Ed’s seeing double, and he’s loving it. This summer, he was happy to award his annual Trust Fund to TWO deserving whippersnappers working hard at unpaid internships.
Both of these winners are working on the Web at Hearst: Samantha Trueheart, a rising senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is spending the summer interning online at O, The Oprah Magazine, while Caitlin Scott, a rising senior at the University of Iowa, is a Web intern at Cosmopolitan.
Ed got the scoop from these two on what their day jobs are like, their advice for aspiring interns, and how you can be the next Trust Fund winner.
Ed: What were your previous internships, and how did they help you prepare for your current one?
Samantha: I tried to be as active as possible with my school publications, so I wrote a weekly column as well as art and culture articles for the newspaper. I was also the Web editor for the school’s magazine, where I learned how to do the background work on publishing and editing the text online. Last summer, I was a Web intern at Get Fit Get Life, a website that focuses on empowering young women to live their best, healthy lives. I recently ended a leadership position in my sorority, where I worked with a variety of social media formats and also had photos and text published in our national magazine. All of my past experiences have been centered around the web, and I think that’s what got me noticed.
Caitlin: My first internship was at a public relations firm in Minneapolis called Media Relations. I didn’t have plans to peruse public relations in the future, but I really wanted to see a different side of the media world than I was used to! I also gained a ton of web experience by learning their CMS. Afterward, I was able to land a remote web internship with BOP and Tiger Beat magazines! I wrote blogs on celebrity news and fashion. I learned so much about online writing and the world of magazines from the editor there. I also have an internship at school — I’m a writing intern at Student Life Marketing and Design at the University of Iowa. All three internships have been so helpful. I’ve learned so much about writing, social media, and blogging. And now, I’m helping out Cosmopolitan with all of these things!
Ed: What’s daily life like at your internship?
Caitlin: Right when I come in to the office I write Cosmo’s Daily Dish (a blog/link roundup that’s published everyday). I also pitch ideas of content to pin to the Pinterest board to our social media editor. She edits the pitches and then I pin throughout the day! She’s even coined the term “Pintern,” which is amazing. I also help my supervisor, the online associate editor, by prepping articles with HTML so that they can be published on Yahoo! Shine. And I track the content that Cosmopolitan.com publishes on a daily and weekly basis for the news editor. Plus there are always extra things that pop up throughout the day! It’s always busy, but very fun and I learn a lot.
Samantha: Everyday I’m learning something new and helping the magazine and website continue running successfully. Honestly, I think everything I’m doing is super cool! One thing I really love is that I get to be in the Hearst building. The building is beautiful and your ears pop when you ride the elevators. I feel very glamorous strutting in the Hearst building every morning. It would be neat to meet Oprah before my internship is over–here’s to hoping!
Ed: What are your favorite magazines, and why?
Samantha: I love all kinds of magazines! Normally when I go to the grocery store, I always pick up a different magazine to read so I’m exposing myself to the writing, styles and genres. But I enjoy reading women’s fitness magazines like Women’s Health and Self, home magazines like Southern Living and HGTV and women’s fashion magazines like Marie Claire and Vogue. I also read The New Yorker online and a couple of blogs.
Caitlin: Cosmopolitan, of course, it’s got everything that’s important for women to read! Fashion, relationships, career advice, I love it all. I also love Rolling Stone because I’m a bit of a music junkie. Their interviews are incredibly well written and thought provoking. I also love fashion magazines. Vogue and Elle are amazing. But I’ll stop there before I list like 20 more!
Ed: What do you think made your Trust Fund application stand out?
Caitlin: I’d like to think that my creativity stuck out! I designed my essay to look like Cosmo’s “Letter From the Editor” page, but I made mine a “Letter From the Intern.” Super cheesy! But it was fun to create. I also hope that my writing stuck out. I’m so passionate about writing and I spent a lot of time working out what I wanted to say. I wrote a bit about Alan Waxenberg, the former executive vice president and publisher of Good Housekeeping. He really inspired me.
Samantha: In my essay, I just wrote the truth about my situation. I’m from the University of Tennessee and not many of my classmates have the opportunity to intern in the city because of the high cost of living. I want to prove that college students who are not from the New York area have the ability to gain the important experiences from interning in the city — even if it means a little more sacrificing!
Ed: What advice would you give to aspiring interns?
Samantha: Don’t give up. I applied to a million internships before I heard anything back. I didn’t have any personal connections to the industry, so I was constantly checking websites for deadlines and emails. Just because one magazine isn’t interested doesn’t mean they all aren’t.
Caitlin: Definitely don’t give up! I actually applied for the Cosmo internship before and didn’t get it. But I’m here now! I think it just goes to show that if you’re really dedicated you can make it happen. Don’t ever let failed attempts get to you. Just work ten times harder to succeed.
Ed: What are your post-graduate plans?
Caitlin: After I graduate I will be looking for a job in the Web department of a magazine. My dream, of course, would be to return to Hearst Digital! But I think as long as I’m writing for a magazine I love, I’ll be a happy camper.
Samantha: I’m not sure yet! I’m using this summer to decide if a New York City lifestyle is what I would like to take on, but so far I’m enjoying what the city has to offer. Once next spring rolls around, I plan on doing the same thing I did with my internship — apply to as many places as I can think of. I know I’ll find my place eventually.