Story by Carleigh Oeth
Photo by Karly DeWees
One thing has really stuck with me from the beginning of my studies in the UO School of Journalism and Communication: I’ve been told repeatedly — and by multiple professors — that experience is what will get you far, at least farther than grades alone. This terrified me. But it also invigorated me, because like many students, I’ve always despised sitting in classrooms. The SOJC places an emphasis on spending time in the field to perfect your craft, and I was ready to live by this.
Although I craved the experience all my professors talked up, the word “internship” somehow intimidated me. It was evocative, symbolic of an unfamiliar world of high-powered and relentless professionals who wouldn’t hesitate to undermine the confidence of a young intern. Of course, this preconception was misguided.
During the summer of 2016, I was granted the opportunity to work as an intern for Portland’s local arts publication, Artslandia Magazine. Since then, I’ve come to realize that “internship” is just a fancy word for real-life experience — and it’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, I strongly believe that an internship is arguably the most valuable experience a student should have before stepping out of college and into the real world. It is the manifestation of what you’ve been working toward all through school.
Thinking back on my experience as an editorial intern for Artslandia, I now see that it was a cohesive realization of all the knowledge I’ve accumulated as a journalism student. I took the tools I acquired in Allen Hall of researching, writing and fact-checking and applied them to my work at Artslandia.
I wrote synopses and blurbs about local artists in Portland for the calendar, helped to compile information and fact-check the United Faces of Artslandia section, assisted in the development of Artslandia’s website and annual magazine issue, and lent an extra eye to the editing process. Amid the diversity of my day-to-day tasks — which even included driving around the city in the company Smart Car — I also got to meet and interview a local Portland artist toward the end of my internship. This responsibility proved to be extremely humbling yet empowering. Using my learned skills in the “real world” felt great.
I slowly began to understand just what my SOJC professors meant when they preached about how valuable experience is. I interacted on a day-to-day basis with Artslandia’s founder and publisher, Misty Tompoles, as well as other staff members, which confirmed just how much collaboration is demanded in the editorial world. There was an incredible amount of moving parts that eventually came together into one magnificent publication, and I got to be a part of the behind-the-scenes action.
On top of everything, I learned that the relationships you build and maintain through these experiences are of great importance. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your coworkers are constantly molding you as a journalist and as a person, both directly and indirectly. My associates at Artslandia were warm and treated me as their equal. They even brought me maple bars, my favorite kind of donut, on my last day.
The field of journalism is particularly unpredictable. That’s why, no matter how many classes you attend, no matter how many notes you take, nothing you learn in a classroom can compete with tangible experience. Now that I’ve done it, I can say that with confidence.
Carleigh Oeth is a senior studying journalism in the SOJC. She is from Portland, Oregon, where she held an editorial internship with the city’s local arts magazine, Artslandia, during the summer of 2016. This is her first year as a part of the SOJC’s communications team, and she is also working as an associate editor for the Daily Emerald. You can view some of her work on her online portfolio and visit her on Instagram @carleighoeth.
Karly DeWees is a design intern for the SOJC Communications office. She will be graduating in December 2016 with honors and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in advertising. During her time in the SOJC, she honed her photography skills shooting macro photos in Alaska for the Science and Memory project and local sports games for KVAL.com. You can view her work at karlydewees.com.