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We Toured Our Dream Magazine & Media Companies in NYC & Here’s What We Learned

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Internships and job inquiries are a huge part of the transition from college to “the real world.” Four of our Her Campus UFL team members had the once in a lifetime opportunity to walk the hallways of some of the most iconic magazine companies in the world, thanks to the Florida Magazine Student Association. FMSA is a professional development organization that many of our HC UFL members are a part of, and it’s the perfect club to join if you want to work in the magazine industry one day. One of our writers here at HC UFL, Carolina Watlington, is the president of FMSA at UF and was our fearless leader on our New York trip where we toured the offices of Seventeen, Paper and Bustle. We set out to network with editors, get a glimpse of their office spaces/ studios and most importantly, get the real tea on what it’s like to work in the media world, IRL. Keep reading to find out if your fave lived up to our expectations.

Seventeen/ Hearst Digital

Carolina Watlington

When I first realized I wanted to work in the magazine industry, I knew that I had to follow the paths of those who already forged their way there. I followed four writers and editors who inspired me professionally, for inspiration. Four years later, little did I know that the first person whose path I followed would be touring me through the Seventeen office space.

Planning and scheduling visits for a group of 18 girls to visit high profile magazines is time-consuming and stressful–– to put it lightly. But after months of planning and a whole inbox worth of rejections, I decided to shoot my shot at not only the first magazine I fell in love with but the editor who inspired my initial career goals–– Kelsey Stiegman.

To my surprise, Seventeen’s Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor personally invited us to the Hearst Digital office and showed us around the whole office space, which is also shared by the digital offices for Elle, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar. Kelsey was there to welcome us at the elevator, where we were also greeted by a larger-than-life screen displaying different Hearst promos.

We walked the entire floor, seeing everything from the tight office quarters to the long series of vanities where some of my favorite celebrities had their makeup done, to even the studios where the iconic Style Lab videos are filmed. We ended our tour in the break room on a set of couches and small tables, where Kelsey sat us down to talk about the office culture, her day-to-day and answer any questions we had.

Considering how renown Seventeen is, it was surreal to be able to actually visit the offices in an intimate setting where we could genuinely experience the creative space firsthand.

Paper Magazine

Lauren Rousseau

As an avid reader of Paper magazine, visiting this office was a big deal for me. From their amazing social media memes to their iconic celebrity profiles, Paper always seems to be dripping with coolness.

Stepping into their office, that’s exactly what we found.

There was an easy-going swagger as many of the workers sported effortless streetwear and showcased sincere personalities. We got to speak to everyone from an intern to the Executive Editor Abby Schreiber (!!!). They all gave us honest advice and run-throughs on their day-to-day and even spilled the tea on how hard it can be to stay professional when a celebrity randomly walks through the door (you know, casual).

As someone who’s just trying to get her foot in the door, one of the best parts was hearing how collaborative their team is. Everyone has a voice, even their interns. Rather than just doing coffee-runs, interns share their ideas and take part in projects.

Paper Magazine may have a small team, but they’re also unapologetic and unafraid to push the media’s boundaries. As a creative, it was inspiring to witness firsthand.

Bustle Magazine

Lauren Reho

When I first walked into Bustle, I was in awe of the colorful video screen at the front showcasing all of my favorite celebrities with everyone from Jonathan Van Ness to Noah Centineo.

As we all began to explore the beautiful space, we were soon greeted by Alexandra Finkel, the Editorial Operations Director at Bustle, who kindly offered us snacks and refreshments (including a super cool fizzy water machine).

As we walked along each of the floors and down the aisles, I was able to look at the various desk setups and could see everyone’s individual personalities shine through just by looking at their decor.

The employees could easily tell that it was my first time there because I was starstruck the entire time, but they all still managed to flash a smile my way, making the environment seem so welcoming and not intimidating like the magazines I’ve seen in movies.

Upon sitting in the conference room, we were able to speak with multiple journalism, social media and public relations professionals. They were very helpful when it came to general information and internship tips along with answering any additional questions we had.

They even gave us some swag to take with us – I finally have a popsocket thanks to Bustle! All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Bustle; everyone was so friendly, and the atmosphere was so lively and full of different cultures, a place I would dream to work at.

Final Thoughts

Jacqueline Saguin

Before touching down in New York City for our trip, I feared the Miranda Priestly’s of the magazine world. I almost expected to see interns rushing around, juggling coffees in their hands as they trailed behind editors. I thought I’d see writers banging their heads against keyboards and phones ringing throughout the room. But, the offices were relatively, well, calm.

The 18 of us eagerly filed out of elevators and were quickly placed in front of professionals who prepared to give us insight into the industry. Rather than a simple walkthrough of the floor, they each took the time to sit down with us, explain what they do and bring in other people from the industry to offer advice. And best of all, they encouraged us to ask questions– all of which they eagerly answered. My anxious thoughts washed away with each visit and soon enough the picture of “Devil Wears Prada” vanished from my mind. Though I know there’s still much to work toward, I left feeling more inspired than ever.

Cayela is a junior at the University of Florida studying Journalism and costume design. She has a passion for street style, sewing and empowering others. She loves to write fun, well-researched articles with a focus on social justice. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @cayecuev
Carolina is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida. After graduation, she plans to reunite with her one true love— New York City. NYC bound, Carolina hopes to, one day, work for one of Hearst’s many magazine publications (*cough, cough* ELLE or Cosmo. She’s honestly not picky; she just wants to be employed) as a Social Media Director. In her rare free time, you can either find her in second-home and first love, Orlando, Florida, or running around town looking for something to write about. 
Lauren Rousseau is a senior editor for Her Campus UFL. She's also a junior journalism major at the University of Florida, and her writing has appeared in Rowdy Magazine, WUFT News and the Independent Florida Alligator. When Lauren's not starring at a phone or laptop screen, she enjoys starring at her screen even more by watching ridiculous reality television. When all else prevails, catch her baking and listening to music.
Jacqueline joins Her Campus UFL as a features editor. The fourth-year journalism student hopes to pursue a career in magazine print. She channels her inner Rory Gilmore through her writing and pop culture references.
Lauren Reho is a second-year public relations major and French minor at the University of Florida. She loves vintage fashion, travel, and Broadway, and has a passion for promoting inclusivity and diversity in the communications industry. One day, she hopes to work in her favorite destination, New York City, and live out her true Carrie Bradshaw dreams. You can get to know her more through her Instagram and Twitter @laurenreho
Darcy Schild is a University of Florida junior majoring in journalism. She's the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus UFL and was previously a Her Campus national section editor. She spent Summer 2017 as an Editorial Intern at HC headquarters in Boston, where she oversaw the "How She Got There" section and wrote and edited feature articles and news blogs. She also helped create the weekly Her Campus Instagram Story series, Informed AF. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog, The Darcy Diaries.