About My Internship: Paige Gawley @ Decider.com

Every Monday we will we be profiling one of our HC MMM staffers as they detail their experience at a media internship. This is in the hopes that current and future MMC students will learn from their experiences and be guided into landing and maintaining an internship in NYC. This week we are featuring Paige Gawley, one of our Campus Correspondents, and her internship at Decider.com.

I spent this summer interning at Decider.com, a digital off shoot of the New York Post, that covers movies and TV shows that are streaming online. When I found out I got the internship (through a fellow classmate, make and keep connections people!) I momentarily, or not so momentarily, lost all chill. Me, Paige Gawley, random college senior, was about to spend the summer getting paid to write about TV. That’s literally what I do for fun in my spare time.

It happened. I got to write about Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Bachelorette. I got to pitch articles every week and ended up with over thirty clips for my portfolio. I wasn’t just writing though. I was editing photos for other writers, doing research for articles, building galleries, and learning basic HTML coding.

My favorite thing that I got to do this summer was recap The Bachelorette. I got to take a show I watch as a guilty pleasure and turn it into a weekly assignment that resulted in about ten clips for my portfolio. As part of my recap I counted how many times the word “connection” was said per episode (spoiler: it’s A LOT). My editor loved the idea and it eventually spiraled into the making of an insane mash up video that got over 20,000 views on Facebook. 

This was a huge HUGE lesson from this summer: if you want to do something, no matter how inconsequential or silly it may seem, just pitch it. The worst thing an editor can say is “no” and, if they happen to say yes, it can have a big and exciting pay off.

Another thing that was reinforced for me this summer was the importance of a strong work ethic. I’ve always known this is important and I’ve never had an issue with working hard, but that was put into practice this summer. When I had six articles on the editorial calendar in a week I didn’t ask my editor to adjust the calendar so I had time to get everything done. No, I showed up to work an hour early and stayed an hour late. I didn’t complain or make a spectacle of myself, I just kept my head down, did my work, and I’m sure that earned me a measure of respect from my editor.

I was worried that the dream, being an entertainment writer, may not live up to my high expectations. But, you know what, it actually did. It wasn’t as easy as I had envisioned it would be and it wasn’t all fun – though being asked to watch Clueless and take screenshots of all of Cher’s outfits was the actual dictionary definition of fun – but it was something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

That is the point of interning, in addition to building connections, you are trying to find out if this is a career path you want to pursue. You are essentially given three months to decide if this is how you can picture the rest of your life. After an internship at a PR firm my sophomore year, though it was a great experience with wonderful people, I was 100% sure that I didn’t want to go into PR. That lesson is just as valuable as finding your perfect field/company/job.

If you want to intern at a website, or other media company, here are my tips: Use the connections you have to get an in at a company. Don’t be shy; pitch ideas and pitch them proudly. Work harder than you’ve ever worked before and take your internship seriously.

Above all, take it all in and be sure to be honest with yourself about if this is where you see your life going. If it isn’t, that is okay. You don’t have to have your career figured out after your first internship; it may take two or three internships to find your perfect fit. But, I can say from personal experience, once you find your fit and it’s everything you’ve dreamed of, it is completely and totally worth it.