How My Internship at Oprah Magazine Taught Me I Want to be a Magazine Editor

By Nico Machlitt

Every day from 7th to 9th grade I would come home from school and watch The Oprah Winfrey show. I would watch as the fearless host talked about everything from child molestation, to her favorite book that month and road trips she went on with her best friend Gayle. I adored Oprah and the way she spoke about every topic and created a connection with her audience was something I really admired.

When my friend applied to an internship at O, the Oprah Magazine through the Ed2010 for the fall semester and got the internship I was overjoyed. I talked to her each day about the internship and the following semester I applied. About a month later I got an email securing my position as an editorial intern for O, the Oprah Magazine.

The first day of my internship I was filled with nerves even entering Hearst Tower and taking the elevator all the way up the thirty-sixth floor. The first month of the internship was a lot of work transcribing interviews, researching story ideas and working with the team of head writers. I also had to answer the phone for Gayle King, editor-at- large, and Lucy Kaylin, editor-in-chief of O. The first week of my internship I answered the phone and heard the words “Oprah speaking” and dropped the phone. This was one of the many star struck and overall surreal moments that happened at my time at the magazine.

Although there were many little fan moments I managed to keep it professional. I got more comfortable going up and talking to the head writers about story ideas and their interview process. I worked really hard and did every task on time and never left the office until I had finished everything. It was a lot of work and some of it not so glamorous like organizing books or past issues of the magazine but it gave me opportunities to meet more people at the magazine and really helped me feel comfortable. I took a risk and started personalizing the morning newsletter by redesigning the O logo to fit with the month’s holidays or season picture.

As I got more comfortable in the office environment I was able to work with editors and other people around the office on projects for social media and the book team. I became closer with the writing staff and made each transcription I emailed to them personal by writing my own questions and comments about the interview I transcribed. I worked with one of the writers Zoe and had an opportunity to work on O’s subscription based newsletter O’s Circle of Friends. I got to write an article by interviewing the ladies around the magazine and it showed me a different part of the magazine.

During the last month of my internship I got to really work on researching stories personally with each writer and helped me become great friends with each writer. I got to meet Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Farnoosh Torabi a finance writer, both of whom were new writers to the magazine.

While my boss was out of town I was given three opportunities to be Gayle King’s assistant. It was a great learning experience and I got to spend three whole days with Gayle King a lady I used to (and still do) watch on TV.

The last day of my internship I made everyone collage thank you cards and cried in Gayle King’s office, which wasn’t as embarrassing as it sounds. I had a great time at O and when the ladies sent me off with and ice cream party I really started crying. I know I want to work in magazines because of my experience at O. It was one of the best semesters of my life and something I will truly never forget.

Thanks Ed!


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