Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Are Transcriptions So Tedious and Time-Consuming?

On a daily basis, staffers circle the office pool like stealthy sharks, hunting for naive prey.  It’s almost as if they can detect the scent of weakness or inactivity. Once they hone in on a target, there’s no hope for the intern; it’s do or die. The cruel, agonizing ritual continues unabated until the victim is left at the end of the day mentally and physically drained.

What is this horrible practice?

Transcribing:  the bane of my existence.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The 3 Rules of a Successful Pitch

Lots of great news coming your way this week, Edsters! Remember when I promised I would make a pitch this week? Mission accomplished.

A relatively slow week meant that the other interns and I had plenty of time to surf the web at work. Since I’m interning at a regional mag, there’s a list of about 10 city blogs that I frequent to keep up to speed with news and events. When I noticed that the opening of a new shop kept appearing on a lot of the sites I was reading, I realized it would fit in pretty well with our magazine. So I calmed my nerves and wrote up an e-mail to my editors. What should a pitch include, you ask?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Am I A Useless Intern?

Hey Edsters!

So I've got kind of a whammy of a question for you all... what are you supposed to do when you feel like your job is useless?

This past week marks a month at the Lifestyle mag, and while I've been having a good time and I'm happy to have the experience of working for them (let's face it, I'm happy for an internship in general), I couldn't help but think this week that I felt like I was hired out of obligation. I've been given a couple of great assignments so far, but aside from one or two things that have made me feel worthwhile, I mostly feel like a bother to editors when I ask them if they need help with anything.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that I was beginning to feel slightly useless, so I began to reevaluate how I wanted my internship experience to go. I came to the realization that all internships are not created equal. Some may have a strict program with guidelines to follow that will keep you busy every minute of the day, while some of them may just keep you around for those moments when they need an extra set of hands to help out. There are also some where there's simply not much work for you to do, so how do you ensure yourself a quality working and learning experience when you're thrown into an unexpected scenario of how your job was going to play out?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To Pitch Or Not To Pitch During Your First Week?

It's so strange that I've only been at the magazine for one week. By the end of my first day, I was so deep into several different editorial projects that I felt like I had been working there for months.

I was immediately at ease, mostly because I had to be. I think that was the best way to adjust, though. I don't know about y'all, but I have a tendency to overanalyze everything when I'm in a new environment. Email signatures, for example. Will it dramatically alter the course of my career if I say "sincerely" instead of "best?" Probably not, but don't try to tell me that when I first start a new job. This time around, there was no time for that insanity with so much reporting and writing on my plate.

The thing is, I think there might be a danger in feeling so comfortable.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Inside Scoop On Photo Shoots

Since I've had the privilege of living in New York and interning since January, I've had the opportunity to make some very valuable contacts. These people have opened several different doors in the fashion world for me to get my feet wet and try new things; one of them involves being an assistant stylist.

Out of the several tedious intern tasks I've done, I have had the chance to go on photo shoots—a lot.

As a fashion intern at a fashion magazine, there are always shoots constantly going on and they're constantly sending interns to go on them. The first time I ever went on a photo shoot, I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. Well, have no fear, Edsters. I'm here to give you a quick taste of life on set of a magazine photo shoot.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My First Real High-Profile Interview

At first, I was excited to be enlisted for a writing assignment that would be printed in the magazine.  I brainstormed a list of entertainment ideas. But with such a wide plethora of topics to choose from, I didn’t know which one to choose. My editor suggested I focus on a couple of popular shows with great moments in television history. I thought I had plenty of time to decide, but then he reminded me that I needed to get started right away due to the long process that went beyond the actual writing component:  
requesting a photo from the art department and having it vetted by three separate editors in charge of the final look of the page.

I finally settled on a popular cable show that I could write a short yet meaningful piece on; the show was close to my heart since I had watched it through most of adolescence and identified with the protagonists. I even managed to find a compelling photo (with the help of one of my fellow interns)  with a review of the show. Then, my editor encouraged me to take the next step and utilize one of his contacts in order to get quotes for the story. Amazed, I called the individual, who directed me to email someone else before I was able to get a hold of the right person to set up an interview. While I waited for a response, I penned my first draft and emailed it to my editor before I left for the day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dreaming of Bylines

Many of you are probably interested in magazine journalism because you want to write. That was definitely a big reason why I wanted to get into the industry. Three weeks into my internship, though, I haven’t really gotten the chance to show off what I can do. I was a little discouraged this week when I found out that another intern had gotten the chance to cover an event. I hate to sound like I’m whining, Edsters, but I’m really itching to get that byline!

I spent last summer working at my local paper, and I got to write a story pretty much every day. I was just like a regular staff reporter, and I got used to seeing my work in the paper a few times a week. Bylines at the Mag, though, have been a little harder to come by. It’s interesting to see the differences between the way newspapers and magazines work, but it’s also been a challenge getting used to the change of pace.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How Do You Deal With Competitive Interns?

Hey Edsters! 

Things are still going well at the Lifestyle Mag. I have a much better idea of what to do so I can stay busy, and with a couple of long-term projects passed to me by editors, I've been staying busy. 

Here at Lifestyle Mag, there are 4 summer interns, and there is one in particular that I work closely with on a daily basis. For the sake of this blog, we'll call the other intern Annie. So far I've really loved working with Annie. She's really cool, hard working, and has great goals for her future career in magazines. However, Annie and I have been getting closer lately and for the first time this week she referred to me as the dreaded "C" word I've been trying so desperately to avoid.

Annie called me her competition.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning to Play to Your Strengths

Hey Edsters! 

I've been waiting for Tuesday to roll around because I have so many things to tell you. I want to go on and on about how much I love this city, despite the fact I've spent more time walking to and from Bed Bath & Beyond than I have in my apartment, and the fact that I scoured another part of the city in the rain looking for the shampoo I use, only to find it one block from my apartment the next day.

But something tells me that might not benefit you in your future magazine career. So instead, we'll talk about happy hour.

I have a friend who is a staff writer for a magazine similar to mine. We met up yesterday after she finished work. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Errands

Errands. When the E-word is said in the office, my face usually perks up and I am positioning myself to volunteer. Most interns moan and groan about having to run errands but me, personally, I like going on them…most of the time. 

This week I was asked to go on a few errands for an editor and so of course I grab my phone, headphones, and wallet (three things essential to running an errand) and head out the door with my address all plugged in to my map app. I hail a cab; give him the cross streets and set off on what ended up being a five-hour adventure. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Intern Invasion: Sizing Up the Competition

In the beginning, I prided myself on being the first intern this summer at the magazine, especially since my supervisor mentioned they hadn’t had any interns in quite a while. Although not all the staffers knew my name, they identified my status based on the location of my desk, in the isolated middle section of the office.  Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve solely relied on me to complete their research or transcribing tasks.  My supervisor has even recognized my willingness to go the extra mile, whether it means working through my lunch break or staying well past the time I’m supposed to leave.

Just when I’ve started to feel more comfortable in my role at the magazine, I realized I wasn’t the only new kid on the block.  Evidence in the form of new post-it notes tacked to my bulletin board and past issues strewn on my desk was proof that other interns have arrived on the scene.  It was inevitable that others would have to pick up the slack on the days when I wasn’t scheduled to be in the office, but I could rationalize that it was OK since I didn’t interact with them.  Out of sight, out of mind…right?

Boy was I wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

5 Ways to Stand Out To Your Editor

Beginning your first magazine internship can be pretty intimidating. I’ve started to get the hang of things at the Mag—with all this fact-checking, proofreading, and photo-organizing, my days are always pretty full. But not to worry, Edsters! Here, for your enjoyment, are some tips I’ve picked up so far:
  1. Be thorough. You might not always be excited about the tasks you’re given to do. Lots of exciting things happen at magazines, but you’re not necessarily going to be doing super glamorous things all the time. The best way to impress editors, though, is doing the less exciting stuff without hesitation, and doing them well. Double and triple check the spelling of tough words. Double and triple check that phone numbers and addresses are printed correctly. Communicate well with publicists and your coworkers, and don’t leave any task half-done. That little extra work goes a long way, and you’ll be sure to impress your editors with your determination. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Secret Interviewing Trick You Need To Learn

Hey there Edsters! 

Week two at the Lifestyle Mag has come and gone, and I'm feeling really good about how the rest of this experience will go. An exciting opportunity has come my way. I learned this past week that one of the editors is going to need help from myself and the other intern to help write some original content for the website, meaning I'll be able to get a clip or two! 

The news was more than welcome after I'd spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out which sections of the magazine I was going to try to pitch. I will definitely be thinking through other ideas just to get some experience with pitching to the editors, but I'm excited to be asked to help with such a fun project.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wow, A NYT Intern Broke News In His First Few Weeks

A few nights ago, I was working on a project online when I saw a jump in the number of tweets on my feed. Johan Santana had just thrown the first no-hitter in Mets history, and everyone who had ever seen a baseball was tweeting about it. Well, they were tweeting about two things: the no-hitter, and the fact that Tim Rohan, a New York Times summer intern, was one of the reporters breaking the story.

I tried to imagine myself in his position.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How To Bounce Back After A Crappy First Day

Week one down! Before I go off and throw myself a congratulatory party, first things first. 

My first day was long, tough, and extremely awkward—nothing like I thought it would be. Though I had my prior knowledge of my previous internship, it felt like everything I did was being watched by my fellow interns. The hours were much longer than expected and time went by painfully slow. I continued to drink endless amounts of water just so I could keep going to the bathroom and scroll through Twitter for a brief breather. At lunch I felt like the scene straight out of Mean Girls where Cady eats her lunch the first day of school in a bathroom stall. After leaving, I couldn’t even think about going back and doing this all over again. But, I woke up at 7:00 am the next morning, called my mom to get a pep talk and attempted at day two. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

How I Landed My First Byline

Hey Edsters, 

Things have been steadily progressing, with the workload increasing in small waves.  Although I’ve had to postpone researching my assignment until the editor approves an eye-catching photo to match, I’ve been involved with other projects that have proved to be quite interesting. I worked on different research topics for various feature stories, some involving combing through old records online and others for the business side of the entertainment industry.

One day,  an editor asked if I watched a popular TV show. Even though I admitted that I didn’t, she surprised me by asking me to write about it for the website. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wanna Make it at the Mag? Learn to Multitask

I faced my first full week of work at the Mag and came out virtually unscathed. At the end of the week, I can tell you that one thing about life in the magazine world is certain: hard work. There are usually a million things going on at once, and mistakes aren’t an option. Before I get into that, though, I’ll tell you a little bit about my week. 

My first full day was much more difficult and tedious than expected. The other interns and I spent the entire day reading pages line by line to make sure all of the names and brands were spelled right. Our task was to verify spellings, phone numbers and addresses and cite our sources so everything would be 100% accurate. It’s pretty tough to sit there and read the same things all day long, and I found myself daydreaming out the window more often than I’d like to admit. 

I tried not to get discouraged by the dullness of the day, and I was glad to find that the next few days were busier.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Intern Veteran's 4 Key Lessons To Success

Well, Edsters, I did it! 

Week one has come and gone and although I spent the majority of the week transcribing interviews, I still left with the impression that this is going to be a fantastic experience. 

I spent a bulk of my time mentally noting differences between internships. It was hard for me not to since it had been a mere three days between the two of them, and I honestly feel like a little bit of time off between them would have done me some good. As difficult as it was to mentally arrive in new internship mode, I think I'm finally there. Taking a step back, here are a few guidelines that I think could be helpful for you all as you transition between jobs.

1. Take the opportunity to ask questions. At the beginning of internship #1, I was nervous to ask questions because I didn't want my editors thinking they'd made a mistake hiring an airhead.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How To Prepare For An Internship At A Mag You've Never Read

Hey Edsters,

I feel a little bit like I’m in the middle of finals week. Notebooks and pens are piling up around my house, and suddenly my Facebook newsfeed is 10 times more interesting than usual. But I took my last final three weeks ago, so I’m not preparing for exams. I’m preparing for my internship. 

The major difference between this and finals week is that once I actually do get down to business, I don’t want to stop. I’ve been scouring the back issues my editor sent me and immersing myself in all things the mag covers. I find it really interesting, which is handy since there's quite a bit of material.

I'll admit though, the magazine I'm interning at didn't always clutter the floor of my room.

Monday, June 4, 2012

3 Things Fashion Interns Need To Know About Rocking Your First Day

Happy Monday, Edsters!

I start my internship this week and I am ready to hit the ground running! Thinking back on how I started my last internship so sheepish and timid, I can’t stress how important it is to start off your summer smiling and eager to work! Between racking my brain on what to wear and how to do my hair, I also thought up three important things to remember on your first day of your internship (or any job, really).

1.    Smile, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Putting Everything On The Line To Achieve My Dreams

After college, things haven’t turned out the way I envisioned. 

By now, I thought I would be living the dream: a thriving career at an award-winning magazine and my own place. Instead, I’m living at home, juggling two part-jobs to make ends meet and (barely) pay my bills. It might seem crazy to take on an unpaid internship at this point in my life, but I feel like it’s now or never. Better to take a risk and go out on a limb instead of playing it safe and daydreaming about the life that I want for myself. So, here I am, putting everything on the line to learn the ropes again and have a second chance to achieve my dreams.

I came pretty close this week.