I went down to Sydney and Marie Claire magazine and all I got was the flu. I knew that my internship was going to be either a fabulous experience or a complete disaster. It turned out to be the latter. I could have been in a regional newspaper getting bylines like all the others but instead I was stuck doing office work. Yes I know office work is inevitable in journalism but I went there wanting to learn how a monthly magazine is done instead of being asked if I knew how to use a copy machine. (If someone doesn’t know the answer then shame on you for even thinking I couldn’t know how to use a copier!) Working for a fashion magazine is nowhere near as it is shown on movies or TV reality shows. Only the part that the workers are being bitchy is true. There is no glamour, offices in skyscrapers with class doors, fancy cocktail parties everyday or free bags and clothes from the designers. If you want that, well then I think you should just keep on daydreaming. It is a harsh environment.
My tasks, besides taking copies, was to do research for the few stories they actually did themselves in the magazine. Most of the feature stories they buy from freelancers. I was told to Google the subject they gave me, like overeating and detox diets (hopefully they don’t publish those in same issue..), and to print out what I found. Now, that was something that shocked me. I don’t know if I’m an old fashioned kind of journalist but if People magazine has published a story, that doesn’t mean it is true. I also rewrote one article from the UK edition they bought to be published in the Australian edition, that’s how they work. And that was it. I honestly wish I had exciting stories to tell about the magazine, but sadly that’s all folks. Or at least I left the internship with that impression.
But I did get some great story ideas just looking at the people who worked there, so the week wasn’t a complete waste. And I now have a more clear idea of how I want to be involved in fashion journalism. I know the week goes to my ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ box but at least I know what it is like to work in a mainstream fashion magazine.
I read the latest issue of Marie Claire and it wasn’t the same anymore. The illusion and glamour were gone.