An adventure in advocacy journalism

  • May 1, 2017

By Samantha Mercado                                        

Other than helping me see New York City and the LIRR in a new light, the past four-plus months that I’ve spent at BUST magazine have opened my eyes to new types of journalism. BUST magazine is a feminist publication that began in the 1990s at the height of third-wave feminism. As an avid feminist myself, I’ve been reading BUST since I was in junior high. Working with the publication has shown me a new side to the editorial process.

The J-school at Stony Brook emphasizes the production of unbiased, fact-based, straight news, which is something I’ve grown to love, but BUST opened me up to the notion that there’s more than one way to write the news. Being a loud and proud liberal, feminist publication, BUST does not shy away from sharing opinions on news and promoting advocacy journalism. This took me some getting used to, but, overall, I think it helped me find my voice within my writing.

Being an editorial intern, I initially didn’t know what to expect. I hoped I would be writing, but I knew from past experiences that not all internships let students contribute content. By the end of the internship, I had written over 50 stories for the BUST website and had one piece published in the print magazine itself. It is amazing to look onto a website you’ve been reading for years and see your own work, to see it being shared by others and used as a tool to inform. I had the opportunity to interview people from the film industry, fashion and politics.

Looking back on the internship, I had so many incredible opportunities given to me as assignments and the flexibility to pitch and pursue my own stories. I wish I had taken advantage of the opportunity to pitch my own stories earlier; it wasn’t until my last two months that I pushed myself to pursue stories I wanted and had pitched, and my colleagues at the magazine were incredibly supportive. Had I known before that it was that simple and would make my work stand out, I would have been pitching from the beginning.

For incoming students looking to start an internship with BUST: I encourage you to apply. Travelling from Long Island to BUST’s Brooklyn offices can be daunting, but the amount of experience and freedom that the publication gives you are worth it. Aside from doing the occasional photo shoot drop-off and errand, you are treated as a real reporter. More than anything else, your input in the newsroom is taken seriously when deadlines come.

It definitely helped that the women I worked with shared my views, but one thing I really loved about working at BUST was that they were always open to discussion. Whether it was a story I loved or a piece I wasn’t a fan of, they wanted feedback and incorporated it into the magazine.

I consider myself lucky to have formed such strong bonds with the editors and reporters at BUST magazine and feel that they genuinely want to see and help me succeed. I will most definitely keep in touch with the BUST team and freelance for them in my spare time after I graduate. The internship broadened my knowledge on things ranging from abortion legislation to immigration policy. I feel like a more competent reporter and am certain I can work on daily (sometimes hourly) deadlines. If you are looking for an internship that will treat you as a reporter, a member of the team and not just “some intern,” then BUST is the place for you.