Monday, October 25, 2010

Does Taking a Paycheck Come at a Price?

Hey fellow Edsters!

So I have another dilemma that I’d love your feedback on — an “intern code of ethics dilemma,” if you will. Basically, a friend of mine graduated two years ago with a spiffy undergrad journalism degree from a big-time university. And so, for the last 16 months, she’s been on the hunt for a magazine job — in her ideal case, with a fashion publication. But with the difficulties of the current job market, she didn’t have much luck and ended up working at a couple New York magazines as an unpaid editorial intern. Most recently, she accepted a 4-month fall internship at a really awesome mag — one she’s always wanted to work for full-time in the future.

But here’s the catch, while interning, she continued her job hunt, and just a few weeks into her internship, she was offered a full-time EA position at a competing magazine. And of course, she took the job.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Intern's Survival Guide

Hey fellow Edsters!

So here’s the scenario: an editor swings by your desk or shoots you a quick email, needing contact information for a specific person ASAP!! Any means of communication will do, but he needs it pronto! So what do you do? Let’s try to tackle this one head-on.

Use Your Office Resources. While you won’t often be looking for a celebrity or dignitary, if it’s ever someone you know the magazine has some sort of contact with, check in with the appropriate editors to see if they have the info on-hand. This may mean “crossing department boundaries” into the Special Projects, PR or Fashion departments, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

For someone less notable, Google is (surprise, surprise) always a good place to start. While you probably won’t find all the direct contact info here, it’s a great place for background info on your subject, hopefully offering their profession, employer or agent, location and any past coverage that they’ve received. If you’re super lucky, this could also lead you to a direct professional website that should have a phone number, email link and physical address all listed for you. Score! But who are we kidding? It’s rarely that easy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

5 Tips on Pitching Magazine Stories

Hey fellow Edsters!

Another day at the magazine, another few lessons in pitching story ideas! Basically today, one of the EAs asked us to help her pitch story ideas for the “news-y” section of the January Issue. While she prefaced that it was rare for interns to write for the print edition of The Mag so early on, she did say that if our ideas impressed the Editor-At-Large, we’d have a shot. Too cool, right!?

And so the heat was on, and for the entire day I sifted through almost every newspaper website (both American and international) on the hunt for the best ideas ever. Ha. Wayyyy easier said than done. Especially when pitching for print, which (unlike a quick web story) would need to be relevant, interesting and totally new — 3 months from now!! Ugh.

So I started up a list of ideas that I thought were interesting and after four or five hours of researching, I met with my editor, enthusiastic about what I’d found and hoping for the best.

So here’s some advice for pitching story ideas that I gathered today:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Feeling the Competition

Hey fellow Edsters!

So last time I blogged to you from cloud nine, totally enthusiastic about the future of magazines and their digital platforms. But reality checked back in today when I found that my fellow intern was working on her second web clip! Just three weeks into the internship! And worst of all, they were both ideas she had pitched herself! (Okay, fine, that’s actually fantastic news, but I just realized that I need to step up my game and start pitching my own ideas!)

I want to preface that I really like my co-intern. I think we work super well together and have taught each other a lot over the course of the last few weeks, plus she’s a hysterical — we actually laugh all day. But sometimes, she absolutely baffles me. She sits at her desk doing homework or checking Facebook, and yet somehow she’s racking up all these clips! I just didn’t get it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Best. Assignment. Ever

Hi fellow Edsters!

Damn it feels good to be an intern! Especially right now. With technology becoming ever more entwined in print, many people are predicting the death of magazines — but I couldn’t disagree more! I really believe the magazine industry is one that benefits from cross-platform branding (how else do you explain all those reality TV shows with magazine staffers? The Hills? Project Runway?) Plus, magazines want people to be thinking positively about their brand and advertisers as often as possible (again, think Vogue’s recent Fashion Night Out and Seventeen’s spin-off Seventeen on 34th). Because at the end of the day, all the positive branding reminds people how much they love the magazine and want to be one of the awesome readers themselves (you know deep-down you’re a Cosmo Girl, too!).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Intern Dilemma - To Snitch or Not to Snitch?

Hey there fellow Edsters!

So last time I discussed how important it was to try to get along with your fellow interns and hopefully work together to get work done ASAP. And I absolutely still believe this to be the best method — you’ll leave the editors with a good sense that you’re a team player, efficient with your time, and an enthusiastic, friendly face to have in the office.

But just because you befriend the other interns, doesn’t mean the competition isn’t still on: we all know it’s a tough industry we’re trying to break into, and that every contact is super valuable — so no matter what, we’re all still trying to impress the boss.

As for me, I’ve quickly become friends with my fellow intern. We help each other out (having to figure out a pressing toner issue on the copy machine is so much more stressful than you’d think!) and grab lunch together on our breaks. We also have plans to go see Easy A next week after work, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

So here’s where things get tricky:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why You Should Befriend Your Fellow Interns

Hey fellow Edsters!

Week two at The Mag was really great (and super busy)! With projects coming in left and right, I was thrilled to have another editorial intern in the office with me (even if it’s only one day a week), but she’s great! We’re definitely in the same boat — a few internships under our belts, graduation quickly approaching, a serious love for traveling and sushi, and high hopes for our internships at The Mag.

But too often I’ve heard of people that rarely speak with their fellow interns. They approach an internship like a competition: everyone is super-competitive and out for themselves, hoping to best impress the boss and get the most exciting tasks or clips. And it’s a solid mentality, right? Every man for himself and may the best man win.

But that’s really not my style and I truly don’t think it’s the best way to approach any situation. (Honestly, when does that girl on reality TV— you know, the one who says, “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to win?”—ever win?!).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day One Went Off Without a Hitch

Hey there fellow Edsters!

So I made it out of day one alive! Whew! And better than that, now I get to spill all the deets!

I will admit that I tried on four (okay fine, seven) different outfits before heading out the door and that I splurged on a $15 cab ride, for fear of being gross and sweaty had I taken the subway (which honestly inflicted more stress than it saved because NYC traffic at 8:30 am SUCKS!) but nonetheless, I arrived on time — hair and eyeliner still in place — and walked confidently through the rotating front doors, huge smile on my face, and ready to go!

Boy is it exciting to arrive and be welcomed into a new office! And all the usual bases were covered. I was given the office tour (umm, hellooo fashion closet!), introduced to most of the editorial staff (including the fabulous EIC!!), shown to my own (pretty spiffy) desk, introduced to my fellow interns, and walked through a list of basic tasks, expectations and ways to be a rock-star intern.

So, I figured I’d share some of these pearls of wisdom with you.