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.

Although I felt I accomplished a lot, I was worried about completing story before I returned to the office. Luckily, I was able to obtain my work email login and sent it my personal email so that I could communicate with my editor on my progress until I got back. He responded with a first edit of my story; I agreed with the changes since they made sense and streamlined what I was trying to convey.

Then I got an email from a publicist who consented to having his high profile client interviewed over the phone. I was over the moon that I landed an interview, but apprehensive that it was in the middle of the week on a day when I wasn’t at my internship. So I reluctantly gave the publicist my personal phone number and made sure to schedule it at a time when I was home from work. At the allotted time, I answered my phone and spoke with the individual creatively involved in the entertainment industry.  With my cell phone glued to my ear and pen slipping out of my sweaty grip, I furiously scribbled his responses on a notepad since I didn’t have a tape recorder handy. I asked a ton of questions, but tried to keep it brief and thanked him for his time, promising to send him a copy of the story later on.  

Unfortunately, due to my outside work schedule, I was unable to work on the story again until I returned on Friday. When I got to my desk, the first thing I did was finish the story and send my editor another draft with the quotes. Since he was away from the office, he didn’t get back to me until the end of the day. His brief reply directed me to send it to another editor. By the time that person looked at it, the art department said it was too late to pull the photo to run it for the next issue.  I was so disappointed.

Despite working on the assignment outside of my internship, it was still shelved for another day.  I can only pray that my persistence will pay off and I finally earn a byline printed in the magazine.

Have you had to deal with getting cool assignments postponed? What are your tips?

I'll keep you posted!
Entertainment Intern

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