Monday, June 18, 2012

I Have No Confidence in My Headline Writing. . .



            The last two weeks of my life have been the most exhilarating and exciting time that I have ever experienced and yet, at the same time, I felt constant stress and pressure coming down from all sides. I arrived in Manhattan exactly two weeks ago yesterday and I cannot believe what I have accomplished so far. Stress has been a constant until today: packing and making sure that I have all the right clothes for the city, networking at intern events, starting orientation and being afraid that none of my fellow ASME interns would want to be my friend. Finally, after I survived three days of orientation and meeting some of the best people in this business, I started my new job. Through all that I learned so much about myself and realized that I can do anything. From the moment I found myself in a room with the 32 other ASME interns, I was awestruck. When they described what they were involved in at their schools, I could not believe that I had been permitted to join them in this journey. They are all amazing people, and we have bonded so fast and become so close through these two weeks that I know they’ll all be some of my best and closest friends. We will always be there for one another.
            It was scary to walk into my first day of work at Popular Science but I knew that I would be a good fit there. Though my knowledge of science is limited to Chemistry 101, I was raised by a father who was a gadget nut and a technology enthusiast. He had me undoing screws and changing light bulbs, with supervision of course, from the age of 2. I have always gotten along really well with guys and am fascinated in the progression of magazines onto the web and how they are adapting, so I knew Popular Science was the right place for me as soon as I saw it on the list. Coming into this internship I was confident in my abilities to write, research and conduct interviews. What I did not realize is how much pressure I would feel carrying the name of a national publication around with me as I proceeded with my work. I am learning to use that pressure as a motivating factor to work harder and learn as much as possible.
            One of the things that I did not expect coming into this internship is how difficult headline writing is. On my second day of work, my assistant editor assigned me the task of brainstorming ideas for a title to replace one that had been rejected. I immediately put myself to the task of researching and trying to understand the publication’s voice. Popular Science tends to choose titles that are slightly punny and yet clearly descriptive of the story to follow. It is a fine line that I have discovered is almost impossible to find. I thought some of my first attempts at a headline were pretty good, and then I saw the one that they finally chose. It was perfect—but it wasn’t mine. I guess this art is one that I will just have to take time to learn and perfect as I travel through this internship. I am not discouraged! Someday I will write a great headline that will be published in the magazine; just watch out for my brilliance. ;-)

- Page Grossman
The University of Oklahoma

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