Saturday, August 9, 2014

5 Things I've Learned about Rocking an Internship

As the summer winds down and I wrap up my internship with InStyle, I've had the opportunity to take time to reflect on the enormous amount I've learned through ASME.

Part of being an ASME intern means having exposure to many different magazines and professionals, and while I've taken away enough to fill volumes of books on what I've learned, when it comes to how to do well and how the wonderful ASME interns I know succeeded this summer, I think there are a few helpful rules of thumb that stand out to me.

1. Great interns are professional 

From how they dress to how they behave in the office, the great interns I know epitomize professionalism. It's easy to forget sometimes in the midst of all the fun that there are editors around, but they do pay attention.

You don't want to be remembered as the intern who wore skirts that were too short or the intern who gossiped constantly. Professionalism is part of making a great impression.

2. Great interns take initiative

Taking initiative and being a proactive intern is sometimes easier said than done, but it is crucial nonetheless. One of my editors remembers an intern from years ago who volunteered to organize the file cabinets when she didn't have anything to do instead of sitting around and waiting for work. If you aren't doing anything, create your own work.

Come up with story ideas, organize something, introduce yourself to someone new, and don't be afraid to speak up and ask if anyone needs help, because that initiative can really pay off and make you a memorable intern.

3. Great interns pay attention to office culture

Paying attention to office culture may seem like a given, but it can be surprising how often interns overlook this. Watch how the professionals in your office act and try to mirror them.

During my first week at InStyle, I noticed that the senior editors often left their doors open and other interns would pop their heads in to talk. Noticing that made it easier for me to approach these editors and introduce myself, ask them to coffee and get to know an influential person in a different way.

Not every office is necessarily that accessible, but paying attention to my office's culture allowed me to figure that out quickly and take advantage of it.

4. Great interns are self-sufficient

Being self-sufficient doesn't mean that you don't ask questions when you are confused about something (you should) but it does mean that you can rely on your instincts enough to not pester your editor about every facet of your job.

Editors are impressed by interns who can get the job done quickly and efficiently without making 12 phone calls for specific directions. If your editor sends you on an errand and the Duane Reade doesn't have what you're looking for, check the similar store across the street before asking your editor. It might just save you that call.

5. Great interns end on a good note

When I say end on a good note, I mean literally. Write the people you worked with thank you notes to show them that you appreciated your time working with them and you want to maintain that relationship. Some of my editors have thank you notes they've received on their desks, so it truly does not go unnoticed.

--Written by Alexandra Whittaker, Marquette University, InStyle

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Goodbye, New York. Thanks, ASME.

As I sit on an air mattress in my living room (Or dining room? Or common room? It's tough to be sure in these cozy dorms), I can't help but think about the summer that's come and gone.

Saying, "where has the time gone?" is kind of reserved for older people. You know, the lady that pinches your cheek or the gentleman that brings up uncomfortable conversations at the dinner table. But, I don't care.

This summer has flown by. It seems like only days ago that I first sat at my desk, comfortably located within the shadow of a gemsbok mount. A gemsbok, in case you're wondering, is a large antelope. The neck, head, and horns of one watched over me as I worked this summer at Field & Stream, and I could not have had a better time.
It wasn't just the writing and editing. There are certain things that any internship can teach you. But I realized that the ASME internship program is special.

It's tough to tell where I really figured that out.

It could have been as I sat in the ASME offices in May, listening to Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Bush share wisdom at levels that will take me decades to understand.

It could have been when as I read letters from countless readers, realizing how important F&S is to so many people from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon.

It could have happened while I was taking a step, aided by a strong walking stick, as my roommate and I were lost somewhere in New Jersey (that's a story for a different day).

So many different people and events impacted me this summer, and, as weird as it sounds, very few of those things have to do with journalism. That's what's great about the ASME program—you learn how to work a full-time job among some of the best editors in the world and you learn how to live in a massive, amazing city. You learn a lot about being an editor. But, most of all, you learn how to step out into the world and become what you want to be.

It was an amazing summer. But, now it's over. It's time to move onto bigger and better things. I'm a little more ready for those now thanks to ASME and the great city of New York.

--Written by Andy Zunz, the University of Central Florida, Field & Stream
--Edited by Kevin Schultz, Northern Kentucky University, Scientific American

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Andy Zunz: Hooked on Success

On his first day of classes freshman year, Andy Zunz, a 21-year-old Tampa, Fla. native found his picture on the front of The Central Florida Future’s sports page, a spot that the student run newspaper traditionally held for seniors.

Zunz began his journalistic pursuit after his English teacher at Gaither High School noticed his writing skills and encouraged him to join the school’s newspaper. Zunz was immediately hooked. After committing to the University of Central Florida, he knew that he had to write for the college paper.

As his freshman year approached, Zunz began reaching outsomewhat somewhat obsessively, he admitsto the editor-in-chief and sports editor at The Central Florida Future. In his emails, he expressed his eagerness, send pitches and even wrote a sample sports column. Zunz speculates that the editor-in-chief found him to be annoying, but when a story fell through at the last minute, his persistence paid off and his sports column took its place.

After adding “sports columnist” to his resume, Zunz worked his way through the ranks of the paper to become a staff writer, sports editor and finally the editor-in-chief for a semester during his junior year. On top of that, he’s balanced a spot as the managing editor of UCF’s student run magazine, Centric, for a semester and internships at the daily Orlando Sentinel and Golfweek.

It was at the latter that Zunz became interested in magazine writing.

“I’m honestly more compelled to tell someone’s story and figure out why something happens rather than just reporting on the facts,"  he says. "The time spent on each magazine feature is a really valuable thing as well as the design aspect that plays a huge role in the story.”

This passion landed him at Field and Stream for the summer as part of his ASME internship, and although Zunz admits he is the only one in his family who isn’t really interested in hunting and fishing, the experience has given him the opportunity to write, research and even work hand-in-hand with deputy editor and former ASME intern Colin Kearns.

Zunz say that Kearns really gave him a hands-on experience at his internship and helped him learn the role of an editor.

“He’ll give about half of his stories to me without telling me what he thinks of them and say ‘Give me your thoughts, write me out a couple paragraphs about what it needs,’” says Zunz.

Despite being intimidated at first, Zunz found that for the most part, he and Kearns see eye-to-eye. He must have done something right as he was given the opportunity to act as the assigning editor for a feature story on pike fishing in the fall. During this process he not only reworked the two-year-old pitch to make it more relevant, but also offered his opinions to all aspects of the package including the art and design.

When it comes to his future, Zunz has nothing to worry about. After he finishes up his internship, he has two days off before starting a full-time job as the assistant digital editor at Golfweek, a position that the magazine held for him while he was away for the summer at Field and Stream. While Zunz is excited to start his career in his home state, he admits that returning to New York City is not out of the question.

“If you would’ve asked me in the beginning of the summer if I would return, I would have said ‘no way,’” he says. “But, now I think I could make it work.”

--Written by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple
Edited by Alexandra Whittaker, Marquette University, InStyle

Monday, August 4, 2014

Leaving the Labyrinth

Mazes. They mystify us, they intrigue us, and they frustrate us. Their twists, turns, and dead ends offer endless opportunities for us to make decisions that could swiftly shift our direction, or worse, halt us in our tracks.

Mazes have become an integral part of my internship at National Geographic Magazine…literally. In my second week as an intern, Nat Geo’s video team recruited me to help produce a short, online video on the “science of mazes.” I needed to find expert sources, write interview questions, attend shoots, and compile all location and personal legal releases. I worked on the video for the majority of my summer, and it was published in my ninth week (shortly after D.C.’s National Building Museum opened its “BIG Maze” exhibit).

In addition to the video, I had the opportunity to explore the topic from an editorial standpoint. When it was proposed that a news article on maze research accompany the video, I jumped at the chance to write it. The catch, I later found out, was that in order for this research to be considered “newsworthy” and therefore publishable, it needed to be less than one month old or embargoed (not yet published).

To find such research proved easier said than done. In fact, my efforts led me to several dead ends.

After two weeks, I had exhausted the library’s databases, made calls to 10 scholarly journals, and spoken on the phone to seven neuroscientists. In the end, the entire idea was scrapped and replaced with a short Q&A, scooped up from our unused footage with the video’s neuroscientist. At first, this new development felt like a major defeat. I had spent hours researching and speaking to scientists, even writing an entire article that was deemed “a valiant effort” by my editor, albeit an effort that was quickly killed.

Not only did this experience bring the (unfortunate) opportunity to see the difficulties that can come with reporting on such a complex topic, but it also brought with it a sense of excitement and passion that I will not easily forget.

I began to realize that my entire internship at Nat Geo has turned out to be a maze of its own. Throughout the past 10 weeks, I’ve run into my fair share of frustrating dead ends. But I’ve also turned down new paths, explored complex topics, and am now finally finding my exit. It’s a satisfying feeling, I must admit, and quite a symbolic one at that.

--Written by Emma Weissmann, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Geographic Magazine
--Edited by Sarah Barchus, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, AARP The Magazine 

Helen Zook: New York Bound

The love affair between Helen Zook and New York City began last year, as many love affairs do, in a crappy first floor apartment. A layer of grime stubbornly clung to every surface, no matter how much she cleaned. Garbage cans sat just outside her bedroom window, and at night she could hear people sifting through the trash. After a month, all of her friends moved out, leaving her to fend for herself in a long-term hotel in a different part of town.

"It wasn't good either," she said.

Zook knows cities. She is a native of Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. She goes to school in Chicago, and she studied abroad in London the fall of her junior year. She calls New York polarizing. You tend know pretty quickly whether or not you want to be there—like an instinct, she said. And despite all that happened last year, Zook knew she wanted to come back.

Zook is once again in the Big Apple—this time as an ASME intern for Travel + Leisure. The people-watching, the freedom to wander, and the vibrant creativity of the city from its food to its fashion to its lifestyle drew her in. 

“I would live in a cardboard box to live here,” she said. “Which I probably will be doing when I start.”

Zook, a natural creative, is drawn to magazines for many of the same reasons she is drawn to New York. She loves going to concerts (they combine travel and live music, two of her favorite things). She reads. She draws, too, though she hasn't for a while. But while she is an avid reader, it wasn't the writing that inspired her as much as a magazine’s singular ability to embody all the things she loved—namely culture, travel, and fashion.  A rising college senior, she is print editor for Stich, the fashion magazine at Northwestern University.

She’s also a celebrity junkie. “Embarrassingly, I know everything about every celebrity,” she said. Her first internship was in New York with Celebuzz, an online celebrity news outlet. While there, she interviewed Victoria’s Secret models—including Behati Prinsloo, now wife of Adam Levine—during a press junket while wearing a surgical boot for her broken big toe.

But above all, Zook wants to be an editor. Managing teams, setting up photo shoots, and working in the fashion closets—she wants to do it all. She looks up to Cindi Leive, award-winning Editor-in-Chief of GLAMOUR, as an example.

Right now, Zook is taking advantage of her time at Travel + Leisure, her first magazine internship, to learn the ins and outs of the industry. She dreams about vacations, since she gets to “look at pretty hotels all day,” but she’s also been busy. “I've been able to do just about everything,” she said, including serve as assistant to the Editor-in-Chief for a week.

But you won’t see Zook getting caught up on the hype, not even about herself.

“I feel like I've met a lot of people who take themselves too seriously,” she said. “I've never really respected that kind of quality in a person.”

Zook has the same modest aim as many other soon-to-be college seniors: learning to survive in the real world post-graduation.

“Getting a job in fashion journalism that supports me somewhat,” she said, laughing. “That is my main goal.”

 --Written by Kathryn Moody, Indiana University, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
 -- Edited by Emma Weissmann, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Geographic Magazine

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's "Vivre Sa Vie" for Russell Willoughby

Russell Willoughby, a 20-year-old Montgomery, Alabama native, claims an assortment of titles these days. She is a Parisian, a New Yorker and, most recently, an ASME editorial intern. After spending a year abroad in ‘The City of Love,’ Willoughby's travels finally brought her to ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ for an opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious magazines in the biz, This Old House.  

With a strong Canadian background, a love of French novels and an ever-present sense of curiosity, Willoughby had known she wanted to study abroad in Paris, France for quite some time. 

“When I graduated from high school, we went to Paris for 10 days. I instantly fell in love. I knew I had to go back. Freshman year of college I took French, and I just really found the culture interesting. Especially French literature,” she says. 

Not only did her experience in Europe prepare her for life in New York, but she also gained insight into the true meaning of what it means to be successful.

“Traveling really forced me to live in the present. In Alabama, I constantly thought about the future with a very linear idea of what happiness meant. Moving to France taught me to live in the present moment. And I loved it,” she says. “When I moved, I met all of these people who had winding trajectories and were successful in a variety of ways. It was eye opening.” 

Willoughby has always had an affinity for creative writing, and last summer she was able to cultivate her voice even further by interning for a Southern literary magazine. Here, she began to develop a love for contemporary writers like English novelist and essayist Zadie Smith. She has translated this passion for prose to her current ASME internship at This Old House by writing and reporting pieces for the magazine.  

The most valuable thing she has learned this summer is that asking lots of questions can actually be a good thing. “Not having hardcore reporting experience actually benefited me this summer,” she says. “I was able to develop those intrinsic journalistic skills with hands-on experience. I interview people all the time and constantly ask questions. It is ok to not know. I look things up on the Internet all the time. It makes me smarter and more resourceful. You figure it out, because you have to.” 

Although the future is always uncertain, Willoughby is quite confident in one thing. "I want to keep writing. No matter where I am, it is my passion," she says. Whether she ends up in New York, Paris or Montgomery, Alabama, it cannot be denied that Russell Willoughby truly embodies the French saying "vivre sa vie," or in English, "live your life." 

--Written by Rose Minutaglio, Trinity University, Sports Illustrated
--Edited by Chelsea Stone, University of Southern California, Reader's Digest

Friday, August 1, 2014

How I Found my Way in New York

I have learned to navigate the awkward response I get when asked where I’m from (South Dakota, followed by an awkward "ohh...."). I've learned to navigate the streets of New York—by subway and on foot. Navigating the streets on foot is how I've come to find where I belong here. Through running, I've also learned that even though it is a big city, it’s a small world.
In my first few homesick days here, I wasn't sure what to do. As an avid runner, I wasn't sure where to go and wasn't ready to navigate the crowded streets. Central Park is far away from the East Village.  Then I found the Hudson River Greenway, and the view of the downtown skyline and the Statue of Liberty, which put me at ease. I found myself lacing up my shoes in the mornings to get a little peace of mind before the city truly came to life and I had to dodge and weave in and out of throngs of people on my morning commute.
Then I started getting up and making the commute to Central Park during the weekend to run. There I found a fabulous view; an amazing running track and plenty of other people who share the same passion I do. The dirt path also welcomes relief from the constant pavement pounding I do on my usual runs and my commute.

My shoes have seen a lot of miles and I wasn't sure where to go to get shoes in New York. I always like to get my shoes at a local running shop when I’m home, so it felt wrong as I ducked into the nearest Foot Locker. Thanks to my iPhone, I found a few local options and decided to try one out. When I walked into the store, I was greeted warmly and I forgot I was in the Big Apple. It felt like any other local running store. I walked barefoot, ran on the treadmill and tested out shoe after shoe until I found the right one, just like home. When I was checking out, the lady offered to put me on the email list but I declined, explaining that I was only in the city for about two more weeks. She asked what I was doing and I told her I am interning at Inc., which I was sure she hadn't heard of. She told me she loved the magazine and reads the website all the time. She also said if I ever wanted to do anything at the store, let her know.
Going into the running store, I expected to get my shoes and get out. Instead, I got a reminder that no matter where you are, if you are passionate about something, chances are other people are. You have to seek them out and when you find them it is a refreshing experience. It also showed me what a small world it really is. Someone else out there loves running and has an interest in the magazine I am interning at. 
What I've learned over the summer is that no matter where you go, if you look in the right place, or stumble in by accident, you can find a way to make it feel like home.

Written by, Jordan Smith, South Dakota State University, Inc.
Edited by, Maya Allen, Howard University, Woman's Day