Time Inc. and Newhouse create summer internship program for underrepresented students

By Victoria Rodriguez 

November 4, 2016

The 10-week program was developed to help diversify the magazine industry

As part of an ongoing effort to diversify magazine mastheads and create opportunities for new voices in editorial, Time Inc. and the Newhouse School at Syracuse University announce a paid, summer internship program for students from underrepresented groups.

Participating students will earn a stipend and be paired with a mentor in their field of interest as they take part in the prestigious Time Inc. Summer Internship Program. The program features weekly “lunch and learn” opportunities and a “career boot camp.” Students will also receive $500 from the magazine department to assist with expenses.

The internship program was created by Melissa Chessher, chair of the magazine department; Lisa Arbetter ’89, editor of Time Inc.’s StyleWatch; and Cheryl Brody Franklin, director of the Newhouse in New York City program.

The idea for the program came last winter, after Chessher brought a group of students to visit editorial offices at Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast, Business Insider and Mashable. One student, a woman of color, shared that the trip left her feeling discouraged by the lack of diversity in the editorial offices and panel discussions she attended. In fact, the trip made her question her place in the industry.

“I was grateful she came to me to express her concern, but I felt horrible that something I helped create to inspire and excite students had the exact opposite response in her,” Chessher says. “It served as another reminder that I needed to try and do more than just talk about these issues in class and bring in speakers that also address these issues.”

On a visit to campus a short time later, Arbetter, in a public conversation with Chessher, discussed the lack of diverse voices in magazine editorial. The two, working with Franklin, herself a former editor at InStyle, developed an internship program aimed at students from underrepresented groups.

The internship program will help make magazines more accessible to both future journalists and wider audiences, Arbetter says.

“As an editor, it’s so important to me to have a staff made up of lots of different voices. It’s the only way to continue to produce stories that are relevant to the world we live in and the audiences we serve,” she says. “This program is so exciting because it ensures that anyone interested in journalism and willing to work hard will be given the opportunity to learn alongside professionals and get a firm jumping off point for his or her career.”

The internship program is one more way the Newhouse School sets itself apart from other journalism programs, says Franklin.

“I will be so happy to see a Newhouse student get the opportunity to learn about the company and meet some of the talented editors that work under all the titles,” Franklin says. “That’s something that not every student gets the chance to have.”

Although the internship program is a step in the right direction, Chessher acknowledges that lack of diversity is an ongoing issue in today’s magazine industry, one that she and other members of the magazine department continue to think of ways to address. “This is a starting point,” says Chessher, who plans on using this project as a template to approach other publishers. “But it’s incredibly important, and I plan on capitalizing on the momentum and success of this project.” 

Victoria Rodriguez is a junior magazine major at the Newhouse School.