During the spring semester 2014, creative writing major Jessie Fudge (B.A. 2014) worked as a fact checker at the magazine Indianapolis Monthly. She got a few online bylines as well, such as this piece about a Ball State immersive learning course on Kurt Vonnegut, a profile of a flask maker, as well as coverage of the gay marriage HJR-3 bill.
We just had to ask her a few questions.
How did you go land this internship at IndyMonthly?
Kim Hannel, the managing editor at Indianapolis Monthly, sent out an email seeking Ball State students as fact checkers for the magazine. It felt like this great opportunity just fell into my lap, so I jumped at the chance to apply for it.
I had to pass a few tests before I was granted an interview, one to show I had fact-checking and grammar skills and the other to see if I had a basic knowledge of current events. I showed Kim I’d be great for the job by focusing on which facts to verify instead of getting bogged down with every little grammatical error I saw.
The best advice I can offer is to not be shy when these internship offers come around. If you see an opportunity like working for a magazine, take it.
What did you do in a typical day or week?
- Get coffee!
- Check in with Kim to see if she has any extra work for me to do.
- Read through an article (the parts that need to be verified are highlighted by the wonderful Kim).
- Try and find as much information as possible online before calling or emailing sources.
- Call or email all the people you need to question. These people can range from the super friendly and talkative to those who are angry for being bothered.
- Wait for them to get back to you (this is the most horrible part of the job…the endless waiting…)
- Type everything that needs to be fixed in an article. You’d be surprised how much needs to be changed before the article goes to the printers. Send it back to Kim.
- There are also many opportunities to write blog posts for the website and articles that will be printed in the magazine, as well as chances to talk to famous people like John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) and Jim Nabors (a.k.a. Gomer Pyle). He and I are now besties, and he told me to come find him at the Indy 500 so he can “put a face to my pretty voice.”
You can read Jessie’s excellent profile here: “I Stalked Jim Nabors.”
Has this internship helped you figure out what you want to “be” when you graduate?
Not exactly, but it has helped open up quite a few options. This job involves a bit of everything: reading, writing, editing, interviewing, researching, marketing, and collaborating.
It made me confident that I could succeed at a similar job as a magazine editor, or do something else entirely like working in public relations.
Nothing helps you prepare for a career after college like working as an intern. First-hand experience is wonderful.
What courses at Ball State prepared you best?
The Broken Plate is a wonderful way to get an introduction into editing and publishing. You get to put a literary magazine together with a class as well as work on individual publishing projects like printing your own book or making an ePub.
Cathy Day’s novel writing class will also help by showing you how important it is to get your words down on paper. After that first draft, you can always go back through and make it pretty, but the hard part is getting your great and crazy ideas from your head to the page.
If this internship sounds great to you, remember:
- Jessie earned credit for this internship: ENG 369 Professional Experience.
- If you’re interested in doing an internship for credit, check out this FAQ and make an appointment to talk with Prof. Cathy Day, Assistant Chair of the English Department.
- The Career Center in 220 Lucina also coordinates many internships.