A year ago, if someone had told me I would be thrilled to go to work four days per week with no pay, I would have called them crazy. But that’s just what happened – and I loved every minute of it. My time at the Journal has been, thus far, one of the richest and most varied opportunities I have been lucky enough to have.
Looking back at my six-month internship, I would above all say this is one of those experiences where the end result proves how much you put into the process. Yes, learning proof marks, templates, and style guidelines can feel like acquiring another language, and yes, re-reading an article for the fifth time can be boring, but working at Friends Journal was a gratifying undertaking. If you really invest yourself in the articles and take them in, it is not difficult to understand why FJ readers feel so passionately about their magazine. The daily hope and desire for a world that works together and for betterment of everyone in it was a thought-inspiring experience that truly made me consider my own attitudes and impact on the people and things around me.
As an intern, the best part about Friends Journal is that this was a workplace that really embraces interns and recognizes that everybody has something to bring to the table. In my six months at the magazine, I believe I used the copier no more than three times. This internship is a hands-on experience, and if you want to learn something or start your own project, ask. Someone will teach you, someone will help you, or there will just be someone there to encourage you along the way. The website isn’t kidding when it says internships will be customized to fit your individual interests. It was great to work in a place where you feel that the people around you are interested in you and want you to succeed, not only in the workplace but also on a personal level; and that’s Quakerism for you – the honesty, the integrity, and the downright kindness.
If you are reading my words and considering interning here, send your resume now. If you think you might want to do something in publishing, you may get an internship at a bigger “name” publication, but I guarantee you won’t have nearly the opportunity to put your own hands into a magazine, to flip open the cover of the next issue and say, “I did that.”
I was born and raised a Quaker in a liberal-orthodox jointly affiliated meeting, meaning I have always been a little schizophrenic about our history, modes of worship, religious aspects, etc. On pretty much everything about Quakerism I have two, persuasive minds. Being at the Journal was, in many ways, an opportunity for this to be a strength as I edited and read articles on any number of topics, from any number of backgrounds. Being at a nexus of thought for a religion that has been so formative for me was a great blessing and a fantastic learning experience.
Aside from the nuts and bolts of the submission and selection process, editing according to Chicago Manual of Style and Friends Journal‘s specific guidelines, basics of page layout and publishing, and the importance of making coffee, I learned about the perseverance it takes to drag your attention through an article you’ve transcribed, edited twice, and keyed in, one more time. I’ve learned about what captivates the attention of Friends Journal readers so much that they put pen to paper to write about it. I’ve learned how difficult it can be to write an article, having contributed one during my internship. Looking through the archives, I’ve learned just how much Quakerism has dealt with its problems, and how much it hasn’t.
It was the office environment that made all these things possible. It’s a small work environment, where conversations are regularly overheard between cubicles, where clutter is artfully, and sometimes very precisely, arranged. I quickly got to know everyone at the office, a process helped by check-ins at staff meeting. It was still surprising to me to see some Friendly principles at work in the office, even though I had grown up with them. Everyone, including the interns, had a voice in staff meetings, with a great amount of the agenda open for comment. Everyone was accessible and quick with advice, thoughts, and answers to silly questions.
Friends Journal is a unique, interesting, and great place to work. I would highly recommend it to anyone, and particularly to young Friends like me who are interested in reading more about Quaker thought and life today.
Lori Hubbell Meeker
I found the opportunity for an internship at Friends Journal purely by chance, as I was researching the requirements for working as an editor. The most prominent requirement was, to my dismay, “experience.” The looming question for all college students nearing graduation must be how to gain experience when no one will hire a candidate without experience: quite the Catch-22. However, luck was on my side, and I happened across the Friends Journal website, with its call for editorial interns—no editing or Quaker experience required! I applied immediately, and by the end of August I was officially a Friends Journal editorial intern.
My experience here over the last nine months—my entire senior year at West Chester University—has been nothing short of extraordinary. Not only did I feel useful here; I felt fully utilized. The hands-on editing experience is challenging and extremely satisfying; reviewing submitted manuscripts and poetry is always interesting, engaging, and entertaining; and correctly formatting and endlessly proofing letters, departments, and articles is surprisingly enjoyable (at last, my habit of constantly checking grammar is considered a good thing). I also had the chance to dabble in layout and design once or twice, and I spent a few days each working in the advertising and circulation departments. A highlight of my time here has been the opportunity to work on creating my own anthology: I chose a topic toward the beginning of my internship, then spent any down time (and there is very little of that here!) pouring over old back issues of the Journal—searching for, reading, and selecting articles that fit the theme of the anthology. From all of this, I have learned more about Quakerism and Quaker values during the last nine months than I would ever have thought possible.
Although I came to the Journal searching for work experience—and I certainly gained a great deal of that—I will leave knowing that the most important aspect of my internship was something far more fulfilling: the friendships I have formed with the rest of the staff, volunteers, and interns. The people who work here are the most helpful, generous, friendly, and patient individuals one could ever hope to meet. They must constantly see interns come and go; yet they welcomed me into their lives without hesitation, making me feel respected and appreciated as an individual as well as a coworker. I will certainly miss actually looking forward to going to work in the morning!
I spent five years in the workforce before deciding to go to school; regardless, I can easily say that this has been the most rewarding work experience of my career.
When I used to think about the possible career paths that I could take as an English major, I was always turned off by journalism for several reasons. The main reason is that some news stories I would read seemed biased, not completely honest, or otherwise like yellow journalism. When I started interning at FRIENDS JOURNAL, I knew that it was Quaker-based, so then I expected all the articles to be nice and worshipful. Instead, I was introduced to a world of insight that I just didn’t see coming. And it wasn’t all one-sided; some articles relayed views that disagreed with some of the others, but in a respectful and productive way. I see journalism as a possible career now.
Of course, there were many articles giving personal testimony, but there were many others about issues I didn’t know Quakers were even concerned about, from questions concerning how we worship to possible avenues our country can take in aiding certain developing countries. The articles were full of knowledge and experience from various writers, ranging from young kids to elder peace leaders, so there was just as much flavor in the writing styles as in the articles themselves.
Working with the staff at FRIENDS JOURNAL was a great part of the experience. Unlike some of my friends who had other internships, at no time did I feel that I was just given busy work. I was actively involved in choosing and editing articles for the various issues, giving feedback regarding the developing issue’s aesthetic layout, and developing an anthology to chronicle related issues. It felt good to feel that my opinions mattered even though I had only been interning for a very short time.
I especially loved the work environment. Everyone was very open and friendly, and I feel I got to know everyone involved in the JOURNAL through the weekly meetings in which we shared both personal and professional agendas. I also got to hear about how the JOURNAL works with a lot of different organizations within the Quaker community and how the readers view the JOURNAL with a lot of respect and reverence over its 55 years of development. And after working with FRIENDS JOURNAL for three months, I don’t find it that surprising.
Interning with FRIENDS JOURNAL was a great experience for me. Even though I did spend only a short period of time with them, I got a lot out it. Through working with the staff, not only did I get real industry experience, I got professional and personal insight for my own future. I would definitely go back if the chance presents itself again, but at the same time, I feel that much more ready to move forward on my own career path thanks to FRIENDS JOURNAL.
When I decided to do an internship over my winter break, I was most interested in gaining professional experience in the writing and publishing world. I never expected to gain an entirely new perspective as well.
I knew the reputation of Friends Journal and I expected a large staff and a busy, hectic office setting. The very small staff and the quiet demeanor of the office pleasantly surprised me. I felt at ease and at home after the first staff meeting, as if I had returned to the safe and pleasant memories of my preschool days. The staff is more of a family than a group of professional colleagues, and I saw no qualms, disagreements or animosity that you might expect to find among a small group of diverse people. The office runs like some sort of utopian government—a comforting place in a troubled and sometimes cynical world. I mostly worked on reviewing submissions and developing an anthology—something I don’t think most interns get an opportunity to do. After the first week at Friends Journal, I started to see the Quaker influences that had impacted my life over the years.
I was raised Catholic, but being a very liberal individual I had more than a few problems with Catholicism that always left me questioning. However, I always believed in God and had enormous faith. I have always been curious and attracted to Quakerism and even though the main reason I applied for the internship was because I wanted to exercise my writing and editing skills I still wondered, maybe this is where I belong?
I was first introduced to Quakerism when I was a toddler, attending Abington Friends preschool, and growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In preschool, I remember being free to create, play and discover. My imagination and creativity were nurtured—something I am very thankful for today. I then remember having difficulty in kindergarten elsewhere because my imagination and creativity was considered a “distraction”—or so my mother recalls. Over the years, I guess I lost that sense of freedom. Attending a liberal arts college has restored that independence somewhat, but Friends Journal and Quakerism have really brought me back to my inner toddler; bright-eyed with optimism and potential. So, not only have I gained professional experience, I have gained a life experience that has opened the door, filled the glass half full, and harnessed the world for my taking. As I leave, I feel inspired and grateful that I was offered this opportunity, and in all of my endeavors and my successes my Friends at Friends Journal will always be in my thoughts.
Intern, 2008 Summer
To be honest, my main reason for coming to Friends Journal was that it seemed like a fairly easy way to fill my senior internship requirement for Friends Select. It was close to school, so my commute wouldn’t change; I already knew someone who worked there, so I had a contact already; and it generally seemed like the most tolerable internship I could find without doing too much looking.
I have never gotten such a good result out of slacking off before.
I’ve been around Quakers for most of my life: had them as friends, gone to a Quaker school, even attended a few meetings for worship, so I figured I wouldn’t see too much that was new to me editing a Quaker magazine. Reading through some back issues for orientation certainly put the kibosh on that assumption. Throughout my internship, learning new dimensions of the Quaker community, which I had largely taken for granted, has been a joy. It has been even better because my opinion of what I read mattered. I did not simply read essays and personal testimony from across the Quaker spectrum to inform myself, but was asked to say whether each piece spoke to something meaningful well enough for it to be published. It was very meaningful to feel that my opinion carried weight. From day one of my internship, I had a real say in anything I was asked to comment on.
As to technical skills, copyediting proved surprisingly intuitive, and the very little bit of training I received was more than enough for me to feel comfortable editing on my own. The other great thing was that, working in late May/early June, there were several other interns who could help answer questions without having to disturb Bob, who, while quite approachable, I thought should be left to get on with his work.
I loved learning at Friends Journal, both about Quakers and editing skills, but what will remain with me most deeply from my time here is the overpowering sense of welcome and community. Even though my stay here has only been three weeks, I already feel at home here. I chat on my way back to the editorial department in the morning; I crack my own jokes and laugh at others’. I have been consistently thanked just for doing my job. That may seem like a little thing, but it has made me feel that I am truly valued here. In every way possible, my three weeks at Friends Journal exceeded my expectations, and I will take away nothing but good feelings from my time here.
Intern, 2008 Summer
Before this summer, I thought that as far as non-Quakers go, I knew a fair amount about Quakerism. I had attended Friends schools from seventh through twelfth grades. During that time I went to meeting for worship and considered queries and worked with Friends on issues of social justice, and this was, I thought, a pretty decent background in Quaker thought.
Then I came to Friends Journal, and I began to learn more than I had ever imagined. As I read through article submissions, I learned of the difference between programmed meetings and unprogrammed meetings (Quakers who don’t worship by sitting in silence? I had no idea). I learned about some of the issues facing Friends today—”So, what exactly is this war tax resistance thing?” I mused as I began to look through back issues. And as I compiled articles for an anthology on nonviolence, I learned about the history of the Peace Testimony and Quaker nonviolence, and on more than one occasion was moved to tears by an article from all the way back in the prehistoric 1950s.
I didn’t only learn about Quakerism, of course. I also learned the basics of copyediting, and what all those squiggly little lines mean, not to mention the definition of “stet,” which I have been wondering about since I saw it in a crossword puzzle five years ago. I got reacquainted with my old friend, the Chicago Manual of Style, and I began to learn what to look for in selecting an article to be published. I learned the intense process each article is put through before it appears in its final form in the magazine: the endless rounds of copyediting and proofreading, the layouts, the final proofing. I learned how easy it is to overlook one misplaced comma, even if you’ve been over a page so many times you’re sure you’ll remember it on your deathbed. Most importantly, I learned that I actually enjoy copyediting, that I like watching a piece with brilliant ideas and mediocre writing get transformed into an article that is a pleasure to read as editor after editor goes over it with a red pen.
Friends Journal is the best place that I can imagine to learn all of the things that I did this summer. The staff is incredibly warm and welcoming, and they were happy to answer all of the many, many questions that I asked. They made me feel that it was perfectly all right if I wanted to learn something just by doing it, and it was also perfectly all right if I wanted to ask 50 questions before I got started. Most importantly, they never gave me busy work, but gave me work that let me feel I was actually contributing something to the magazine. Not only was I learning, I was helping—and how often does that happen at the same time?
Intern, 2008 Summer
There are so many things I’m going to miss about interning at Friends Journal: The joy of exercising my skill at editing, challenging myself to do better each day, being praised instead of rebuked for the kind of feverish attention to grammar most people would label “anal-retentive.” There’s the vast mental landscape of ideas and opinions I explore while reading submissions, and the adventure of searching my own mind and heart to find out where I am on the map. My views about spirituality, politics, environmental issues, and the Oxford comma have all been re-evaluated. There’s the opportunity to develop my own creativity in small but significant ways: finding pull quotes, writing article descriptions for the table of contents, adding my two cents in layout meetings, and even submitting a poem that was accepted for publication. I had always viewed creative writing as a part of me too vital and personal to share, as if in rejecting my work people might reject me with it. Without seeing all the submissions, seeing how many people had the courage to submit multiple items whether or not their previous submissions had been accepted, I wouldn’t have gathered the courage to pull my poem out of my mind and place it gently in the FJ e-mail inbox.
I’m going to miss the comment pages that travel in the office with submissions, with each person’s opinion in a different color and handwriting. Most often my co-interns and I agreed about whether or not a submission should be accepted, but when we disagreed it was no big deal—it didn’t interfere with our personal camaraderie. I’ll miss lunch at Reading Terminal Market, chatting about favorite books over French crepes, Thai cuisine, or an incredibly delicious apple dumpling from an Amish vendor.
Perhaps most of all, I’ll miss staff meetings on Wednesday afternoons. After discussing any issues concerning the magazine, everyone—interns included—would take turns sharing something that was occurring in his or her life. Sometimes these were happy events; other times they were very sad. In this way, the Friends Journal staff learned about my new pet chinchilla, my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, and my first attempt at using a sewing machine. I learned about staff members’ families, friends, vacations, and opinions of recent movies. Occasionally, someone would contribute fresh pastries or homegrown produce.
It’s quiet in the office this morning, mimicking how I feel: hollow, empty, numb rather than sad. The fact that I have only three more days here is sinking in. I don’t want to leave. I feel confident and competent here, more so than in any previous environment. I don’t want to go back to my enormous college where I’m one more face in the tightly packed crowd. I’ve always struggled with concepts like “family” and “community”; I definitely march to the beat of my own marimba. Here, though, I feel like part of a group that supports me and welcomes my support without restricting my individuality. If this is community, maybe I’m okay with it after all.
Though I wish my internship didn’t have to end so soon, I can take comfort in the fact that I’ve experienced something amazing, something that’s helped me grow as a writer, an editor, and a person. With any luck, I’ll find a way to come back someday.
Intern, 2008 Summer
As an aspiring journalist, I spend hours every year searching for summer internships. Endless stretches of time would pass as I stared into the computer screen, hoping the Internet would reveal some secret opportunity that didn’t require me to sell my first-born child. But the same words kept reappearing: highly competitive. “If you’re qualified enough,” these papers and magazines seemed to say, “we may deign to let you into offices and give you the privilege of copying things all day long.” It was clear that the only thing they were offering was a name on a resume, and I wanted more.
Finally, I stumbled across Friends Journal. It was an odd coincidence, because I happened to be a religion major at Haverford, a college with very strong Quaker roots. Friends Journal seemed to be at the center of my intersecting interests. What’s more, it seemed like a wonderful place to work.
I knew my instincts were spot on within my first few days at the Journal. I practically fell off my chair when the senior editor asked what I wanted to do and what hours I wanted to work. Wasn’t he supposed to tell me what kind of drudgework I was expected to do? And that I had better be in the office everyday before his alarm clock even went off?
This conversation set the tone for the rest of my experience here. I worked hard because I wanted to work hard, not because I needed a good recommendation or didn’t want to be scolded. I was given the opportunity to do something new every day, something that I decided I wanted to do. In the past two months I have read submissions, copy edited articles, proofed entire issues, and designed pages from start to finish. I have learned more about publishing, layout, and editing than any other internship could have taught me. And I had fun doing it.
Friends Journal is a forward-thinking, open-minded publication that encourages Quakers to remember the basic tenets of respect and kindness. In the office, these values are almost palpable. Every task is accompanied by both “please” and “thank you,” a kindergarten lesson that goes so much farther than some think. The staff was quick to learn my name and make me feel like one of their own.
Throughout my time here, I have felt respected, appreciated, and valued. This internship has given me far more than I put on a resume. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with such a wonderful publication and staff.
Intern, 2008 Summer
I started looking for summer internships during the fall of my sophomore year at Ursinus College. I love anything that has to do with English: reading, writing, and even editing (is that weird?), so I was happy when Career Services sent me a list of various magazines and newspapers that were looking for editorial interns for the upcoming summer. I wasn’t very impressed with a lot of the choices after looking into them, but I repeated the ever-present cliché that you can’t judge a book by its cover to myself. With this sentiment in mind, I applied to a few places and waited to hear back from them. Then, I found another e-mail from Career Services in my inbox and I opened it to find a link to the Friends Journal website. After reading about past interns’ experiences, I was immediately hooked on the idea of interning here.
My experience at Friends Journal has been one filled with friendship, warmth, and learning. I was directly involved with the production of Friends Journal and that is exactly what I wanted out of this internship. I commented on new submissions, copyedited, entered corrections for articles, and worked on an anthology while I was here, among many other things. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I have also made many new friends at FJ, and I feel that I have gotten to know these people personally from working with them three days a week, as well as from the staff meetings held every Wednesday. Also, being a stranger to Quakerism, I was able to learn a lot about something that I was very unfamiliar with. Aside from the joy it brings me to read new submissions, copyedit, and interact with people who love to do what I love to do every day, learning about Quakerism was my favorite part about interning at Friends Journal.
I am leaving to study abroad in Florence in just a few weeks and I am sad to leave FJ. Even though I was able to explore options for a career, my internship at Friends Journal was so much more than that. It was a wonderful two-and-a-half months that opened me up to new experiences and new people. Though I do not want to leave so soon, it gives me comfort to know that Elizabeth Markham, another intern here at FJ, has interned here three times over the past six years or so. Maybe I’ll follow in her footsteps!
Intern, 2008 Summer
When I decided to stay on campus the summer after my freshman year, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find an internship. Two of my friends had also decided to live on campus, but they had easily found jobs doing research and lab work with biology and chemistry professors. Since I prefer English over any of the sciences, I started applying to various magazines and newspapers, and even to some nonprofit organizations that I thought could use a volunteer. No one seemed to have work for a college freshman, except for Friends Journal.
When I came in for my interview, the smiles and encouragement I received quickly calmed my nerves. Bob informed me that all of the other interns for the summer were juniors and seniors, a fact that I found intimidating at first. However, after meeting the staff of Friends Journal and the other interns working here, I felt completely at ease. We were all given important tasks, and no one looked down on us for having less experience.
I love that as interns we were allowed to experience every part of the magazine. My days were full of copyediting articles, commenting on new submissions, entering corrections, and working on layout. There were no stupid questions and nothing that the staff wasn’t happy to explain or help with. I was amazed by the number of manuscripts we had to sort through; we were never at a lack for submissions! And most of the articles were very powerful or moving.
My favorite part of being an intern was not only getting to read the articles, but getting to put them together too. When Bob came up to me and asked whether I could take a group of emails, or a set of three articles and combine them into one piece; or when he asked the other interns and me to pick out poetry for a specific issue; I truly felt as though I was contributing to the Journal.
I am so grateful that Friends Journal gave me the opportunity to be an intern. Despite all the times I was laughed at for wearing a sweatshirt in the middle of summer (I get cold easily!), I met some great people and learned skills that I’m sure I will put to use again. This was the best first internship I could have had and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
Intern, 2008 Summer
As I hinted I would in my last write-up on the site, I returned again this summer to intern at Friends Journal—for the third time! Like last summer, I came with the intention of developing dissertation ideas, having recently written a rough dissertation proposal as part of one of my Communication classes at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in the spring.
Unfortunately, I did not have as much time this summer to read and copyedit, but I am very happy with my experience. I feel that I reconnected with ideas and issues important to Friends, which is helpful as I try to write about Quaker communication processes. I was also lucky to have Bob read over my rough proposal and give useful and insightful feedback on my topic. I am very grateful to him for all the thought he has put into my project, and I am grateful to everyone at Friends Journal who has always been extremely supportive and encouraging. I really wish that Amherst were closer so that I could spend more time here during the semester.
This fall, along with finishing up my coursework, I will be working on further developing my dissertation proposal based on all of the feedback I have received. Hopefully, the proposal will be ready to defend sometime next summer.
I want to conclude by simply saying thank you for the opportunity to come back again. I really enjoy my time here, and I will be in touch.