My Internship: Laura

Month 1 : First Impressions (Satisfaction 4 / 5)

So, I've now officially been an Editorial Intern for a month. How does it feel? If I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure. I never realised I would be at the heart of creating a new site, and that my input would not only be useful but fairly integral to the whole project.

That being said, I am learning a lot, doing a lot, and trying my hand at myriad tasks, including writing articles and guide text, editing examples of the same, coordinating with others to produce infrastructure and company documentation. It's more than I ever would have expected from an internship.

However, I'm definitely looking forward to moving from the planning phase to the running phase, and doing what an editor in an established company would be doing. This is primarily because I've waited so long to get a chance to do it, to find out what it's like as a job on a day-to-day basis, and figure out if I'll love it as much as I think I will.

The lowlights of my internship so far are probably how frazzled I've felt as I've been settling in, and not really knowing where I was going or what I was doing. Creating the SMART/defining expectations documents definitely contributed to this! These are definitely outweighed by the highlights which include meeting and working with such cool, friendly people, getting my own pet staff writer to practice on, and feeling supported in what I'm doing. As someone who graduated during the worst of the recession, that means a lot.


Month 2 : Settling In (Satisfaction 5 / 5)

I'm now in month 2 of my internship. It's going well; I've been continuing to produce the editorial documentation which will help us produce a consistent online guide. Sonia has taken on board my comments regarding lack of managerial experience, and has put me in touch with Ginger to help me with that, which is really useful. I've emailed our potential contributors and heard back from five of them, which is promising. I am now much clearer on what I'm doing, I think.

As we're heading for alpha, in which we will show the site to close friends, fans and family, things have started coming together much more. I'm pretty sure I've got/am getting/am able to get everything I need to fulfil my role properly. I'm looking forward to working with the new writers with Ginger's support, and beginning to edit articles as well as guide entries. Emily has been assigned some to produce over the next week. and I'm hoping to begin working with Royston in the next few weeks on his writing style and developing his skills as a writer.

On the day of my Month 2 Review we all went out for the CCK Christmas social at Wong Kei's, and it was great to meet everyone involved in the enterprise. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, and that makes my time at CCK much more enjoyable.

Month 3 : Rolling With It (Satisfaction 4.5 / 5)

During month 3, I've been working on getting Guide content finalised for the site, getting as many articles out of Emily before she leaves CCK in order to help her fulfil her output goals, and working on the processes of being the Editor, including advance content planning and regular communication with my staff writer. I have also been working with Sonia on giving feedback as part of my role managing writers.

I think it's been going quite well; I've got into a rhythm with Emily and we've worked well together, producing content fairly reliably. I'm also keen to begin loading some articles into the new site as it's now ready for our content. However, I'm nervous about what will happen to my routine after Emily has left, and the potential new issues being without a comfortable staff writer will bring.

Reaching our Guide entry target was great, as I wasn't sure right up until the end whether we would make it! It's good to know we have a nice spread of content to go live with, and it was also nice to work together with Alana & Emily and create the content on time under pressure.

This month, I have also worked on giving feedback as part of the management aspect of my job. I worked with Sonia via GoogleDocs on a script, using tools and pointers discussed beforehand. I found this quite challenging, as it was something I had no experience of. Sonia and I met up in Pret before Emily's feedback meeting to run through things and discuss how I felt about the meeting. I decided to go ahead and deliver all my feedback, although I was happier to let Sonia open and close the discussion. I feel the meeting went quite well; I was nervous but managed to complete my part and Sonia told me that my nerves were not too apparent.

I feel very happy that I have now got some experience of such a meeting, and think it will help me in the future. Sonia videoed me which is useful to look back on. I've got some good feedback, both from Emily in her meeting and from Sonia on my delivery, which should help me improve and develop.

My satisfaction rating is 4.5, as although I am happy with the last month's events, I am still aware that some important things have not yet occurred, and that I have not got a lot of time left at CCK to achieve what I would like to.

Month 4 : A Stormy One! (Satisfaction 4.8 / 5)

Month 4 has been an interesting one. Things in my personal life have made my commitment to CCK harder, including my partner being made redundant and my own job reducing my hours. I've also begun my jobhunt, looking for full-time work in a very competitive environment, which I am finding deeply challenging.

I am still enjoying my work with CCK, and this month have completed all the internal documentation for our volunteer writers. I began the induction process about a week ago, and already have three volunteers working through the induction plan we've given them. I'm frustrated that the site is not yet ready to go, as it is hard to measure your work when none of it is visible. I'd like to be able to see the fruits of my labours online, and witness the dynamics of our content and the effects of my editorial planning.

The issues I've had this month in my personal life have impacted on my work with CCK, and I feel as if I have let go of the editorial reigns - I haven't had an editorial plan for my staff writer over the past two weeks, and I've not found time yet to plan for my new writers' arrival. I am certainly missing having a full-time staff writer!

This month's highlights include finalising the new contributors' induction plan, and being able to put it in motion. I'm yet to have a Gchat check-in with any of them, but I am excited to see what they think of my hard work! I've also had my share of challenges this month, most of them technological - issues with designing the induction template, issues once the volunteers had begun to use it, issues with using the back end of the site CMS. I've also had the challenge of working with a shy part-time staff writer, which has taught me how each person under my management needs a different, individual approach. It is something I hope to keep working on next week.

During the rest of my internship, I hope to get experience of managing at least 5 writers simultaneously. I also want to have more experience working with the CMS, some exposure to SEO/tagging for the web, and perhaps a bit of time to write an article or two myself.

Month 5: Full on & moving on (Satisfaction 4.8 / 5)

A lot has happened in the last month, both for CCK and for me. Both my partner and I have found new jobs, and therefore I have have far fewer hours available for CCK working.

I managed my time carefully this month, ensuring that I prioritised checking my emails for contributor correspondence and making sure I was not delaying Alana, Leanne or the rest of the team by missing an email or query. Alana and Sonia have been very supportive, and were are discussing reorganising my job role to accommodate my new commitments. I'm looking forward to putting new systems in place, and training Leanne up ready to hand over some of the editorial aspects.

Despite having less time, much has gone on CCK-wise. I have been working with our newest intern, Leanne (my first experience of inducting staff), which I am enjoying a lot. I have now got seven volunteer writers, working through their projects in MM at differing rates (two have begun writing for me already) which I feel is a fabulous achievement. We've had a few bugs in the induction template, but all the volunteers seem to have taken them in their stride (with a bit of amiable banter) and most are progressing through their templates without issue. I have had to replan my check-in system, since I am now not available during the day for Gchat check-ins, but I have managed to keep in contact with my writers successfully by email. I look forward to seeing the fruits of all our hard work in the form of their new articles shortly.

The highlights of this month have been:
- seeing word of mouth spread: a second volunteer has contacted me rather than being recruited specifically.
- working with Leanne in my 'proper' capacity as an Editor (on the ball where I wasn't with Emily)
- seeing my work with CCK bear fruit elsewhere: gaining my first job in the editing & publishing sector (albeit contract freelance)

The month's challenges have been many, but I hope that now I have established a routine with work I will be able to work more closely with my volunteers and Leanne and see our Editorial team take shape.

I intend to stay on with Coffee, Cake & Kink after my internship ends, either on a second internship, focusing on the management of a writing  team, or as a volunteer contributor.

Month 6: Final Review

See it here.