Internship Insider: Fall 2015 Edition

What’s it really like to be an intern? Many students in the MS in Publishing: Digital & Print Media program enroll in the internship course to get valuable industry experience and a credential on their resume. Students pick their internships based on their interests and work two or three days a week, generally in large companies so that they can have a broad perspective on the industry. To get inside the internship experience a little more deeply, we asked two of our students to give us a brief report on their positions this semester. Here is what they said.


Ms. Winfrey and More

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MS in Publishing: Digital & Print Media student Linda Tran at her internship with O, The Oprah Magazine.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude,” Oprah Winfrey once said. When I started my four months as an editorial intern at O, The Oprah Magazine last fall, I reflected a lot on this quote.

Pursuing this internship at O Magazine was a decision I easily made because it’s a brand I respect and believe brings out the best in everyone. Working for a brand you admire doesn’t feel like work at all. Some of the regular duties in my internship included creating a daily digest for the editorial, marketing, and research teams; assisting the senior editors with research and transcriptions; and performing administrative duties for the editorial staff.

The most challenging experience for me with this internship was getting back into  an office environment. I took one year off from working, and my prior job was at an elementary school. I think being rusty in an office setting made me more determined to be skillful and perform better. The biggest thing I learned is the skill of pitching ideas. Any idea is great, but in order for it to work, it must speak in the O Magazine voice, which was very challenging.

My supervisor, Joseph Zambrano, Assistant to the Editor-at-Large, informed me that Oprah calls in sometimes, and to address her as “Ms. Winfrey.” The O staff totally respects the boss, who is the founder and editorial director. Yes, I got to answer her call once, but what was even more mind-blowing was that I got to see Oprah Winfrey herself at the O Magazine office!

For those of you interested in magazine media internships, I would advise you to stay dedicated and do more than what you’re assigned. Think deeper about what you can bring to the table and your managers will truly appreciate your talent and effort. After all, as Oprah says, the right attitude can move mountains.

To hear more from Linda straight from the O Magazine headquarters, watch the video below!

by Linda Tran

From Royalty Rates to the Wimpy Kid

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MS in Publishing: Digital & Print Media student Julie Delas on the job at ABRAMS Books.

The subsidiary rights department at ABRAMS Books is a wonderful place to learn more about the business of selling international and other rights (audio books, first serial, etc.) to help a book find as wide an audience as possible. For me, an internship in the rights department fostered my interest in global publishing as well as illustrated and children’s books. I was delighted to be part of the ABRAMS’ team this semester.

Among my daily duties, my main activity was to help with contracts, inputting all of the terms negotiated by the managers such as royalty rates and specific rights granted. I also entered submissions, contract, and contact information into a specialized database called “That’s Rights.” As a French native speaker, I wrote  tip sheets about ABRAMS books in my language  to submit to international publishers. I loved the fact that one of the managers, Karin Schulze (Senior Manager of Subsidiary Rights), would tell me which terms she would like in international rights contracts and ask me to write to the publishers. It can be quite a challenge to find the right way to remain firm yet diplomatic in order to get the terms that suit your company. On a personal level, doing this kind of negotiation was a way to know myself better!

Interning in a publishing house can also hold some thrilling moments: last November, book #10 of ABRAMS’ successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid series became America’s #1 bestselling children’s book  within a week of its release. It was so exciting to share that moment.

I always knew I wanted to work in publishing, and this internship made me realize how important it is to stay global in my professional future. Interacting with people from all over the world and trying to find the best way to sell high-quality books is very fulfilling.

If you love talking about books and learning a lot about foreign markets, I strongly recommend an internship in a subsidiary rights department. And be sure to find the publishing house  you feel connected to: it’s always easier to sell books that you really like!

Watch the video below for more about Julie’s daily tasks inside the ABRAMS Books office.

by Julie Delas

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