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Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel

Lauren Russell, a journalism senior at the University of Florida, worked with Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine in Manhattan during the summer of 2002.

Rather than wait for an internship opportunity to present itself, Lauren took the initiative to seek out what she wanted from her "real-world" experience. Knowing her passion for travel journalism, she sent a cover letter and resume to the managing editor of Budget Travel, requesting an interview for a summer internship and exemplifying her qualifications for the position.

"I was getting nervous because it was April and I still didn't have an internship, although I had just had a phone interview with another magazine," Lauren recalls. "Then one day, the managing editor from Frommer's called me up and offered me the internship position."

Then came another considertation many students seeking internships face: pay. The Frommer's internship was unpaid, and Lauren already had been offered a paid position elsewhere. But, ultimately, expereince is king.

"It was really a no-brainer — Frommer's was a travel magazine, so I had to do it."

She committed and set up camp in New York City. Looking back, Lauren says the best part about her experience with the magazine was that she had the chance to dabble in each of the many aspects of print journalism.

"I did tons of copy editing — but it was Chicago style, so that was new to me — research, fact checking, archiving, I wrote a couple pieces for the Web site, generated ideas for the magazine (which were shot down), assisted the photo editors and played receptionist for one hour a day, twice a week."

Despite unsuccessful pitches and a couple hours of phone tag, Lauren was undaunted and still values her time with the company.

Many interns find that sometimes, when you're at the bottom of the totem pole, that's just where you are. It's nothing personal, and many employers appreciate your efforts in doing whatever your job requires at any given moment — always helping out. Your vigilance usually will be rewarded down the road with an intern of your own to break into the business!

"This experience gave me tremendous insight into how this industry operates," she says with a New York state of mind. "I have a better feel for which direction my career should go now."

Though Lauren says she isn't sure whether she would have had a chance to get her feet as wet with another publication — or maybe even wetter — she says she wouldn't trade her time with Budget Travel for a stint with any other company.

"The great thing about this magazine was that [the experience] was more intimate than some of the others out there," she says. "I didn't get lost in the shuffle, just making copies for dozens of employees. Also, Manhattan is an amazing place. I wouldn't have had it any other way because the whole experience came together so perfectly."

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