As to be expected, all is good. Though there are days when I feel overworked or stressed, it’s comforting to know that I’m not sitting at home with nothing to do or that I’m not working at some restaurant for a boss that I hate. Inevitably, that’s probably how it would be if I never got this job. Every time I’m back for an extended amount of time, there’s stuff going on every now and then, but the majority of my time is spent sitting at home watching TV.
In case you couldn’t tell by my Facebook posts/tweets/Instagram photos, the magazine finally came out last week. As you know, I’m technically working for the Huffington Post this summer, but more specifically, I’m the lone intern on the Huffington magazine team. This is HPMG’s first step into the magazine world and I got lucky enough to be a part of it. When I started work a few weeks ago, the free preview issue was complete and we were in the middle of finishing up the premiere issue, which was released on Newsstand last Friday. My primary job is to fill in wherever I’m needed in terms of copy editing and caption writing, and since the stories that would come out in the premiere issue had already been through the wringer, I wasn’t really too swamped at any point. But, as these things go, deadline came fast-approaching and the entire team was rushing to tweak things in the last couple of days. It was a bit strenuous — even worse for the designers and tech people — but everything got done on time. It was pretty relieving to know that the project was finally out and on its feet, but I’ve only been here for three weeks and I can barely imagine how good it must have felt for the rest of the team who’s been working on this for months.
The night before launch, Arianna Huffington and my editor, Tim, threw a really fancy launch party for the magazine team, the higher-ranking members of HuffPost’s editorial staff and many of Arianna’s high-profile friends — all on the rooftop of the beautiful Gramercy Park Hotel in midtown Manhattan. I’d really never been to anything like it before; about fifteen people in bow ties were circulating with platters full of hors d’oeuvres and the magazine’s celebratory, “signature” drink (cucumber juice, gin and mint), several tables were set up throughout the room with the iPads pre-loaded with our premiere issue and a smattering of photographers from Getty made the rounds snapping pictures of all the big-name guests. As cool as it was, I couldn’t help but feel a bit out of place; everyone seemed to know each other and was carrying on conversations about business, the upcoming elections, etc. For a while, I had a few drinks and floated around the room until I ended up next to someone who I could introduce myself to.
For the most part, I met a lot of Arianna’s friends and colleagues from her political days in the 2003 California Recall election. Several of them held high-ranking positions in (what seemed like) advocacy groups or political non-profits, which made it all-the-more surprising that they’d come up to the only college kid in the room and strike up a conversation. Like everyone else I’ve met, they all found my Midwestern accent to be amusing and asked me if I’d ever been to their favorite Kansas City barbecue spot (I’d been at each a thousand times). Our conversation would eventually wrap up, they’d hand me their business card and we’d go our separate ways. I kept each one, though. Nowadays, connections are far more valuable than grades.
After a while, Arianna and Tim took to the little stage in the corner of the room and gave a speech. They talked about the genesis of Huffington, gave kudos to our team and congratulated David Wood on winning HuffPost’s first Pulitzer a few months ago. They gave a toast, everyone clapped and continued socializing. Unfortunately, none of the interns I’ve made friends with so far were there and almost everyone from the team was in the middle of a conversation with people I didn’t know, so I left. I was glad to be invited in the first place, but I was starting to feel increasingly young and out-of-place as the whole thing progressed. I said goodbye to Tim — I tried to introduce myself to Arianna as the magazine team’s intern, but she was understandably busy greeting guests all night — grabbed some tacos down the street and headed home.
The next day was pretty relaxed, as you can imagine. The magazine launched in the morning and none of us really got into the newsroom until a little before noon — and that’s just the few of us who came in. I spent the day working on several things that I’d been assigned to do for future issues while the others did the same.
Around one or two, Tim sent out an email notifying us that we were ranked #1 in the App Store, the same day that a bunch of other big-name magazines were released. Even better, we beat out People, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Better Homes & Gardens in only six hours. That still hasn’t really set in. I’m well aware how lucky I am to be in this position, but it still doesn’t register that I’m one of 24 people behind the number one electronic magazine in the world. It’s fucking crazy, and when I checked today, we were still ranked #1 on Newsstand. From what I’ve read, every single critic that’s reviewed our magazine had lots of positive things to say about it and it’s gotten a ton of publicity through various mediums. It still feels unreal.
So all-in-all, things are great. Just like last year, I fucked up when it came to submitting my hours to payroll again, but luckily I’m going to get my check in the mail tomorrow instead of having to wait a week and a half with no money like last year. We should have everything done with issue #2 in the next few days and then it’ll be the weekend. The Hives are playing at Terminal 5 on Friday, so I’m more than likely going to go to that.
I can’t really think of much else. I’ll bring a wider selection of stuff to the table next time.
All the best