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The Marie Claire Diaries

This is the first in a potential series of long-overdue blog posts consists of typed up, near verbatim notes from the diary I kept during my placement on the Marie Claire Features department.  They are very honest, a bit broken up, and I haven’t named anyone, as I feel that would be weird.  In the name of full disclosure…well, nothing.  I thought it could be insightful to have a day-by-day diary of my first week as an intern on the Marie Claire features desk (from what I know, nobody else has done it, which I’ve always found frustrating.)

Bullet points:  What I did.

Non-bullet points:  What I noted.

Italics:  Afterthoughts upon typing up.

M

MONDAY

  • Newspaper reviewing – pulling any Marie Claire-esque features for the editors to go through.
  • Transcribing – typed up an interview with Roberto Cavalli for the fashion features team.

My desk today was opposite the Subs’ computers – I watched the pages slowly get compiled as the visual side comes to life.

It’s the beginning of September and everyone is very busy as they’re just sending the December issue (out at the beginning of November) off.  People are pleasant but there’s not much chatting – lovely lady next to me apologises for this.

I’m not quite sure who my supervisor is, but I do my best to remember everyone’s names.  Also, I need to borrow someone’s ID card every time I need to go to the toilets.  Somewhat worrying.  What if no one’s around?!

I pay £8 for a salad and a diet coke at lunch.  Horrific.

I have no formal introduction of my duties, yet…  Also financially – I have to ask, at some point, how to get my expenses.  But how?!

T

TUESDAY

  • Finished a nightmare transcription (I’ve done transcribing profesh before, so I’d like to think I’m not being dramatic here – if I remember correctly, the speaker had an almost unintelligible accent.  I was quite nervous of getting it ‘wrong’ – not that I’d been put under any pressure.)
  • Photocopying
  • Researching online for features ideas – interesting.  Been asked by an editor for ‘interesting, off the beaten track’ ideas.  She assumes, as I’m 21, I’ll know these things.  To assume is to make an ass out of you and me.  Still, enjoyed it.

 

Noticed ‘page wall’ (my eloquent coining for an on-the-wall flat plan), where the December issue is half-collaborated.  Didn’t feel nosy/brave enough to stop and stare (yet).

Trying to prove myself competent/worthy is hard when photocopiers have a mind of their own.  I want.  Bloody.  PHOTO ORIENTATION.

Found out I’m mere minutes away from the Tate Modern!  Nice place to eat lunch (I’m the only intern on my section so ‘lunch period’ is daunting for me).

Have been assigned a desk, I think.  Not necessarily a good thing, as office-hopping is good for eavesdropping and learning through osmosis.

 

W

WEDNESDAY

  • Transcriptions
  • Finding newsworthy stories
  • Finding named Jimmy Savile victims – an editor is hoping to interview one within the magazine demographic – a hard task, all appear to be at least fifty, if not older (Ol’ Jimmy is suddenly all over the front pages at this point in time).
  • Photo printing
  • Researching interesting cultural events for ‘Reporter’.

Good day!  LOVED being given work that’s directly related to a feature.  Hope I’m helping.  Thought the J. Savile one was ballsy – really wanted to impress.

Wish my current desk was actually IN features section.  Sort of in the online section at the mo – I don’t mind, but it’s not giving me much chance to strike up convo.

On the plus side, getting easier to talk to people and have been promised my own swipe card.  Independent toilet breaks!

DON’T.  GET.  ILL.  Everyone is ill.  I cannot be.

T

THURSDAY

  • Pulled potential feature ideas from weeklies – ‘Loving these clippings you’ve pulled, they’re great.’ (Yes, so, I wrote down compliments I got in my diary.  In smug handwriting.  I hate me.)
  • Researched various ‘Reporter’ things – nocturnal restaurants and exhibitions.
  • Dug around online and in library (a press library within the building with hundreds/thousands of back copies of magazines and papers) for a specific article somebody wanted (I think someone else had it all along.)

Got a swipe card!  Offish.

Praised by a couple of the editors for clippings and all Reporter work, even though some of it proved fruitless.

Have noticed everyone says ‘thanks’, a lot.  They’re nice to their work experience-ees [sic].

No sign whatsoever of the Editor yet…mysterious.

Saw some people airbrushing a random street style picture – everything is airbrushed (and I didn’t mean this with reference to skinnying down celebrities or erasing wrinkles – but, as in everything is smoothed over, polished up and made page-ready – down to the photo of fingernails where the varnish is a little blotchy, to digitally ironing a shirt.)

Someone came over to show a beautiful ballerina photo shoot result – ‘Oh, gorgeous!  Who’s the dress by?’  ‘Oh, whatserface.  Mary Chicken Katsu.’  (Lol.  The dream that is Mary Katrantzou.)

F

FRIDAY

  • Feature pulled – overheard this is now becoming a permanent feature as they like it so much.  Breaking news = kick off point for features ideas.
  • Did a transcription – phone interview done that day, transcript a few hours later, quotes pulled and put into piece.  Quick turnover!
  • Helped put together dummy issue – all printed-out pages go into a folder for the Editor’s review.  Xmas issue: 400 pages!
  • Issue ‘mail out’.  Packing and sending off current issue to lots of PR companies/important people/contacts, etc.

Busy day!  Felt v. useful.  Most of the pages for December issue are done now, and have spied who the cover girl is.

SAW the Editor!  Exclamations (of happiness) as she comes into the office – she is genuinely liked and not feared.  Has been off ill?  But delves into each department and is involved in every step.

 

N.B.  The ridiculously cool lights that feature in this post can be found and purchased at an ingenious store on Etsy called Vintage Marquee Lights.  Credit where endless credit is due.

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