On Interning at Island Press: Conspicuous Consumption

When I was offered the web and social media internship at Island Press, I jumped at the chance to gain an inside look at an academic press. I began my internship knowing very little about marketing or social media branding. I vividly remember my first day at Island Press because it was the first time I had heard “conspicuous consumption” used as a technical term instead of the midnight pizza delivery orders to my house. This was my first delve into the world of environmental issues and modern terms and technologies. I had a lot to learn.

In my first week, I created social media snippets for our newest IP authors and even got to communicate with the authors about contributing to the website. As I researched the authors and their causes, I began to sense the top priority issues of our authors and their respective fields. Eventually, I gained a more complete picture of how these issues overlapped—how our government has chosen to respond to these environmental problems—and how much there still is to do.

Over the course of the three months I spent at Island Press, I gained training on every task that I had to complete. I finished my internship with a working knowledge of HootSuite, Excel, and Photoshop—the very programs I had been hoping to learn since many marketing job applications ask about familiarity with these programs.

One of the most fascinating parts of the internship was an Island Press presentation in which each department—production and development, IT, editorial, etc.—were able to discuss their respective jobs in the publishing process. I gained a much better sense of the relationships between the department and how they support and rely on one another. The presentation also allowed me to better define my own role as part of the marketing team as well as piqued my interest in other aspects of publishing that I might want to explore in the future.

My favorite part of my internship was updating the blog. I was asked to research and come up with different authors and articles each week matching the article to the author who would be most interested in it. As a marketing team, we would decide on the most pressing environmental issues of the week and the authors we would ask to write on them. Part of my job was speaking directly to authors via email and engaging the general public in our publications and events. The best moments for me were when an author would respond to my email in a matter of minutes exclaiming that the article was exactly what they had been researching and how excited they were to provide commentary on it.

I think being connected to people who are so passionate about the work that they do makes the job that much more interesting and the IP authors are not a crowd that lacks in passion. After my internship, I have a much better handle on marketing and environmental issues—but more importantly, I have had the privilege of interacting with the people behind the books and their stories are nothing short of exceptional.