enormous being? With two decades (decades!) of life experience?
With the end of the summer comes the beginning of the school year. Oh, how I love this scent in the air. Staples is rushing to get in the newest Five Star notebook, Bic’s producing an infinite amount of pens, and Apple is, once again, selling out of iMacs thanks to their student discounts. I know. I’m a geek. But it’s in my blood; I can’t do anything about it. I like to embrace the feeling. Given that this will be my last “first day of school,” I decided to dedicate this post to higher education.

After spending the summer working full-time, I realized how little I actually treasured my education. I always dreamed of working like a grown-up, with real responsibilities, and no homework. But, let me tell you, that kind of life isn’t too much fun. You’re always tired, you feel fat because of all the sitting down, you actually do get bored at times, and, most importantly, you don’t feel special anymore.

As a student, I always felt like I was this extraordinary being.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

There are few nicer and more heartfelt things than a little piece of handwritten card stock, especially in the hyper-digital world we live in. I’ve gotten internships and jobs before simply because I sent post-interview thank yous. So I’m definitely planning on doing the same to wrap up my internship at The Mag, as well as the one I’ve been doing at The Radio Station.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to say to all of my bosses in the notes I write in the next couple of weeks. There have been a few people I’ve gotten to work with who I can truly say have helped shape my career in some way. I’m going to look back on the examples they set and the things they taught me for years -- I’ve gotten so much value out of just being able to watch talented journalists and editors at work, and I’m totally going to keep that in mind should I even be in a position to have an intern some day. Though I’ve grumbled about the hard work I’ve had to do for no pay, I’ve definitely gained something, and there are definitely thank yous in order.

What about you, edsters? Are you buying some pretty stationery and writing out thank yous? What do you do to finish off an internship right?

City Intern

Monday, August 23, 2010

Adios, New York! I’ll be back! 

So Edsters, this is my last week in New York! I’ve already written up a calendar of my last week.

Sunday: Shopping in Soho
Monday: Drinks with my friends
Tuesday: See La Cage au Folles
Wednesday: Cheap manicure/pedicure, before I return home and pay a fortune
Thursday: See Promises, Promises
Friday: Broadway in Bryant Park, buy presents for loved ones and pack

I’m sure you’ll see me flying down the street, trying to make the curtain call for a show. Or maybe haggling over the price of a knock-off Tiffani’s ring in Chinatown (which you can get for the amazing price of $10! It hasn’t even turned my finger green yet).

Leaving New York City is going to be pretty difficult.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It’s the End of the Real World As I Know It

I never thought 10 weeks could pass so quickly. After just a little over two months, my internship at the magazine is over. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I won’t be waking up nice and early(ish) Monday morning and heading to the office. I am looking forward to taking some time to relax before school starts up again, but it will be hard going back to being a normal college student instead of living the life of a confident, sophisticated magazine editor.

My last week at the magazine was very uneventful — sadly, there were no events for me to go to, as well as not much work to be done. The intern that left earlier in the summer came back, so we split the tasks we were assigned and made use of our downtime. I mentioned last week that I was given three articles to write, and I was hoping to have most of them finished or in-progress before I left. I was only able to get one done, which is still a good start. I’m getting a very well rounded magazine experience — now I’ll know what it’s like to do freelancing from home!

The week flew by, and suddenly it was my last day. The editor that hired me and that I’ve worked closely with was out sick, but most of the other staff members were there. I brought in cupcakes as a thank you gift that was very well received! Two of the editors gave me gifts in return — a bag of goodies with an exceptionally nice note thanking me for my work and a gift card.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On Writing Well 

Writing is interesting. It is one of the few things that I can think of that are dependent on something else; no matter how great of a writer you are, you need to master what you’re writing about. It is not enough to know how to spell correctly, how to arouse sentiments in your readers, and how to use proper verbs and nouns. Writing is about so much more. You truly need to become one with the subject you’re writing about. Be it a profile about an emerging artist, a report on the latest Iraq related information, a review about the newest restaurant, or even a novel – you need to know about it in order to write about it.

I think that’s what has always intrigued me about the whole thing. Not only must I be good at exposing my ideas, but I need to be well-educated about them. I, personally, would love to write about culture. The fact that I am interested in all that’s always and endlessly happening in this modern culture of ours makes things easier. I actually enjoy reading about books, and movies, and art. As I read about it, my knowledge grows, and writing about it just seems so much easier.

Being a writer is so much more than stringing words together in a suitable fashion. Being a writer is everything all at once.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Exit Interview

At my other internship (at a talk radio station here in Mystery City, USA) we often do what are called exit interviews — one-on-one conversations with a politician or local figure leaving their position, or even the city. As I get ready to pack up my things and say goodbye to my cubicle at The Mag, I figure now is as good a time as any for my own little exit interview.

SUAVE HOST: Today on the show we have City Mag Intern from the Editorial Department of Big City Magazine and Blogger Extraordinaire from Ed2010, who is saying goodbye to a life of fact-checking, researching and pitching like a madwoman for a brief vacation and a return to Communication College to finish up her degree. Thanks for being here, City Mag Intern.

CITY MAG INTERN: Pleasure to be here, Suave Host.

SH: So, City Mag Intern, how does it feel to be leaving the Intern Den?

CMI: Well, I definitely have mixed feelings about leaving. I’ve learned a lot about how a local city mag runs, but there are a lot of things I still want to learn that unfortunately, I didn’t get to. I guess that’s always how it is with an internship — you get to do a lot of what you don’t expect, but what you do learn is incredibly valuable.

SH: Would you care to expand on that? What didn’t you learn that you wanted to?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Dreaded Phone Interview

The telephone. That piece of technology, while useful and convenient, is the bane of my existence. Due to my extraordinary fact checking skills, I am on the phone most of the day, calling to verify information, have things sent to us, or getting permission to use their own facts. But due to my not-so-extraordinary phone manners, I usually end up having a conversation like this:

Me: Hello, this is Edit Intern from a really awesome magazine.
(I do have that part down…)

Me: I have…um a uh… question for your fact checking, I mean public relations, I mean media relations… Do you know what I mean?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fight For Your Right to Write

I’ll start with what will probably be the highlight of my internship: I’m writing three articles for the magazine! I still can’t fathom that people all over the country will see my name and read my writing. I’m incredibly happy that I have this opportunity — but it’s not going to be easy to pull off.

I found out I was writing these articles the second-to-last week of my internship. That gives me only eight days to work on the articles from the office. I can always work from home and send the articles by e-mail, but it would be nice to leave the internship with everything completed.

Since the timing is so rushed, I got to work as soon as I found out the topics of the articles. The first step was contacting experts that could contribute to each piece. I e-mailed three people, one for each article. One expert said yes right away, while the other two forwarded my e-mail to a few different people. As of now, the end of my second-to-last week, I have one interview completed, one interview scheduled — and the other is up in the air. The people I’ve contacted for that article are foreign and are traveling, so it’s been difficult to confirm that they can answer my questions. I’m hoping they will send me responses next week, but I may be writing that article from home.

Ah yes, actually writing the articles. Since my words will be featured in the magazine, I really want to write professional, informative pieces.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How To Deal When Your Fellow Intern Gets Hired

While waiting for the subway on the way to work this morning, I bumped into one of my co-interns. While eating lunch in the lounge a couple of weeks ago, we started talking and became friendly. We found out that we had both been working at the same major magazine in the past, even though at different times.

While chatting away at the expense of the morning sanity of our fellow commuters, she mentioned that she actually got hired as an Editor! I truly was excited for her, considering she’s been interning since she graduated more than a year ago – for no money. She’s a smart and very nice girl, and she really deserves it.

I’m not going to lie, I did get a little jealous. I wouldn’t necessarily call it jealousy; it was more like an anxiety attack. I settled down, started thinking rationally, and I realized that I am doing everything right. I’ve had innumerable internships (half of which were actually paid), I’m almost done with one of the best Journalism programs in the country, I actually have a job right now, and I have seen my name in print multiple times. After the first panic-stricken ten minutes, my turbo intern capabilities kicked in. I got to work, and did absolutely fabulously. Full-time job applications, you will be crushed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Beginning of The End

It was an eventful week over here at The Mag — literally.

The biggest event of the year, the launch party for our Best Of issue, was this past week, and let me tell you, it was seriously swanky. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that the guest list was a who’s-who of politicians, restauranteurs, entrepreneurs, and local celebs, the food was catered by the city’s best (duh), and the views were incredible. It was also sweltering out, but the whole thing was so cool it didn’t even matter.

Though my fellow interns and I spent most of the night working — checking guests in, promoting the party’s various sponsors, and handing out hundreds and hundreds of gift bags — we still managed to have some fun. It was so cool to meet all the winners and see all the hard work we did fact-checking and researching pay off.

As for me, I’m getting ready to head off on a much-needed family vacation for the next couple of weeks, so this may be one of my last dispatches from the inside. Working 9-to-5 day in and day out has been tiring at times (and definitely did not produce as good a tan as my old summer job), but I’ve learnt more about what goes into city magazines than I have in my past three years as a journalism major...though those three years definitely helped!

How about you, edsters – how do you feel about wrapping up your internships? What did you learn? Love? Hate? Let me know in the comments.

Much love,

City Mag Intern

Monday, August 9, 2010

What to do When The Other Intern Gets All The Cool Work

One of the downsides of actually liking your co-interns is that you can’t hate them for getting cool jobs. Our entertainment editorial assistant is leaving soon, and of course, Intern 1 gets to sit at her desk next week and “do her job.” I wish I could bitch about her in this blog, but all I can say is, “You go, girl!”

A few weeks ago, my associate editor gave me more fact checking work. This is the same job I have been working on since my first week here in May. I will be so relieved and excited to finally see this story in print! This time, I’m working on the web version. Associate Editor told me it wasn’t due for a few weeks, so I’ve been putting it off, and now I’m scrambling! I have to update this copy with the info I found for the print copy, then check the new info. It’s a little easier this time around. The research department isn’t as strict for the web, but it’s still taking me forever.

While chatting at the coffee machine, Associate Editor apologized for giving me all the fact checking work (Intern 1 and 2 rarely get big fact checking jobs). She said “When we find something you’re really good at, we just stick it with you! You know the drill and we trust you.”

Yes, fellow Edsters, you heard correctly. My bosses TRUST me and think I am an excellent fact checker. Hmm, maybe instead of writing, I’ll join the research department… Nah.

The end of the summer is almost here! Be sure to seize all those opportunities before it’s too late, and you’re driving home to NC with three young cousins, beach chairs, and your overstuffed suitcase on your lap.

Does anyone else have fun summer vacays planned? Or know a fellow intern who gets all the good assignments? Share your stories in the comments!

Ed's Edit Intern

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chatting My Way to the Top

Networking does not come easy to me. I am terrible at making small talk and usually end up very red and flustered or freezing up and going silent. However, as all you Edsters know, networking is key in this industry. (Hint: See Ed's Guide To Networking for tips!) One of my personal goals for this internship is to come out of my shell and not be so nervous talking to people.

The first step in networking is getting used to having informal conversations with people I don’t know. I’ve started at the basic level — making small talk with company representatives as I’m bringing them into desksides (meetings where the company pitches their product and I sit and nod my head) and PR reps at the events I go to. I’ve developed a list of safe questions to ask: How’s the weather outside? Have you been to many other meetings today? Is there a look book? Once I ask a lead-in question, it’s a lot easier to get a conversation flowing.

After becoming more comfortable chatting with people I don’t know, the next step in networking is talking to someone successful in the publishing industry. This week, I had breakfast with the vice-president of a well-known media company. I met her last month through a series of family connections and coincidences, and she generously offered to take me to breakfast at Chelsea Market. I had to wake up obscenely early to get there, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On Squeezing Your Brain and Writing

I once read in a beautifully written novel, “The Angel’s Game,” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, that the burst of inspiration that you might think characterizes true writers isn’t real. Writers, the author announces, sit down and “squeeze their brain” until their fingers bleed, and their elbows take on the shape of the table. Writers don’t think initially – they just let out all that is inside of them. It’s important to understand the hardship involved in the squeezing. Material will never magically burst out of your being, and carelessly flow onto the paper – you must force it out of you.

This week, I was supposed to interview the director of an upcoming, rather known, movie. I was in contact with his PR agency for another assignment, and his representative brought up a possible interview with him when I was done with the first project. I was obviously grateful for the opportunity and started researching my newest subject immediately. I came up with a series of questions (tip: always have more questions than you think you’ll need. You want to minimize the awkward moments of silence, which, I assure you, diminish as you practice), and set up a date and time for the phone conversation. It went pretty well, and I think I got a good interview out of him. I had to transcribe the tape, and decide which questions and answers were worth sending to my editor.

I decided to structure the piece into two categories. First, I would write a paragraph or two about the subject – and then I would include about three questions and answers. For some reason, I could not bring myself to write the introduction.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Best of the Best

Oooh, edsters — stuff is getting glam at The Mag.

Last week, two of my lucky fellow interns were helping out with our big Fall fashion shoot. I was busy building a slide show and transcribing an awesome interview (seriously, I’m so into it), but they were sweet enough to call me downstairs once they’d unpacked all the goods, and we swooned about all of the brocade and heavy wool and Louboutin boots for a solid 20 minutes — it was fashion heaven. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

This week, we’re hosting the launch party of our Best Of issue at a super-swanky, super-secret venue, which I can only imagine is going to be EPIC. All of the interns are working the party, so I’m meeting with the coordinator on Monday to go over the night and get briefed on what we’re going to be doing. I’m pretty excited to get the chance to celebrate all the work we’ve done on the issue, and I’m definitely going to pocket some of my business cards in case I hand a gift bag to someone too cool NOT to introduce myself to.

Other than that, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how fast the summer’s gone. Do you guys feel like it’s just flown by? I’m going on vacation with my fam in August, and already starting to work on getting together the magazine I manage-edit at school, AND trying to fit in some last bits of summer fun ... before we know it, it’ll be time for all that brocade and heavy wool and my last year of college before I meet the real world. Crazy.

How about you, edsters — how are your internships wrapping up? Got any glamorous tales from Magazineland? Let me know in the comments!

City Mag Intern

Monday, August 2, 2010

New York State of Mind

After being in New York for two months, I am finally getting the hang of the city. I can take the subway without getting lost, walking twenty blocks seems like nothing, and I’ve learned to plug my nose when walking by the street vendors (they are too tempting! Especially the Greek food and roasted peanuts…)

Along with these things, generally, New Yorkers hate tourists. I find myself rolling my eyes at those standing in front of a horse drawn carriage snapping pictures, or god forbid, trying to talk to me on the subway (Don’t you realize I have my earphones on for a reason?)

But this weekend, I got off my high horse, and became a tourist myself. My best friends from high school came to visit and we did every cheesy, annoying, touristy thing possible (Yes, we were those girls singing “Empire State of Mind,” walking through the park.)

The best part of the weekend was definitely the Empire State Building. It was completely worth the fifty or so dollars that we spent to make our way to the top. I’m all about being a “true New Yorker” and abhor the idea of looking like a tourist. But sometimes, you just need to let your freak flag fly and enjoy this wonderful city!

On to more important things, like my lack of a clip for the website.