Interning with UTP Journals

August 14, 2013

For the past 15 weeks the UTP Journals team has been thrilled to have Natalie Garriga working with us in her role as Editorial/Production intern. Natalie has an Honours BA from UofT, with a major in English and minors in Book and Media Studies and Sociology, and she is currently completing a publishing certificate at Ryerson. She has a strong interest in editorial work and has worked as a freelance copy-editor for an online IT and business magazine,, and for the academic journal Management Sciences and Economic Review.

Interning with UTP Journals, by Natalie Garriga

Internships have been getting a lot of bad press lately, often being labeled as exploitative and unfair. After having almost finished a 15-week editorial/production internship at UTP Journals, I’d like to weigh in on the issue. My experience interning at UTP has been a very positive one. Before starting, I admit that I was a bit worried that it would turn into one of the horror-story internships you sometimes hear about (i.e., being treated as the office gopher and spending all day bringing people coffee and making photocopies). However, not all internships are the same, and this particular internship has been not only extremely rewarding and educational, but also a wonderful experience in which I got to meet a lot of amazing people in the publishing industry.

I find it helpful to view an internship not as unpaid work but as a continuation of one’s education. And, unlike university and college courses, at least you don’t have to pay for the internship and often will receive a small honorarium in return. My internship at UTP has been very educational – through workplace learning and job shadowing I’ve gained new skills and learnt things that I could never learn through a course alone.

Internships are valuable opportunities to get hands-on experience in the actual workplace. This experience translates into practical workplace skills that look great on resumes – skills that future employers will be looking for.  It is also a great opportunity to network – something that is crucial for working in the publishing industry, as well as many other sectors. Internships can be priceless in terms of helping you get your foot in the door.

Furthermore, I have always felt valued at this internship. I was never given menial jobs – I was given jobs with actual responsibility, such as the copy editing of journal articles. And the range of things I was able to work on was amazing – it has been in many ways a self-directed internship. If there was an area that I was particularly interested in, someone was always more than willing to show me the ropes and give me some work to practice on.

Undeniably, internships can be tough in terms of working a full-time job with very little or no pay. I admit that at times I wished that my internship came with full remuneration, but unfortunately this is the current industry standard. I think of it as a give and take between the company and the intern – yes, the company gets cheap labour, but the intern gains invaluable work experience and the skills that are required to get an entry-level job. The educational and networking benefits of doing an internship are well worth the time – consider it an investment in your future.

I’ll leave off with a few tips on how to make the most out of your internship:
1.    Ask questions – Your internship is meant to be a learning experience, so don’t be afraid to ask the obvious questions – you’re not expected to be an expert, and the greatest way to learn is by asking.
2.    Tailor your internship to your interests – If there is a particular area that you are interested in, ask for some work in that area – try to get the most relevant work experience out of your internship by customizing it.
3.    Network – Don’t leave your internship without making as many contacts as you can – you never know when a contact may come in handy in the future!

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