Hi! My name is Katie Cormier and I’m a Communication Studies major, with the Honors Program as my minor. This is my second year here at Chapman (I transferred in 2019), and I’ll be starting as a Senior this coming Fall. I have an internship at Omics LIVE’s 60 Seconds online magazine, where I’m currently the Editor of the Entertainment Section. This Summer is actually my second semester at 60 Seconds; I was lucky enough to first get the internship at Chapman’s Spring Career Fair this past March before things went online due to the pandemic. I started as a Music Review writer at 60 Seconds, where I turned in articles on a bi-weekly basis. Once the Spring semester ended, the Entertainment Section’s previous Editor stepped down, so I applied for the position. I wasn’t sure how much of a chance I had having been at the magazine for only one semester, but the Content Editor in charge of making the decision really liked my writing and the ideas I had, and I was thrilled to find out that I had been the applicant chosen to become the new Entertainment Editor!
Going into this role change at the beginning of the Summer as I continued my internship with the magazine was a bit of an adjustment, but I’ve loved and learned so much from my new responsibilities. Along with continuing to write regular Music Reviews, I also currently manage a team of 14 writers, who turn in articles on a bi-weekly basis on a variety of topics within Film, TV, Music, and Books. I assign topic prompts for each article, facilitate bi-weekly Zoom meetings to allow for teambuilding and an open discussion space among myself and the writers, provide feedback and make any necessary edits to submitted articles, and get the articles published to the magazine website in a timely manner. There’s also the obvious need for staying on top of emails and maintaining regular communication with my writing team and with my supervisor.
This is definitely a lot more to balance than just the bi-weekly Music Reviews I was turning in during the Spring semester, but I wouldn’t change a thing as it has given me a chance to develop my leadership, communication, and writing skills, while also allowing me the opportunity to nurture my creative tendencies. The concepts I learned in the Group Communication class I took last year with Dr. Bejerano have been especially helpful. Things like how to foster a Mutually Inclusive Group Climate, Team Empowerment, and the different Conflict Management styles are just some of the communication concepts I’ve used and that have proven to be very effective so far with my writing team.
As far as the work environment goes, it’s honestly been truly wonderful. The magazine’s Content Editor (Kristina) is my direct supervisor and she’s been nothing but warm, welcoming, and helpful throughout my entire internship. The magazine’s founder, Sherri, has also been very kind and encouraging, and both she and Kristina have never failed to be easily accessible if I ever had a question or needed help with something. And another one of the best things about working at 60 Seconds, especially in the current pandemic-induced need for keeping most things online, is the fact that the entire internship is set up to be done completely remotely. Even before required social distancing in the workplace became a necessary thing, I was able to perform all of my internship responsibilities from the comfort of my laptop.
On the more artistic/creative side, 60 Seconds allows the creative freedom for its writers to choose what they want to write about, which has kept the writing that I do for the site a joy and something to look forward to because I’m getting to write about things that truly interest me. There’s also the premise that 60 Seconds advertises with its slogan: “Tips and Trends in 60 Seconds or Less!”, meaning that every article should aim to be able to be finished being read within 60 seconds. Along with having the freedom to choose what I write about, this aim to keep articles short also adds to keeping the writing process relaxed and pressure-free.
I keep these things in mind when I create the topic prompts that I assign to the writers that I’m in charge of. I make a point to try to keep the prompts interesting and dynamic, while still “loose” enough, so to speak, so that the writers still have a level of autonomy to choose what interests them for their article topics. For example, the most recent topic prompt I’ve assigned has a bit of a retro, “On this day…” type of theme. I asked them to choose releases or pop culture occurrences from some point in the past that happened during the month of August, and provided some helpful websites where they could find that type of information. The rest is up to them, and I’m excited to see what things catch their eye to write about!
In a nutshell, I would highly recommend looking into applying to 60 Seconds if you’re in need of a remote internship and enjoy creative writing! You’ll be able to earn 1 unit of academic credit, get to be published in an official magazine, and have the chance to learn and grow in a truly supportive environment. The magazine definitely gets two thumbs up from me, or in other words, 10 out of 10 would intern again!