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Trustee Scholar and aspiring journalist Marianna Macri ’06 (Malvern, Pa.) expects to have a full-length article published in Parenting this spring.

She got a rare peek into the competitive magazine industry by working for the publication this summer through the elite American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) internship program.

Macri, who also has interned with the Associated Press and Easton’s Express-Times newspaper, worked at Parentingas one of only 30 students nationwide accepted into the ASME program. Students must be recommended by their college or university, and schools may nominate only one student.

“The program was phenomenal,” says the English major and editor-in-chief of TheLafayette. “The interns were given a holistic view of how magazines work. I was exposed to not only the editorial side, but also how the magazine functions from a business standpoint. I met with the public relations executives, ad sales representatives, members of the art department, and every other department you would usually meet in an internship.”

Lafayette alumna and ASME member Marilyn Balamaci ’74 knew exactly how rewarding the internship could be and encouraged Macri to apply for the position. A senior editor at Parade, Balamaci learned about Macri through an article featuring her in Lafayette’s Alumni News magazine.

“When I read all about Marianna, her talents and research, I thought, ‘she is going to be a good journalist’ and I wanted to help her,” Balamaci says. “When I was working at Family Circle magazine, I oversaw ASME interns. It is a very prestigious internship program, very highly regarded, and very, very competitive. I love my career, and when I see that any young person is looking at ASME and a career in the field and is passionate about it, I automatically feel like I want to help out.”

Macri’s job responsibilities included work in many of Parenting’s departments.

“When I first started, I was working with Parenting’s Toys of the Year project, and I was basically in charge of gathering the information, reports, and comments coming in from all the mothers and developing a comprehensive report about the toys they were testing. Once that was over, I helped research and fact check a few stories. At one point, they gave me this article to do and it was supposed to be a little blurb, but I started doing research and found out about a new angle. I presented it to my supervisor and told her that it seemed to be a pressing issue in kids’ health, so she said, ‘okay, write it up.’ She gave it to the health editor and Parenting said they wanted to run the whole thing, so now I have a full-length article that’s going to run in the spring, which is very exciting.”

All ASME interns met weekly for a roundtable discussion with experts in the field.

“Each session had a different focus,” Macri explains. “The first was an ASME alumni reception and networking event, where we met someone who just decided to be a travel writer and after graduation started traveling to Central and South America. We talked to some freelancers who were really good and debunked the myth of freelancing and gave us their perspectives on the industry. We met with some editing executives like the editor-in-chief of Glamour at the Condé Nast headquarters and the editor-in-chief of Teen People, who is now the editor of Essence.”

Although Balamaci did not supervise Macri’s internship, the pair had an opportunity to meet in New York.

“Marilyn was great,” Macri says. “She took me out to lunch and we had a fantastic talk about journalism and magazines, about getting into the business, and about how much she loved it.”

Balamaci adds that having connections, many times through internship experiences, is essential to a successful journalism career.

“It is critical to have some type of internship or externship experience,” she says. “An internship helps students begin to understand the job of being a journalist, an externship less so, but for people who are uncertain about what they want to do, it exposes them to the career they are considering.

“Back in the dinosaur days, I leaned how to be a good journalist because I had summer jobs and jobs over breaks, but I never had an internship. Now, working in New York, I see bright young people and know that the ones who have those internships are the ones that are going to rise faster. And I know that when entry-level jobs are open and editors are looking to fill them, if someone was an ASME intern, they get separated from the other applicants immediately.”

In fact, Parenting asked Macri to continue freelancing for the remainder of the academic year.

“Throughout the summer, people constantly told me that ASME interns get jobs, even in tight markets,” she says. “But I did a lot of thinking over the summer, and at the moment I am looking to get a master’s and maybe even a Ph.D. in English. I have always loved English and have been involved with journalism, not just in college, but throughout my life. It’s something I’ve had a passion for, so I don’t see that ever ending. It’s too natural for me now and I’ve become too attached to it to say it’s a career path that I will not be doing, so I plan on continuing to freelance when I go to graduate school. And if I do end up getting a Ph.D., I would still like to be active in the magazine. If I don’t get accepted to graduate school, then I definitely plan on applying to some of these magazine jobs.”

Macri believes that continuing her education will benefit her journalistic pursuits.

“I don’t see having an advanced degree as being separate from journalism,” she says. “I’m studying English and the arts and that’s intrinsically connected to arts journalism. Even my senior thesis – which is on how the American immigrant child encapsulates certain anxieties, fears, and hopes – links the two. I’ve always had a problem with the separation of academia and journalism, with academics writing for other academics and journalists writing for the public. Why can’t academics write for a more general audience? I really think the best journalism is inspired by serious research.”

As a sophomore, Macri presented her research on the early American newspaper as a source of both entertainment and news at the 18th annual National Undergraduate Research Conference. Last year, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States. She received the Gilbert Prize, given for outstanding achievement in English, at the 2005 Honors Convocation. She has been an actress in College Theater productions of The Club, The Real Inspector Hound, and The Cherry Orchard. She is a volunteer reading tutor through the Landis Community Outreach Center and has been a phonathon volunteer.

She is a graduate of the Villa Maria Academy.

Selected from among Lafayette’s top applicants, Trustee Scholars like Macri have distinguished themselves through exceptional academic achievement in high school. They receive from Lafayette an annual minimum scholarship of $7,500 ($8,000 effective with the Class of 2009) or a grant in the full amount of their demonstrated need if the need is more than $7,500.

Categorized in: Academic News