Eater, Vox Media
New York, NY | University of Florida
I threw the car in park and hastily reached for my bag, crumpled rain jacket and press pass that slid somewhere beneath the passenger’s seat, thanks to my start-stop race down University Avenue. It was raining pretty hard that afternoon, a passing shower as it always is in North Florida, and I worried about my hair — I didn’t want to look like a wet dog when I walked into city hall and in front of our mayor. It was a brief moment of stress before my mind quickly snapped back to more pressing things, like the fact that I was late for the regularly scheduled city commission meeting that I covered as part of my city government beat at The Gainesville Sun.
At the tail end of my junior year, there was a constant stream of consciousness that put me on edge: paying bills, two part-time jobs, my 16 credit schedule, upcoming finals, moving out of my apartment and service commitments to the Dean of Students Office and the College of Journalism and Communications. I decided to check my email on my phone one last time before I stepped inside and focused on my game-face for the afternoon schedule ahead of me.
There it was, jumping out at me from inside my inbox, another thing that kept me up at night — ASME and summer 2016. Our director Nina Fortuna had finally sent out the final list of placements for this year’s class of ASME interns, more than three weeks after we had a fighting chance at telling her and editors why we deserved to be at their publications.
This was my chance to get my foot in the door at leading industry publishing houses like Time Inc., Hearst and Meredith, and with previous experience in magazine journalism and a certificate in fashion merchandising earned during a summer at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I had a small yet positive sense of bravado that I would end up at InStyle. How could I not?
If I wasn’t inside a locked car, I think the entire city hall would have heard the moan that I let out when I finally found my name on that list: Zee Krstic, University of Florida, New York, New York…Eater.
Eater?! Not only was I not placed at a publication within a large publishing house, but I was thrown into a completely online space. Leaning my head against the window of my car’s door, a sense of panic washed over me: would I be getting as much out of this internship as the 26 other interns who weren’t in a solely digital space? Had I messed up somewhere along the way and wasn’t right for this industry? Why wasn’t I where I wanted to be? I had to force myself to hold back tears and walk into city hall with a whole new line of stress swimming in my head.
That particularly low moment is a long forgotten memory washed away by 12 weeks of one of the most enriching experiences of my professional career thus far.
Hindsight is always 20-20, right? At the time, I didn’t understand that part of the beauty and lasting benefit of the ASME program is the chance to make the best of where you’ve been placed. I’ve had the chance to learn more about a media space that I never thought I would be in, and I’ve come to realize that everything happens for a reason.
Restless is a great word to describe Zee, a born and raised New Yorker studying journalism with a focus in magazine publishing, after he fell in love with editorial at a young age in primary and secondary boarding schools in Connecticut and Maine. Lifestyle editorial is his passion, and his certficate in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology pushes him towards fashion editorial. He is thrilled to have met the ASME family this summer and is honored to serve as this year's Editor-in-Chief.
Over the course of the summer, I think it’s fair to say that each and every professional that we’ve had the chance to hear from has told us that this industry isn’t dying. It’s changing: and the frontier of change lies in a digital space, where many of us will most likely get our start after finishing this program.
Working at Eater has provided me a fresh perspective about what it means to succeed in modern media. I’ve had the chance to really round out some fundamental skills necessary to be a professional in this space — things like coding and content management, design, audience analytics, video, social media, data reporting, illustration, off platform content and mobile content. But most importantly? This was first, and foremost, an editorial internship; the amount of writing, reporting and site-based publishing I’ve done has far outstripped anything else that I’ve accomplished in my time at Eater. I’ve had the chance to generate content from daily reports to large national packages, often building all aspects of my pieces from the ground up.
Most importantly, I found a sense of intimacy at Eater and Vox Media that isn’t available at big publishing houses in our program. I was welcomed with open arms onto our editorial team and found myself among inspiring professionals who have become mentors to me and colleagues who are now lifelong friends. I’ve had a chance to get to know them, work with most of them in their departments, and have learned skills that help make this publication what it is.
For those who might not walk the path they thought they would, whether you’re an aspiring ASME intern gunning to enter this business or an industry professional learning more about this program, things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. In my case, I got the chance to hone skills that I had yet to and create long lasting relationships with sensational professionals in this industry. That’s the true spirit of the ASME internship program for more than 50 years.