Intern Testimonials

2005 Summer

Cory Young

Intern, 2005 Summer

After switching my major from Management Information Systems to Journalism at Temple University, I was in search of a hands-on experience to jump-start my new career path. I stumbled upon Friends Journal‘s internship on a search engine and was intrigued by the description given. It wasn’t your typical “Get the boss coffee”; the interns seemed to have a proactive role in the processes that went on at the JOURNAL. After completing the summer interning at Friends Journal, I can say it was exactly the experience I was looking for.

I had the opportunity to read and comment on manuscript submissions along with the other interns, as well as editing articles to be published. The editing process using programs like Quark XPress definitely helped improve my ability to proofread, which was one of my weaker points in the past. I also helped enter subscription information into the database using the QuickFill program.

What I enjoyed the most about Friends Journal was the dedication put forth by the staff to give the interns a memorable experience. Whether it was asking for feedback at layout meetings or going to a vegan Chinese restaurant (a first for me), the willingness of the staff to include interns in the daily goings-on of the JOURNAL was great. An internship like this is one of a kind, and my appreciation for the time and energy it takes to produce a monthly publication has grown significantly after these three months.


Melanie Preston

Intern, 2005 Summer

My intern experience at the Journal was unique as I worked full-time for a short time. However I was still able to get a flavor for what goes on at a monthly publication (I participated in the special July 2005 issue, stressful for all involved because of its size). My grammar was polished and my typing skills fine-tuned; but what I enjoyed most about the Journal were the people with whom I worked. For the first several days I had to get used to the silence, save the occasional cough, comment, or floor screech. However I learned that the lack of noise is not a silence at all, but an amalgamation of sporadic sound: Alla’s mumbled comments, Bob shuffling between his three pairs of glasses, etc.

At Friends Journal every person is treated with equal respect no matter their status on the staff. An example of this is the intern-critique of manuscripts and poetry, something I greatly enjoyed. I was given stacks of submissions and asked to comment on whether or not and why the Journal should consider or not consider the publication of each, keeping in mind the mission of the magazine. Most of the manuscripts end up with numerous intern comments along with those of Bob and Susan, who have the ultimate responsibility.

I had the opportunity to learn Quark XPress and run out the features articles for the August issue. The Journal intern program caters to the interests of the individual and can be tailored in any manner. I contributed to the July issue by compiling 49 profiles for the article, “People of Friends Journal.” I stuffed renewal envelopes and had a chance to discuss religion with volunteers Kay Bacon and Ruth Peterson, transcribed Elbert Russell’s “Separation after a Century,” to be posted on the Journal website, and archived a new donation of every issue of the Journal between January 1960 and December 2002.

Most inspiring, though, is the weekly Wednesday staff meeting. It is a breath of fresh air; a testament to the fact that a F/friendly environment is functional (and generally efficient) in the workplace. I am thankful for my experience over the last month and am confident that my new knowledge of editing will come in handy when I get to Haverford College this fall.


Molly Woodward

Intern, 2005 Summer

I came to Friends Journal having no concept of how a publication gets transformed from a jumble of submissions into something coherent that I can hold in my hands. I have always loved to read and write, but I guess like most people I took for granted all the work that goes into such a publication—the selection of fonts, the layout of pages, and especially the absence of copy errors. Now I leaf through a magazine and notice everything from the placement of the “author credit” to the selection of photos and graphics. In other words, two months of interning here has completely changed how I look at newspapers, journals, books, and magazines. I have a behind-the-scenes window into the amount of effort it takes to put something like that together.

Much of my time during the internship was spent reading and editing submissions. I found it refreshing that Friends Journal encourages writers to explore how spirituality and politics play out in their own lives, and I definitely learned from and enjoyed many of the articles I read. In poring over revision after revision of the same piece, I also came to understand the important role that editors have in helping an article become more accessible to readers. I had fun copyediting manuscripts with the other interns, and running out articles on Quark XPress familiarized me with the trials and satisfactions of the layout process.

From all that I’ve heard about other internships, the Friends Journal experience is truly unique. I very much appreciate that the staff involved us interns in the JOURNAL’s production and sought our input with regard to submissions and layout issues. I got to work with a great group of people—from full- and part-time staff to volunteers and interns—all of whom made the office a nice place to spend my days. My experience here has added new dimensions to my reading and writing, and has shown me that religious, spiritual, philosophical, and political issues can be thoughtfully engaged in written dialogue, something hard to come by these days. Friends Journal is an exceptional publication, and I really liked being part of it this summer.


Zack Pinsky

Intern, 2005 Summer

When I think of internships, I usually think of filing documents, coffee runs, and dull office work that no one wants to do. This notion vanished almost immediately. My first day at Friends Journal I was asked to give my honest opinion of the magazine and the articles that were run. After reading the articles, I had a long talk with the senior editor. Already, Friends Journal had passed my expectations. On my second day, I didn’t know what to expect; was the first day too good to be true? Would I actually enjoy this internship?

Yes. I had a great time working at Friends Journal. The staff is helpful and friendly, and is willing to answer any question, no matter how dumb it may seem. (Believe me, I had some dumb questions.) I came to Friends Journal with no experience in journalism and with a minimal understanding of the magazine. One of my first questions was, “Is it necessary to have any experience in journalism?” They told me no, but I am not sure if they knew what they were getting into. I was a blank slate, but I was willing to learn. In my time here, I have developed my grammatical editing, and have learned how to use Quark XPress, which was the biggest challenge of the internship. Along with editing, and commenting on manuscripts, I learned to use different database programs such as Raiser’s Edge.

When I would come to work at Friends Journal I felt I made a difference at the magazine, and that I was not just milling about. In my first week, we had a staff meeting. This was a time for all of the people involved in the magazine to talk about their week. The meeting starts off with a call for the agenda, and every week interns were on the list. We were asked what we were working on, and what new things were we learning. Every week I had new projects and new reports to give to the staff.

My original thought on internships was totally crushed by Friends Journal. I felt important, helpful, and excited. My work started with the beginnings of the September 2005 issue, and I am very excited to see the final outcome. It feels very good to be part of such a professional team, but at the same time be surrounded by friends.


Melissa Minnich

Intern, 2005 Summer

am going into my last semester of college. I don’t know what I’m doing with the rest of my life. I don’t know what I’m doing in January. Heck, I don’t even know what I’m doing this weekend.

Such blissful ignorance, as you can no doubt imagine, is a two-sided coin with disappointment and dismay strong on one side and a lot of good luck on the other. While a number of my friends at school often seem to have everything figured out—their classes, their summer jobs, their plans after graduation, their spouses, the ages their children will be at their 20th high school reunions—I’m consistently the one wondering what she should write her 20-page paper on that’s due the next day.

When this past May rolled around and the vast majority of my friends were busily making their Christmas travel plans, I figured I should probably look into what I was going to be doing this summer. My quest for a full-time internship eventually led me to the website of Friends Journal and, later, to its office in Center City, as it was one of the only internships I found that fit all three of my prerequisites—relating to journalism, in the greater Philadelphia area, and its due date for application not be past. However, as little choice as it might seem I had at the time, I can now think of very little for which I would exchange it.

When I initially began my stint here, I wondered, as I’m sure many an intern has, exactly how much of my day would be spent making photocopies and filing nondescript papers into nondescript folders in a nondescript backroom. The answer, which was quickly and happily realized, was decidedly little, as the staff of the JOURNAL welcomes interns into all aspects of production. From working with the art director, Barbara, on the construction of an impressive (if I do say so myself) display for Friends General Conference to compiling and laying out material for the JOURNAL’s 9/11 Anthology (a new book), I never once felt I was being given an assignment simply because no one else wanted it or that, in the local dialect, “intern” is synonymous with “office slave.”

The staff itself has also played a significant role in making this summer enjoyably memorable. Whether in the form of Alla’s utter inability to describe how she felt in three words, Bob’s protested pie-making skills, or Marianne’s leaking-air-conditioner omnipotence, they amazed and amused me every day that I was here.

I’m going into my last semester of college. I don’t know what I’m doing with the rest of my life. I don’t know what I’m doing in January. Heck, I don’t even know what I’m doing this weekend. And you know what? That’s A-OK by me.


Gareth McKibben

Intern, 2005 Summer

My internship at Friends Journal was wonderful. It really was. Having just completed a BA Honors degree in English Literature in Northern Ireland, I was traveling to the U.S. this summer to stay with some friends. Eager to go into journalism at some point, I wanted to find an internship that would introduce me to the processes involved in producing a magazine or newspaper, and one that would also somehow reflect my own personal fervor for social justice issues.

I had for the past couple of years been sporadically attending Quaker meetings, and have always been impressed with Quaker involvement and take on political issues. And so when I stumbled across Friends Journal‘s website by chance, and saw that there were internship openings, I contacted the magazine immediately and my internship was set.

Considering my short stay—five weeks, though full-time—I learned and experienced much, much more than expected. I was shown, and applied, new copyediting skills, and was given the opportunity to do some large-scale editing, like cutting articles in half or merging two different drafts of the same article together; I was able to proofread the blueline (final proof) of the magazine; to read through an abundance of manuscripts, giving me insights into different perspectives and issues, and to comment on them; to attend staff meetings, which were always enjoyable—yes, enjoyable! (Staff meetings were often a good opportunity to catch up with and talk to other members of the FJ staff and the other interns). I was even given the chance to write a short piece of my own, reflecting on a priest from Baghdad who had spoken at an event held in Friends Center, a couple of blocks away from Friends Journal‘s offices.

It really was a wonderful and very worthwhile experience, one that I would recommend to anyone interested in editing, or publishing, or journalism, or anything at all that is somehow connected to those things.

I sincerely wish I could have stayed longer, but my travels after the internship will take me to Washington, D.C. for a month, and then back to Northern Ireland. I was made to feel very welcome, and am very thankful to all the staff and interns at FJ for this.


Leah Babb-Rosenfeld

Intern, 2005 Summer

I have always been an indecisive person, so when internship search time rolled around, I did not know quite where to begin. I had recently declared my English major, but could never limit my academic interest to just that. Unlike many people my age, I did not have each step of my life planned out. So I decided to try out a small magazine—a setting that certainly deals with words, to satisfy the English major in me, but offers exposure to all elements of the entire publishing process, as well. I wasn’t sure these expectations were realistic, but fortunately, Friends Journal proved me wrong.

Now that Bob has chased me down and has me writing this, I am reflecting on the ways in which this experience has surprised me. In between spending too much money at Reading Terminal Market every day for lunch and eating an unhealthy amount of the pumpkin seeds that the office receives in bulk, I have learned a great deal in my time here. Interns really do get the opportunity to help with every aspect of the magazine: I read and commented on article submissions; ran out articles using Quark XPress; transcribed an on-tape lecture into article format; and honed my copyediting skills as I edited articles at all stages—from cutting, rephrasing, and rearranging, to searching for misused “em” and “en” dashes. In addition to working with the articles themselves, I gained insight into what it takes to run a magazine. I became an unofficial writer of acceptance/rejection letters; worked with the magazine’s databases using QuickFill and Raiser’s Edge; and attended weekly staff meetings.

Because Friends Journal allowed me to see a magazine come together from all different angles, I am leaving with a better understanding of what interests me—in some cases, things I would not have experienced in my normal routine. In the past two-and-a-half months, I have developed a particular satisfaction in taking a problematic piece, and completely rebuilding it. I also get an overall sense of satisfaction from looking through the final product; I can recall commenting on a particular article when it was still under consideration, or finding a sentence that I rephrased, or even knowing that I delete-semicolon-inserted that all-important comma. When I return to Hamilton College this fall, I am sure I can put my new-found interests and skills to good use.


2005 Q2 Spring

Elizabeth Walmsley

Intern, 2005 Q2 Spring

I’ve spent two fascinating months (March and April 2005) at the JOURNAL; here is a list of all the things I’ve done during my internship:

  • Reading past issues of the JOURNAL as part of my orientation.
  • Copyediting.
  • Editing, on a large scale, for the Zarembka article, Friends Peacemaking in Burundi.
  • Reading new submissions and commenting on them.
  • Proofreading the blueline (which is the final copy of the magazine before it gets printed in large numbers for distribution).
  • Working on Quark XPress to organize the timeline for the 50th anniversary issue in July.
  • Writing my own article about Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam (the Oasis of Peace).
  • Attending staff meetings on Wednesdays and graphic layout meetings once a month.
  • Doing envelope stuffing for mail-outs for circulation.
  • Typing, formatting, and organizing Forum for May and June.
  • Giving feedback on the JOURNAL’s website, and how to improve it.
  • Working on the 50th anniversary questionnaire of staff, volunteers, and Board members.
  • Sitting in on the group interview of two finalists for a staff position at Friends Journal.

My background and the reasons that I became interested in an internship at Friends Journal:

I have been a Quaker since the age of five, and was born and raised in northwest Philadelphia. I attended for many years, and then joined, Chestnut Hill (Pa.) Meeting. After this, my family and I went and spent ten-and-a-half years in Perth, Western Australia. I studied European Literature and Anthropology as my double majors during my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts at the University of Western Australia, and went on to do my master’s degree in European Literature, writing a thesis on fairy tales and JRR Tolkien.

I got my Graduate Diploma of Education, also at the University of Western Australia, and received a job placement as a high school English teacher. I spent a year doing this in a small town called Esperance, which is located on the southeast coast of Western Australia. After this very challenging experience, I knew that I didn’t want to continue to be a high school English teacher. I decided that I could follow a number of other related career paths that would make good use of my skills and experience as a teacher and literature major, and one of them was editing and journalism. Because of my Quaker background in Philadelphia, Friends Journal seemed like the obvious place to go, once I had finally decided to act on my long-time dream of moving back to Philadelphia.

I am indebted to Senior Editor Bob Dockhorn for so carefully, attentively and thoughtfully creating my internship, making sure that everything I did was a valuable and interesting learning experience for me. He always had plenty of time for me, and encouraged me to interrupt him when I had questions or comments. With the amount of work done by the staff here, and the deadlines under which they do it, it really is an amazing feat to be able to give so much time to an intern!

One of the first things that I did, when I was considering applying for an internship at Friends Journal, was to read the accounts on the FJ website of all the other people who had been interns. I assume, therefore, that other people who may now be considering doing an internship would perhaps be reading my account. Just as the other interns wrote in their pieces, I urge anyone considering an internship here to go for it! It has been an invaluable learning experience, and I feel like a member of the FJ family. Thank you, one and all!!