Ed loves feisty up-and-comers willing to do whatever it takes to make it in this industry, including taking unpaid internships. That’s why he doles out his trust fund once a semester to one deserving candidate. This semester’s winner, Rheana Murray, a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, native and intern at Rolling Stone, is ready to give you all the deets on how to be the next winner.
How many internships have you had in the past, where were they, and how did they prepare you for your internship with Rolling Stone?
Oh God. I have to get out an old resume to count. Rolling Stone is my sixth internship. The first was at GS Magazine, a Southern lifestyle publication based in Myrtle Beach where I grew up. During college in Charleston, I interned at The Post and Courier, the city’s local newspapers, and Dark Sky, an online literary magazine that publishes creative fiction and non-fiction. I also interned in public relations and the beauty department at ELLE. Each internship was different, but I have to give ELLE props for really showing me how a NYC-based magazine runs—you’ve got to be sharp.
Rolling Stone is such an iconic magazine. What is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do there so far?
I was at an online meeting and the editors were discussing covering an upcoming Julian Casablancas show at Terminal 5. Someone admitted they hadn’t chosen anyone to cover the show. I mentioned I was planning to go anyway, so they looked over some of my clips and let me write a review for the site.
What magazines are your must-reads?
New York is always interesting and smart without being condescending. I love indie fashion and culture magazines—they tend to have good music sections and beautiful artwork. Check out Z!NK and CHAOS. For mainstream, ELLE‘s my favorite, and, of course, Rolling Stone. But I subscribe to about ten different pubs!
When did you decide to make the move to New York?
When I graduated from college. I worked for a couple months, saved some money, bought a one-way Amtrak ticket and boarded the train with seven suitcases. I had no job and no place to live. My friend and I rented a single room we found on Craigslist while we looked for our own apartment and jobs. I was a waitress in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the following month, I landed the internship at ELLE. Since then, I’ve gone though other jobs and internships and moved into Manhattan, but I love the way I started my life in New York City.
How did you hear about Ed?
I learned about Ed during my freshman year at the College of Charleston. A friend I worked with at our campus newspaper introduced me to the site. I was instantly obsessed with the WhisperJobs and the message board.
What do you think set your application apart from the rest?
I told a story about how I’d waited on a couple of guys at a restaurant. After I served them their drinks, they told me they recognized me from college. I was thrown off-guard, but then made a joke along the lines of, “Yeah, I was a journalism major. That’s why I’m a waitress now.” With serious faces, they told me they studied the same thing in school but realized they had bills to pay. They both work in finance now. It was a slap in the face, but at the same time, I’m completely confident in pursuing magazine journalism until I get what I want.
Any words of wisdom for future applicants?
Don’t be afraid to tell Ed how broke you really are. Also, be open when applying for jobs and internships. Consider genres and departments that maybe weren’t in the original game plan. It’s so easy to get frustrated when you apply and apply and don’t hear anything. I’ve probably gone for about 500 jobs, had ten or so interviews, and gotten no (paying) magazine job. In New York, networking is key. So be social. Go out. Talk to people. Ed2010 comes in handy with this too.