What were my responsibilities?
As the summer news page design intern at the Omaha World-Herald, I started designing in the News section with Money pages and then moved to Midlands – the World-Herald’s equivalent of a Region section. I got really lucky, because I was able to jump in and design my first week in Omaha. You can learn all the tools and ask all the questions, but it’s when you sit down to work with everything that it all falls into place.
What did I like the most?
Omahans are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Everyone was offering to help from the moment I set foot in the newsroom, and that was incredibly encouraging! I asked a million questions throughout the course of the day, because there was always someone who was able to help or even just teach me how to load the printer. I must have driven everyone nuts, but they hid their annoyance well haha!
What did I like the least?
The fluctuating hours made it difficult to establish a routine. Because I got to design every section, some days I worked day shifts, and others nights. It was fairly inconsistent week to week. However, I know friends who were bored out of their minds working 9-5 jobs. I know that if I had worked the same hours every day, I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much experience as I did. I really enjoyed that everyday was something new.
What did I learn?
So much! I value white space even more than before I got to Omaha. I was always sketching thumbnails and asking for suggestions before I put anything on the page because I learned to prioritize asking for feedback. I don’t think that asking for help means you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s super helpful for someone to point out a layout you might not have thought of because the first idea isn’t always the best one. I was there to learn from people who knew more than me, so I just wanted to take it all in!
It’s important to get an idea for how elements might fit, but on the other hand, I now know that sometimes playing around with the shape of photos or text is the best way to get a feel for the page. One day, a 6-column photo dominated the page, and then the rest fell into place. Other days, an article without photos needed prominence. I tried to let the content dictate the design.
What was my biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was designing 1A during my last two weeks of the internship. It felt like yesterday that I was discussing my goals for the summer with Tim Parks and Dave Elsesser on the first day, and suddenly, I was designing 1A and preparing to leave. 1A felt like the culmination of the summer. It was the last section I designed, and I would not have been ready for that pressure twelve weeks prior. I’m so lucky to have found an internship where they trusted I wouldn’t cover a front in Comic Sans. I always felt like my opinion was valued, and you don’t find that everywhere.
Grdina is a senior at Indiana University.