Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Internal Medicine: For Temporary Relief of the Pain of Cutbacks, an Intern Program Can Make Everyone Feel Good

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Internal Medicine: For Temporary Relief of the Pain of Cutbacks, an Intern Program Can Make Everyone Feel Good

Article excerpt


For temporary relief of the pain of cutbacks, an intern program can make everyone feel good.

In a time of short staffing due to downsizing, magazines can use all the help they can get. One source is a well-planned intern program that allows magazine executives to help themselves while helping some bright young student get a start in magazine publishing. Students get a chance to test their classroom knowledge and learn about magazines by being part of a staff. Magazines benefit by having talented, adaptable, young people on their staffs. Editors and circulation, promotion, production and art staffs all gain from the exposure to stimulating and helpful student viewpoints, And the industry benefits when these college students from all over the country return to their campuses as "ambassadors" for the magazine industry.

For magazine management, the question should be first how to find qualified interns, and second, how to structure an internship program so that the maximum benefit accrues to all.

Where to find them

There are several ways to go about finding an intern. You can list your internship opportunities in various guides (see box). Another option is to distribute applications to journalism schools or the career offices of nearby liberal arts colleges. Or, you can have an industry organization do this for you. The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) has a program that asks schools to review the applications of all interested students and send one or two applications from the candidates who best qualify for the program according to ASME's standards. It does the final screening and placement for the magazines. The American Business Press has a similar program.

Students should be selected for an internship on the basis of their specific interests and involvement in magazine publishing. This should be evident from the number of publishing courses they've taken, their participation in campus journalism, previous summer internships or jobs at magazines or newspapers.

* A solid application package should include the following:

* A completed application form that spells out the information you will need to determine the applicant's background and experience.

* A letter from the applicant expanding on the application, particularly on the reasons he or she wants to be an intern and what is expected from the experience.

* A supporting letter from the dean or department head, or from a professor who knows about the candidate's publishing experience and academic ability.

* For an editorial intern, examples of the candidate's writing ability, such as tear sheets from the college magazine or newspaper, and of editing skills, such as edited proofs or editing exercises, should be included.

Before the intern arrives Prior to the start of the internship, write to the intern and acquaint him/her with the magazine and its operations. Include copies of your magazine, media kits, and any other material that may be pertinent to the tasks the intern will be expected to perform. You should also assign a senior member of your staff, if not yourself, to be the intern's "mentor."

Several practical matters need to be considered so that placement in a particular city will not pose undue problems for out-of-town students. Some are overwhelmed by their new surroundings, and although most adapt remarkably well, problems can arise.

One ASME intern got taken for a ride on her first day in New York when she took a taxi from Kennedy Airport to New York University. The driver charged her $100 for what should have been a $25 fare. Of course, she had to pay-and she was too stunned by the bill to think of taking the driver's name and number so that she could report him.

The moral of this story is that no detail about your city is too insignificant to pass along to prospective interns. To help familiarize them with the city they will be working in, put together a packet of information-include subway and bus maps, and brochures from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, for example. …

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