Interning with FRIENDS JOURNAL was an incredibly rewarding experience. I know no other institution that would allow its volunteers to have so much hands-on, high-level experience. It would cost a great deal to receive the kind of training you can obtain at the JOURNAL, and for this I am tremendously grateful.
Though it felt wonderful to be entrusted with real, meaningful work, my favorite part of the internship was the spiritual enrichment it provided. Growing up Quaker, I’ve been aware of the JOURNAL almost my entire life. I always dismissed it as a publication geared toward generations older than myself and didn’t think it would feature articles relevant to my life.
I was wonderfully surprised by the material the JOURNAL includes—not only did it speak to my own spirituality, it led me down paths I wouldn’t have otherwise followed. It opened my eyes, challenged my faith, and nurtured my spirit. I now owe much of my understanding of and relationship to the Quaker world to my time spent with FRIENDS JOURNAL. I never expected to laugh or cry reading manuscripts, and certainly never thought I would feel so connected to Friends from all backgrounds, from all over the world.
FJ gave me the gift of professional and personal relationships, invaluable experience, and a more deeply founded faith. Many thanks, FRIENDS JOURNAL!
I interned at Friends Journal once a week for the Fall 2006 semester. Working at Friends Journal seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about editorial work and Quakerism, two big interests of mine. The amount that I learned about each surpassed my expectations.
My experience was unique in that, working only once a week, I could see the dramatic changes that are made week-to-week as a manuscript is edited, approved by the author, and typeset. I would usually show up and begin proofreading or copyediting, work on a project for Bob or Becca—entering corrections, sending off tear sheets, or indexing—and then finish the day proofreading or copyediting. I was already familiar with the basics of editing, but at Friends Journal I really honed my skills. I also learned a tremendous amount about grammar, from looking through the Chicago Manual of Style and going over my edits with Bob.
One of the most rewarding experiences of working at FJ was getting to restructure a feature article. The article contained interesting ideas but suffered from poor organization. By rearranging the order of the paragraphs, I was able to bring out the author’s voice and get the message across in a clearer manner. That’s the power of good editing: an eight-page article can be greatly improved without rewriting more than one or two lines. Everything that the article needed was there in the manuscript; it just needed to be focused.
Aside from editorial work, I spent a day helping Patty and Nicole prepare for the October Board meeting. From them, I learned more about what goes into running the business side of the JOURNAL. I also enjoyed the weekly staff meetings, as they were a time to get to know everyone in the office and understand more about Friends Journal operations. It never ceases to amaze me that the entire JOURNAL is put together by a fairly small staff and a dedicated group of volunteers, some of whom are located across the country. Although the eerie quiet of the back office took some getting used to—I’m one of those people who needs to listen to music to study—the general environment of FJ was incredibly welcoming.
My favorite of the perks of the internship was being able to read back issues of FJ during orientation, while indexing, and compiling articles for an anthology. I was vaguely familiar with the JOURNAL before I began interning, but now I have a much more solid understanding of what FJ brings to the Quaker community. (It was also amazing to read articles written by people I know!) I’m looking forward to reading Friends Journal after my internship is over.
Overall, my internship was a success. What I learned about editing will definitely come in handy in the future. From this experience, I am sure that I want to go into some type of publishing/editorial work after I graduate in the all-too-near future. It was also worthwhile to be able to connect to Quakerism in a way that is separate from attending meeting. I had a great time at Friends Journal and hope that future interns will, too!
Interning at Friends Journal has been a much-needed dip into the real world of magazine publishing and editing. It was my first internship in this field, and from what I’ve been reading about other internships it was an unusually exceptional one. I spent most of my time doing things that had a real bearing on how the final product looked and felt. This actually took some getting used to. I thought I was mostly going to watch the big tasks being done. But halfway through my stay here, when I found myself in front of a pile of submissions that had to be assessed and sent to the editor for consideration as real articles, I realized that this was much more than just a learning opportunity—it was a responsibility.
Knowing this is important. If I were to give advice to someone joining Friends Journal as an intern, it would be to expect to make real decisions and give real input. You won’t be overriding the editors anytime soon, but your particular perspective is valued and encouraged. While a degree of humility is a must for any intern, Friends Journal presents an environment that gives you room to be both submissive and bold. In fact, the team ethic requires it, and your future self will thank you for it.
My duties were moderately well varied, and sometimes demanding, though never unimportant: I was part of a group that collectively proofread and copyedited submissions, carefully improving submissions from literally all around the globe; I was given specific submissions in need of heavy editing for me to work on individually (these were always my favorite); I gave input on new submissions of both prose and poetry; I sat in on staff meetings and participated in a layout conference; I watched and listened to what was happening around me, thus getting a sense of the whole. Though I stuck almost completely to editorial stuff, I was welcome to participate in or check out other departments, such as layout and design or advertising, an opportunity for which I regret not having time.
This has been an important experience. As a first dive into a field known for its fast pace and dense competition it was an important step in finding my footing, and better knowing myself as a worker.
I knew being an intern at the Friends/span> Journal would be a different experience when I first attended a staff meeting. I’m used to business meetings at work: meetings where everyone has their own agenda and only business is discussed. The Friends Journal was different. First, they took a moment to recognize me, to listen to me and to get to know me. I sat at the table as their equal, not just an intern. When the meeting was over I expected everyone to go back to work like they have at other business meetings I go to. Instead, everyone had the opportunity to share something personal that was happening in his or her life. To close, we all held hands and had a moment of silence together.
I was surprised at first by how organically the staff conducted themselves in a business setting. But I came to find out that this was the norm at the Friends Journal. I jumped in with the editorial team and was quickly copy editing and giving input that was valued as much as anyone’s. The experience has been important not only because of the skills and knowledge I have acquired, but also from gaining confidence and learning the value of my own voice. I shouldn’t be surprised though. The FRIENDS JOURNAL is a place where everyone is valued—just business as usual.
The day of my graduation was a happy day for me, but it also symbolized something that I dreaded. It was an announcement that it was my time to move forward from school and start figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It would be great to say that I have since answered this question, but that would be a lie. I am still confused and somewhat intimidated with choosing a career. The good news, however, is that throughout these three to four months since my graduation, I have figured out that the career itself isn’t what is important; it is what you learn from it. I owe this realization to my internship at Friends Journal.
My time at FJ was memorable and definitely a learning experience. I started my internship early in March and can still recall how excited I felt by the end of the day. Bob started me off with orientation exercises that allowed me to read through past issues of the JOURNAL. We discussed the articles, and I started to see what kind of magazine I was going to be working for. We then joined the rest of the staff at my very first staff meeting. I was amazed at how the staff talked business but also took the time out to share things that were going on in their personal lives. By the next day, I was already learning. Bob had me start to proofread and copyedit text. This was hard at first because I was not adjusted to the necessary marks, but I felt accomplished once I got the hang of it.
Things didn’t change much from my first two days. Every subsequent day brought something new. I read and commented on submissions for the JOURNAL, copyedited the accepted ones, and entered the changes into the drafts. (There were times when pieces needed to be heavily edited and it was wonderful to see how my input and the other interns’ could really change an article.) I got to work on an anthology project, which consisted of sorting and compiling articles that seemed to fit into a theme. I also got the chance to listen in on graphics meetings about the JOURNAL’s layouts and see the progress in the visuals department. All in all, I was a witness and participant in many of the steps necessary in producing a magazine.
My internship was definitely one of a kind. Out of all my friends, I hardly know anyone who has been as lucky as me. At Friends Journal, I never really felt like I was just an intern who was doing busy work. I always felt like I was a part of the team and that I made a difference. These past three months are something that I will always remember. I started this internship wondering if I wanted to work for a magazine in the future and even though I am still unsure, I do know that I have learned a whole lot in the process.
Intern, 2006 Summer
My path to Friends Journal this summer was somewhat unconventional: a newly minted graduate of Grinnell College, I was planning to move to Philadelphia in July and begin searching for jobs. By mid-June, I realized that finding full-time employment for the summer would be difficult, so I began researching internships on the Internet from my home in Vermont. Thinking I’d try tapping into my spiritual roots, I paid a visit to a web listing of Quaker organizations in the Philadelphia area, which led me in turn to Friends Journal. I was immediately impressed by the breadth and depth of the internship program, and encouraged by the friendly profiles of past interns on Friends Journal‘s website. In my phone interview with Susan and Bob, I again got the sense that this was no ordinary internship program, that Friends Journal was a place where interns, volunteers, and staff alike are treated with care, respect, and genuine warmth.
My impressions proved correct. Although I began my internship in mid-July, I was welcomed right away by the two other interns, Dana and Joelle, and became acquainted with the rest of the staff as they returned to the office after a hiatus at the Friends General Conference Gathering in Seattle. While staff members experienced their share of ups and downs, and more than a few life-changing events, they were always present, cheerful, and ready to offer their help and support. I especially want to credit Bob for his, at times, superhuman oversight of the internship program in addition to his many other roles as senior editor, and Becca, for her willingness to take us under her wing.
At Friends Journal, I gained a lot of “nuts and bolts” skills, including, of course, copy-editing. I thought I’d never learn all those cryptic symbols in the Chicago Manual of Style, but learn them I did, and I felt triumphant when I was able to mark my corrections (usually in purple pen) on manuscripts alongside those of the other interns. I completed a lengthy computer tutorial on Quark XPress and learned how to enter corrections in articles. And I received a very helpful introduction to the field of nonprofit development work by Margie. During my six weeks at Friends Journal, I learned an enormous amount about editing, publishing, and how a small organization functions day to day.
However, the most valuable parts of the internship for me were the less tangible benefits of working in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. At first, I thought I would grow tired of reading the same articles over and over as we prepared them for publication. Yet, as a month went by, I began to feel a deep sense of connection to the essays we had nurtured from their early stages. Moreover, I began to be profoundly challenged and inspired by many of the issues raised by our contributing authors. And I’ll never forget the fun and camaraderie that would often surface in the office, sitting around a huge chocolate birthday cake at staff meeting, or running out subscription renewals in the back room with Patty and Nicole amid lots of storytelling and laughter. While I’m still searching for a full-time job in the city, I’m grateful to Friends Journal for making the transition much easier.
Intern, 2006 Summer
Stress is often associated with college. The stress of producing 20-page research papers and of cramming for exams is familiar to students. Yet, for me, another kind of anxiety shadowed the hours spent in the classroom and library. I wondered where all my hard work was going. The skills I was developing as a literature student seemed confined to the edges of the campus green. Eager for practical application, I began an Internet search that took me to my first “real world” learning opportunity.
Which is just what an internship at Friends Journal proved to be. One of the first lessons was that the hard and fast rules of writing English composition did not apply directly to publishing. That’s not to say I had to disregard everything I had learned in the classroom, but I did have to modify that knowledge to effectively aid the individual voices of other writers. With Bob’s patient direction, I began molding my abilities into editing skills. I became aware of the painstaking refinement that goes into editing, as I took part in each layer of the process—from reworking raw manuscripts to proofreading the blueline. My efforts culminated in an extensive final project: editing a 14,000 word manuscript down to a publishable article—by far one of the most challenging editing experiences I’ve encountered.
After considerable time spent reading submissions and features, I have grown to respect the unique community that is Friends Journal. Though individual articles may espouse particular visions or beliefs, the magazine, as a whole, does not hold fast to an agenda, allowing an open forum for writers to express their ideas. This quality extends to the staff. An opinionated person, myself, I never felt that my ideas or suggestions were brushed aside. From orientation, to staff and layout meetings, to one-on-one editing discussions with Bob and other interns, I appreciated the consideration that my own voice received. I was made to feel a valuable member of the staff, far from the gofer-office-filing-lackey stereotype of an intern. And I never felt out of place because I was not Quaker affiliated.
While the focus of my internship was, by choice, largely editorial, it was not limited. I had ample opportunity to learn from other departments and staff members. Marjorie and Patty spent careful time explaining the basics of financial development. Becca gave me specific assignments in the “departments” sections. And Barbara was generous in providing pointers and allowing experimentation with the Quark Express layout software.
At Friends Journal, my internship was exactly what I hoped it would be—a practical experience in applying the skills acquired at college. For me it has been the first step in bridging the gap between the blackboard and that ambiguous “real world.” I return to North Carolina to begin my senior year at UNC-Asheville with a basic understanding of where my hard work might lead. Wrapping up my ten-week stay, there is still so much left to learn.
Intern, 2006 Summer
What I’d say to someone considering applying for a Friends Journal internship:
1) Where else are you going to find a boss who encourages you to take time off, and full time means 10:00a.m.to 4:30p.m.? Not that you’ll want to take too much time off—I daresay you’ll even look forward to work.
2) You’re not going to be reading stale material. The articles are, by and large, insightful and thought-provoking. Since Friends Journal is primarily a news magazine, you learn a lot about what’s going on in and through Quaker communities around the world. If you’re remotely interested in being a human being in the world, you really can’t go wrong here.
3) We editorial interns were treated, more or less, like real editors. We copyedited, proofread, gave input, and argued our viewpoints (well, I did.). I was amazed when, at a layout meeting, I gave a suggestion and it was actually acknowledged and executed! What power! We had our own projects and responsibilities (none of which were making coffee). Dana and I were commissioned to jumpstart a whole anthology of past articles, which will eventually be published as a book and sold nationwide. Anna and I took the initiative to teach ourselves how to use Quark Xpress (Friends Journal‘s layout program) with an online tutorial, with Barbara and Alla nearby to answer our random questions. Eventually, we were both comfortable editing in Quark. Friends Journal gives you opportunities to take charge.
4) I learned how to edit like an editor; no more makeshift marks and long explanatory notes in the margins! I learned, with the help of Bob and the Chicago Manual of Style, the concise editing marks every editor needs to know. I feel like I’ve been tamed into someone fit to don a red pen.
5) I got to work with my true love—poetry! Granted, Friends Journal is not nearly as focused on poetry as it is with the features (rightly so—it’s not a poetry journal, after all), but I enjoyed reading and commenting on submissions. Anna and I organized all accepted poetry and gave our input as to which should be rejected—harder than it sounds! I picked out poems to be considered for matching certain articles, and submitted my own poem.
6) The staff is wonderful! Besides the constant help of the editorial staff, Margie even took time to give us a tutorial on development (read: getting money), which I’m sure will be extremely useful in the future. I always looked forward to staff meetings; I was impressed at the openness and closeness of the staff.
There we are: two months that have given me invaluable experience in a publishing environment, as well as many fond memories. Thank you, friends!