How I Manage My Down Time At My Magazine Internship!
Alex is our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador from Binghamton University. She is interning at Shape Magazine this summer! If you go to Binghamton and would like to blog for us please comment here and Alex will get in touch with you.
Working at my internship has been amazing so far. I just started my third week and each day just gets more exciting. I mean who wouldn’t love it? Just today I got to meet with a past contestant from Top Chef and have a taste of a huge display of baked goods from a flour company we met with. Apparently these are called desk-sides, when an editor chooses to meet with someone about a product or idea. I felt so privileged to sit in on them and get a sneak peak at what’s going on. My editor told me that she usually gets about 4 or 5 requests from people to do this every day, but she only can say yes to a few of them. It was so cool to see new products before they’re released, as well as how new ideas for the section are formed. But while today was definitely exciting, it also had its slower moments. Sometimes it can be more work for an editor to come up with something for an intern to do so lulls can happen. There are times when I have downtime. It can be easy to start typing the f-a-c-e to get to Facebook, but that urge needs to be resisted! Just because the editor hasn’t specifically assigned something doesn’t mean there’s nothing productive to do. Here are my tips on how to stay busy when assignments get on the slow side.
1) Research. Take the time to research whatever you can on the magazine or company you’re working for. Check out its website, any blogs, ideas for stories or ways to pitch ideas to your editors. They’ll be grateful you took the initiative and in magazines at least, I’ve learned that there can never be enough story options for an issue!
2) Read back issues of the mag (or past files in another company.) Reading back issues of the magazine familiarizes you with the way things are done. It can also provide knowledge on stories that have been done in the past, so you don’t pitch them again. Most editors have copies of old issues on their desks. If not, just ask, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help out with a little informational perusing. And for other companies, reading past press releases or looking over media lists and pitches can give you an idea of how things are done, so you’ll be more prepared when the task is assigned to you.
3) Ask around. A lot of time there are other editors or people at your company who don’t have an intern, or need a little extra help. Showing you’re available doesn’t only help out the editor either, but it lets you get to know more people at the company. Even though it may be intimidating, people will always reciprocate the good vibes and even if they say no, you’ll have met someone new. Definitely sounds like a mission accomplished!
So don’t feel useless if things aren’t flowing your way at all times. Have fun trying out these tips next time things get slow at the office. Let me know how it works and definitely post if you have any more ideas! Good luck interns!