What began as internship at the Weekly Dig in fall 2001, and a double internship in spring 2002, blossomed into my first job out of school. As Listings Editor, I wrote and edited event listings, oversaw a team of interns, redesigned the calendar section, and worked with the IT department to develop an online listings database. I also contributed feature articles, focusing much of my attention covering media mishaps.
When I decided to apply to the Columbia Publishing Course at Columbia University, the Dig’s then-editor Joe Bonni wrote a wonderful letter of recommendation on my behalf. It not only helped me get accepted into the program, but it also gave me a moment to take stock in my accomplishments. Here are a few passages from his letter, for which I’m endlessly grateful:
The Weekly Dig is a young, small company with less than 20 full-time employees. As a result, we rely heavily on the work of our interns. All Weekly Dig interns contribute copy to the paper, and although I always tell incoming interns that they have the opportunity to write for every section of the paper, including penning front page cover stories, few rise to such a challenge or possess the motivation and skills to prove me right. Towards the end of Alex’s first semester interning with us, after successfully pitching a number of smaller pieces to various editors, she wrote a cover story for a year-end issue. Working with Alex on such projects has been a pleasure. She is organized, communicative, always ahead of schedule and has met or surpassed every deadline and expectation along the way to seeing her stories to print. As an intern, she possessed a maturity unexpected from a college student as well as a degree of professionalism and recognition of the impact that her efforts would have all through the production of our newspaper, that few writers seem to recognize. Professional freelancers could learn a thing or two about the importance of deadlines and clean copy form Ms. Le Tellier. […]
Her desire to immerse herself in the production of a local newspaper was not surprising as she has often mentioned that there is really no other career for her other than publishing, and indeed she proved the veracity of her words over the next few months. Noticing tremendous organizational and management problems within our Listings department, she took over the management of our Listings section, developed new processes and tracking systems to fix production problems and otherwise streamlined and solely managed an element of the paper that had often taken a number of people to produce. It was odd to no one that Alex, an intern, was managing other interns, in the production of our listings. Even the other interns responded to her as management due to the fact that she was always completely professional and very easy to work with. But beyond simply fixing the mess we had, she dramatically improved the quality of the section. Alex reached out to new businesses that had never worked with the paper and worked closely with our IT department to debug and improve the database that we use to store our listings information – all the while still writing for the paper and learning about many other elements of production and business from myself and Publisher Jeff Lawrence. […]
As our Listings Editor she is always exchanging information with our Arts and Music Editors, alerting them to events that will appeal to our demographic since she often sees upcoming calendars for many venues before our other editors do. And our Marketing Director has indicated to me on a number of occasions that she is also extremely communicative with his team, always alerting them to events worth sponsoring. Alex often works directly with our Publisher on projects ranging form managing our archiving, to brainstorming on future elements of our business plan. Her multifaceted interests and wide range of skills have made Alex a defacto traffic coordinator for the company. […]
Any organization, program, business etc. that Alex works with will benefit from her input, skills, energy and passion. And to her credit, Alex is an excellent student, willing to learn and accept criticism, and also possessed of keen analytical and organizational skills that allow her to improve upon the things she has been taught. Perhaps more important is the fact that she is both professional and polite, allowing her to introduce new ideas and improvements in constructive and positive manners as opposed to finger-pointing or using negative criticism. This allows for team-building and efficient improvements that make everyone’s quality of work improve. In the fast paced, often too personal business of publishing, these skills are priceless.
To learn more about my work with the Weekly Dig, please visit my resume.