True Confessions of an O/B Intern

Learning the ropes at Outside Bozeman.

by Meghan O'Neal

I shuffled into the Outside Bozeman office, laptop clutched to my chest, my stomach in knots.

“Um, hi, I’m Meghan. The new editorial intern,” I said to the guy with the desk closest to the door, my voice barely above a whisper.

He directed me to a small room in the back of the office, covered with Post-its, laptops, and magazines. Managing Editor Dave sat on a couch in front of me, tapping away at his keyboard. He looked up when I entered. “Welcome to Outside Bozeman,” he said. “Have a seat.”

Goofing around on the new Big Sky Adventure Zipline 
Goofing around on the new Big Sky Adventure Zipline

After a couple of hours, I left the office with an armful of back issues to read, dozens of articles from the brand new issue to upload to the website, and the thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Turns out, I had gotten myself into one hell of a learning experience.

Outside Bozeman carries the mentality of a true Bozeman company: work hard, play harder. As an intern, hard work reaps rewards, lazy work earns shitty assignments. Although the internship is unpaid, opportunities abound for outdoor adventures, gear reviewing, and free entrance to events (let’s face it, these are the places your money would end up anyway). The only catch? You must earn it. You get from your internship what you put in.

Taking photos for the Pimpin' the Pocket Guide photo contest 
Taking photos for the Pimpin' the Pocket Guide photo contest

During my time at O/B, I spent hours organizing spreadsheets, did gruntwork moving boxes, and yes, was even sent on coffee and lunch runs. However, I also attended the Cold Smoke Awards, pioneered the new Big Sky Adventure Zipline, and received many gift certificates to Bozeman businesses. On top of trips and assignments, I wrote for both the O/B and MSU Pocket Guide blogs, giving me essential writing experience, wrote articles for the MSU Pocket Guide, the new fishing guide Cast, and I profiled a local artist in the Fall 2013 issue. As I contributed more to the operation, the editorial team helped me improve my writing, taught me the type of writing editors look for, and guided me towards clearer, more concise articles. The internship provided the opportunity to experience how a publication works, and what it's like to be an editor while doing the things I love. I leave with a much stronger portfolio and a more solid grasp on the industry.

At the beginning of my internship, I was an easily intimidated college kid whose sole office experience was dealing with the MSU registrar, and my editorial experience involved composing half-assed articles for fake publications in my undergrad courses. Here at the end, I find myself a more confident writer, editor, and person. While I still have much to learn as a writer, my internship at Outside Bozeman gave me the tools to move forward in the editorial world, and provided a solid step towards my journey to become a professional writer.

Spreading the word at Bobcat Fest 
Spreading the word at Bobcat Fest

If you’re looking for a fun, useful internship, and you’re not afraid of a little hard work, Outside Bozeman is the place for you. It's not for the faint of heart, and you’ll know when you make a mistake (you don’t know fear until Mike sits down at your desk, looks at you, and asks, “Why am I here?”); but from those mistakes come invaluable lessons you won't find in a classroom. It’s exciting, scary, at times overwhelming, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Think you've got what it takes? Outside Bozeman offers internships in photography, design, editorial, and marketing. Check out this document, and email [email protected] for more info.

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