The Deep End - Magazine Intern Stories (part one)

by - Friday, July 06, 2012

currently: listening to Marina and the Diamonds - Oh No!.

So it's been a few days since I finished my magazine internship. And can I say - what an experience.
I don't really want to give away where I had been interning right now but I thought sharing my experiences with you will hopefully give you a sense of what it was like being an intern at one of New Zealand's magazines, and what a great opportunity interning can teach you, especially as a student.

When I began my internship, I frankly didn't know what to expect. Getting coffees? Being made to do the bakery run? Just reading magazines and getting people to sign up for subscriptions? Anything could have happened at this magazine company.

The people there, and the editors especially were lovely to me. But I had not given myself enough credit as an intern, and did not expect for them to treat me as a staff writer. Talk about being put in the deep end! My first assignment was a 1000 word piece on an Australian factory. Not what I had planned to get.

Also, because I was more familiar with their other, more "woman focused" magazine (and had assumed I was only writing for that one) I did not prepare and educate myself on the other publications of the magazine. So my tip one - be prepared for anything to happen.

Being given my first 1000 word feature was challenging. I have to admit, I'm not a very fast writer, and the features I've written for publications like Debate at university have always taken me more than a few days to write. I like the benefit of putting stories away, reworking stories, really researching and thinking about what I say. But being given my first official 1000 word feature assignment - I felt the pressure (probably put on myself rather than by them) to write it all by the end of the day.

Unfortunately I couldn't. After all day researching and writing (on an irritatingly slow Internet Explorer browser too. Bah IE7), I only had managed 600 words. And I couldn't have been more discouraged. Already 8 hours of straight work (I forgot to eat lunch till 3pm too - which I ended up eating at my desk) I felt defeated. I started thinking "maybe I'm not meant to ever work on magazines." I felt I failed the cut.

But here's where tip two comes in - if you're thrown in the deep end, it doesn't mean you're gonna drown straight away. When I turned up again on day two, I wrote a 600 word travel-based piece and finished it with ease (still took me 4 hours but it was much better than the day before.) And then wrote a bunch of mini articles for another section which I got to choose the topics myself. It was great, and had no problem with sticking around longer to get more stuff written. Then on Friday, I got back to the 1000 word piece and finished it off.

While first days may be tough, it never guarantees the second day will be too.

Oh, it probably helped that I got my first bit of MagSwag (magazine freebies) on my second day too:
Free lunch always helps :)

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