The life of an intern, 10 days in
I have now worked at Shape magazine for a total of 10 days. I am three weeks in, which means one third of my internship is over. (I don’t work Fridays and only worked two days this week because my boss was in LA). So I think it’s probably time to say something about the actual reason I’m spending my summer in New York.
As is to be expected with any internship, it started off pretty slow. Things were a bit unorganized, they didn’t know where to put me, there was a lot of downtime. But I got started right away with some interview transcriptions and research – which have continued to be the bulk of my assignments. I discussed with my boss that I just want to be busy, so whatever she needs me to do, I want to do, and the more the better.
My biggest project so far has been research on our September cover subject. I’ve looked up all the recent magazine stories on her, past interviews, anything she’s said related to diet and exercise, etc. Then I worked with my boss to come up with questions for the final interview, brainstorm the framework of the story and draft the proposal that went on to her editors.
I should clarify that my boss’ title is Special Projects Editor, which basically means she’s in charge of all the celebrities in the magazine. She works with publicists to book them throughout the magazine and then writes the stories. So her responsibilities include the covers, cover profiles, cover bonuses (could be workout, beauty, fashion or diet-related), the Healthy Hollywood page (another celeb giving her tips) and any fashion or beauty stories with celebrities as models.
The most interesting thing so far in the internship has been seeing how much publicity stuff goes on behind the scenes at any magazine that deals with celebrities. It’s a bit of a dance. My boss spends much of her time building relationships with the publicists of any celeb we’d be interested in. She goes to movie screenings, meets for lunches and this week has been in LA for meetings. It’s an interesting back-and-forth because publicists pitch some celebrities to her, but then she also tries to convince them to get others to be in our magazine.
So I’m her assistant, and I’ve decided that my internship is just really different from a lot of people’s. Instead of having a bunch of editors giving me little tasks, stories, etc., I report to just one person. I’m not writing, which is totally fine with me, and I just do whatever she needs me to do. Like I said, that’s involved a lot of research, little clerical jobs, interview transcriptions, mailings, etc. One day I organized the office. It’s great because I’m interacting with her a lot, both getting to know each other and working together, but it also means that when she doesn’t have a lot going on, I don’t either.
However, she seems to like me and value my opinion. She and the others I work with also seem impressed by my motivation and quick work, so that’s good, even if I’m not as busy as I might like. She said she had never felt as prepared for a trip as she did upon heading to LA, so that’s definitely a good thing.
And, because she knows a want to be an editor, I’ve been in talks with the copy chief to start working on that desk one day a week, too. The timing was poor in that we just closed the August issue, so the copy desk was also dead this week, but starting next week I’ll be getting into that, which is very exciting. I miss editing.