Read Her Work!
This summer, I learned that Uranus does, indeed, smell like farts.
You were wondering, I’m sure. Who wasn’t? I also learned that David Lynch designs some really weird T-shirts, that humans would be better off if they had ostrich legs, and that the one friend you have who’s super into yoga and preaches all the time about mindfulness — you know, that friend — may actually be more egotistical than the average person.
I typically describe Mental Floss as the place to go when you want to read the news that nobody really needs to know. I mean, who needs to know about Britain’s “wind drought” or the politics of airplane peanuts?
But that’s what I’ve learned this summer about magazine journalism. Magazines don’t generally bring people the freshest news. They’re not well known for keeping people informed about the day-to-day current events or for educating mass, loosely defined audiences. Most magazines aren’t in the business of trying to bring readers the news they “need” to know.
And that’s the beauty of magazines. Sure, we may not need to know about celebrities or architecture or advertising or even what Uranus smells like, but having that knowledge makes us more well-rounded. It gives us tidbits to talk about at cocktail parties. It entertains us. It helps us develop open-mindedness and a more comprehensive perspective of the world. Magazines make society just a little bit more vibrant.
So that, I suppose, is the biggest thing I learned over the course of this internship. Magazines of any sort are designed to appeal to a very human sense of curiosity, and I am grateful to ASME for giving me the chance to explore my own myriad curiosities in New York City this summer. I value the opportunities this internship has given me to learn from so many different people about the magazine industry.
And, let’s be honest, I’m grateful to this internship for giving me an excuse to fall down Wikipedia wormholes and learn more about trivia I hope will one day come in handy on Jeopardy!. How many people can say their summer job involves talking to alien researchers or emailing back and forth with people in Antarctica? Plus, now I’m a total pro at making Uranus the butt of every joke.
Hannah McDonald is a journalism student at Utah State University. As a Las Vegas native, she is passionate about the correct pronunciation of Nevada (it’s Nev-ADD-a). Her claim to fame is that she once bought Oreos for Snoop Dogg.