by Whitney Riggs
As July comes closer, I realize that I am almost halfway done with my internship. With that realization, I want to reflect on what I have learned so far.
#1. What professors teach you in college is nothing in comparison to experiences firsthand. Yes, my college education has been well worth the thousands of dollars in school loans that I am swimming in right now, but actually going out and doing what professors have taught me has finally fit together the puzzle pieces of the media. For example, journalism professors teach you that advertising, public relations and media outlets all work hand in hand. But it’s not until you work for a publication that you understand how much they actually do depend on each other. In order to run a magazine, one depends on advertisements. In order to have a story, one depends on a source. And in order to get to that source, one depends on a publicist. And without media outlets, publicists and advertisers wouldn’t have jobs at all!
#2. The magazine industry is not as glamorous as movies portray. Everyone has seen the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days when Kate Hudson plays the hip Andie Anderson as a writer for Composure magazine. We see her grab her latte from Starbucks, walk into a beautiful glass building set in the downtown of a big city and pass hundreds of people answering phones and scurrying about trying to get the latest info on fashion trends. This is not real for the average writer. A magazine runs on serious journalists who are either out and about working on a story or sitting behind a desk 9 to 5, kicking butt trying to come up with ideas, talking to sources or completing stories needed to run. Yes, lattes are probably consumed but not by Kate Hudson. And answering phones obviously does take place, but it’s professional and proficient. And the building I work in is not in the middle of a downtown scene with cars flying by, honking.
Magazines are not about the exterior, but the interior made up of hardworking journalists who seek information and then produce it for our readers.
And #3. Being a journalist is not easy. I personally have never thought that being a journalist is easy, but I think some people look at the job and say, “How hard can writing papers all day be?” But do they know how tedious and detail oriented each paragraph must be? How tiring and stressful deadlines can make a person? How complicated the simplest situations can become? For example, I have been working on the Happenings calendars for a couple of months, and writing up just one paragraph for an event in St. Louis can take up to 20 minutes. I think what people have to realize is that information is not just handed to journalists like candy. They have to find it, understand it and relay it to readers in an understandable, matter-of-fact way. After all, without the work of dependable journalists, information would forever be lost.
- ▼ June (4)