It’s now week six at my editorial internship and one of the biggest things I’ve learned is this: take initiative.
The magazine office where I work isn’t that big, so everyone on staff is constantly buzzing around, juggling assignments and scheduling staff meetings in our conference room. At first I was a bit disappointed that no one was rushing forth to give me my first big breaking news assignment. And a small part of me had hoped that my internship experience would go something like this: “That intern is a genius! Let’s send her to New York to review that new restaurant all the celebs go to!”
Sadly, I quickly learned that nothing of the sort was going to happen. The most I could do is step forward, come out of my comfort zone (and cubicle) and take initiative. It’s been a very humbling experience.
I started off by suggesting story ideas to my senior editors. I figured I’d have nothing to lose and I wrote to them knowing I could take on the workload in addition to my regular editorial tasks. I spent a lot of time researching and emailing possible contacts for each story and ceremoniously laid out each idea in a story-pitch email. And the reply from my editors?
“Sure, go for it.”
I’d been so worried they wouldn’t take on my story pitches that it hadn’t occurred to me that they’re always open to more ideas. As of now, I’m currently working on a couple of fun pieces; one of which is about Portland’s most bad-ass bouncers (coincidentally, you’re all welcome to nominate a bad-ass bouncer you feel is up to par; I’ve already interviewed Timber Joey, who also happens to be the doorman at Kells) and another about Blue Dog Mead, a business started up by some UO students from the Business School’s Entrepreneurial Club. And I wouldn’t be working on either piece if I hadn’t just taken initiative and asked. Not every idea I have will get a “yes” but it’s nice to know that the times I put myself out there can sometimes be the most rewarding.