Friday, July 20, 2012

How Do You Share A Byline?

Hey Edsters!

At this point I’m over halfway through my internship.  I can’t believe how much time has passed since I started working at the magazine.  In the brief time that I’ve been here, I’ve gotten the opportunity to try a couple of new things, including transcribing and uploading articles to the online content management system.  Although these are valuable editorial skills, the best part of all has been the chance to earn writing credits.  I’ve cherished seeing my name appear in print, viewing all my hard work pay off.  But there’s something else more important to being a successful intern than just striving to stockpile clips:  Collaboration.  I recently had two situations where it either helped or hindered to have a helping hand.

Due to the publication of a double issue, it’s been a slow couple of weeks at the magazine.  Fortunately, one of the staffers approached me about assisting him with a cool assignment:  scour Twitter for celebrity quotes.  Instead of copying and pasting a random selection, I carefully combed the feeds for quirky tweets that captured the essence of water-cooler buzz in order to resonate with readers.  After emailing the staffer a healthy-sized heap of quotes, he thanked me and replied that he would use several of them in an online feature.  Happy to be of help, I moved on to a few other smaller assignments.  But the following morning, he gave me a heads up to check the website for the finished piece.  Sure enough, it was there, but to my surprise my name was included. 

While this was a sweet treat, another assignment has proven a bit trickier.  One day, one of the section editors singled me out for an evergreen piece on a hot trend.  He identified which aspects to focus on and requested that I pair up with a specific intern.  Although this could be an advantage since the other intern excels at scouting out hard to find facts, on the other hand I would be working with him on a part-time basis since he’s on slightly different rotation than mine and see him only once a week.  So, we divvied up tasks to cover more ground on the topic and agreed to write our parts separately, combining them at the end with a unifying intro.  Although I landed my interviews first, he got a head start by whipping up a quick first draft and included his own intro for both of us.  I appreciated the progress he’s made, but I don’t really feel like we’re working well together.  I’ve made suggestions on story ideas and intro themes to make my own contribution, which he’s politely acknowledged but shot down repeatedly.  So, I’ve had to make concessions and compromise for the sake of the story.  I turned in my draft, but since there’s no fixed deadline I’m still waiting to hear feedback from him on if it’s good to go or back to the drawing board.  Until then, here’s hoping I find a more effective way to collaborate with the other intern.

OK, Edsters. My question is:  How would you share a byline?

Do you have any advice on how to avoid thorny issues? As always, I appreciate your support. Thanks.

Until next timeJ


  1. The bylines could appear alphabetically, unless one of you clearly did the lion's share of the work, then that person's name would go first.

  2. Hi Victor, thanks for the heads-up. Actually, I did put our names alphabetically with the other intern's name first, then mine. But we split the workload and collaborated on the intro. Here's hoping it goes up on the website soon.