By Lyssa Goldberg
I’ve been interning at Mashable for about a month now, working as a copy editing intern for the Mashable Publishing Partner (MPP) program. I’m used to being a fish in a small pond, the type where it’s easy to shine. This summer, I’m in the biggest pond of them all – New York City – and, at Mashable, I’m one intern fish of many.
My role involves reading all day – which definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world, considering I love to read and learn all that I can about whatever I can. Essentially, I read through a database of stories published by other media outlets that we have the rights to syndicate, and I make editorial decisions about which ones we should curate for our website.
Then I read through those stories with a discerning eye to copy edit the text for AP style (as well as make some HTML tweaks). It’s also my job to write headlines and make photo selections – arguably the most important and challenging elements.
I’m used to writing full stories, where there’s room for more words than our suggested 8-10. My concern at first was: How can I show off my ability when it seems that there’s so little room for creativity?
I realized I was wrong. When I asked my boss about the right time to use a “fun” headline, her response was, “Always.” Straddling the line between my traditional training on our student newspaper, The Miami Hurricane, and the wacky headlines of the alternative weekly I worked for last year, the Miami New Times, I at first felt lost in the middle.
But now my headlines at Mashable are getting better with practice. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to do the readers a favor by giving them a reason to want to open a great story they might not have read otherwise (without entering the world of click bait).
What I’ve gained most out of the experience so far, however, has all been about personal development. During my first weekly feedback meeting with my boss (undoubtedly the most valuable part of my internship experience so far), she told me that even if I didn’t get a single headline or photo “right” this whole summer, I’ll have had a successful internship.
And I know she’s right. I’ve already learned about effectively communicating in a large work environment where email and Gchat have replaced real face time; deciding when to ask the right questions; and employing patience and persistence in my searches for good stories, great visuals, etc.
Here’s to more learning in the weeks to come!