Interning: a valuable experience for students

Interning: a valuable experience for students

InternThis summer, I am interning in Grayton Beach, near Destin, Fla. at Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising, Inc. Cornerstone is a pretty diverse company. It’s mostly a marketing and advertising firm that gains clients out of other companies and people who want to advertise their business, be it online, on billboards or in print. They basically hire Cornerstone to take care of all the production and distribution of the ads. Cornerstone has a full graphics design, web design and photo/video production department.

I found the internship through my older brother, who lives near Destin. His girlfriend was a model in one of the company’s magazine photo shoots last fall, so when my hopes to intern in New York fell through, I figured, why not go work at the beach all summer? I contacted the owners about interns and had an interview before being offered the job – which is paid, unlike most internships with similar companies. So…heck yeah, I took it!

As a senior majoring in journalism, you might ask – why are you at a marketing company? Well, sometimes I ask myself the same thing, but Cornerstone is a little bit different than most companies of its kind because it also houses a small publishing company, which developed when Cornerstone owners decided to produce their own quarterly magazine in 2003. The magazine is still printing once a season, and it is dubbed VIE – People + Places. This is the side of the company I was most interested to work with, as I plan on making a career out of magazine writing, editing and production.

VIE is a lifestyles publication best described by owner/president Lisa Burwell as “a local magazine with a global focus.” The magazine covers local people doing interesting things all along the Emerald Coast area of Northwest Florida. But the global outreach part of it tells the stories of people from the Emerald Coast living in or visiting other places around the world. For example, in every issue, VIE features the “Voyager” section, which depicts a local writer’s journey to places like Peru, and in the summer 2011 issue, there was a huge feature on New York City Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. It’s different from flower magazine in Birmingham, where I interned last summer (for free) and absolutely loved, but it’s just as exciting, and hello – the beach is about a minute from the office!

So, I’m excited about writing for VIE, which I will have at least one article in, and also for Sandestin Living, another quarterly magazine produced by Cornerstone for its client, Sandestin Real Estate. For Sandestin Living, I also got to participate as a model in the summer 2011 cover photo shoot, on a YOLO paddleboard. It was an experience, to say the least.

My other daily duties at Cornerstone include things like writing press releases for various clients, doing social marketing by updating clients’ blogs and Facebook pages and running errands or doing other office work.

I would advise anyone in college to seek out internships over the course of their years in school. Paid or not, they are valuable resume builders and excellent on-the-job training periods that will pay big time in the long run. Every college at UA has a job and internship posting, so search it, and if you don’t see something you’re interested in, look on your own! Most companies take interns. Don’t be afraid to apply. If you don’t get one, so what? Go for the big one, and apply for other ones as well in case it doesn’t work out. Whether it’s at a world-famous company or not, it’s still going to be a lot better than graduating college with nothing!



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