Last Friday afternoon members of Ed2010 gathered to chat about the magazine industry, internships, and beer with Matt Allyn, Bicycling.com’s online editor. The 2007 alum who doubles as a certified beer judge and home brewer traveled back to his alma mater for an insider event with Ed.
Allyn was originally a mechanical engineering major before transferring to Newhouse and graduating with a magazine journalism degree. After gaining campus experience editing for Jerk’s Opinions/Noise sections and writing for What the Health, Allyn was ready to tackle his first internship at Men’s Health. There he worked as a Front of Book editorial intern where he learned that good writing has to be surprising, actionable, and concise. “If you can write long, you can write short,” Allyn said. At Men’s Health, he realized the value of incorporating service into stories. “Good service comes from specifics,” he said.
While interviewing, Allyn said it’s crucial to know the company inside and out. Come prepared with story ideas and portray your willingness to work hard. Make sure you have no typos on your resume and the editors can see that you’re an easy person to get along with.
Allyn dished that being a good intern requires more than just doing what is asked. You should be actively pitching ideas to editors and even if they don’t end up using any of them, they’ll appreciate your enthusiasm. “At the end of the day you have to impress the editors,” he said.
Allyn’s current position as online editor at a fitness magazine requires him to update the magazine’s social media page, assign, and edit stories. As a journalist, it’s helpful to be familiar with cameras and video editing programs like Final Cut or iMovie to have something extra to offer editors.
As for being a beer connoisseur, Allyn offers some tips on writing/editing food and drink pieces:
-Do your research so you know what you’re talking about. Allyn recommends setting up Google alerts on the food/drink you’re writing about so you stay up to date. Read a lot of reviews; talk to experts.
-Develop a vocabulary. Make sure you’re familiar with the correct terminology for beer, coffee, etc., that isn’t used in every day conversation.
-Trust your senses. Don’t be afraid to say something tastes bitter or sour; develop an opinion and back it up with facts.
To check in and see what Allyn is up to and find out more about his book on home brewing, visit MattAllyn.com.