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Intern Insider: Junior journalism major confronts challenges of magazine world

Magazines? Or something else? Junior journalism major Jessica Petrocchi is figuring it out this summer.

Jessica Petrocchi '14 is hoping her internship at Far North Dallas Advocate Magazine is the first step toward a career in magazine journalism.


by Hannah DelaCourt ’14

Just pitching ideas can be one of the most challenging parts of Jessica Petrocchi’s internship.

Petrocchi, a junior journalism major, is interning with the Far North Dallas Advocate Magazine this summer. She mainly writes for the online blog, advocatemag.com, but she still has to pitch her own stories to the senior editors, which can be a nerve-wracking experience.

“I’ll have a pitch meeting one day that all my ideas are just what the magazine is looking for, then the next week half my ideas could be shot down,” she says. “So it’s been tough at times. I’ve really started to learn how to find my own stories, which has been the biggest challenge for me.”

But while the meetings can make all the interns a little nervous, Petrocchi says they are still a fun part of her day.

“We all go into them incredibly nervous and crossing our fingers that it’ll be our story that makes the senior editor excited,” she says. “But there’s a lot of laughing and bouncing ideas off the other interns.”

Petrocchi heard about the internship at Advocate from her mother, who reads the magazine and told her to apply. After sending in her resume and cover letter, a few e-mail conversations and finally a phone interview, she was offered the internship at the end of the call, which came as a bit of a surprise.

“I was very caught off guard and excited,” Petrocchi says. “I jumped around in my room while simultaneously calling my mom to tell her the good news.”

And Petrocchi says it also helps that she is doing local journalism about the place she grew up in—an area with which she is already familiar.

In addition to writing articles for the online blog, some of her articles will also appear in the actual published magazines that release in August.

Petrocchi says her two main internship goals are to learn the ins and outs of magazine journalism and to decide if this is something she can see herself doing after graduation.

“I’m hoping that this internship will allow me the confidence to either continue on this path of journalism or to try something new,” she says. “As a rising junior I still have two years ahead of me, which is hopefully plenty of time to figure out what I want to do after graduation. This internship is just the beginning of that and the beginning of my whole learning process of a world outside of the ‘Elon Bubble.’”

And she says so far she has enjoyed the magazine side of journalism. But while only an intern, she is treated just like the other writers of the magazine.

“I’ve gotten really good responses so far, but they are not in any way easy on me here,” Petrocchi says. “If there is more information that is necessary for an article, I may be told to call back the same person three times in one day.”

Still, overall, she says the experience has been a rewarding one.

“Being able to see my posts go up online and look at how many views they get, it’s very exciting,” she said.

Intern Insider will run periodically during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of the interns from the School of Communications or in School of Communications programs.

Colin Donohue,
7/31/2012 3:22 PM