An interesting situation presented itself this week. But before I explain, I should first mention that I blog outside of the magazine world — nothing serious, just a personal blog on issues that interest or infuriate me.
So this week, a pretty controversial article hit newsstands — one that (despite the magazine’s usual credentials) begs for criticism or at least an outline of how it fell short in its reporting and subject portrayal. And so while all would be perfect for an exciting and honest critique, there’s a catch: I interned with this magazine last year.
And so the dilemma: Is it job-hunting suicide to openly criticize a magazine you know you’ll one day approach for a job?
I think an obvious answer is — don’t talk about it. Don’t blog about it. And certainly don’t criticize it. When you’re looking to break into the industry, you can’t risk shooting yourself in the foot by upsetting past editors.
But many of my friends and blog followers who know my background with the magazine have asked what I think of the situation. And I guess, blogging aside, I wonder — is it ever okay for someone looking to break into an industry to point out its faults? Must we pretend all is perfect with each magazine we apply to work or intern for? Just because we’re looking for jobs — does that mean we can’t voice opinions about things we’d like to see changed or improved within the publication? Will a potential employer instantly dismiss you for having publically disapproved of one article they wrote?
And then, what if in the coming years an article I disagree with is published by my employer? When the job-hunt equation is taken away, can you openly share concerns or criticisms that you have with the magazine’s content?
Basically, I’m curious about what you think. Do we as interns or employees have to unconditionally support everything the mag we work for, have worked for, or aspire to work for publishes? Is there any way to be new but still offer new ways of thinking, without shooting yourself in the foot?
Until next time,
Your (ethically-stumped) Features Intern