Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Never Say Never

“We’re all in this room because we’re creative people.”

If Jake Silverstein, the editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine, says it to a roomful of junior magazine editors and interns, it must be true. Still I thought, “Who, me?”

If someone had told me a few years ago that I was a creative person, I would have laughed in their face. How could the person whose artistic abilities don’t extend beyond stick figures be a creative person?

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far during my short time as an ASME intern, it’s that I better get used to having my preconceived ideas challenged. Whether it’s been learning about magazines, journalism or just New York City in general, I’ve discovered that what I think I know to be true isn’t always exactly true.

I thought New York City was an overwhelming and complicated place to live. Now with a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks from where I live, and discovering that I can successfully navigate the Subway system, I’m starting to think I can get used to this place.
Another thing I never thought I would do: work in the World Trade Center complex!
I thought there was no chance I would ever cross paths with people who work for some of the top magazines in the country. Yet not only have I now met top editors from Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated, but I’ve also gotten a chance to hear words of advice and tips on how to navigate the industry from these people.

I thought the magazine industry was dying, but I’ve recently learned just the opposite. Thanks to a constant flurry of new developments in video, apps and design, magazines are evolving, not dying, by finding creative ways to innovate their brand.

I thought that I couldn’t possibly find writing about businesses interesting, but now every time I learn a new business term—like venture capitalist, angel investing or accelerator—I realize how excited I am to spend a summer at Inc., getting to master all of the ins and outs of a subject that is brand new to me.

As I think back to sitting in that crowded room, craning my neck to see Jake Silverstein better, I think that maybe I shouldn’t have been so taken aback listening to someone talk about how creative and innovative magazine editors can be. Sure, I may not be the next Picasso, but that doesn’t mean coming up with a catchy headline or an engaging story doesn’t require creativity. If I want to succeed in this industry, I have to learn to keep an open mind and to never say never. 

—Anna Hensel, Creighton University, Inc.
Edited by Kevin Schultz, Northern Kentucky University, Scientific American 

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