Read Her Work:
When it comes to new internships, one should always expect the unexpected. You never really know from day to day what new things you’re going to learn and what amazing opportunities you’ll be given. For example, on a given day, a Food Network intern may go from researching turkey-shaped kitchen utensils to helping create a cover-worthy cupcake tower. One minute you’re sourcing ingredients for a photoshoot and then pitching story ideas to senior editors for the “Food News” section.
Or, you know, maybe you’re carrying a full-size mailbox shaped like a cow through the streets of New York at 11am on a Tuesday.
No, I’m not kidding. This was legitimately an assignment given to me by the managing editor of Food Network Magazine: “We need you to take this cow-shaped mailbox to the studio. It’s an emergency.” (Evidently, the upcoming issue of The Pioneer Woman was running a story about animal-shaped mailboxes, and one such mailbox got shipped into the office instead of the studio where the shoot was taking place. It then became my task to wrangle this unwieldy object all the way from Hearst tower by Central Park to the studio in lower Manhattan. And thus was born one of the strangest adventures during my time in the city.)
Though very few of my days at Food Network involved cows or mailboxes, they were by no means dull. Coming into the program, I had only been involved in the writing and editing side of magazine journalism, with very little experience on large-scale publications like Food Network. I’d never thought about coordinating stories with with advertisers, what happens when vital sources go on vacation for two months, or how to plan stories six months in advance.
My time at Food Network Magazine gave me a clear picture of what the magazine industry really looks like. I got to peek behind the glossy newsstand cover and experience the process of pulling together such a beautiful finished product. I saw the meticulous effort that went into every single word onto a page, from endless hours of research before pitching a story to the long days holed up in a studio trying to get the perfect shot. And as an intern, I was able to help out with nearly every story in Food Network’s October, November, and December issues.
No, working in magazines is not always pretty. Yes, sometimes it involves carrying bulky yard signage halfway across the city for a last-minute shoot. But at the end of the day, when the finished product is in your hands, you can step back and say “I made that.”
I left this internship having learned so much from my supervisors, editors, and co-interns about the magazine industry and what being a journalist really looks like. Once a feeble story-pitcher at best, working alongside my editor (shoutout to you, Francesca!) I was able to hone my skills and even get a story in print that the editor-in-chief herself complimented (!!!). I learned to navigate my way through a big city, network with peers and mentors alike, and prepare myself for a job in the real world. This ASME internship has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
And if nothing else? At least I have a funny story to share at parties for years to come.