Tara Larson in Meredith Coporations Locust South building during her first week on the job in September 2018.
Tara Larson in Meredith Coporations Locust South building during her first week on the job in September 2018.

Takeaways from the Meredith Apprentice Program

When I received the email in April 2018 offering me the position to be an editorial apprentice at Traditional Home magazine through the Meredith Apprentice Program, I was ecstatic. The months preceding my first day were filled with excitement, curiosity and, of course, fear. Would I make a good intern? Would I mess up? Would I even like it? There were so many unanswered questions. However, one year later, I left the office for one final time after packing up my desk and hugging my coworkers goodbye. My time as an editorial apprentice may be over, but I took away things that will last a lifetime.

Making the right connections

I knew going into my apprenticeship that Meredith is a big name in the publishing world, and I wanted to make the most of being an employee there. Knowing that my graduation would follow immediately after the apprenticeship, I wanted to make connections that could potentially help when job hunting. I made connections through my small team, but I wanted to meet more. I poked around LinkedIn for current and former Meredith employees who have careers I admired and reached out and made some great contacts by doing so.

Being transparent about my future goals

On my first day at my apprenticeship, my supervisor took me to lunch and asked what my career goals were. I was a little apprehensive, because my goals were not to stay at the current magazine I was interning with, or even stay at the Des Moines office. When I did tell her where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, she was very receptive and supportive. Earlier in her career, she did what I hope to do, and gave me advice and tried to find contacts for me. If I had kept my real goals to myself, I would not have gained nearly as much. Remember, people can’t read your mind, and a good supervisor will want to help you achieve your goals—even if they aren’t at the same company.

Working in a professional setting

In any internship, you are expected to act as an adult and be professional. Knowing that my apprenticeship would be representing the Greenlee School and the Meredith Apprentice Program, I wanted to make a good impression and set a good example. I made sure to get my projects done in a timely manner, act professionally and courteously to everyone I interacted with, and even little things like staying off my phone. Of course, I had slip-ups, but I tried to keep those to a minimum and rectify the situation when I could.

Figuring out what I liked… and didn’t like so much

When I first started me apprenticeship, I was a little unsure what I wanted to do with my degree. However, by working in a professional setting, I learned what it could be like to work in the magazine industry from a first-hand experience. I was lucky enough to be immersed in several tasks, which helped me not only understand the process of creating a magazine better, but also helped me learn which areas I preferred and which I didn’t.

Leaving with more skills than I came in with

Although I had experience that helped immensely when I started this apprenticeship—AP style knowledge, working in an office setting, social media experience, to name a few—I was able to gain new skills over my eight months at Meredith. Like I mentioned before, I had never worked for a magazine prior to Traditional Home, so understanding voice and tone for that was different from my newspaper and PR writing past. I also had to learn how to balance school and other activities with a demanding internship that ate up roughly 20 hours each week. The best skill I obtained, however, was finding confidence in myself. Before my internship, I would have never felt comfortable working for or even applying to jobs at major media corporations, but with the skills I learned throughout my time as an apprentice, I feel more than prepared to take on working anywhere.

Find more information about the Meredith Apprentice Program.

Tara Larson graduated from Iowa State University in May 2019 with a degree in journalism and mass communication. As a student, she worked as an editorial apprentice at Meredith Corporation and a communications assistant on the Greenlee communication team. The Humboldt, Iowa, native is pursuing a career in magazine publishing in New York City.