How the Copywriting and Editorial Worlds Collide

I was lucky enough to land an internship with Philadelphia magazine this semester which is something that I was more than excited for at the get-go. The second I got the email from the Shoppist and Lifestyle editor asking me to come in for an interview, I was beaming. I, Rebecca, a lowly college junior from the suburbs, got an interview for a fancy city publication. (*Fan-girl squeal.*) My editor’s office is seriously something straight out of The Devil Wears Prada – complete with hanging sequin coats, fancy spherical light fixtures, and a gorgeous view of Center City Philadelphia from thirty-six floors up. This was it, I thought, I’ve made it. 

But wait. The job title was “Editorial Intern”. I’m an ad major with a double track in the creative. Oh, no. This wasn’t what I wanted. Send me over to the huge advertising division of the company. There’s no way that writing multi paragraph-long posts would help me in my future of Copywriting or Art Direction. I mean seriously. Ten words: That’s how long a headline can be. TEN WORDS. The usual word-count for a Shoppist post was around three hundred. Crap, I thought. But I thought too soon. Not long after I started typing away about the latest fashion and beauty trends did I realize that the copy world and the editorial world are so closely knit together that I was learning so many copywriting lessons without even realizing it. Oh, Phillymag, you’ve just Miyagi’d me. 

Not only do I get to hone in my skills of clever writing, but I also get to explore my concentration in Art Direction, too. I get to play around with Photoshop and Illustrator to make cool graphics for the site. An added bonus to working for a magazine is that everything is under the same roof – the editorial department, the art department, and the advertising department. Some days I casually stroll around the office trying to peak into offices of different workers, trying to catch a glance at what they’re doing. The Art Director is someone’s office I always try to walk past really slowly. She’s always intent on her giant Mac screen so close to her face that sometimes I think she and the screen will become one. She meticulously works on layouts, graphics, fonts, and pictures, perfecting each one until they’re exactly what she wants. If nothing else, she’s given me the insight that Art Direction is definitely for me: A hopeless perfectionist obsessed with all things pretty.

Going into this internship I experienced a plethora of emotions. At first, excitement. Then, unease and disappointment. Now there’s only gratitude. Gratitude that I now understand how much I want to be an art director. Gratitude that walking into the city to an office building every day is where I belong. Gratitude that I now understand the editorial world is great, but not for me (I prefer to look at pretty pictures, not write about them.)  But most importantly, gratitude that I can make a difference in this world. Even as a lowly intern for a big company did I make a difference. My editor often expressed so much appreciation for the stress I could alleviate from her day by taking over tasks. I was initially under the impression that the business world was only going to lead me to a dead-end, meaningless job. But this internship has shown me that my future is going to be anything but that.


One comment

  1. Yes Rebecca! Give hope to all the young children reading these posts. Often we are overwhelmed with the venturing out into the real world because it’s so scary. It’s absolutely frightening but only if you let it be frightening. Once you’re in a company interning, people are more than willing to give advice, drop work into your lap, or show you what “A Day In the Life Of ____” is like. Also mad props on your writing skills. You are witty and cultured.

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