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byFitale Wari '18
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My life as a celebrity website intern.

One of my stories had over 36K page views and I was bewildered, excited, and shocked. But I was annoyed and frustrated because another story I was working on was well past deadline.

That’s when I got an email from my editor. “Is there something I should know?” she asked.

This spring I interned with The Celebrity CafĂ©, an online site for celebrity news, gossip, and lifestyle trends. The experience taught me the importance of deadlines, fact-checking, and plagiarism. It also taught me that it’s easy to slip up with one, two, and (if your editor is paying close attention) three of these things.

I worked while lying in bed with eucalyptus candles burning in the early hours of the day or hidden in the stacks on the fourth floor of the library after class. Over the semester I attended staff meetings, logged 182 hours, and published over 100 articles.

And I know now that “deadlines are deadlines are deadlines.”

Each article required research, fact-checking, and time. I was eager, so, I tried it all.

News briefs took about 30-40 minutes to research, write, and revise. They needed to go out as soon as possible. I learned to prioritize Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and the Weekend's messy love-triangle.

I danced and jammed out in my room, in classrooms on A quad, and while I crossed campus to prepare for writing music reviews. I learned how to listen, interact, and share my opinion about new album releases. I even developed a new obsession with trap music after writing a review for Migos’ album, Culture.

But I most enjoyed writing “listicles” the most. These would be about anything from “national days” worth celebrating, food recipes on Pinterest, and lifestyle tips. It meant I was still productive scrolling through decadent recipes, seasonal cocktails, wild music festivals, and other new lifestyle choices that are trending instead of doing classwork.

I did not think I was struggling.

But my editors noticed something.

Time.

Articles for a site like TCC need to be written quickly because they are read even faster. I spent more time generating new, fun, and informative lists while falling behind on writing celebrity news articles. I felt like my “listicles” were tangible—as if readers could hear me.

As my editors spent additional time editing my pieces to publish, there were new stories that needed to be told. I did not want this to keep happening, so, I changed my approach and learned to prioritize. And I realized taking time to check facts, sources, and grammar is important. It saves editors time.

And I know now that “deadlines are deadlines are deadlines.”

May 17, 2017