While working on the orientation issue of the Echo a few weeks ago, I found myself thinking in “magazine terms.” The phrases “in page,” “final” and “TK” ran through my mind as I became re-accustomed to the newspaper office and thought about articles and layout. But that’s not all. I used to be daunted by the thought of using InDesign; now I’m somewhat familiar with InCopy and CMS. The names and faces from years past scattered throughout the Echo office used to seem foreign and ancient, but after speaking with several newspaper alumni during my time in New York, the remnants I see seem familiar and welcoming. Needless to say, it was a great summer. I wasn’t screaming with joy when I came home from my internship on my first day and I wasn’t crying on my last. The days in between were probably when I felt the most emotion—the agony of ensuring my cover story was factually correct, the excitement of attending lunches at various publications and publishing houses, the overall energy of living in New York City, the satisfaction of seeing my name in print.
Throughout the summer, I heard various suggestions from my co-workers, many of whom took the time to take me out for a meal during my internship: “Don’t go to graduate school. Take a public speaking class. Etc., etc.” What the other ASME participants and I described as a two month-long interview became stressful and confusing. As a relatively private person who doesn’t usually like to share my plans and goals with others, being thrown into a situation with 30 other people my age, many of whom made their intentions for the future extremely clear, was often frustrating and puzzling.
But I soon learned that my experience was what I made of it, and I didn’t need to share every detail or fear with the other program participants. If I missed a lunch for my program because I was working hard at Parade, that was ok. My fellow interns didn’t need to know whether I was working on research or helping with a cover story—my experience was my own, and looking back, I miss it dearly and hope to return to the city doing a similar type of job after graduation.
For now, I’m making the most of my time on the Hill. It’s funny how some of the topics I learned about over the summer have been making their way into my classes at Colby. For example, when writing my cover story on the Olympics, I became very interested in the Games and was eager to watch the Opening Ceremony. Last week, I ended up being able to discuss the set-up of and historical components featured in the Opening Ceremony in a response for my Anthropology, History, Memory class. Likewise, my time in the Echo office has been exciting after returning from my internship. I’ve set myself to new standards and have learned that others are always receptive to this thoroughness. Over the summer, I learned that accuracy, even if it involves revising a one-sentence description numerous times, is always worth it. Sources will not be angry if they receive a follow-up e-mail, and editors will not be angry if you express concern over a statement, but publishing incorrect information will result in controversy. But another thing I learned this summer is that mistakes do happen, and no person or publication can be perfect. It’s difficult to balance these two perspectives, but this idea—trying to achieve perfection but occasionally running into barriers—doesn’t just have to apply to magazines—it’s pretty much representative of life as a whole.