Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Makes A New Yorker?

I have lived in New York for the last three years, and yet I have only recently begun to feel like a true New Yorker.

New York magazine has a recurring blog post called "21 Questions" in which they ask famous New Yorkers (among 20 other questions) what makes someone a New Yorker. The answers always vary widely--from the speed in which one crosses the street, to one's likeliness to be found in Midtown versus the outer neighborhoods, to simply having a genuine love of this city.

I'm not exactly sure what my own answer would be, or even why I have only just now started to feel as such.

Perhaps, because this was my first summer staying in the city--the summer I turned 21, and a whole new New York opened up for me. The summer I started paying rent on my first New York apartment. And held my first full-time internship. The summer I finally traded in my old Illinois state ID for an official New York version. 

It was a summer of the hum of an office, of glossy magazines and mini page layouts, and coffee runs and e-mails, and working for editors that were some of the best bosses I have ever had.

It was a summer of picking up elaborate wedding cakes in Brooklyn for photo shoots, and balancing them on my lap headed into Midtown, praying that I wouldn’t let the layers of fondant splatter on the sidewalk outside of 4 Times Square when I jumped out of the cab.

It was a summer of eating lunch (leftovers brought from home in a faded Ladurée bag; most of my paycheck goes towards rent, after all) in the heat of Bryant Park, enjoying people-watching and the chance to escape the chill of the office A/C.

And it was the thrill of seeing something as small as a quote you helped an editor find make it into the September issue—and feeling as though you had just landed a cover story.

Now that I am back in Chicago for a quick visit home before school starts up again, I miss New York more than I ever have. I miss my daily cinnamon-raisin bagel and café au lait from the coffee shop on Broome St. I miss picking out my work outfits each morning and having to factor in whatever chiffon dress was most resistant to the perpetual sweat of the Essex St. F/M platform.  I miss the rhythm of checking e-mail in the morning, of running errands around the city, of printing out updated layouts for the office walls, of watching an editor's simple idea grow to a final glossy page.
And of course, I will greatly miss weekly lunches with all the other ASME interns at the magazines that have always inspired me.
Magazines were, after all, one of my main inspirations for moving to the city, when I first subscribed to New York during my junior year of high school and subsequently determined that I needed to be in New York for college. Now, it is magazines that have finally made me feel a true part of this city.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have been a part of this program, but also so incredibly lucky that I am able to stay in the city that I love, and continue interning in magazines, for at least another year.

Thank you, ASME, for making me finally feel like a New Yorker.

Anna Williams
New York University

Friday, August 10, 2012

Three things I would do for a story

The other day I was walking with someone through Fort Greene Park, and after that we stumbled down through a couple streets where the apartments were cordoned off, and we looked at a blue sign on the side of a building, and on that blue sign we saw that the apartments were cordoned off because filming was being done for the series Girls.

And that’s when he said, “I don’t like that show. I feel they’re mocking my life but not really getting it right.”


At that point I hadn’t yet spent three consecutive hours watching Girls, multi-tasking while splayed across my roommate’s bed (1st episode: froyo; 2nd episode: nails; 3rd episode: wine).

If I had, that’s when I would have said, “I like that show. Maybe you’re just not living it right.” Then, noted: Parallel structure does not guarantee biting repartee.

Color me guilty or color me typical, but Lena Dunham’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of voice of generation totally resonates. I would do so many things for a story.

These things include but are not limited to:
  1. Perform impromptu spoken word in Fort Greene Park
  2. Transcribe over 14 hours of oft-muffled interview
  3. Walk into a McDonald's barefoot
I have stories about the stories I worked on this summer, and stories about the stories I collected in my little wicker basket of real life adventures. I’m just not sure which I consider the real story yet.

In any case, I am probably too young to be a writer writing about writing, even if the underlying topics are a) desperation and b) paralysis. Not again until long from now will I have ASME’s implicit endorsement to do so, and I’ll mention that at dinner with my parents next week.

—Michelle B. Timmerman, Glamour, Harvard University

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The metaphorical cupcake

One of the perks of working at InStyle is the occasional box of chocolates or cupcakes that will float through our department. As an intern, I am always overly excited by the delicious treats we receive from various companies, but my more seasoned supervisors are less affected by the appearance of sugary snacks. Lucky for me, they gladly share with the interns, and I shamelessly gobble them up.

I can only assume that my pre-existing confection obsession, coupled with the knowledge that free sweets would only be at my disposal for three short months, resulted in a you-only-live-once kind of attitude. Recently, however, I’ve begun to wonder if there will ever come a day when I, too, will turn down a cupcake. Is my childlike glee over sweets merely a sign of my inexperience? Just how many cupcakes per week is it acceptable for a serious magazine editor to eat? (If anyone has a number, please let me know, but I’ll add two for good measure.)

“There will be another cupcake tomorrow,” one editor remarked, musingly. ‘Wiser words were never spoken,’ I thought, but maybe this advice can be applied to more than just baked goods.

As interns, we show up hungry – overly eager, even – and sometimes end up biting off more than we can chew. When I first started, I wanted to do more and get more opportunities, when really I should have just been satisfied with a nibble. This summer, I’ve learned that the magazine industry is full of wonderful people and exciting opportunities. Although it’s easy to rush into breaking into an enticing world like this, I know that it’s a marathon – not a race. I’ll get there, in time, and if not, there will be another cupcake tomorrow.*

*Those are my thoughts on the metaphorical cupcake. The edible cupcake, I’ll still devour, every time.

Taysha Murtaugh
ASME Intern at InStyle
Iowa State University

With a little help from my friends

At the beginning of the summer, my roommates and I had one really bad habit. We'd come home from work and dissect every minute of our days, down to the final detail. In the first couple of weeks as we adjusted to our magazines, we spent hours mulling over every tiny task that we could possibly have done wrong.
As it turns out, that's not the healthiest behavior.
Right around the time we decided to quit cold turkey to preserve our sanity, the updates started to change. Speculation about what we'd done wrong steadily turned to a list of what we thought we'd done right. And so, the daily debriefings continued. After all, how could good updates be stressful, right?
If someone came home with one new byline, someone else came home with two. Everyone was fitting in an impossible number of informational interviews. So yes, those updates were still stressful. But they always made me consider how much more I could be doing to make the most of this opportunity. When I finally took the time to reflect on this summer, I realized that I never would have accomplished everything I did if I wasn't surrounded by 30 constant reminders that there plenty of amazingly talented young people in this industry who are willing to work just as hard as I am. Together we tossed around story ideas, wrote thank you notes and spent hours upon hours (upon hours) talking about magazines.
At the July ASME NEXT event, I talked to one attendee who said she loved the talks because she always left feeling inspired to do the best she possibly could at her job. Luckily for me, I don't have to wait for a scheduled event for my next dose of inspiration. I can just call my friends.
Laynie Rose, University of Georgia, Money

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Intern Profile on Tommie Ethington

Don’t let Tommie Ethington’s small town origins fool you. Although she’s got the bubbly sweetheart persona, Ethington is taking on in New York with force and proving that her knowledge far exceeds what she calls the “cowboy culture” of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
By watching her parents handle owning a small business, Ethington learned the importance of hard work early on. Not only has she interned with her hometown newspaper, The Jackson Hole News & Guide as a features reporter, but she’s also about to start her senior year at Trinity University as the editor-in-chief of her campus newspaper, The Trinitonian. But after interning at Field & Stream this summer, she’s not too worried about the challenge.
“I’ve learned a lot about how to best manage a staff and how to think big picture in regards to the relationship between editorial and advertising,” says Ethington. “I’ve also been reminded of what it feels like to be at the lower level and have your article returned to you with a lot of edits.”
At Field & Stream, Ethington has been using that work ethic and interviewing dedicated readers of the publication. Bonus? She gets a high off of the excitement that fans of the magazine exhibit when she lets them know they’ll be featured in an upcoming issue.
Field & Stream really cares about their readers, the environment and the next generation of conservationists” says Ethington of the staff she’s been working closely with, “and I think that’s something everyone can get behind.”
So what’s in the future for this ambitious go-getter? Well, she’s not really sure, but she knows she wants to combine her love of travel and magazines and she wouldn’t mind exploring new journalistic avenues like photography or broadcast journalism. The ASME internship, Ethington says, gave her the confidence to try out even more new experiences.
-Cary Carr, ASME Intern, Temple University

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stranger's Stories in Manhattan

White hair.  Gentle eyes.  Blue veins snake beneath porcelain skin. 

What was it like, the world, in 1934?

Dreadlocks.  Beaded bracelet.  Orange pants swoon skinny legs.

Who is your inspiration?

Slick hair.  Eastern European.  Fingers punch Blackberry keyboard. 

What is your native tongue?

Eight million Manhattanites.  Eight million people to watch.  Eight million people I want to know.

I ask strangers questions.  They speak to me.  Their life is myriad stories.  I am from Switzerland, Chicago, Ghana, Thailand, Brooklyn.  I work for the government.  I toss pizza in the East Village.  I'm a journalist.  I'm unemployed.  New York City is a thief: she steals my money.  Good restaurants?  I know none.  I always eat at home.  My friends are gone for the weekend.  My family lives in South Africa.  I feel so alone.  

Not all their words are verbal.  Sometimes, I read their messages on torn, cardboard signs.  Homeless.  Anything helps!  Lost my job.  Iraq Vet.  Fat people need food too.  Seeking caring girlfriend. 

Our conversations are physical too.  A smile.  A sigh.  Shifting seats on the subway.  Our eyes meet.  Brown.  Jade.  Aqua.  We don't know what to say, but silence is a conversation.  I stare at him, at her, at them.  I am curious.  Today, tomorrow, I will always want to know.  Share your story with me.  And I, I , will tell you mine. 

Jenneke Oostman, Travel + Leisure Editorial Intern

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Luckiest

Society forces us to choose our fates so early in life. 

I started visiting colleges only two years into high school at age 16. I was just starting to drive on my own and now I have to make a decision on where I will spend the equivalent of a fourth of my current life.  Two years later I was packing up my car and moving out of the house.  I was 18 years old—not even allowed to enjoy a glass of wine and I had to choose a program that would be my career for the rest of my life. The rest of my life. That is the equivalent of (hopefully) 472 percent of my current life.  Now I’m 21 years old and I am getting my first tastes of what that 472 percent will be like. 

But I am the luckiest. I am the luckiest because I love this taste and I want more of it. I want to eat the whole plate and go back for seconds. But what if at age 18—still a kid (as if I’m not still a kid as I write this, ha) I made the wrong decision? What if instead I had chosen accounting? I would have done three years of my program and gotten an internship just before I began my last year. I could have hated that internship and then what? I would only have a year left, I would be pretty much locked into this career I hated because I made a wild guess at what I wanted to do with, say, 55 years of my life when I had only experienced 18 years at all. 

I’ve always dreamed of working at Food Network Magazine, of living in New York City, and I’m doing it right now. If you know what you want to do, where you want to be and you are doing it, you are so fortunate. To leave that all behind without any concrete security that I will be back seems ridiculous. I don’t want to go back to school, I want to do all the things I haven’t done yet, see the things I haven’t had time to see, have experiences I didn’t get a chance to have.  But thanks to my friend Abby, I’ve realized how exciting that is. Not getting all of those things done is our reassurance—or at least my reassurance—that I will be back.

 But until then, I have one amazing senior year to attend to. Be right back, New York.  

Devon O'Brien
Iowa State University 

Intern Profile on Kat McAlpine

When given the choice between a career in finance or journalism, the decision came down to passion for Kat McAlpine.

“I realized a punch-in, punch-out cubicle job wasn’t going to fulfill my need to feel what I was doing was meaningful in a larger sense,” Kat, who spent a year workings in sales at 19, said. “I needed to be able to invest myself emotionally in my work, to be passionate about my career.”

An itch to do “something that mattered” led her to earn a degree in both journalism and anthropology at the University in Connecticut in May. It also led her to Washington, D.C. this summer to intern with Smithsonian Magazine.

As someone who’s always been curious about everything, particularly global health, cultural issues and scientific research, the internship was a perfect fit.

“It’s just surreal that my job is to go and soak in all these interesting exhibits and blog about them. It’s so much fun,” she says.

These days, when she’s not writing about ocean acidity or scouring her twitter feed for headlines, she’s probably out in the city meeting people.

“The best part about going out (in D.C.) is wondering what sorts of interesting people you will meet that night,” she says. “It’s incredibly refreshing to be in such a forward-thinking atmosphere.”

It’s an atmosphere she hopes to stay in as the recent graduate is currently in search for a job. Forced to face this economy and job market, Kat responds with the kind of bright optimism that tells you know she’s had her stint in the business world.

“I actually think the economy is on the upswing,” she says. “Employers have adjusted to the climate and are re-focusing their efforts to talented, passionate people.”

And so far, she says she’s had some positive interviews.

By Christina Downs, ASME Intern, AARP The Magazine

BONUS: It’s not all business for Kat. Married with a love of research and information is a passion for—you guessed it—her crock pot.  In closing, here’s a recipe for one of Kat’s favorite crock pot concoctions, chicken parmigiana. 

Crock Pot Chicken Parmigiana by Kat J. McAlpine
“Chicken Parmigiana is amazing in a crock pot. It’s super easy, too.”

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2.5-3 hours

3-4 breaded or lightly sauteed chicken breasts
Fresh mozzarella (as much as you like)
Minced or roasted garlic
One jar of your favorite red sauce
Mushrooms of choice, chopped
1-1/2 American eggplant, peeled and chopped
Fresh basil

Place the cooked chicken breasts in the crock pot. Create a layer of mozzarella and garlic. Then pour the red sauce with the mushrooms, eggplant and basil. For extra pizazz, sprinkle feta or goat cheese on top. Set the crock pot on high and cook for about 2 and a half to three hours, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. 

Intern Profile on Chase Howell

ESPN The Magazine is on a college campus. Or at least that’s what it feels like to Chase Howell.

For starters, more than a dozen buildings comprise the ESPN “campus,” housing both the television station and magazine. Each Monday, magazine editors meet after work to play a game of pick-up basketball. Recently, the magazine had a dodgeball tournament in celebration of its one-year anniversary in Bristol, Conn.

And Howell, a self-proclaimed sports aficionado from West Harrison, Ind., is loving every minute.

“I never thought about journalism until my senior year of high school,” says Howell, a rising senior at Franklin College in Indiana. “But I liked writing, and I liked sports, so I decided sports journalism was definitely going to be my path.”

He has taken that passion and run with it, never once looking back. In fact, upon entering college, Howell, a news editorial journalism major, told his adviser that before graduating, he would write for ESPN The Magazine or Sports Illustrated.

Sure enough, Howell has achieved that dream and more. During his internship at ESPN The Magazine, he has researched a wide variety of topics, ranging from college football to mixed martial arts. He recently wrote his first piece for on baseball rookie Bryce Harper, which attracted the attention of other sports journalists.

Upon returning to Franklin College, Howell will assume a position as a sports intern at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although he’s unsure of whether he wants to do magazine or newspaper writing, one thing is for sure: Journalism is his passion.

“I’m still kind of finding my way,” he says. “I like the visual graphic side of magazines. You can do a lot more art and photography-wise and express yourself in different ways than you would in a print newspaper. There may be more need for content as a sports writer in the newspaper business, but I’m definitely testing the waters in both businesses.”

—Taylor Lewis, ESSENCE Magazine, University of Kansas

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Daydreaming Sylvia Plath

Living somewhere for only about two months is tricky. You have to decorate your walls right away, or it's too late and you're leaving already.  Here I am, at the beginning of the last week and should start packing already, but for some reason, I'm obsessed with our room walls. Correction, blank room walls. 

My walls have been blank because I never got the chance to buy some tape. Or maybe, I purposefully didn't because I knew I was here only temporarily. Maybe my mind wanted to keep them blank, so that each time I look at them I'd remember that there's something else I should do and that I'm not here forever. So that anything else I should do, I should do it now. Maybe I was also subconsciously stopping the time, making myself believe that I've just arrived here, and that there's still time. But mostly, think about how sad it is to take something off. Better leave it the way it is.

So I spent my summer with empty walls. I'd look over at my desk to feel more settled, where I put up all the post cards I collected from Chelsea art galleries and various museum exhibitions. It's also where all my magazines are. Now it's time to slowly pack them and leave this dorm.

When I read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar for the first time in 10th grade, one thing nailed to my mind was that she was chosen for a magazine journalism program, where she spends the summer in New York City, living with fellow program interns and working at Mademoiselle magazine. I wanted what she had, so much. I didn't even know that I wanted to be a journalist or work at magazines then. I didn't know I loved this city. It was a subconscious dream I had, and here I am. Here we all are, and we will be back.

Burcu Noyan
ASME Online Editorial Intern at Lucky
Vassal College '13

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Don't Want to Leave

This phrase is basically the only phrase I have uttered in the past week. I refuse to talk about my flight home to Iowa on Saturday (good job, Chloe. Acceptance is the first step), I shush people when they talk about leaving, and I'm secretly planning a way to hide out in the Parents office forever without being noticed. In a lot of ways, this ASME internship was the worst thing that could have happened to me. It made me realize how much I hate college, how anxious I am to move to New York, how much the world sucks without magazines infiltrating my every living second, and how my life will never again be the same after this summer.

I came into this program thinking I knew a thing or two about the magazine industry, solely because I had the ability to spin some words into better words. Apparently, there’s a bit more to editing than that. I learned everything from proper networking and writing to approaching editors and pitching ideas. I also have a newfound love for babies, which is something I never thought I would say. And unfortunately, this blog post won’t have a happy little ending that says I suddenly found worth in Iowa City and my classes and working full-time as a server at a restaurant, because that life isn’t my happy ending. It’s the large and uncomfortable stepping stone to my picture-perfect life, the one that shows me in New York, eating dry cereal in a cardboard box under the bridge, making no money and begging for an editorial job.

Isn’t that everyone’s dream, though? Well, maybe not.

-Chloe Metzger, Parents

Friday, August 3, 2012

Modest Beginnings

It’s a small office — compact.

There aren’t enough seats at the table, or enough room to oblige the etiquette I grew up with: chair out, napkin in lap, pass to the left, hostess at the head …

But, the table is large enough for four laptops, four brains, and a heap (heaps, rather) of magazines. That’s right: print magazines.

Besides, no space is too small for our ideas.

“First, we’ll launch on the iPad!” I shout. 

My eureka shocks my roommates as much as me. I’m more natural with a spatula than electronics. 

“Think: Esquire for women, but not just for women,” Michelle and Taylor pitch.

It will be the go-to for fitness + lifestyle + politics + sex + religion + all things taboo. 

Somehow, our magazine will maintain its innocence. Maybe because of Cary’s doll face —

Or, maybe, because our ambition is so unbridled, and yet, pure.

We’re fearlessly ambitious, and it feels right not to have solid goals, but to know that we do have them.

Sure, we’re gathered ‘round our humble kitchen table (it’s more of a coffee table, really). And, we’re sharing ideas between handfuls of $3 Trader Joe’s faux frosted flakes. But with each idea, and with each handful, our “magazine” seems more tangible. The future seems more feasible.

Maybe it’s a sugar high, or maybe we’re starry-eyed.

But, you know, Condé Nast wasn’t built in a day.

And, I know this: the magazine industry has exceeded my expectations. And, we owe it to ourselves to exceed our own.

Perhaps our magazine will flop (ehem, fold). But, the four of us don’t mind. Michelle, Cary, Taylor, and I will take the chance.

Becky Mickel, Martha Stewart Living

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

For three weeks, beginning July 3, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise have been on everyone’s radar at People magazine and on the cover. I joined a team of interns to stakeout Katie Holmes apartment building in the days after the divorce announcement was made. I was standing outside behind barricades with paparazzi and reporters from The Daily News and The Insider. We were all waiting to see if Katie Holmes would come out of her building. While standing outside for hours with paparazzi, I networked and even met other interns that were there. At the end of my shift, there was no sign of Katie Holmes, I assumed that was the end of the stakeout, little did I know it was just the beginning.

One day I saw Katie Holmes and I had to follow her inside Whole Foods supermarket. It was weird but she didn’t notice and neither did her bodyguards. I observed and took notes on what I saw. Another intern and I reported on the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce, I was outside of the building of her attorney’s office and another intern was at her apartment building. Any time we would receive any information or details from her visit we would email our editor. You can view the article here: Katie Holmes Visits Her Divorce Lawyer

In the midst of all the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise madness, I was assisting the fashion editor with her “Dress Like a Sexy Celebrity” segment on ABC-TV’s “Good Afternoon America.” I worked with her fashion stylist and checked in clothes and items that came in and picked out items that would work for the segment. It’s amazing how a stylist goes through approximately 50 pairs of jeans for one pair and two minutes on television. The same goes for the shoes, tops and accessories. I also assisted in fitting the four models for the show, who are interns at Good Afternoon America. The day of the show, I was invited to see it live and saw how the fashion editor prepares for the segment. It was a great learning experience for me since I am interested in fashion and I was able to see some of the stylish items that are under $100.

Last week was another hectic week at People magazine. Tom Cruise was in town and you know what that means…stakeout! We had to stakeout his hotel and at Katie Holmes apartment building. Late one night I received a tip from a paparazzi who saw the car accident they had downtown in Chelsea. I immediately emailed the editor and they told me to obtain all the details and interview him. It was 1:00 a.m. and I was interviewing him over the phone and typed everything up and sent it to my editor by 2:00 a.m. She was amazed by all the information I obtained and said I did a great job. It was put on the website that very day and was the number one story on the website for three days. You can view the article here: Katie Holmes & Suri's Car Hit by Garbage Truck

That morning I woke up four hours later to stakeout at Katie Holmes building. I was there by 8 a.m. and then the paparazzi came around noon. Around that time they received a tip and said the black SUV just left the building and is heading to Tribeca. They told me and I told the editor, then the paparazzi (the source for the car accident story) told me that I can go in the car with them and follow the SUV.  In the heat of the moment I went and we chased the car to “The Greenwich Hotel” and that was where I saw Tom Cruise with Suri. One word to explain that experience: Crazy! I will never be involved in a car chase and I will not ride in the car with a paparazzi. When I told the editor, she was concerned for my safety and told me that I should never do that because anything could happen but she knew it was in the heat of the moment. I was just so interested in getting the information for People that I didn’t really think about what could happen. At the end of the day it was an experience that I will never forget.

On Thursday, July 19 I attended the Samsung Galaxy S III launch event at the Marquee nightclub in lower Manhattan. I had just come from reporting on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise and rushed to the club for my next assignment. I was assigned to interview Ashlee Simpson for the website. I entered the club to the VIP area and had an interview with her and it was great. You can view the article here: Ashlee Simpson: Bronx Loves the New Puppy

People magazine has been a rewarding experience for me and I have learned so much! I can’t believe I only have a week left before it’s over. I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

-Mabel Martinez, People Intern