Student Blog: My summer internship

November 10, 2014

English major Katie Pratt '16 did a summer internship at the Times Union newspaper in Albany

What is your name, major and year at Simmons?

My name is Katie Pratt. I am an English major here at Simmons, Class of 2016. 

What are you blogging about? 

Today I am guest blogging for the CEC about my internship experience. 

What was your internship?

Over the summer, I worked as an editorial assistant at the Times Union, an American daily newspaper serving the Capital Region of New York. Although I was officially under the umbrella of the Times Union organization, I worked exclusively with the magazine division which generates two glossy, full-sized magazines: Capital Region Women @ Work, a monthly focusing on successful female professionals in the area, and 518 Life, another more eclectic monthly that, among other features, profiles local events and hot spots. I was part of a small team that included the Editor-in-Chief, the Senior Editor, who was also my internship coordinator, and three graphic designers. 

What did a typical work day look like?

My role in magazines was both fluid and structured around demand. In other words, at the beginning of a given day or work week, my supervisor and I would talk about my projects for the week which included anything from going on shoots, interviewing individuals for stories, compiling research or fact-checking for articles, and sometimes more office based work like mailing magazines to contributors. When I started my internship, my boss gave me fairly simple features to write, and by the end, I was conducting interviews, directing shoots and writing monthly features under my own byline. 

Would you say your internship was a valuable experience?

Even though working on a small team can sometimes be intimidating, it really is a great learning experience. I felt like I was an integral member of the team, and it made the whole internship very rewarding. 

What advice would you give to Simmons students doing internships?

I think a key thing to remember about your internship is that, most often, it is what you make it. If you are in the middle of your internship, and you feel like you aren't getting what you want out of it, talk to your boss about how you can make the experience more effective on both ends. Having an open line of communication with my internship coordinator definitely made my time at the TU incredibly productive and enjoyable.

How did your internship influence your thinking about your future career direction?

Looking at my internship experience in retrospect, I've realized that I would really love a job that involved writing. When I was working on stories that I was genuinely interested in, I was at my happiest so I think a job that allows me to write seriously, to do the work that I care deeply about, will generate a lot of positive returns for me.  However, the desk element of my job got very tedious very quickly, and I think for me a job working with other people more often (maybe teaching?) would also be a good fit. 

What advice would you give to Simmons students seeking internships?

For everyone looking at internships -- I hate to say it, but networking is crucial. Hundreds of internships are not posted online, and knowing someone, even peripherally, can be a key "way in" to a great company or institution. I found my internship through a woman I met at a family party so remember that you can "network," and by network I mean just having a conversation, with anyone, anywhere, whether it be your friends or your family. Keep an open mind and ask questions whenever you can -- if you do that, you are already networking.     

Any final thoughts?

Thanks for reading everyone, and good luck!