Magazine internship builds hard and soft skills

Sarah Hume ‘22

In the Summer of 2020, Sarah Hume ‘22 found a great internship with Story magazine through a Denison Narrative Journalism program. She learned a lot of new skills and a few surprising things about herself.

Initially, as classes went remote and the pandemic started changing so many plans for so many people, it was hard to envision what this summer would look like. I heard about a remote internship with Story Magazine from the Narrative Journalism Department and thought that I would give it a shot.

Story is a tri-annual print literary magazine based in Columbus, and I was eager to learn more about this area of the publishing industry.

As an intern, I screen our short story submissions each week and if I find any that have a lot of potential for publication, I pass them forward to our Editor-in-Chief. I also interview various authors for Story’s website, all of which have either previously published with Story or will soon be published with us. This includes planning, researching, transcribing, and editing each interview for publication.

At Denison, I’m part of the Bogaert Student Reading Series committee and I’ve found that some of the most powerful moments occur when people share their stories with one another.

The Bogaert Student Reading Series is a set of organized events where students are invited to read their poems or stories. We try to create a casual and comfortable atmosphere, and we love to incorporate all the arts, so we often invite musicians and dancers to perform during our intermission.

It’s a beautiful feeling of community, to gather and listen. I think that literary magazines provide this same sense of community. They allow people to share their work in a way that’s meaningful and important to them. I’m really excited about the opportunity to be a part of that process.

While this internship might not seem to directly correlate with my International Studies major, I’ve found that it has provided a helpful foundation. Pop culture, media, and literature are windows into broader aspects of society.

Specifically, my INTL concentration centers around Indigenous rights, and I’m planning to study abroad in New Zealand to research the legacy of colonialism and reparations there. Since this is a broad topic, I might narrow my focus and study the role of reparations in the publishing industry.

Interning with Story and learning about publication in the United States has been a vital stepping stone towards learning more about publication in New Zealand as well. I’ve continued to learn that a lot of stories need to be heard everywhere, and especially here, from authors who often aren’t given equitable opportunities to publish.

I hope to use this experience to learn more about the rights of authors, how to highlight authors, and how to help make publication more accessible.

Through interning with Story, I’ve also realized that I have a passion for interviewing. It was a skill that I’d always dreamed of trying out, but I worried that I would be too nervous to make it happen. I had no idea that I would fall in love with it as much as I have. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to listen to people’s stories, and then to be able to share those stories with a larger audience.

I’m incredibly grateful for the help of Denison’s Narrative Journalism faculty for meeting with me over Zoom this summer to talk about how to formulate questions and edit a print interview. I’m excited to continue learning more about this process.

August 14, 2020