O The Oprah Magazine, Hearst
Boca Raton, FL
Washington University in St. Louis
I told myself on the first day of my internship that if I could conquer the seemingly complex, high-tech elevator system in Hearst Tower, I could conquer anything. This is just after I embarrassingly got into a random elevator expecting to press a button for the 36th floor and then realized there were no buttons inside the elevator itself. After getting off at floor 34 and hoping (read: praying) I could just find a staircase to walk up two floors, I finally saw the magical elevator button console on which I could enter my floor and wait for direction as to the lettered elevator that would so simply deliver me to my final destination. (Cue: a series of elevator misadventures later that day when I had to find floor 2 to get an ID card—not accessible via the same set of elevators nor the lobby escalators, which simply go from floor 1 to floor 3).
Inside O, The Oprah Magazine’s 36th floor office, things are far less complicated. I report to two supervisors, one of whom is the assistant to editor at large Gayle King and the other, an assistant beauty editor. This means I spent time in the beginning of my internship organizing product submissions and press releases for the Fall 2016 Beauty O-Wards through contacting product PR reps and creating a spreadsheet. In working for Gayle’s assistant, I also monitor the telephone. Fun fact: Oprah (often!) calls Gayle on her office line, and I’ve had the chance to speak with her twice! If you’re wondering, no, I haven’t met Oprah in person although she was in the office for maybe a minute one day to say hi to Gayle!
I lucked out in being the only print editorial intern at Oprah this time around because the bulk of my daily routine involves working with three senior editors on various research and brainstorming tasks as well as interview transcriptions (not so exciting, but a great way to prove attention-to-detail, efficiency and organization skills). Being the only editorial intern has also allowed me to apply the important lesson of anticipating what an editor might need and reaching out in advance to offer help.
Erica is a political science major at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to attending college, Erica spent her years in high school training to be a ballet dancer at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. A politics nerd, huge foodie and supporter of the arts, Erica has explored her various interests through writing as she plans to pursue a career in journalism.
Knowing that I am the primary helper for behind-the-scenes editorial tasks, I’ve been able to leverage additional projects by staying on top of what each editor is currently working on (by checking the server) and offering project-focused assistance—rather than just asking,“How can I help today?” This is easily one of the most valued traits of any intern or employee at Oprah: everyone appreciates a person who shows willingness to go the extra mile in helping his or her editor, boss or supervisor more easily achieve a final objective. The ASME orientation noted potential encounters with strong personalities, but this one piece of advice has rung true throughout my time at Oprah: everyone here appreciates someone who actively works to make his or her job easier.