Beth Colman by liwenting

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									Beth Colman

Educator in the Workplace Journal

June 22-26, 2009

Main Line Today Internship



Monday, June 22

         Today is my first day at Main Line Today Magazine. Hobart Rowland, the managing editor of the
magazine, is my contact and will be overseeing my week-long internship. The magazine’s offices are
located in Newtown Square, PA, which luckily is only about 15 minutes from my house in Chesterbrook,
PA. I was nervous on my first day! It has been almost 10 years since I’ve worked in a business setting (I
worked in the “business world” before I became a teacher), and I was anxious about returning to that
workplace setting. Would I like it? Hate it? Would they like me? Hate me? So many questions ran
through my mind. I arrived right on time in the morning. Hobart wouldn’t be in the office that day, so I
was to report to Tara Behan, a senior editor. I walked into the offices and my first thought was how
small a workplace it was. So many people were forced to work in such a cramped setting! But no one
seemed to mind too much. The area was a combination of small offices and many cubicles – lots of
cubicles. They had actually recently expanded! I can only imagine how much smaller the space used to
be and how difficult it was to keep from feeling like folks were working right on top of each other. There
was a large conference room and also a small kitchenette area where many people stored their lunch for
the day. (Lots of people brought their lunch – very likely due to the current economy.) Anyway, I met
Tara right away and she showed me to a cubicle where I would be working for that day. Then she
brought me into her office and gave me my first assignment: research a house tour she’d heard about in
Avalon or Stone Harbor, NJ taking place in either July or August. Then bring the information to her. This
was no real problem – actually the biggest problem I encountered in my research was navigating a MAC
computer. At PV High School, we all have PC’s, and I’d never used a MAC before. But with some trial
and error I was able to successfully use the MAC and complete m y “assignment” and give the results to
Tara. After that, she gave me my next assignment: update their Health & Wellness database for their
upcoming Health & Wellness issue. That task took the remainder of the day since the database was only
partially constructed. At the end of the day I emailed all of my results to Tara plus gave her a hard copy.
I was worried about making mistakes or doing something “wrong” on my first day, but Tara said I did a
great job and she was happy with the results I gave her. So I felt good leaving “the office” that day. I
was tired! But I felt good!
Tuesday, June 23

         Today I reported to Hobart Rowland since he was back in the office. But first I ran into my
former student Adam Polaski! It was so great to see Adam. Adam is interning with Main Line Today a
few days each week all summer, so we spent some time quickly catching up on his first year at Ithaca.
Afterwards, I sat down with Hobart and had a chance to ask him all of the questions I had about the
magazine industry – and specifically Main Line Today. He was wonderfully accommodating with all of
my varied questions. I learned how much the economy had hit the magazine (not too badly – but they
were forced to let got of a few writers) and how it compares and contrasts to other magazines of a
similar style (Philadelphia Magazine, etc.). Main Line Today is family-owned and operated, which
contributes to its more stable standing in the magazine industry. They have always been conservative in
their spending over the years, so now that the economy is forcing other magazines to make drastic cuts
due to a drop in circulation, Main Line Today isn’t suffering as much because they’ve always held back
on their spending. I also learned about the timeline and process of producing a magazine from start to
finish. Currently they are working on the August and September issues of the magazine. After an
informative conversation with Hobart, he gaveme my next assignment: update the Hospital guide for
their Health & Wellness issue. It was a task requiring research and editing. I knew it would take more
than one day to complete, but Hobart seemed to anticipate that. He set me up at a new workstation
(that’s what they call them) and I got to work right away. I worked with a MAC computer again (they’re
all MACs in the magazine industry because they work so well with combining art and editorial). This one
was tricky because it was a little old, but I did my best and got as much done as I possibly could that day.
I went home tired – again! But it was a good day.



Wednesday, June 24

        I was excited for today, because today Hobart said I would be sitting in on three different
meetings: a full staff meeting, a cover meeting, and an editorial meeting. The staff meeting started early
in the morning. Everyone was involved – all directors of all departments. People even drove up from
Delaware (part of the staff of the magazine works out of their Delaware offices) for the meeting. The
meeting was well organized with an agenda for everyone to follow. Each department director provided
an update to the entire staff, and then everyone reviewed the most recent issue of the magazine
together. It was a great collaborative meeting and it was clear how valuable it was for everyone to sit
down in one room (once per month) and communicate with each other about what was happening in
each department. Email is great for business communication, but sometimes you just need to sit
everyone down face to face to really get things accomplished! The meeting lasted approximately an
hour, and then everyone left to work on their own tasks for the day. Hobart asked me to stay along with
a few others so that they could have their cover meeting right away. The art director posted 11
different potential cover images for the August issue on the wall for all of us to view. We gradually
threw out one image after another that just didn’t look right for the cover until we were left with 2. I
was really surprised that Hobart actually asked my opinion about the potential covers. I provided my 2
cents, and then everyone made a final decision. The cover I liked best was chosen! I can’t wait to see it
on the stands in August! The art director seemed a little stressed out and negative during the two
meetings I attended with her, but I realized that she’s under a lot of pressure to meet deadlines for the
magazine, and some people don’t do too well under pressure. Hobart on the other hand was always
cool as a cucumber. It became clear to me that he’s the managing editor for very good reason. I went
back to my hospital guide, doing research and editing copy. Then later after lunch Hobart asked me to
sit in on the editorial meeting. There were only 5 of us in the room. First we reviewed editorial
scheduled for the August issue and provided feedback to each other’s work, and then everyone
brainstormed ideas for the September and October issue. It was great to see the brainstorming process
in action! It made me realize that I’d like my students to spend more time doing round-table editing and
proofreading to maximize the amount of feedback they can get from their peers. Why get feedback
from 1 student when you can get it from 3 or 4? After the editorial meeting, Shannon, one of the
editors in the meeting, asked me if I’d like to write the piece they’d planned for the Scarecrow Festival at
Peddler’s Village. I said yes of course! But I was nervous. I’ve written hundreds of recommendation
letters for students over the years, but rarely do I get to write something of my own, outside of the
letter format. So she gave me details and told me to research the Festival and do a small write-up (very
small – I had to keep it to only 150 words! – ah, the editing process at work again!) So I tried to finish up
more of the hospital guide while researching the Festival. And then it was time to go home. And yes, I
was tired again.



Thursday, June 25

         Today Hobart told me to focus on writing the piece for Shannon since I was leaving the next day.
So I got right to work on that. Before lunchtime I had forwarded her the copy for the write-up. After
lunch she asked me to research a contact person at the Festival and ask about having them send us
pictures of prior festivals that we could use with the write-up for the magazine. So off to work I went on
that task. It was easy, thankfully. And by the end of the day Shannon had everything she needed from
me! So I went back to work on the hospital guide. This was a fast day because I spent so much time
researching and writing and then editing and revising. But it was a great day because I really felt like I
accomplished something fun that was my very own! And it was going to be published in the magazine!
Pretty cool!



Friday, June 26

         Shannon asked me this morning if I could come up with a catchy title for my write-up on the
Scarecrow Festival. I had a hilarious time coming up with corny titles, and I had so much trouble
narrowing it down to one title that I submitted about 10 different ones to her and asked her to pick
which one she thought would be most suitable for the space allotted in the magazine. She loved my
suggestions, and we both agreed on a very short title for the piece. Then I finished the hospital guide! It
was lengthy but worth the effort. The finished product looked so much better than what I’d started
with – it hadn’t been revised in years. After that, Shannon showed me how the magazine is uploaded
onto their website each month. She spent about an hour showing me how everything works “behind
the scenes” on the magazine’s webpage. It was truly fascinating. Thursday and Friday flew by because I
was trying to finish everything up before the end of the work day Friday. But I got all of my
“assignments” completed and felt great at the end of the day on Friday. Yes, I was tired! But it was
worth it!
Final Reflection:

         This week I learned so much about the magazine production process from an editorial
perspective. I was so impressed the way Hobart Rowland truly immersed me in a little bit of everything
having to do with Main Line Today, from updating guides to sitting in on meetings to writing a piece for
the magazine. I really thought he might just sit me in a cubicle and forget about me for the week, but
that’s exactly the opposite of what happened. I learned so much about the magazine and how the
editorial process is conducted from the planning stages to its completion. Main Line Today magazine is
a local magazine that highlights the best parts of the Main Line and surrounding suburbs, and it was so
interesting to see how the editors come up with ideas for stories about local folks and the contributions
they’re making to the community. I truly felt like I was one of their equals while working in the Main
Line Today offices. No one made me feel inferior despite my being a classroom teacher. They embraced
m e as a willing worker and genuinely listened to my opinions (although I really tried to just stay quiet
and do a lot of listening – you learn so much more that way). The entire staff was pleasant (although a
few folks did have their frustrated moments, but again I chalk that up to deadlines – it makes everyone
stressed out!). And everyone made a point to make me feel welcome, even if I didn’t work with them
directly. I was truly impressed with the magazine that this group produces on a monthly basis. It’s no
small task to put together a magazine of this stature each month, but somehow through hard work and
team effort they do it time and again. Spending time in the “business world”made me me appreciate
my own job as a teacher. It’s a different world out there – with lots of cubicles! But most of all I realized
that everyone suffers job frustrations and setbacks. They happen everywhere, not just in the classroom
or in the department meeting or faculty meeting. You have to learn to work with all different
personalities, because if you don’t, you won’t be successful – that’s the plain truth. I truly enjoyed my
experience at Main Line Today and cannot compliment Hobart Rowland and his staff enough on
embracing me with open arms and creating their own sort of “teaching” environment for anyone willing
to learn (they must have at least 8 interns there this summer alone!). I only hope that more teachers
will take advantage of a program like this one because it not only taught me about an industry much
different (but also quite similar) to my own, but it also gave me a new appreciation for the job I do in the
classroom, as well as a few ideas for some lessons I can prepare for my students!
                                    Unit Plan: Educator in the Workplace

Business Name: Main Line Today magazine

Address: 4699 West Chester Pike Newtown Square, PA 19073

Telephone: 610-325-4630

Fax: 610-325-4636

E-Mail: hrowland@mainlinetoday.com

Contact person: Hobart Rowland

Home School District: Perkiomen Valley School District

Teacher’s Name: Beth Colman

Grades and Subject Taught: 11th Grade English

Unit Plan Name: Editorial Review for Writing Assignments

Grades and Subject Taught: designed for 11th grade students

Skills: Teaches editorial revision skills and interpersonal/collaborative skills

Teaching Time: One day (can be used for any writing assignment)
Lesson Plan: Editorial Review for Writing Assignments

This lesson can be applied to any writing assignment in any classroom. My plan is to use this after
students have drafted essays.

Set:

Students will have at least 3 copies of their completed drafts (typed for legibility) in class for today’s
lesson. Tell students we will be focusing on one of the key steps of the writing process: revision. One of
the best ways to revise one’s writing is to have another pair of eyes review it – someone who can
provide a neutral perspective and give honest, constructive feedback. Today we’re going to take it one
step further and provide more than one pair of eyes to give feedback, which will result in an even better
final paper once revisions have been made for the final draft. We’re going to call this process an
“editorial review meeting”.

Activity:

Arrange students in groups of 3 or 4. Explain that we are going to conduct an editorial review meeting
to do some peer revision of each other’s work, but this time we will be doing it in a round-robin setting,
where everyone reviews everyone else’s work and then provides feedback. Groups will devote 10
minutes to one person’s paper. First, one group member will hand out copies of their essay to the other
group members. Group members will spend only 5-10 minutes reading the essay and making
suggestions for revision on their copy. The teacher will call time after 5-10 minutes (with prompting to
keep them on task) and then the group will spend 3-5 minutes discussing their feedback to the writer of
the essay. The writer of the essay will collect their peers’ revision copies and use them to make
revisions to their paper for their final draft. Then, the group will repeat the process with another group
member’s essay, and so on until all essays have been read, revised, and discussed among the group.
Each student will come away from the “editorial review meeting” with feedback from their peers that
they can use to help them revise their essays.

Extended Learning Activity:

        Students should take their valuable peer feedback home and revise their essays. Final drafts will
be due the following day.

Closure:

Ask students to take one minute with their group members to come up with 3 benefits of holding
“editorial review meetings” when revising a writing assignment. Have each group share responses with
the entire class.

								
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