Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hit the Road with Kelli Fitzpatrick

When it comes to her career, Kelli Fitzpatrick may not know where she’s going in terms of location quite yet—but it’s clear she’s on the right path.

This New Middleton, Ohio native’s passion for glossy print started at a young age, when she pored over tween go-to titles like Seventeen and Girl’s Life, and only escalated over time. Fitzpatrick knocked off the typical indicators of a budding journalist early in middle- and high school, from designing a magazine in class and proofing friends’ papers “since I was, like, 12” to writing and editing the Springfield High School newspaper and yearbook.

So when Fitzpatrick chose to pursue her editorial obsession à la a magazine journalism major at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, she says it came to no one’s surprise. While typical considerations came to mind in choosing her university—“it was a good distance from home!”—what really drew Fitzpatrick to Kent State was its journalism program. Between its abundance of student-produced publications (everything from general interest to LGBT) and national accreditation, it was the right fit for Fitzpatrick: “With the big, beautiful journalism building and magazine program, I had to do it.”

Fitzpatrick made the most of the editorial opportunities available, honing her voice and reporting skills at Fusion—the campus LGBT interest magazine, for which she’s contributed everything from pre-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal lesbians in the military cover stories to weekly Glee recaps—and making the Daily Kent Stater’s student finance beat her own with practical feature-style stories covering subjects like making and saving money. Up next? She’ll take over as managing editor of Fusion in the fall.

While her reporting pursuits consume much of her time, Fitzpatrick has another passion in line with her curiosity: travel. She studied for a semester in Florence, where, between “eating a lot of food and drinking a lot of wine,” she soaked in the historic city’s culture and “bopped around Europe” as often as she could. On one trip to Italy’s coast, there was a problem with the track and everyone was ordered to get off the train. “We’re in some random, little Italian town in the middle of nowhere, and no one speaks English,” says Fitzpatrick, who kept her cool and helped get her traveling group to their final destination—a feat that required two “janky white vans” and some vino in the back seat.

Samantha Livengood, a rising senior advertising major at Kent State and friend of Fitzpatrick’s who also studied in Florence, says her friend’s initiative led them throughout the trip. “When we traveled, Kelli was the mom of the group,” she says. “I’m sure without her, the other girls that traveled with us and I would still be roaming around some city in Europe.”

Since Fitzpatrick returned to the states, she’s kept up her penchant for travel. Her ASME Summer Internship Program placement brought her to Reader’s Digest in New York City. Fitzpatrick has spent her days doing typical intern tasks at the magazine and even scrounging up a few bylines. But in her off-time, she’s soaked up all the city has to offer, from the sights (the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Met) and sounds (“I saw Kinky Boots with my parents—I cried. I just loved it.”) to the cuisine (“I’ve been to Max Brenner’s chocolate restaurant three times. Just throwing that out there.”).

And while her time in the city is coming to an end, Fitzpatrick’s adventures in travel and journalism are just beginning. She’s accumulated the clips, not to mention journo cred, to make it in a competitive industry—and appears to be on the path to success.

“Kelli will be successful wherever she ends up,” Livengood says. “She will be the one person that I know, without a doubt, who will reach her goals and succeed. She’s the most determined person I know.”

Wherever she ends up is still to be determined. Upon graduation in May, she sees herself road-tripping across America. “This summer I’m meeting people from all over the States, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ve never been there,” Fitzpatrick says. “I want to see everything.”

As for her career? “Who knows?” she asks. Whether she’s working at a national brand in New York in 12 months or a regional title in the South, Fitzpatrick doesn’t know. One thing’s for certain, though: she’s just enjoying the journey.

By Jeff Nelson, Drake University, People
Edited by Natascha Yogachandra, New York University, Travel + Leisure

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sara Gentzler: A Small-Town Girl Who Can Travel the World

Sara Gentzler loves the outdoors. Growing up in Nebraska with two older brothers in a house without cable, she credits climbing trees, playing sports and getting beat up by boys as the spark to her passion for nature.
“If there’s a chance to be outside, I’d so much rather do that than do anything inside,” Sara says. “It’s not so much what you are doing, but if I can just find an excuse to be out there, I’ll do it.”
Now, whether running a half marathon, studying abroad for a semester in Ireland, sea kayaking on a weekend trip to Lagos, Portugal or playing ukulele on her porch in Omaha, Nebraska, Sara chooses to surround herself with fresh air, always searching for a new adventure. In fact, last summer, when Sara and her roommate, Gina Gilson, found a homeless woman inside Gina's new car, they didn't run away screaming or give up on their plans to watch the Perseid meteor shower. Instead, they hopped in the car, drove to the nearest gas station and left $20 in the stranger's pocket.
"We got in the car and went over to Iowa anyways," Gina says. "We ended up going too far south on the interstate and sat on a gravel road, singing and watching the shooting stars."
For the past two summers, Sara has combined her adventurous spirit with her love of children while teaching swimming lessons in Nebraska and hiking through the bush of Uganda to produce and film a documentary through Creighton University’s “Backpack Journalism” program. This summer, however, she decided to do the same in a different landscape: New York City.
Sara (right) while studying abroad in Ireland. 
“Coming here was a different culture shock,” she says. “From where I am in Nebraska, I can be bored and be content, and I could be bored and content in Ireland, but here it’s like there’s always something you can be doing. It’s bizarre to me.”
While in New York, Sara says she’s had to adapt to the rapid pace of the city and the masses of people. And since her background is in video journalism, she’s also had to learn the ins and outs of print journalism. While interning at Parents Magazine, Sara's had the opportunity to pitch and write blogs, even sharing her cousin's emotional story. Above all, though, Sara says she loves the magazine's staff.
“It’s incredible the amount you can do in just one day,” she says. “And I enjoy every single task I’m given. I haven’t had one tedious or boring task.”
Gina, Sara’s best friend at college, isn’t surprised by Sara’s flawless adjustment this summer. In fact, she says her friend does great things simply by feeding her own passions.
“She is fun-loving with an insatiable sense of adventure and an enthusiasm for life that is rare in most people her age,” Gina says. “She is so eager to experience everything about the places she goes and the people she meets.”
In five years, Gina sees her best friend working for a family magazine while living close to nature (so she can feed her adventurous spirit on the weekends). She sees her somewhere like Denver, but Sara isn’t quite ruling New York City out of the picture. She says she loves the flat plains of Nebraska and the mountains of Utah, but she also likes the beaches in New York. On a day trip to Fire Island this summer, she says she found her much-needed escape with nature.
“The first time when we to the beach, it was like ‘ahhh,’ you know?” she says. “It’s even just nice just being able to see nothing, being able to look out into the ocean and see nothing was kind of comforting because everywhere you go here you’ll see people and it’s beautiful, but it can also be exhausting,” she says. “It’s something I’ve actually come to love over the summer.”
Just as Sara has adjusted to cultures and people across the world, immersed herself in new field of journalism and learned to appreciate the obstacles of New York, Sara’s genuine love of life and passions will take her far. One thing’s for sure, Sara will be smiling no matter where she ends up.
“I’d be happy writing about the things I care about,” she says.
Written by: Anna Price Olson, The University of Alabama, BRIDES

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The End

I'm not a fan of goodbyes.
I don't like cheesy, long-winded declarations either.
That's why this final blog post is going to be a hard one to write.

The other night, I went on a little "date" with my ASME mentor after work. In between my endless questioning, she got in one of her own. "So have any of the other interns had an overwhelmingly good or bad experience compared to the others?" she asked. I tried to recall the rants and raves I had witnessed during the previous 10 weeks, pinpointing the most note-worthy in my mind.

"Uhhh..." I pushed out. "I guess we've all had our ups and downs." I followed up with a few brief descriptions of the ups, and even briefer hints of the downs. They didn't matter anyways—a few hiccups now and then are expected with anything new.

But the next day, I couldn't stop thinking about Lauren's question. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that the program was coming to an end, and just about everyone was asking me if I was going to stay in the magazine business. Plus, there was the list of questions I had for myself. Did I do the best I could? Should I have done more, stayed later? And what about the damn networking?

So I came back to the rants and raves of others to reflect on my own questions.

When I thought about each individual, each other friend at their respective magazine (including myself at mine), little of the experience had to do with the magazine itself. Sure, Jeff at People got to shake hands with shiny celebs and Andrea at Good Housekeeping got to walk through its institute's shiny hallways. But the time we had with the program mostly had everything to do with the attitude of each intern. Demanding boss? Work harder to show your dedication. Asked to get coffee? Well, it just might mean more face-time with the aforementioned boss. Not doing any writing? At least we can fact check in our sleep. So regarding the repeated question of whether or not we liked the experience—hell yes we did because not a single day passed without a lesson learned. And it's right to assume that we all love to learn.

It's quite strange to be wrapping up such a milestone of our college careers. Some of us have been working towards this since our freshman year. Some of us, even earlier (shout out to you, Jeff).

My theory: the greats go hard. They do things a bit differently. They jump and crash and push and fall and never sleep and always work and go crazy and learn.
I was surrounded by the greats this summer, interns included.
How damn lucky.

- Written by Natascha Yogachandra, New York University, Travel + Leisure Magazine 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman ... or a Magazine

They say that a true lady never reveals her age, but I’ll let you in on a secret: My employer is 130 years old.

Working at a magazine whose history spans over a century has given me great insight into our evolving industry. This summer, speakers in our weekly lunches have told my fellow interns and I that the magazine industry isn’t dying, just changing. Instead of solely looking at magazines as print publications with glossy covers and voice-y features, we should view them as brands with websites, tablet editions and even product lines.

Maybe, as fledgling journalists less than a year from entering the “real world,” we interns cling too tightly to this view. Especially today, on the last day of our internships, we hope we’ll be able to find jobs once we graduate and that these publications will have room for us as they continue to change. But if there’s anything I know from working at Ladies’ Home Journal, it’s that magazines have been reinventing themselves for decades. However, despite whether they’ve appeared in black and white or vibrant color, print or online, magazines have will always hold a special place in our country’s history. Here are five moments from LHJ’s extensive past that show the power of magazines in shaping the nation.

1. I’m just a (very important) bill.
Although LHJ had fought against the “medical quackery” of ineffective patent medicines since 1892, editor Edward Bok’s 1904 article, “The Patent-Medicine Curse” was a major part of his campaign towards regulating medicines sold in the U.S. The revolutionary Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906 in large part due to the volumes of passionate readers who read his article and demanded their representatives pass a congressional bill to regulate their medications.

2.  ‘The First Lady of American Journalism’ Speaks Out.
Dorothy Thompson not only met Hitler, she interviewed him. She was the first American journalist to be expelled from Nazi Germany, but the woman who came to be known as the “First Lady of American Journalism” went on to increase American awareness of the pre-WWII Nazi threat with a monthly column in LHJ. The column continued until her death in 1961, but it’s clear that the woman who said, “Only when we are no longer afraid to we begin to live” set a fearless example for the American public.

3. “A Woman is Like a Tea Bag …
… you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” So said Eleanor Roosevelt in her autobiography, which was published in a 1937 series in LHJ. She also published a monthly column titled “If You Ask Me” in the magazine. The former first lady answered both personal and political questions sent in from LHJ readers until 1949, which was long after her husband had died and her official duties were retired. She exemplified the long standing LHJ slogan, "never underestimate the power of a woman."

4. How Does America Live?
Readers got a look into the lives of “real families” across the country in the feature “How America Lives.” Each story included intimate details from the family’s life, including financial woes and marital issues, which was pretty scandalous for the time. The feature came about when glimpses into the lives of Americans in faraway states would’ve been otherwise impossible. LHJ continues the tradition of prominently featuring readers in its issues today.

5. Sign here, please.

In 1970, more than 60,000 LHJ readers signed “An Open Letter to representatives of North Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Governments" to ask the government than prisoners of war be treated decently. The petition emerged as a response to the magazine’s war coverage, which proved that the though primarily focusing on the American woman, LHJ has always made a point to engage its readers with the history being made around them.

Written by: Allison Pohle, University of Missouri-Columbia, Ladies' Home Journal

Going Against The Grain

She zipped and zagged in the trees while staring out at nothing but a jungle of green. Morgan Grain has been to 10 countries, but, for her, no experience compares to ziplining in tropical Costa Rica. With a passport as impressive as her resume, Grain is a perfect match for the diverse concrete jungle that is New York City.

A rising senior at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Grain is finishing up her summer internship at inStyle. It hasn’t been easy for the Atlanta native, who lives with her aunt and uncle in Brooklyn. Grain was raised by a single mother because her parents divorced when she was just a baby. Despite Grain's endless athletic events, her mom Stephanie always found a prominent seat in the stands.

Lucky for Grain, she has a tight-knit family with two little sisters and two brothers. She comes from an athletic household and is the third generation in her family to attend Florida A&M. Her dad and grandfather, who emigrated from Panama, both played for the school's baseball team, The Rattlers. Grain is no slouch herself. She played basketball and ran track at Druid Hills High School, even reaching states in the triple jump.

Sports have always brought her family together. Her dad asked her two years ago if she wanted to do a triathlon with her entire family. Grain, in her typical can-do style, said "yes, of course."  

That fearlessness has carried over into the office, where she has gone outside her comfort zone at inStyle. As the Editor-in-chief of The Journey, the campus magazine at Florida A&M, Grain has always dealt more with the news side of journalism. Although she has never considered herself a fashionista, her favorite T.V. show is “Sex in the City.” She owns all six seasons. “I see myself in everyone except Samantha," she says. "I can be stern and moody like Miranda, and she’s very blunt and sarcastic—I’m that. Then, I’m kind of like Charlotte because I want to get married and have a family, which was her big thing. I’m like Carrie because she is a writer and is everywhere. She is really independent and a hopeless romantic. She likes to have fun and is herself. She doesn’t care about what people think about her, and that’s me too.”

Being an independent thinker helps her run the campus magazine and go after stories nobody would touch. Robert Champion, a Florida A&M drum major, died in 2011 while participating in a hazing ritual on a bus. The incident sparked controversy and ignited conversation across the country.
Being the go-getter that she is, Grain chased that story with a fresh angle. She wanted to interview the band members not involved in the incident to find out how this has affected them. While the story didn’t materialize, it showed a drive that has permeated in all aspects of her life.

Raymond Love, a recent Florida A&M graduate, served as managing editor of The Journey for the past two years. When Grain earned the top job, she wanted Love as her second-in-command. He didn’t want the gig, but couldn’t say no to her persistence.

At one point last year, the staff didn’t want to produce their last and fourth quarterly issue of the magazine. The administration held back for two months on releasing their anticipated sex issue, which lowered the staff morale. Leave it to Grain to get her colleagues to turn an issue around in three weeks, and to make it a great issue at that.

“Morgan is a sweet girl, but when there is something she really wants to accomplish, she is going to go for it,” Love says. “This tenacity comes out of nowhere. Once she sets her mind to it, she is going to get what she’s trying to get.”

There doesn’t seem to be anywhere Grain won’t go. While ziplining in Mexico, another family approached hers talking about how much better the ziplining in Costa Rica is. So her family went. Grain, a fearless world traveller, should have no problem zigging and zagging through the concrete jungle.

Written by: Adam Pincus, University of Florida, Field and Stream
Edited by: Allison Pohle, University of Missouri-Columbia, Ladies' Home Journal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Art of an Exit

I find that packing up and leaving a place is a different demon than trying to pack up to go somewhere. When at home readying for a trip, I am surrounded by everything I am used to living with, and I grapple with necessarily needing a fourth pair of jeans.

Packing up for home has different thorns. I know that everything will have to end up in the suitcase one way or another, as it was a part of the intricate Tetris puzzle of my suitcase before. But this time around, I have to also find room for everything that was purchased while away.

I, being most wise and poor, did not purchase anything this summer that will take up space in my bags, which Delta had told me were dangerously close to overweight. However, there is a lot that I am having trouble finding room for in my luggage.

First of all, my friends. Each and every one of the people I met this summer gave something different to me: be it inspiration, sound advice, or a laugh. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Secondly, everything I have learned. MONEY Magazine reinforced that I am on the right trajectory for my future, and everyone there, from the top of the masthead to the bottom, supported me as I found my way through the jungle of personal finance. The magazine industry is a place I very much desire to come back to, and I blame this summer.

Lastly, this city. The noise can be deafening, and the lights blinding, but I am fully willing to cope with those minor details in exchange for riding the train to work, escaping rain under an awning or queuing onto the sidewalk for a table at a restaurant.

How I fit all of these things into a carry-on and a checked bag is looking like a problem for another night because TimeOut just tweeted about a great new place on the Lower East Side.

I am forever indebted to the people who made this summer what it was, and please, all of you keep in touch.


-Stefan Malmsten, MONEY Magazine, Ohio University