Having just returned from an open features meeting run by Stylist magazine (anyone may come; anyone may pitch; post soon to follow), it seems that lately there’s been an influx of publications looking towards their readers and potential interns for new sources of original ideas. This is an innovative turn that could, potentially, be the start of a movement towards appreciation for a position that is often seen to be the lowest-of-the-low (intern AKA tea maker).
Frankly, I think this is fantastic. I’m unsure of the motivation for this type of behaviour from high-flying magazines; in a couple of the cases below, it seems a risky move to hand over such power to inexperienced wannabes, however enthusiastic. Yet in times when unpaid internships have become commonplace and essential, some of these initiatives are a breath of fresh air. I remain staunchly optimistic that these are genuine exertions of recognition towards those struggling to make their way in the journalism industry. They will no doubt pay off in terms of new ideas and creative talent for the magazine, and I can only hope that such examples are continued and followed…
Here are a few of the said opportunities (a couple are still open, so jump on them!):
In a bid to “show support for the invaluable assistance interns provide, and help the next
generation of fashion and media stars to launch their careers,” ELLE have ten potential slots open to anyone who is currently interning, or between internships. Ranging from Editors to Stylists, the October issue will be managed by Interns. Entrants close at midnight TONIGHT (!!), so pick your passion and apply quickly if you’re interested.
(I’m a particular fan of this one as I’ve gone for Features Editor. There is tough, tough competition – a lot of really interesting and worthy ideas. However, if you want to see my entry (and perhaps give it a last minute like!), clickity-click right here.)
Hold on. Forgot to say, I’m an EXTRA fan of this one as ELLE always pays its interns. It takes internships seriously. So kudos to them for being professional, and not sucking the life out of desperate wannabe hacks who don’t feel in the position to argue for their worth (as much as they should.)
ALSO doing an unusual October issue is Company magazine, which will be guest-edited by eight fashion students. Whilst these graduates have already been chosen, mentions must still be given for taking a (strikingly) similar initiative to ELLE. Part of me thinks perhaps this is part of a makeover campaign that Company seem to have had recently – much more fashion and creative industry focused, less glossy-mag-sex-tips. It does seem to be a more interesting magazine now, with a sharper focus, so I’m a fan.
This competition is still open! You have until the 30th of June to write 3,000 on a non-fiction topic. ANY topic, any style, any genre, as long as you are a student and it is non-fiction. The winner gets £1,000 and a month long stay in the writers’ retreat program at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Massachusetts. Even more excitingly, they get their work published in British GQ. Again, a great competition, available to any young person about to launch into the industry, judged only by their talent (OK, so you have to be a student, but this is about encouraging young writers to get into an often unpaid and hard-working industry – speaking as a young person, I have no other resources to make that big jump on my won, and so opportunities like this are invaluable. GO GQ).