It took me sitting down to write this to fully realize that I’m already halfway through my summer internships. It’s so hard to believe, it almost doesn’t feel real—like you could pinch me and I’d realize it was all a dream. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy. Or maybe it’s because this summer really has felt like a dream come true to this journalist-in-the-making.
In June, I began digital editorial internships at two different magazines based in New York City: Wine Spectator and VMagazine. The two publications couldn’t be more different, but that’s part of what has made this summer such an incredible learning experience. The staffs have different personalities, the topics fall on opposite sides of the spectrum, and the work I have been tasked with varies.
At Wine Spectator, one of M. Shanken Communications’ three consumer magazines, I have been trained in an assortment of media-centric software. This includes everything from their content management system and image database to their newsletter builder and recipe index. Learning these tools has widened my digital skillset, while giving me a better understanding of how media outlets operate behind the scenes.
There is so much work—done in multiple programs— behind every webpage that isn’t evident to the average reader. Working at Wine Spectator has taught me that quality user experience is just as important to the audience as the content itself. I have a newfound appreciation for this sentiment and heightened respect for digital editors across the industry. Like most journalism internships, I have also been given the opportunity to write.
My internship with V has been especially valuable in terms of building my portfolio. Being a pop culture and fashion magazine, V has a fast-paced environment. Writing assignments require a quick turnaround; I typically write three articles a day for the website. If I’m not writing an article, then I’m either transcribing an interview, formatting a piece in WordPress—V’s content management system—or scoping out future content. On special occasions, I’m given a press pass to attend really cool events, conduct interviews, and then write up a story.
With V, I’ve been able to explore my various interests and step out of my comfort zone. Most importantly, I’ve been able to develop my voice as a writer. This is arguably one of the most valuable and exciting experiences for any journalist. The growth I’ve experienced over the past month is shocking, even to me.
After being editor-in-chief of the University of Miami’s Distraction magazine for a year, freelancing and interning at various publications, I’ve learned so much about the world of media. One of my biggest takeaways, however, is that nothing is more beneficial than real world experience. The immersive nature of these internships is truly invaluable. Like I said, I’m already halfway through the summer. A few weeks left, and I plan on making the most of it.
Teddy Willson is a rising senior at the University of Miami. She is immediate past editor-in-chief of Distraction magazine.