Monday, July 30, 2012

An Ode to Rowing

I have to admit, I’m a little bit distracted as I write this post. Ever since the Olympics started on Friday, I’ve been glued to the television, partially in an effort to boost NBC’s 18-35 demographic so they’ll stop cancelling all of my favorite shows. While I do love to watch swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball, all the sports reserved for primetime; I’m carefully setting my grandparents' VCR (Yes, they do still exist) each morning to record the rowing events.

Because for the past seven years, I’ve rowed six days a week, for three hours a day, for nine months out of the year. That’s seven seasons of fall 5K racing, seven grueling winters spent indoors on the ergometer, and six spring sprint seasons. Why six? Last semester, I studied abroad in London for my spring semester, taking my first break from rowing in 13 racing seasons.

When I decided to go abroad in the spring, way back in my sophomore year, I was more than ready for a respite. I was frustrated with members of my team at Bryn Mawr, sick of the 5am wake ups and physically exhausted. But as it got closer and closer, I started to regret my decision. We had our best fall season yet, rowing nine non-stop miles every morning and beating big DI schools with our little DIII team of 20.

Of course, all of those feelings of regret went away once I landed in London, and I truly had the best semester of my life, even without spending my days on the water. Rowing is actually appreciated in England, where the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities is a social event, and a five-time Olympic rower is chosen as the final torch bearer for the 2012 Opening Ceremonies. So while I wasn’t rowing myself, I was able to appreciate the sport by taking a step back.

Now that I’m back in the States, I can actually do the same. While this chance only comes every four years, I will happily rewind the VHS’ my grandpa says he can only find at flea markets to watch Team USA dominate on the Eton Dorney race course on national TV. This eight-month break is the longest I’ve had from rowing, but it allows me to mentally prepare myself for year eight.  

Rowing is a demanding sport, possibly the toughest of them all. I was chastised by classmates in high school who called it a cult, saying that what we did was nothing compared to lacrosse or soccer or hockey. I beg to differ. My favorite quote about rowing comes from a New Yorker article titled, “Feel No Pain” by John Seabrook in 1996. He writes,

Marathon runners talk about hitting “the wall” at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn’t a wall; it’s a hole—an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race…. As you pass the five-hundred-metre mark, with three-quarters of the race still to row, you realize with dread that you are not going to make it to the finish, but at the same time the idea of letting your teammates down by not rowing your hardest is unthinkable. Therefore, you are going to die.

Despite the pain and sacrifice, something about the sport draws you in. I’m anything but an ideal rower, standing at just 5-foot-3, but rowing has sucked me in for the last seven years. Now, as an incoming senior and co-captain for the year, I’ve chosen to ignore the thoughts of quitting that creep in when I consider the job market or the need for more internships on my resume. Is this the best choice for my future? Who knows, but I know I’ll do everything I can to enjoy my last year of rowing to the fullest. 

(Racing in my freshman year of high school, I'm the stroke seat, or the first rower from the top)
(Spectating at this year's extremely controversial Boat Race. Read about why here:

By Julie Mazziotta, Real Simple, Bryn Mawr College

Intern Profile on Devon O'Brien

It’s 9:00 PM on a Monday, the room is dark, and Devon O’Brien is lying in bed exhausted. She apologizes, and somehow it’s hard to believe.

Devon has spent the past three days at the Firefly Music Festival. Monday morning she caught a 7:00 AM train for a 9:00 AM Penn Station arrival and a 9:30 AM workday at Food Network Magazine. Sunburned, she points to several scars she acquired walking to and from her campsite, then springs up to read the festival’s line-up, then collapses back in bed dramatically: “Don’t even talk to me about the Black Keys.”

So it’s hard to believe. Not the exhaustion, or the apology, but that this is what anyone’s exhaustion—vibrant conversation peppered with meandering anecdotes and seizure-inducing laughter—looks like.

Born an hour outside of Philadelphia, Devon moved to Pella, Iowa when she was six. She is a journalism major and culinary science minor at Iowa State University, where she edited the paper’s food section for two years and is the incoming editor-in-chief of Ethos Magazine. Devon insists that she hasn’t had the Iowa cornfield experience, if that exists. “I grew up in a neighborhood where all the houses were really close together and there was a golf course in my backyard,” she says. And what about the lingo? “I don’t say pop and tennis shoes. That’s weird. I say soda and sneakers.”

When the opportunity arose to work at Food Network Magazine, she was ecstatic. “It was like my dream,” says Devon, whose more gritty food dream would be a combination of her two favorite foods, mac + cheese and crème brulée. Which doesn’t mean she wasn’t without reservations upon getting her ASME internship and moving to New York. When asked about her immediate reaction, she recalls her initial fear: “Oh my god, I peaked at 21.” Somehow, that’s hard to believe.

-Michelle Timmerman, ASME Intern, Glamour

Friday, July 27, 2012

Where to Go Next

Food & Wine has this series called "Where to Go Next." It's all about featuring the latest something. The hip new place to eat such and such. To drink this new drink this guy came up with at this one bar …  and it tastes as good as it looks in that crystal highball glass. 

Needless to say, I really like the series. It's kind of unapologetically confident in its endorsements. It rattles off the names of joints you'd feel lucky to stumble across, and then forcibly puts them on the radar until they're impossible for anyone to miss. As far as I’m concerned, the Where to Go Next column (WTGN, once you get hip to mag. abbrev. speak) represents all that’s fascinating and compelling about magazines. They curate “cool.” And they make it look so infuriatingly easy.

Maybe I’m inordinately impressed by the series and all it represents simply because I’m the sort that can’t even decide where to go to dinner. I’ve literally wandered the streets of Chicago for hours just trying to find a hamburger … anywhere, DEAR GOD … only to end up sweaty and moaning on the doorstep of an overpriced Michigan Avenue restaurant. AND, guess what folks, it wasn’t even that tasty.

So, in retrospect, it’s funny to me that I spent so much of my time at Food & Wine researching their “Where to Go Next” section. I rarely know where I am going, let alone where I should go next. Generally, my ambition is directed in pursuit of some changing variable or abstract somewhere. Nothing about my life is as organized or certain as the pages of a magazine.

But I’ve always been in search of that effortless cool that comes from knowing where to find the best hamburger, or how to wear those shoes the right way (my roommate works at Glamour), or how to set your table for a summer picnic (and another Martha Stewart) or what exercises will make your abs worthy of a magazine cover (and at SELF, too).

What’s the moral of my long-winded and meandering story? If anyone wants to know where to get a good burger, I have a few suggestions. 

A Seemingly Small World

Coming from a small school, I’m used to hearing the same names and seeing the same faces multiple times a day. But I never thought that the name of one of my peers would pop up at Parade Magazine, miles away from our Waterville, Maine campus.   

A few weeks ago, I was attending a routine meeting in an editor’s office when a piece of paper one of my co-workers was holding caught my eye. It was a press release for a book, and right away I recognized the name of the author—not just because it was fairly distinct, but also because he had been a senior during my freshman year at Colby. But the overlap didn’t end there. The “author” was actually the first person I ever interviewed for the college paper. The piece I wrote was a profile all about him, and I eagerly picked it up only a few weeks into the school year, determined to prove myself to my new editors. I had met with the senior early one Friday night during parents’ weekend, which definitely wasn’t my interview slot of choice. We sat in the deserted student union after dinner, while my family, along with the rest of the freshmen and their parents, attended an a cappella concert. The interview went well, and I wrote up the profile and turned it into my editors. But after the paper came out, something else happened—the senior sent me an email complimenting me on the piece I had written about him. Getting feedback—let alone positive feedback—on my work seemed strange and extremely thoughtful. 

Over next few years, I would hear his name come up with regard to his latest accomplishments. I think I was even somewhat aware that he was writing a book, but I never thought I would hear about it outside the confines of my campus. But sitting in a magazine office in New York City and seeing the press release with his name on it nearly three years after our interview made me smile—while I can’t credit him for my continued interest in journalism, who knows what would have happened if he had emailed me saying the profile was awful. Would I be sitting in the Parade office, about to become the editor-in-chief of the same newspaper for which I first interviewed him? Would my freshman year-self ever have thought that the guy I agreed to interview on a whim would be publishing a book one day? This moment—which I tried to quickly brush off in front of my editors—made me realize that, clichés aside, it truly is a small world after all.

-Sarah Lyon
Parade Magazine
Colby College

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taking the Bird's Eye View

Fran, our research director, likes to say that the only constant thing in life is change.

He likes to mention this when he brings us a new fact-checking assignment, or when he drops off the salad (or gumbo or fried rice or paella--I know, Sheri and I are so spoiled) he made the night before. But though he’s referring to everyday changes, his philosophy also strikes me as very fitting for the magazine he’s worked at for more than three decades and my experience working there now.

Reader’s Digest has certainly evolved since its early days as a pocket-sized aggregator of the best stories. It’s still pocket-sized and curates content, but the brand has become bigger than just the publication.

At every intern lunch Sheri and I attend with the RD editorial staff, we learn how the magazine has expanded beyond worrying about newsstand sales. The redesign showed just how important this point was: The black bar running down the left side of every cover serves to familiarize readers with the sections, despite occupying what little space is available for cover lines and art. As Liz, our editor-in-chief, likes to remind us, RD’s readership is loyal and much more invested in interacting with the magazine, so branding it this way helps tie together all of the components:, the apps, the books and of course, the magazine itself.

To be honest, I find all this incredibly fascinating, mostly because I’ve never been this exposed to the business side of producing magazines. RD is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and it’s crazy to think how much the magazine has grown and how it’s had to overcome the glaring obstacle of being a news curator when the amount of information has only increased online.

So, back to Fran’s point: While it’s probably cliche to say that I’ve changed from when I started this internship, it’s true. I was innocently naive, setting goals that focused just on editorial work and networking. And sure, I’m still honing my editorial skills by fact-checking every day and working on the web, but as the end of this internship approaches, I’m glad I’ve changed my mindset from a stubbornly editorial point of view to one that is willing to see the big picture.

Of course, this is all thanks to the wonderfully supportive editorial staff Sheri and I get to work with every day. Every editor we’ve met is willing to teach and help us (plus, the food from Fran is always nice), and that has made this internship the most rewarding and enjoyable experience. 

- Shirley Li | Northwestern University | Intern at Reader's Digest

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Resident Housewife

“She” is a fairly common word at ESSENCE magazine. So is “Her.” Spend one day in our boardroom, and I guarantee that you will hear at least one editor talk about this elusive female figure: what She wants, how She feels, what problems are plaguing Her.

Ok, so when I put it like that, it sounds like we have an in-house, whiny housewife. But She isn’t. Everything that the editors do at ESSENCE, they do for Her. She is our reader.

I’m not going to lie, when I first got to ESSENCE, I thought it was a little odd to speak as if our audience was one single woman. Weren’t we a national business with millions of readers? How could we condense our aforementioned millions of readers into one person?

(Ha. Silly Taylor. You have so much to learn about the magazine industry.)

One of the main things that ESSENCE prides itself on is its ability to connect with its readers. As an African-American publication, we have a very specific niche that we write for. For that reason, I’ve found, readers feel a deep sense of connection with the brand.

Case in point: On one of my first days of work, I was opening reader mail. Most were story pitches, but I stumbled across one letter that almost brought me to tears (which is really saying something. I mean, I barely cried at The Notebook. I’m basically heartless). A woman was writing to share her struggle with self-acceptance. She said that she had always thought that she was ugly, and she listed everything about herself that she didn’t like. She went on to say that her 85-year-old mother now was having those same inner struggles. She asked that ESSENCE help she and her mother feel beautiful.

It was almost as if she was writing to a friend. On the day that she sat down and typed that letter, she wasn’t writing to a national publication. Shoot, the letter wasn’t even written to one editor in particular. The envelope was addressed to ESSENCE, as if the magazine was a trusted girlfriend.

It was in that moment that I understood what distinguished a good publication from a great one. I guess, as a magazine aficionado, I had always understood it, but I could never really put my finger on it. And that differentiation is a magazine’s ability to connect with its readers.

Sure, you can write the most captivating, entertaining pieces in the world. You can have the hottest starlet on the cover of a magazine. But what does any of that matter if you’re missing that personal aspect? That message that sticks with your readers long after they’ve finished reading the latest issue?

So yeah, hearing my editors talk about “She” and “Her” took some getting used to (and a conscious grammatical effort on my part), but in the end, I’ve concluded that it really isn’t that weird. I mean, when She is coming to us with Her most personal problems, it’s only fair that we reciprocate that friendship, right?

—Taylor Lewis, ESSENCE Magazine, University of Kansas

Intern Profile on Jenneke Oostman

Jenneke Oostman has wanderlust, but writing and journalism came first.

“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career that would enable me to write. I decided journalism was my calling freshman year of college after taking a journalism class taught by ex-Psychology Today editor-in-chief Marilyn Webb,” says Oostman, a Creative Writing major and Journalism minor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. The same journalism professor also encouraged Oostman to apply for ASME.

Once through the ASME doors, Oostman could land an internship at one of her favorite magazines, Travel + Leisure. At her magazine, she loves doing travel research: “Learning about the world fascinates me.  I'm addicted to the foreign,” she explains. Oostman studied abroad in Denmark last year, but she is planning on going abroad once again, to the University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India, where she will complete her undergraduate degree.

T + L is obviously a great place for such fascination, and even led Oostman to a chance to author a few travel blog posts for the magazine’s website.

The hometown of the travel-enthusiast is Seattle, Washington, but she enjoys spending this summer in New York City, where the crowds, the chaos, and the convenience of everything is appealing for her. “I wouldn’t mind living in NYC, but I also want live in different cities around the world,” she adds.

No wonder that after finishing college in India, she will continue traveling the world for a tad bit more.

~ Burcu Noyan
Vassar College ‘13
ASME Intern at Lucky  

Thoughts in a Broken Elevator

A lot of thoughts race dance through your mind when you’re stuck in an elevator.

My roommates and I were lucky enough to only wait 20 minutes before firemen were able to wrench open the doors and rescue us from captivity between the first and second floors.

But during those 20 minutes, jokes and laughter among the three of us masked my wonderings about this summer. My heart has melted for D.C. a lot more than I thought it would (and not just from the heat index). With only three weeks left in this summer intern season, I’m getting the tight feeling in my chest that questions whether I’m really making the most of this experience.

So I reflected:

-Yes, I’ve been to the free museums. I’ve seen how we print money, and I’ve found out if I had a stack of $100 bills the same height as me, I’d be worth about $1.5 million.

-Yes, I’ve written for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and, in fact, had the story picked up by four different portals. The day a California radio station requested to interview me on air and my bosses conceded the request, I thought I would burst into tears. This internship experience has been more than I ever understood it could be.

-Yes, I’ve done the night tour of the monuments, and FDR is by far my favorite. With the collection of his actions and famous sayings aggregated by term, the beauty of words from a yesteryear made me realize I should choose my own more wisely. This is no longer a time dominated by his fireside chats, when statements were so intricately crafted. But that doesn’t mean my own precision cannot be found again.

-Yes, I was allowed to run Kiplinger’s Tumblr for a week, as well as its Facebook and Twitter for two days. Now I am #SociallySavvy.

-Yes, I’ve gotten lost on the metro, which actually helped me find a farmer’s market, outdoor flea market and thrift store. Perhaps I should get lost more often.

-And, yes, my bosses have allowed us interns to have a hand in an annual project that was a finalist for the 2012 National Magazine Awards for Digital Media.

So many more adventures, experiences and unexpected run-ins have decorated the summer. I’ve tried to live by the expertise of D.C. natives whose major advice included never sacrificing a weekend, visiting the pandas at the national zoo (it’s free!) and making sure to come back after the summer is over.

I’m not ready to think about moving back to Ohio, yet, so for the next three weeks, I decided to make a plan: Put in as much time as I can with Kiplinger, somehow visit all the neighborhoods of D.C. I’ve missed, sleep as little as possible and go to the Newseum (maybe twice).

But my reflections snapped to reality when I suddenly had a fireman under each arm, pulling me from our rogue elevator car. That was when I also decided, well, maybe I’d start taking the stairs.

Emily Inverso
Kiplinger's Personal Finance intern
Kent State University

Intern Profile on Emily Inverso

“I can do that.”

That turns out to be, well, anything. It’s more than a simple statement; it’s how Emily Inverso describes her way of tackling life and career.

Independent and savvy, Emily greets challenges with the mentality that no amount of research or effort is too gritty to complete a task.

“If something is a Google search, a book or an interview away from being understood, just do it,” Emily encouraged.

Her personal mantra has already proven to be well-suited. Awarded an ASME internship at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Emily sunk her teeth into learning the ropes of writing for a financial publication.

“These reporters and editors around the office are so much more than journalists,” Emily said. “They are experts in their fields. It’s the type of experience that doesn’t come from a few interviews to write a story…it comes from really understanding the ins and outs of investing, stocks, etcetera, etcetera.”

Yet within her first month of working at Kiplinger’s, a story Emily wrote on identity fraud protection, 8 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet, was picked up by national news sources and aggregators. Just days later, she gave a 15 minute radio interview on the topic to a San Francisco-based station. Never one to back down from a new challenge, Emily prepped for the interview and pulled it off without any prior live-air experience.

In many ways, Emily is a complexly made-up individual composed of many different yet complementary facets. She is bold in the endeavors she takes on, having started up A fashion magazine and having been one of two student reporters who broke the story on never-before-heard tapes from the Kent State shooting. Her article on the story released ahead of regional news sources and helped trigger a national inquiry calling for the shooting investigation to be re-opened.

Yet her incredible intelligence and drive are carried with the utmost class. Emily is one the most well-poised and humble women I have ever met. I asked her what sort of qualities she valued in her vision of the ideal career woman, and she replied that she has a hard time choosing “ideals”.

“My ideal right now is very simple,” Emily explained. “I want to challenge myself, I want to know I can succeed under pressure. I want to be able to stand on my own two feet and take care of myself. And I want to learn something new with each assignment I take.”

And, she quipped, “I wouldn’t mind doing all of that with a little Hepburn grace, either.”

Her answer is honest and refreshing. And on reflection, not all that surprising coming from her. As one of my roommates in D.C. this summer, Emily has revealed herself to be a smart and practical woman. She doesn’t waste time waffling on the theoretical concepts of the ideal and unrealistic. Instead she lives her life focusing on pushing herself forward and gaining new experiences. Her ambition and livelihood boil over into all aspects of her life. When I roll over in my bed on Saturday morning and hear the door to our apartment clicking closed, I know it’s Emily heading out in the early light to explore another corner of this city. And I know when she comes home, she’ll have a vintage trinket or a bag of fresh produce from an open-air market with a list of new places and restaurants we have to try.

Emily is a rising senior at Kent State University. This year, she will be editor in chief of her college newspaper, where she is heading an initiative to bring the paper’s efforts into collaboration with the college television news station at a converged news desk. In addition, she will be editor in chief of A magazine, where she is overseeing the final stages of publishing Kent’s first iPad compatible magazine edition.

After she graduates in May 2013, I hope she calls me looking for a roommate.

- Kat J. McAlpine, UConn ’12, Editorial Intern, Smithsonian magazine

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome to Sports Heaven

I've always believed that the best way for people to get to know one another is through sports. For some reason, competition allows a person's true character come to the surface, and teammates have a connection form between them.

At ESPN, this idea holds very true. The playing field is level, as your boss is no longer an editor, but your point guard, your shortstop. Something about sports, I just can't really explain, bridges that gap. Last weekend, there was a company softball tournament in Farmington, Conn. I manned third base, while another intern played left. The Insider soccer editor played short to my left, while a deputy editor made some quality plays at first. The interdepartmental tournament gave the magazine a chance to pull everyone together for an entire weekend, to get away from the office and share together what we all love, to live out what we talk and write about all week. We went 4-4 over Saturday and Sunday, finishing fourth out of eight teams. We grilled out in-between games, and had enough laughs to roll all the way into the office on Monday.

The softball tournament wasn't the first sporting event I've experienced at ESPN. Every Monday, a group of editors from the staff plays pick-up basketball on the campus court, a two-hour battle that usually wears out even me. This Tuesday, we are celebrating the Magazine's one-year anniversary from the move in Bristol by having a dodgeball game in the gymnasium following work. How many places do you get to take a shot like this at your bosses and co-workers? There are already thirty-something people who have signed up to play, just showing the type of environment that the ESPN office creates. If any other interns have the chance to play in some kind of game with your co-workers, I highly recommend it. It helps them to get to really know you, and even gain a little respect for you if you carry yourself well, show good sportsmanship, and demonstrate some sports-intelligence.

I should probably stop gushing about he employee involvement in sports, and share a little about what I have been doing in the office lately. Things have really begun to pick up, as the Body Issue has been published and produced record numbers. As we just closed the Fantasy Issue, I am proud to say that I created and helped to design the sidebar on the college football page. I am working with the college football editor in preparing the season preview, which has proved to be a much more daunting task than I could have ever imagined. I am so excited to have an article about the NL Rookie of the Year to be published later this week on Insider, the affiliate with the Magazine.

I have learned the importance of taking criticism or tough breaks and roll with them, as they often turn into something better. I was originally given an entire page in the Fantasy Issue after pitching an idea about quarterback competitions at Notre Dame, but the page was cut after I had it mostly done. Irritated at first, it actually gave me the opportunity to work closer with the college football editor to adapt my information into a usable sidebar. After working with him on that, I gained some of his trust, and he now gives me projects on a daily basis to help prepare for the massive college football preview coming up.

It is incredible that there are only three weeks left, as the time has flown by. I have met so many people who I hope to stay in contact with, and think I may have found the place I would like to advance my career. Besides, how many places can you eat lunch and watch Larry Fitzgerald run routes right outside the window?

-- Chase Howell, ESPN The Magazine
Franklin College

Friday, July 20, 2012


In life, we get a lot of advice. Especially as an intern. Some of it’s wanted, and often, some of it’s not. For the first few days that we were in New York, all of the ASME interns attended orientation. During our three days of “lessons” we had some of the biggest names in the business coming by to give us advice on how to be good interns, how to get jobs in the magazine business and what types of things to do in New York. Inevitably, when you discuss what to do in New York, you also must discuss what NOT to do in New York. I’d like to tell you all a little story about the day I found out that advice, even from the most knowledgeable and trustworthy sources, can be wrong.

Just for a little background information, so you all don’t think I’m completely crazy, my second major, other than journalism, is art history. I decided before coming to New York that I would like to write my final paper before graduation on some new art that I experienced while in New York for the summer. So, when I found out that a friend-of-a-friend was dating a local artist, I jumped on a chance to go visit his studio. They told me what trains to take to meet them in “Brooklyn” and we set the date. After getting off the subway and starting to walk to the artist’s house, I realized, this was not the “Brooklyn” that I had been to before. Little did I know, I had just wandered into the heart of Bushwick, one of the neighborhoods at the top of the “do not visit” list of New York.

I quickly found that this advice was wrong. Bushwick is certainly not a place that I would go alone at night, but during the day, as long as you’re careful and aware of your surroundings, you should be fine. And, your trip will be completely worth it because of the amazing graffiti art that can be found around each and every street corner. I’ve included some photos so you all can get an idea for how beautiful the art is that is being created by this new and emerging community.

Page Grossman, Popular Science

Brand This

There’s a big to-do in the magazine industry about a publication’s “brand.” Over the course of the past six weeks, we’ve heard from everyone from Cosmopolitan to The New Yorker on how they’re working to extend or improve their brand.

At first, I saw the term in its technical form, as the overarching label applied to all of the company’s projects and interests. It seems like a simple enough concept, right? Yes, if you’re thinking about it only in that way, but if you consider what a brand means to a magazine and to readers, the conversation takes on a whole new angle.

On Wednesday, the editorial staff of Field & Stream piled into a conference room to hear a presentation by our Vice President of publishing, Eric Zinczenko. He started off with facts about how readers get their information (Today, more people are accessing the Internet via smartphones than traditional technology like computers. Crazy!) and how this affects ad sales, growth and market goals; all very relevant information to the business.

But then Erik played a TED talk video featuring author Simon Sinek. We only watched five minutes of the 18-minute speech, titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” but Sinek made a profound point early on using Apple. He said there are plenty of other companies out there capable of creating quality smartphones, yet Apple remains the clear leader with the iPhone. He argued that, unlike these other companies, Apple focuses less on the “what” and the “how” and more on the “why.”

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Sinek said.


Okay, so it’s not rocket science, but it is true. It’s easy to spend time thinking about how a product is made and forget why it’s made or what its intended affect is supposed to be. In terms of magazines, we think about the quality of the paper or the layout and style of writing, but it’s possible that sometimes we forget why we do it. In the end, it might be a great product, but if we’re not connecting with readers on a certain level, the brand suffers.

So why am I boring you with all of this industry talk? Because Erik’s presentation got me thinking about my personal identity or brand. Beginning from an early age we use accomplishments or our roles in various activities to define ourselves. Titles like “Editor in Chief” or “Captain” or “President” become part of the language we use to create our brand. Why do these terms matter?

They matter because, in many ways, life is about selling yourself and your beliefs to those around you.  When you go in for a job interview, you’re trying to sell the interviewer on why you’d be a good fit for their company. All of your past accomplishments and beliefs are a part of your brand and are important in proving your worth, but they won’t necessarily get you the job.

What I’ve learned from all of our mingling with literary legends and industry insiders these past two months, is that everyone in this field is pretty darn accomplished, my ASME peers included. But at the end of the day, the school you went to or the place you interned, doesn’t matter all that much. What matters is a person’s “why.”

Why would someone like Veronica Chambers, now deputy editor of brand extensions at Good Housekeeping, have put in 19 hour days (split between a part-time job counting people at Grand Central Station and her intern duties at Seventeen) just so she could barely make ends meet? Why would Esquire’s Editor-in-Chief, David Granger spend six weeks homeless on the streets of NYC when he was first starting out just so he could land a job writing a book about gardening? Because they knew why they were here and why they wanted into this industry so badly. They hold the belief that magazines make a difference in people’s lives.

If we haven’t started to already, I think most of us are beginning to answer the “why” for ourselves. Why do we want to work in magazines? Why are we crazy enough to think we might just make it?

Well, Why not?

-Tommie Ethington, Field & Stream
Trinity University

It Never Gets Old

Reading magazines, I always kind of wondered about the real people's stories they featured. How did these people get connected to the magazine? Did they pitch their own stories? Did they happen to know someone at the magazine? Did an editor just come across their stories by chance?

Well, even in my short time at O, The Oprah Magazine I've gotten some pretty good insight into the answer to that question. I've had the opportunity to do a fair amount of editorial research, which often involves combing through articles from small town newspapers or even school announcements. From the comfort of my lovely cubicle high up in Hearst Tower, I spend much of my time reaching out to people all over the country.

The coolest part of it, though - the part that never seems to get old, no matter how many times I do it - is calling or emailing people to tell them we may be interested in featuring them in the magazine. Unfailingly, people get incredibly excited and are eager to find the time to share their stories. It makes my day all over again each time someone says "Yes, I'd love to connect you with her as soon as possible. She will be so thrilled to hear from you." Hearing their excitement gets me excited every single time.

In addition to this kind of editorial research, a large part of my job has been transcribing interviews. While I'm sure for many people there's nothing worse than the thought of listening to an hour-long conversation and writing down every word, I always get caught up in the interesting stories of whoever is being interviewed. And earlier this week, I had the opportunity to transcribe two particularly cool interviews - if you pick up our November issue of O, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about!

I can't believe I only have three weeks left at this job. It's gone by faster than I could have possibly imagined, probably because I wake up so eager to go to work every morning (impressive for someone who hates mornings as much as I do) and often prefer the work week to the weekends. There's just so much going on here, and totally ordinary days are constantly upgraded by a particularly exciting task or event or even a random item from the freebie table (like the book from my favorite author I got to read two weeks before it came out). So, my only complaint about this summer so far? That there's not more of it left.

-Madeleine Frank, intern at O, The Oprah Magazine

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Knowing all the right people

One of the first things they told us at the ASME orientation was that this industry is all about your connections. As a journalist not knowing anyone in the city, that was intimidating. I felt that I had entered a mad dash to get to know everyone who is anyone in the magazine industry.

I tried to stock-up my contact list with emails that ended with all the names you see on a newsstand. I bulked up my LinkedIn. I sent out emails hoping to get a nod back.

And all of this is important. Because this industry and this city is a lot the people you know.

But the most important people that I met through this internship are my roommates.

Nothing is more refreshing and encouraging than to come home to a group of friends who are eager to listen to your day, no matter how tedious it was. Knowing that I have people at my apartment who are ready to laugh at the stupid things I did that day, or celebrate when I do something right, keeps my head up. It feels good knowing that someone in this city has my back.

And each day I get to hear about all the amazing things they are doing at their internships. I get to hear the stories that detail all the hard work they are putting into this summer. When the week is over, I get to celebrate all their triumphs with them. 

I did fear that living with people with my exact same aspirations was going to turn into a huge competition. And fortunately, I was wrong. We all have such different goals and different paths to those goals, that we really can’t compare our experiences. We can just appreciate how much work we are all doing to get there.

So, yes—it's all about meeting the right people. I guess I’m just lucky I’m living with them.

Alexandra Engler, Sports Illustrated

Intern Profile on Justin Whaley

For University of Missouri senior Justin Whaley, an ASME internship has been a long time coming. The first time Whaley heard about the program, it was the day before applications were due for summer 2011. He spent all night gathering his application materials, only to realize that as a sophomore, he would have to wait another year to apply.
He had no trouble staying busy in the mean time. Before joining GQ as an intern, Whaley was a fashion columnist for MOVE magazine, an intern at Inside Columbia Magazine, a writer and translator (he's fluent in Italian) at, a writer for Her Campus and a web editor at VOX magazine.
When Whaley leaves New York in a few short weeks, it won't be for long. He plans to graduate in December and, in a perfect world, return to GQ. "It's a very fun environment," he said. "I feel like I fit in there."
As an intern, Whaley spends his days transcribing interviews, researching, fact checking and writing for While Whaley’s previous journalism experience prepared him well for his first New York internship, the fact that he’s a longtime GQ reader has given him an extra edge.

“I first picked up the magazine when I was 15 and something just made sense,” he said. He even remembers the issue – August 2006, featuring Justin Timberlake on the cover. “I fell in love with it,” he said. “Something clicked.”

-Laynie Rose, ASME Intern, Money