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Despite the Odds, Rewarding Journalism Internships Still Exist

July 18, 2011

Alessia Antonucci is an incoming sophomore journalism student at Emerson College who is currently interning for Stamford Magazine.

Alessia Antonucci, Emerson CollegeBy Alessia Antonucci

Finding a paid internship in the journalism field without any industry connections is an incredibly daunting task. It takes time, effort, and an endless amount of passion in order to keep searching for the ‘yes’ in a sea full of ‘no’s. This is especially true in the magazine world, now that many major publications select celebrities as their stylish summer interns.

I knew this before I decided to major in writing, and I knew this before I arrived at my interview with the editor-in-chief of Stamford Magazine. I had been rehearsing the answers to anticipated questions in my head all day, but I was caught off-guard right off the bat. Her first question wasn’t about my work experience, my major in college, or even my level of talent.

“When I first started here … I was incredibly nervous before making calls and conducting interviews.”

The question — “Why writing, why now?” — came as a shock, perhaps because I had never stopped to really think about it. I answered as honestly as I could, explaining that it’s not the money I’m attracted to; it’s the way I feel when one of my pieces gets published and the true freedom that comes with being able to express anything and everything through words. Even though print media is in decline, I have enough faith in its future to not lose all hope.

After concluding the interview I was given a test assignment, and upon its review I was offered the job. So, here I am, currently sitting at my desk on the editorial floor of the Moffly Media office.

In the two months that I’ve spent here so far, I’ve already written three book reviews, interviewed a nationally recognized artist, assisted on-site at a photo shoot, and carried out the majority of the research and client outreach needed for articles that will appear in upcoming issues. I never thought I’d be getting so much real life, hands-on experience as an intern, but I couldn’t be happier. And after four summers as either the copy or coffee girl, it’s definitely a refreshing change.

My biggest challenge as an intern has been learning how to communicate effectively with clients. When I first started here, I realized very quickly that my anxiety would get the best of me if I didn’t learn how to squash it. I was incredibly nervous before making calls and conducting interviews, and it definitely showed. My editor has given me so much helpful advice, but I use her talking tips every time:

  1. Keep the tone conversational to avoid awkwardness.
  2. Keep a written set of questions handy.
  3. Never write out a script.

Before, I sounded stiff, uncomfortable, and very naive. Now, I still get nervous, but I know how to suppress that feeling and let my confident, professional side shine. I’ve found that when you sound and act the part, people are more likely to trust you with more personal information, which adds originality to articles and makes for a far more engaging story overall.

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