An English-woman in New York
September 15, 2010 8 Comments
This week WannabeHacks are proud to present a regular guest poster: a Hacker from Harlem.
Alice Vincent is a 21 year-old writer interested in magazine journalism as well as fashion, music and the arts. After completing an English Literature degree at Newcastle University this summer she has recently moved to New York to intern with Nylon magazine.
As those who have experienced it will know, the first day of any new internship is fairly nerve-wracking. The combination of a new public transport system, entering part of a city bustling with confident commuters and feeling like you’ve got a luminous sign above your head saying ‘UNPAID NEWBIE’ isn’t a great one.
However, catching a glimpse of the Chrysler Building the minute I left the subway certainly eased the pain yesterday when I started a three month stint at a major American fashion magazine.
This is my seventh internship in just over two years. Although Labor Day ‘pool crashing’ in a Lower East Side Hotel with the incredibly accommodating Editorial Assistant had eased the tummy-butterflies, the judgement-filled stare of the receptionist still had impact because – unlike previous gigs – my first day outfit consisted of whatever wasn’t creased.
Having slept in three different places in as many nights and having had my luggage rummaged by airport security, just not looking like a tramp was the extent of my wardrobe specifications.
These emotional similarities aside, New York internships are a very different deal from your typical London affair; before I’d even stepped through the office doors I had already been given a book review to complete for midday as part of a new books blog project on the magazine’s impressive website.
It may sound like small fry, but contrary to popular belief writing things as a monthly magazine editorial intern is ludicrously rare. If you’re lucky you’ll get a vox pop or maybe some research you’ve done will be used. When there are dozens of freelancers competing for as many column inches, you’re lucky to even proofread it.
Or so I thought. Day one consisted of the said book review, a couple of editing tasks and learning how to fact check; something I’d never heard of since no previous internship had got me doing it. In the afternoon I sorted out an interview for another publication, got offered whisky-infused cupcakes and was asked my availability for shows at NY Fashion Week.
It took me until about 5pm to be asked to send something off via UPS and – oh! – today I threw out some boxes in the middle of transcribing two interviews (one my own).
Interning here isn’t about sitting on Facebook; it’s like actually being a journalist.
With the occasional model floating around, piles of books always needing reviewing and the latest niche band on the stereo, the offices are strongly reminiscent of their British equivalent – except, of course, for all those glossy and twangy accents. When things like “it f***ing stinks in here” are exclaimed, it sounds like something from a film, rather than something from a grumpy cockney.
OK, so the novelty’s still fresh (indeed more so than the bins, which is what happens when everyone is fuelled on sushi). However, after chasing up some research in small town Mississippi to hear “weeyy-lll, thay-errs a saaahhhn on the dooorrr but I dunno what it saaayyyssss”, can you blame me?