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Jasper Scherer

Fortune, Time Inc.
San Francisco, CA | Northwestern University

   Before I started my ASME internship at Fortune, I imagined the newsroom would be something along the lines of a quantitative economics class at Harvard: a ton of smart people in a confined space who know way more about business and finance than I do. This turned out to be mostly true – at least, the part about everyone being smarter than me. But what’s great about Fortune is that I felt right at home with next to zero business journalism experience. None of the writers at Fortune are assigned beats, which means there’s a sense of creative and journalistic freedom you probably don’t see in most other big newsrooms. And I think that’s why I felt comfortable with my relative ignorance coming in.

   I was learning new things every day, but so was everyone else in the office. It also helped that the whole editorial staff at Fortune is an open book. Editors were thrilled, not annoyed, when I asked if I could help out or write something for them. I researched candidates for the 40 Under 40 list, wrote breaking news and vetted companies for the Change the World list (yes, Fortune has lots of lists). I spent three hours a couple mornings each week formatting Reuters and AP wires – writing heds, deks, SEO, captions, that kind of stuff – in Wordpress. One very kind editor trusted me to write a medium-length feature on the company that topped Fortune’s “100 Best Workplaces for Millennials” list, which gave me the chance to do some on-the-ground reporting.

   I got to sit in on meetings and go out for drinks with people who were way too cool to be sitting with me at a bar. I knew I wouldn’t be relegated to the archetypal internship duties of fetching coffee and fact-checking and researching all day, but this type of variety and actual, legitimate work was way more – way better – than I expected. 

Jasper studies journalism and political science at Northwestern, where he was editor of the student-run print magazine North by Northwestern. He is a native of San Francisco and previously interned for Sierra magazine and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.” 

And I met a crazy number of talented and brilliant people who taught me lessons that will stay with me for a long time. Somehow, a magazine that I felt vastly underprepared to work for turned out to be a perfect fit. It was a lot of fun.

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