From day one to day four at HGTV I learned so much, progressing a little more each day. My first-day anxious self arrived 45 minutes before what my supervisor told me, which resulted in me waiting at the security desk for over thirty minutes before I was given a temporary security pass and access to the 23rd floor. By Thursday, I discovered how to navigate to the metro exit closest to the entrance of Hearst tower, swipe my intern pass at the security turn-styles, take the escalator to the third floor, type in my floor number into a keypad which would direct me to the correct elevator, and swipe into HGTV’s office all by 9:30 am, giving me thirty minutes at my desk to sort through emails from HGTV employees and partner companies before checking in with the Lifestyle department at 10am sharp.
A very intern-y day. I was introduced to all the departments of the office by my supervisor, and met with the Lifestyle Director and Assistant Editor who are my primary task-givers for the summer. I figured out how to set up my Hearst email and how to use the company’s server on my computer located in the back prop closet. It sounds dingy, but there are amazing views of the city in that closet from floor-to-ceiling windows. My first real task of the afternoon was, as I mentioned before, intern-y. I sorted through the exploding shelves of wrapping paper and wallpaper in the magazine’s craft closet, which they use in photo shoots and projects. Once I was done putting everything in size-order and putting all the old/duplicate rolls of paper in a donation bin, the Lifestyle department gave me a second task. I was asked to help brainstorm fall DIY ideas that could be pitched at a meeting with the Editor-in-Chief the next day. The Lifestyle Director decided to include two of my ideas in her presentation board, and both of those were approved in the meeting, to be featured in a fall issue of the magazine. It wasn’t by any means a difficult day, but it was nice getting used to my surroundings.
Tuesday had three main sections. First, I learned how to access old issues on HGTV’s server as well as where Backup/Credit sheets are. This means that I can find old stories that they worked on as well as where the products they featured came from and their credits information. The second part of my day forced me to interact with partner companies. I left the office and hopped on a metro to Rockefeller Center to the Anthropologie store. What should have been a simple task of returning a lampshade that was purchased as a potential product for a photo shoot turned into a complicated scenario involving me bouncing to two other store locations and speaking with managers to get the return through, all because whoever created the original receipt online put a different company’s letterhead at the top of the receipt. Nevertheless, I eventually made it happen. I’ve never been a “can I speak to the manager?” type of person, but Tuesday made me a bit more comfortable with that. The last part of my day allowed me to sit in on the magazine’s Production Meeting. This was very interesting to get to observe, as all the different editors and creative personnel from each of the departments gathered in a conference room where the Assistant Managing Editor, also my supervisor, went through a sheet that detailed every story in upcoming issues and what stage of production they were in. Some stories were still waiting for approval, some were waiting for edits, some were ready for photoshoots, etc. I loved being able to see the process and how collaborative all the steps have to be, from the research department to the art/photo department.
Wednesday morning was a little slower, as I spent it at my desk searching for chairs that would match the color and style of a front door one of my Lifestyle bosses chose for a story. In the afternoon, I learned how the magazine puts in their UPS returns and prints shipping labels to return products they borrowed for stories and shoots. I used their UPS Directory to find the information of the stores/companies the products were from, and then helped package and ship a lot of boxes that were used in the past issue. In my down time, it was back to the craft closet to help organize some more mess.
By this day, I felt like I was doing more important work. I was given an in-progress spread of an upcoming story that had already been shot, but didn’t yet have the fit-to-copy written in. Using what I had learned about credit sheets on Tuesday, I used a list of products the Lifestyle Department used in the photos and tried to find the contact emails for these companies using a freelancer directory. For a few of the stores where I couldn’t find emails, I had to call in and ask for contact information. Once I had all the emails, I individually reached out to the stores, asking them to fill out attached credit sheets (I had a template, all I had to do was add thumbnails of the product and include product details such as color, style, and dimensions). As I get responses, I need to drop the completed forms into the Credit Sheet tab for this story spread, located again on HGTV’s server. This will make it so everyone has access to the credits that will be inserted into the stories before completion. Near my lunch break, I needed to go to a furniture store and purchase a vase that will be featured in a future shoot using a company credit card. In the afternoon, between working with more credit sheets, I helped the Lifestyle Director organize old story print-outs that she worked on into binders organized by type of story and date, so that we have a reference point to look at old stories.
My experience so far has been very positive, and now that I’m adjusted I am looking forward to learning and doing more next week.