The “Westchester Magazine” Internship Experience

REBECCA BONNEY

Internships provide amazing insight of what it’s like to work in the eld of study you choose, but one has to work hard and make a good impression in order to obtain an internship. At Manhattanville College, they highly recommend that students get an internship; it’s even required for those majoring in Communications.

As a sophomore, it’s rather unusual to have an internship – typically, most students wait until their junior or senior year. However, I was given the opportunity early and took it. It wouldn’t have been ideal to turn the internship down, especially since it was right in front of me. Thanks to Falon Kirby, who is the Editor-in-Chief of Touchstone, I was able to receive my first internship. Amanda Cirocco, the Executive Editor of Touchstone, also interned at Westchester Magazine. She shared her experience interning at Westchester Magazine, which helped me grasp a be er understanding of what to expect. Falon gave me all of the information I needed to contact and apply for the position.

I contacted Patty Monaghan, who is in charge of the internship program, to review my cover letter and resume. She then emailed me to set up an interview over the phone, where I was asked pre y simple questions about what it means to be a journalist. For example, one of the questions was: What is the most important thing to do as a journalist? In which the answer would be: Make sure all of your facts are right, even the names, because even the tiniest mistake will ruin the whole article. Patty Monaghan then told me that I would have to take a small quiz just to give them information on how knowledgeable I am with fact-checking.

The quiz was a series of mini events that were about a paragraph long. My task was to read over them and fact check to make sure all of the information was correct, even the names of the people or places. It wasn’t very hard, something that I was used to doing throughout my high school career. This quiz indeed served a purpose behind how Westchester Magazine chooses their interns. They choose their interns based off of how well their time management skills are, organization, and attention to detail. They even have turned down some applications due to people lacking in these categories.

I received the internship and worked out a schedule that fit with my with my classes. I also received class credit; Westchester Magazine requires you to be able to obtain credit. You can choose to have one, two, or three credits; each amount of credit comes with a certain amount of hours you need to fulfill by the end of the semester. I went with three credits which means I will need to have completed about 80 hours. I go in four days a week, totaling to roughly ten hours a week.

I started in the middle of January, after winter break and during the interview, Patty informed me that my job was to be a fact checker. My responsibilities would include calling people to confirm their quotes or other information, but I would also have the opportunity to write my own articles and blogs for the magazine. This both excited me and made me nervous because, while it was an amazing opportunity to have a magazine company publish my work, it also meant that I had to make sure that my writing was perfect before I submitted.

The first assignment they gave me was an article that I had to research and write. It was so that I could get used to the kind of work they would have me do. I wrote about The Square House Museum in Rye, New York. They had me write two different versions of my article: one that would be 150 words and one that would be 250. This was also a part of my exercise to see how well I would be able to write pieces of different lengths.

After I handed in my first article, that will go on to be published either in print magazine or on their website, I then gradually moved on to more difficult tasks. One of the most challenging tasks that I had to do so far was work on Westchester Magazine’s annual Wunderkinds Feature, in which I had to contact all of the past winners and other companies by phone to see if they were interested in nominating any of their employees. I had to manually insert all of the information, along with emailing each individual possible nominations either to do a follow up on the call or to give them further information on the Feature. Also, if you’re more like myself where the idea of calling strangers all day long just to bother them with questions, causes some sort of anxiety, then you should understand how it made the assignment more challenging. However, once I got the hang of calling people and filling out the excel sheet, then it became a lot easier.

This internship is helping me in more ways than one. It’s giving me a chance to experience what it’s like to work for a magazine company, and yet be challenged. It definitely has opened my eyes to what the real world is like and I recommend anyone who is thinking about having a career in Journalism or Communications in general to intern at Westchester Magazine.

REBECCA BONNEY

REBECCA BONNEY

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