It was on a whim that I emailed the Assistant Editor at Cape Cod LIFE publications this past spring to inquire about internships. After receiving responses from other publications saying they’re internship positions had been filled, I didn’t think I was going to be interning anywhere this summer.
Thankfully, as a rising Junior, a summer internship isn’t as necessary than if I was a rising Senior. However, I still wanted to try for the chance to work at a real publication and gain valuable experience in the world of magazine publishing.
It’s safe to say that I wasn’t expecting a response. I’d already signed up to take summer classes at BU, all in an attempt to maintain some level of academia during the summer months.
Thus, when the Assistant Editor returned my email saying that they do offer an internship and asking for me to send samples of my work, I was thrilled. Suddenly my summer was filled with a new job, new classes, and now a new internship.
I had no idea what to expect going into this internship. I didn’t know if I was going to be given the opportunity to write for the magazine and I definitely didn’t expect to be published in it.
A little about Cape Cod LIFE (CCL): It’s a smaller, local magazine that focuses on the area of Cape Cod: from Bourne to Provincetown. Its articles are beachy and nostalgic of earlier summer days, but because they’re small and independently run, the magazine also contains a lot of glossy advertisements for local businesses.
But hidden in their pages are features on lesser-known surfing competitions, profiles on talented Cape Cod artists, and remembrances of Cape Cod history. With the summer months being prime-time for Massachusetts and Cape Cod specifically, I was eager to add my take on the local traditions of the areas.
At their office, I was given a desk in a windowless room with a computer that didn’t work. Thankfully it was customary for everyone but the staff photographer and creative director to use their personal laptops, so my inoperable desktop didn’t cause too much of a problem.
One of my first, and most common tasks was called “fact-checking,” but it was a different type of fact-checking than I’ve ever done. After the first draft was reviewed by the editor and considered complete by the magazine’s standards, the article was emailed back to the subject it was about for them to “read-over and fact-check.” It seemed innocent enough.
But I quickly realized this was a huge problem. Stories that described the subject in the voice of the magazine were emailed back “edited” into a PR-style/About-like section because many subjects thought that they weren’t represented properly.
Edits were then made to both appeal to the subject, but while also maintaining the writing style of our publication. This “fact-checking” was something I grew to dread because there was always the potential for it to become a back and forth email chain that would keep me on call for the next couple of days.
But it also taught me that this type of advertorial journalism (advertising-editorial) isn’t the type of writing that I wanted to be doing.
Actually, it was really interesting and I was able to put my younger writing style on it in a way that appealed to both my editor and my own artistic license. Basically, the interviewees told me that because Cape houses are so small, they’re more appealing to Millennials. The one bedroom and one bath cottages are right on trend with micro-housing, but wasn’t on trend are the prices. Even though younger generations are the ones looking to live in these smaller, vintage houses, it’s still older generations who can afford to buy them.
While it isn’t the most thrilling material, I was honored that they wanted me to write this story and it will forever be my first published piece.
While I definitely had some difficult assignments at my internship, the payoff was worth it. My editors and fellow staff members were so kind and welcoming and truly excited to have myself and my fellow interns be a part of the team.
And as the summer progressed, I was given more responsibilities and more opportunities to write and now, even though the internship has ended, my work and articles will continue to be published in their magazines throughout the rest of 2018.
I really am grateful for the opportunity Cape Cod LIFE publications gave me. I learned a lot about magazine publishing that I didn’t know before and I’m eager to see how the skills I learned over the summer will transfer to my academic assignments.