Below is a guest post by Erin Weaver ’14. Thanks to Erin for this awesome post!
I came to Villanova in the fall of 2010 knowing that I wanted to be an English major—I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew I wanted to do something with writing. After my first internship at a magazine, I decided to pursue a career in journalism. I elected to keep my English major instead of switching to Journalism because I liked the well-rounded nature of the English major, and the Concentration in Writing & Rhetoric appealed to me as a suitable alternative. During my time at Villanova, I have interned with Philadelphia Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Both of these internships gave me invaluable journalism experience that complimented my Villanova coursework: I used the things I learned classes like Business Writing and Sports Writing every day at work.
In early February of 2012, I went on a tour of the Sports Illustrated office in Manhattan, New York. The tour was hosted by Karen Graziano and the Office for Undergraduate Students; about 15 students took a bus up to NYC to see the SI offices and meet some of the editors. At the time, I had just been appointed the Co-Arts & Entertainment editor of The Villanovan and very recently completed an internship with Philadelphia Magazine. I had also worked as a Features section write for The Villanovan during the previous semester, so I had experience in arts, features, and news writing. I decided to tour SI because I was curious to see what sports journalism was like, and how a nationally recognized magazine operated.
During the SI tour, I had the opportunity to meet managing and senior editors of the Sports Illustrated magazine and website. I made sure to ask for business cards and emails from everyone I could. Two days after the tour, I submitted my application to the Time Inc. summer internship program, selecting Sports Illustrated as my first choice for a position. Time Inc. has one application for its summer editorial internship program, and it filters students based on their indicated interests. I sent emails to everyone I got a business card from during the tour, thanking them for their time, telling them I had recently applied for an internship, and asking them to keep an eye out for my name. In late March, I got a phone interview for Time Inc., and a week later I was offered an editorial internship at SI.com for the summer.
The internship with SI.com lasted nine weeks; all of them were spent working 10-6, Monday-Friday from the SI.com office in Manhattan. Time Inc. is one of the best internship programs I have ever found, because the company offered its interns free housing in Manhattan, $10/hour pay, and multiple invaluable networking opportunities. My daily routine at SI.com involved arriving a little before 10, getting assignments, and attending the SI.com staff meeting at 10:30. The rest of the day was spent writing and researching articles, writing photo captions, and researching for long-term projects on the website. SI.com did a fantastic job of integrating the interns into the staff—I felt like a valuable contribution to the team by the end of the semester, and I learned a great deal about online journalism and web production.
Early on in my internship, I expressed an interest in working on social media. The department I was working for, SI.com, actually didn’t handle any of the social media for Sports Illustrated. However, SI.com’s managing editor was encouraging about my interests, and set me up with Sports Illustrated’s social media team. By the end of the summer, I was officially interning for both SI.com and the social media department. Expressing my interest in what I wanted to work on definitely paid off.
Now, four months after my internship has ended, I am still working part-time from home for SI. One of the SI.com editors asked me if I wanted to work on the Tracking Blog, which is essentially SI.com’s news blotter. I also kept in touch with my boss in the social media department, and work part-time running the @SInow Twitter. Keeping in touch with my employers was a huge step forward for me, in terms of future employment—I am able to maintain connections at SI, and strengthen relationships with editors who will one day (soon) be called upon to write me recommendation letters. SI also offered a lot of networking opportunities—now, I know editors at Bloomberg and People Magazine. My experience at SI.com has opened up several doors for me for future employment possibilities.