So mid-January, I accepted a position as the food intern at 5280 Magazine, Denver’s biggest magazine. I stuck it out for journalism, and in the end it worked out. Hooray for me.
I’ll give you all a brief overview of my job (and hopefully some insight into the world of journalism if you don’t know the flow of things; looking at you people who utter the words “fake news”)
- I fact check. A lot. I fact check everything for the dining section of 5280’s Magazine: every fact in the article down to the phone number. And it’s not as easy as “Do you have ______?” It’s asking a mix of yes/no or open-ended questions. I don’t read articles back to them. It’s so strict I don’t even send fact check questions over email or can take the articles home with me to do them at home. Sometimes I will ask a chef or PR for the restaurant, and they will give me something completely opposite of what I have to check on paper — which is good, because it means I’m doing my job, but imagine if you spent thousands of dollars to print a magazine only to have a flaw be your fault (even though it happens because life)
- I add and update all of Denver and beyond’s restaurants to our dining guide via my editor Callie. My first month at 5280, which happened to be January, I added 24 new restaurants to our dining guide since restaurants like to open the beginning of the year.
- I pitch and write print and online calendar blurbs for the culinary calendar. They’re short and sweet (flashback to Vox Magazine‘s calendar days), and I literally know everything that’s going on around Denver that’s food-related.
- I attend media events for restaurants and local companies a.k.a. check out the new spots and sample new dishes and beverages.
- I write for Table Talk, 5280‘s food blog. This is what I do on my free time when I’m not doing everything else, and it’s nice to write again!
I talk to a lot of people. Probably anywhere between 10 to 30 new people a week. With that being said, thank you thank you Mizzou for preparing me for this. Both in the ag school and journalism school. I am still learning but I feel like I somewhat know what I’m talking about and I felt absolutely ready when I was thrown into the fire. It seems like a lot and it’s overwhelming, but I did it in college. Plus other classes. Plus working a job and paying bills. It’s crazy how simplified everything is now and I can focus on being a journalist. Now I am just a keg in the mad world of magazines. And I love it.
That being said, I am still surprised people think I am a food critic because it’s obvious I love all food. They think all I do is eat food and critique it, but it’s a bit more than that. It’s actually rude people say that because it means that you have never read anything I have written, which is fine. But don’t go on to make judgments at face value because you don’t see the hard work I put into what I have written. All the job duties I listed above is what I have been doing for two years now – finding sources, reporting, interviews, transcribing those interviews, fact checking, writing for an audience, working with an editor, thinking of AP Style rules and grammar – and the fact people say something as condescending as “oh you’re just a food critic, aren’t you” is just straight up ignorant. Not that there isn’t a lot of hard work that goes into being a food critic because there definitely is, but it is not my craft.
I have also never eaten free food unless it was a media event. In all my stories previous to 5280, I worked for free/paid for the classes I wrote for. I paid the gas and all food expenses for my Tiny Town blog. Journalists don’t take things for free because it shows bias and that’s not what my writing is about. And if you know a journalist that did take something for free, welllll they’re not a journalist. I’ve had people offer me to come to their restaurant and eat, and I’ve declined every time. It’s not that I don’t want to, but if I did, it would show favoritism. I didn’t even eat the doughnuts at this Harold’s Doughnut’s class I covered. Probably the only times I’ve ever eaten for free were at someone’s house when I was covering them for a story or at a media event where all the food and drinks are free for the media to try.
So that’s my life and hopefully that clears up any former misnomer you had about me or journalists in general. I’ll share more of my adventures along the way. Now the weather is getting warmer in Colorado (or is it), there’s plenty more time for travel. Possibly to the greener side of the state. 🙂