Book Publishing Operations: Spring 2007 Interns

15 Jan

With the school being closed for MLK day, tomorrow we officially begin the new semester full force given that all the interns will be in the office working this week. (Last week only the second-semester graphics interns and two of the editorial interns were around.) Every semester we have 10-15 interns—10 or so graphics and 2-5 editorial—and once they’re all working their regular 10-hour-a-week schedules there is a general hustle and bustle that isn’t around when it’s just the four of us full-timers.

Graphics Interns

Our graphics interns come from TSTC Waco’s Advertising Design & Print Technology (ADP) program. (So far I think we have 15 this semester.) The first-semester interns spend the first month or so—at least—working on training modules designed by Katherine Wilson, our former graphics specialist (and a former two-semester intern herself in the publishing office). These training modules cover the specific graphics we do and how we want them done: labeling and organizing files and folders, how to draw electronic schematics and line drawings of equipment using Adobe Illustrator, image cropping and manipulation with Adobe Photoshop, and some basic page layout using Adobe InDesign while, at the same time, following the official TSTC graphics guidelines as per TSTC’s Marketing & Communications department. Thankfully, given that it can take them a while to get through all this, we can usually get the good ones back for a second semester where, at that point, they can hit the ground running doing production work from the get go. And, certainly, much praise is due to Tony Taylor, ADP department chair, and his instructors for providing us with interns who have such well-developed skill sets by the time they reach us.

Editorial Interns

Our editorial interns come from the journalism and professional writing programs at nearby Baylor University. We have fewer of them and they are relatively well-versed in writing and editing—areas that are not as critically software dependent as graphics/design—so we can usually put them to work on production projects right away. Currently we have two editorial interns but I’m hoping—and I know Christopher Wilson, our editor, is hoping—that we pick up a couple more by the end of the week. This semester the two already we have, Jackie and Cathy, are working on articles for our semi-regular newsletter that we produce. After that we have a couple of ongoing projects they’ll be helping us with: producing the initial content for the first two issues of the forthcoming Emerging Technologies Review while also doing interviews and research for an official history of TSTC to come out next fall.

Final Thoughts

All of the interns—both graphics and editorial—are invaluable to allowing us complete as much work as we do. At the same time—and especially as an old English teacher—I try to keep in mind the inherent tension between their concerns and ours. That is, they are in the office for educational experiences relating to the job fields they want to go into; we are primarily concerned—or at least I’m primarily concerned—with the bottom line: getting the publishing operation into the black as soon as possible so that it is self-sustaining and, therefore, ensuring that we all have real job security. (Then again, seeing the ongoing daily impact of financial issues on work being done is probably the best real-world business lesson they could receive.)

No matter what, though, it is great to have new people kicking around the office every semester. We have all types of interns: non-traditional students (that is, old like me), young students just a year or two out of high school, affluent students and not-so-affluent students. (Baylor has a relatively upscale socioeconomic student body in comparison to TSTC). If it was just the four of us—me, Tammy, Chris, Grace—we’d probably get tired of staring at each other on a regular basis pretty quickly. But, with new interns in the office there are always new conversations, new ideas, new opinions about music and movies, and the generally upbeat atmosphere that comes from people doing the kind of work they really like to do.


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