Winter 2022 Internship Review
This winter, students from across MFJS completed internships that intersected with the music industry. Four students, Toni Elton, Connor Lukes, Lila Ruppe and Natalie Schiller, shared their experiences with us below. A special congratulations to Toni, who has been offered a permanent position following her internship!
Toni Elton, Junior Journalism Studies major: Music Desk, 303 Magazine
For my internship during winter quarter 2022, I worked at 303 Magazine’s Music Desk. My duties as an intern were to pitch article ideas every month, when I was then assigned an article to work on, in addition to the concert coverage I was creating and the blurbs that I could commit to writing. I often did profiles on local bands which helped me to develop my interviewing skills and network with the people associated with my beat.
In terms of the concert coverage, the process of signing up and requesting shows also developed my communication skills and having to write the review by the next day introduced me to a quick turn around on deadlines. As an intern, I felt fully involved in the production of content, as it was my role to participate in the same way as staff writers. At no time during my internship did I feel as though the work I was generating was meaningless or insignificant. I worked with an amazing staff of people from editors to photographers and other writers that were all welcoming, open to help and communicative.
Wanting to go into music journalism in the future, I felt that my time at 303 Magazine introduced me to useful connections in the industry and helped me tailor my journalistic abilities to the specific beat of music. For anyone wanting a flexible internship that isn’t excessively time consuming while also providing an amazing experience in the field, I would highly recommend reaching out to 303 Magazine. After my own internship, I was offered a job as a writer for 303’s Music Desk which I recently accepted and signed on to.
Connor Lukes, Senior Journalism Studies major: Colorado Music Hall of Fame
This winter, I worked at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. My job involved the Hall’s inductees, especially their biographies. If a bio had too few words, needed to be revamped or needed to be fact-checked, it was my responsibility to clean it up. Of course, many inductees were not around to recount their life stories to me, so I often used the University’s databases or trusted online sources to fill out an accurate timeline of a person or a band’s life.
If an inductee was around and wanted to talk, I wrote questions and interviewed them. Myself, the director and our interviewee would grab lunch and, in essence, talk about music. From what they played to how they got started, I tried to cover general topics while setting aside time to dive into the nitty-gritty details of their greatest moments. All the while, I made sure to record our conversations. Afterwards, I transcribed and edited the pieces for release on the Hall’s website or in its monthly newsletter. The Hall’s director, who was also my editor, and I would trade drafts back and forth several times to fix any mistakes or awkward passages.
During my time as an intern, I learned several interviewing techniques which helped relax interviewees and elicit unique, personal answers and stories. Once I finished a draft, I collaborated with the Hall’s director and received feedback on my work which helped produce my best possible writing. I learned a great deal from my time at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame about music, writing, interviewing and most especially the history of Colorado music.
Lila Ruppe, Junior Media Studies major: Terrorbird Media
This spring I had the pleasure of working as an intern with Terrorbird Media, a music marketing company based in New York City, in their digital department. This unique internship opportunity gave me an inside look into the world of music marketing. I was excited about the idea of working with Terrorbird from the moment I read the internship description. I have been an avid music lover for as long as I can remember. Music has been a massive motivator and inspiration for me, and I could not imagine anything better than getting a behind-the-scenes look into the music industry and gaining work experience in the field.
My responsibilities as a digital marketing intern included tracking music streaming statistics, creating social media content and updating the company website with current artist biographies and album descriptions. I also had the opportunity to listen to unreleased songs in order to find Spotify and YouTube playlists to pitch them to. This also required in-depth knowledge of subgenres to find playlists that perfectly fit the mood of the music. It was incredibly fun to gain valuable career experience while discovering and listening to new music, which is something that I already did in my free time.
I learned many valuable lessons during my time at Terrorbird that I can apply to my future academic and professional experiences. I learned how important it is to ask as many questions as necessary and be willing to make mistakes when beginning a new position. When working in an entirely new industry, as I was, it is extremely helpful to remember that the first couple weeks are going to be a fast-paced learning experience. The experience can be nerve-wracking but also very exciting. I really had no idea how marketing worked in the context of the music industry, and I was amazed at how much I learned about the music industry that I thought I knew so well. I am very grateful to Terrorbird and my supervisor, Sabrina Lomax, for giving me the opportunity to immerse myself deeper into an industry that I am passionate about.
Natalie Schiller, winter quarter graduate, Journalism Studies and Socio-Legal Studies major: Music Desk, 303 Magazine
During the winter quarter I completed an internship with 303 Magazine as a Music Editorial Writer. I have always been passionate about every aspect of music: how it is created, performed and shared. But most importantly, the stories of the artists behind the music have been the prominent focus of my fascination with music and much of my previous writing experience. Which is why when I was given the opportunity to research and interview artists in the area, the decision was a no-brainer.
303 Magazine is a lifestyle magazine covering a range of beats including fashion, food, culture and music, all geared toward young people in Denver. As the music department, we would attend and cover events in the city like The Underground Music Showcase where we would meet with artists and industry professionals to share emerging talents.
As a music desk writer, I was able to collaborate with venues and musicians to write concert and album reviews, event previews and artist profiles. Each month after researching upcoming releases and events, I would source a collection of four to five pitches for my editor and be assigned to stories which I was genuinely interested in for the following month. The freedom to write pieces on issues and artists worthy of coverage—centering the voices of those traditionally underheard in media— was one of the most gratifying aspects of the position. Through interviews and networking, I was able to create meaningful connections with creatives in the area and experience the amazing music scene Denver provides.