Filed under: Blog | Tags: Delta Sky, employment, fact-checking, intern, internship, journalism, magazines, Minneapolis, MSP Communications
Last Friday, I received some great news: one of my former editors at MSP Communications had gained approval to hire a paid full-time, fact-checking intern and if interested, the position could be mine.
I was elated! Finally, an opening in journalism had come my way after months of hiring rejections, unemployment statistics and self-evaluations. There was no way I could turn it down.
The position, which starts Aug. 17, will take me back to downtown Minneapolis. I don’t think I could be happier about it, especially after looking back at a post from early July and finding I wrote about wanting to work at MSP again:
“Now that I’m out of school and unemployed, I greatly hope that one day I will return to MSP or a company similar to it. I’ve offered to do freelance assignments for MSP in the hope that volunteering will leave a good impression of my work ethic and perhaps help me land a more permanent position there should one become available.”
It took work to get back on the company’s radar, namely 15+ freelance fact-checking assignments on a very quick deadline. But my dedication paid off and in less than a week, I’ll be back at a communications company I love. I will not be writing much at the beginning, but there may be room for growth after some time.
Though I am a little bit nervous to start the new job, I feel much more at ease knowing that I’ve worked there before in a similar role. I know the people, I know the atmosphere and I know the publications. I also know that I can be successful.
Before I started my internship at MSP last summer, I had no idea what it meant to be a fact-checker. But anytime I found an inaccurate fact prior to publication, I learned just how important the process is to the reputation of the company.
Because this is a somewhat unconventional internship (it is not on schedule with MSP’s other editorial interns), I’m not sure how long it will be. I was not told it had an end date. My hope is that getting my foot in the door for the second time will give me an edge up on a more permanent position in the future.
For now, this internship is really the best thing I can ask for—working with people I enjoy at a company I respect.
Unfortunately, I will not earn enough money from the internship to fully support myself, so I will have to live at home with my parents and take the bus downtown. I have a more positive outlook on moving home, however, because I’ll be busy during the day and I can save most of the money I make.
If you are still looking for a job, I feel your pain. What I’ve learned from seeking a post-grad job is to never underestimate the value of your own work ethic. You are the only person that can sell yourself. Set goals, volunteer to take additional assignments if you have an internship, freelance if you can for former employers and network with everyone you know.
And who knows, I may be on the job hunt again soon. But, I’m staying optimistic.
Filed under: Blog | Tags: Chicago, cities, Forbes, job seekers, Jobs, Madison, Minneapolis, moving, New York
This weekend, my parents are coming to Madison, Wis., to help me move out of my college apartment. Each time I put a book, magazine or article of clothing in a box, I can’t help wondering if my parents’ house in a Twin Cities suburb is really the next place I’ll see it again.
Am I really moving back home? Is my newfound independence really coming to an end?
According to Forbes, it may be better for me to stay in Madison—the city ranked second among cities with fewer than one million people in a list of best cities for recent grads and first-time job seekers.
The magazine, which released the list in mid-July, examined cost-of-living data, the quality of jobs in each city and alumni data from Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Northwestern, Duke and Rice universities to compile its ranking.
While I grew to love Madison as a student, I’m not convinced it’s one of the best cities to start a career. Well, not a career in journalism at least. The University of Wisconsin creates bioscience and medical opportunities, which I suppose creates public relations positions, but I think it lacks in journalism jobs.
To my delight, Minneapolis, a.k.a. the largest city near my parents’ home, ranked ninth among metropolitan areas for the best place to start a career. There are companies that I want to work for in the city, so I’m hopeful a move to Plymouth, Minn., will soon translate to a move downtown.
One of my friends is moving to New York (No. 7 among metro areas) at the beginning of September, and several of my friends recently moved to Chicago (No. 12 among metro areas). The last I checked, these friends were planning to move without a job secured. They were just hoping to find something once they relocate.
Hearing their plans makes me wonder about my own. Should I take an equal risk and move somewhere new? Is it best to save money in a place that’s comfortable, or take a chance on a life-changing experience?
Looking to move? Forbes suggests these places:
Metropolitan areas (population greater than one million)
- San Jose, Calif.
- Cambridge, Mass.
- Houston, Texas
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Washington, D.C.
- Boston, Mass.
- New York
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Dallas, Texas
- Seattle, Wash.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Orange County, Calif.
- St. Louis, Mo.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Baltimore, Md.
- Denver, Colo.
- San Diego, Calif.
- Milwaukee, Wis.
Cities with fewer than one million:
- Bridgeport, Conn.
- Madison, Wis.
- Greensboro, N.C.
- Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Raleigh, N.C.
Cities with fewer than 500,000:
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Boulder, Colo.
- Santa Barbara, Calif.
- Burlington, N.C.
- Iowa City, Iowa
Still without the job I’m looking for (albeit, as I often remind myself, gainfully employed), I am persistently and increasingly fraught with post-graduate anxieties, myriad in number. What other skills do I have? Should I go to grad school? Will anyone offer me advice on a level beyond “You have to network”? Why didn’t I major in finance?
One of the more salient questions that keeps popping up is “Should I keep writing, plying my craft for free?”
It’s a blatantly binary decision — either I do or I don’t — but both sides seem to make sense.
On one hand, it seems dumb to offer for free what I’m hoping someone will want to pay me for at some point. This is, after all, the same line of thinking that got the newspaper business in trouble in the first place. If they can have the milk for free, who would ever want to buy my cow?
Moreover, because I’m working a full-time job with a commute that’s a part-time job unto itself, I don’t have nearly the time to dedicate to such writing as I’d like. Thus, the product is diluted, and perhaps not an accurate reflection of my skill(s/z).
That said, writing is very much a skill, which means it needs to be practiced. The more I write, the better my writing becomes. The inverse is also true. So as this job search stretches on, if I’m not writing, I’m becoming progressively less marketable. On top of that, if I’m sending out writing samples to prospective employers, it won’t reflect well on me to be sending out year-old clips.
Filed under: Blog | Tags: deadlines, Delta, fact-checking, internship, Jobs, Madison, Minnesota, moving, MSP Communications
The past two and a half weeks have been full of deadlines, and they’ve distracted from my original goal of finding my first post-grad, full-time job.
After I completed my first freelance fact-checking assignment in early July, both of my former intern supervisors at MSP Communications reached out to me about working on more.
It seems that once I turn a fact-checking assignment in, another one comes to my e-mail inbox. I’m not complaining, as I love working for Delta Sky magazine and parent MSP Communications, but it keeps me away from job boards, Twitter feeds and Facebook—though the latter is probably for the best.
Since my last blog post, I’ve verified facts in 11 articles ranging from small sidebars to features about major media moguls. I have two assignments that I’ll turn in by Friday and more coming my way over the weekend.
The pace that I’ve been working this month is faster than I’ve worked in awhile. Finishing a 600-fact article in a little more than two days is no easy feat, especially while you have other articles to work on.
The somewhat frustrating thing about having deadlines again is the reminder that no one in the media world is on the same schedule. Just because I have to have a celebrity interview back to the editor by the end of this week doesn’t mean the person’s publicist can or will have time to go over each fact with me.
However tedious my current service, I am happy that MSP is able to afford the freelancers whose work I check, the editors who assign it out, and me: the former intern turned freelance fact-checker.
Of course, I volunteer in the hopes that it will lead to something bigger with the company, that my talent will be remembered and will help me land a job so I don’t miss the biggest deadline of all—having a job by the end of the summer to avoid moving back to my suburban Minnesota home.
My apartment lease in Madison ends Aug. 14, which is approaching much faster than I’d like. I expect that the next couple of weeks will be a period of confusion, sadness and self-discovery. I’m already preparing for a week full of tears.
Filed under: Blog | Tags: Delta Sky, fact-checking, freelance, internship, MSP Communications, paid
I spent most of the day Monday working on a freelance fact-checking assignment for one of my former editors at MSP Communications. She needed immediate assistance on a piece for Delta Sky Magazine, and knowing that I could complete it in one day, I was more than happy to volunteer. I even earned some money for it.
MSP Communications acquired publishing rights for Delta Sky at the end of 2008, after publishing NWA WorldTraveler for Northwest Airlines for years. I was an editorial intern at MSP Communications last summer, fact-checking and writing sidebar pieces for the in-flight magazine and many other custom publications.
If you are seeking a paid journalism internship that is in a professional yet welcoming environment and lets you work on multiple projects, while learning from top-notch editors, I highly recommend applying for either a fall, spring or summer internship at MSP. I worked in the custom division, but there are also interns assigned to just Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, one of the flagship publications of the company. It was one of my favorite summers, and I loved working in downtown Minneapolis.
Now that I’m out of school and unemployed, I greatly hope that one day I will return to MSP or a company similar to it. I’ve offered to do freelance assignments for MSP in the hope that volunteering will leave a good impression of my work ethic and perhaps help me land a more permanent position there should one become available.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep in contact with my former intern supervisors, other editors and a fellow intern who extended her position to full time—No. 1 to see how they are doing and No. 2 to hear of any possible openings. Hopefully, I’ll get more freelance work too.
I’ve been out of school and living at home for more than a month now, and the job market remains pretty sullen. I’m still looking, but I can’t rationalize sitting around all day at home waiting for a job offer.
Thus, I’ve taken a job in the marketing department of my dad’s architecture firm. The position (basically an intern) is not especially high-paid, and I’m not sure it’s a great use of my expertise or a place I’ll be able to gain many new skills, but I’m only committed for a few months. And since I’m living at home (and not paying rent or for most of my food), most of the money is saved. I had considered working in a bookstore or art supply store or something around my neighborhood, and while this is more of a commitment (40+ hours a week, plus, because I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and the office is in Center City, more than a two-hour round-trip commute each day), it’s probably a better resume-builder. It’s easier to find a job when you have a job, I’m told (daily).
In any case, when the job is up in a few months, I have several options. Provided there’s still work available, I can stay onboard at the firm, but in order to get raise and benefits, I’ll likely have to commit to more than a few more months at a time. If I decide against that (and given how far removed this job is from what I want to do longterm, it’s certainly a possibility), I can make a clean break and, if possible, work wherever else immediately. Or, I can just take another indefinite hiatus from the workforce while I make job-hunting my full-time job again. The last option I’m considering at this point is, with all the money I’ll have saved, moving cold to Athens, Ga., and working more intently on the book I’m writing about a group of musicians down there. Regardless, I have a few months to figure it all out. I do have to keep reminding myself that this is just temporary, though, that I’m only 22 and that I haven’t yet signed away my life.