Memoirs of an Intern

As mentioned earlier, we’re in the market for a fresh crop of interns. If you’re interested, get to it. Meantime, here’s a farewell dispatch from intern Pablo Lastra (top row, far right), who leaves us today to return to school. Good stuff for your eyes:

FrontBurner Nation:

As my tenure as an intern comes to a close, it’s been suggested to me that I write about my experiences at D Magazine and sister magazine DallasCEO. Further, it’s been suggested that I make this “funny,” possibly to counterbalance the war of words between Schutze and Tim (my thoughts: it’s the Populist versus the People-ist — when media elites clash publicly, we all win a reprieve from workday ennui!). Anyway, in this hour of denouement, I look back on the sights, the sounds, and, to rip off This is Spinal Tap, yes, the smells, of journalism-izing at 4311 Oak Lawn.

Undoubtedly, the most public moment of my days here was the Steve Blow debacle, when journalism’s Pat Boone hinted that D‘s intern corps perhaps, um, fell short of reflecting the demographics of the city. Not surprisingly, this was followed by a self-congratulatory post by Blow where he posted pictures of the Belo Bunch so that the world could see just how much like a United Colors of Benetton ad they looked like. Now, I know some of the interns at DMN, and they’re fine reporters and writers and their output over the summer has been phenomenal (contrary to the impression one might get from “Internal Affairs,” these guys actually did more than just blog about snacks they enjoy), and now I’m also guilty of turning their ethnicity (like our supposed lack thereof) into a weapon to be wielded by our superiors against each other like a mace made of reporter’s notepads. For the record, as Tim pointed out in his actually-kinda-funny Last Hurrah column this month, I am Mexican (like, born in Mexico) and various other convoluted nationalities and backgrounds. As far as I could tell, I was the diversity in the intern pool, not that it ever made a difference in my experience here. In fact, the most notable experience I had as far as being different goes involved not my origins but my maleness, as the women at D called upon me to execute the cockroaches terrorizing the flip-flop-clad among us.

And how will I forget the daily question of what to wear to work? Not to go all GQ on this, but no guidance was given (or asked for — so perhaps mea culpa), so all I had to go by was what other people wore, and I’m not sure I ever quite found a happy medium. (Sample thought: “Is a band t-shirt acceptable? If I wear a suit tomorrow, the two outfits will cancel each other out and it will be like I wore business casual.”) The environment here is, as the kids say, decidedly “chill,” but I assert that when the situation called for it (and sometimes, just ’cause), the nice clothes were trotted out.

I got to work on many stories and I’m proud of my contributions (look for my upcoming feature in DallasCEO — it’s about videogames and stuff!), and it was a thrill to work with the people whose bloggings I’d followed for some time. Writing for D and CEO also gave me the selfish joy of seeing my name in print in new avenues (I have been a contributor for the Fort Worth Weekly for three years now) and meeting more of the media-types in town. My editors at DallasCEO, Adam McGill and Jessica Jones, were great at giving me fun things to work on and the space and trust to write about them the way I wanted (my relationship to DallasCEO goes back to last year when I freelanced for them), and Tim at D has been patient with an oft-delayed story that I still promise will be awesome once I finish it. Look for it in a couple of months. I hope this is the beginning of a lasting relationship with the D crew, and I thank all for the opportunity and the kindness that were given to me.

Some farewell words for and about the peeps here:

Eric: Keep rockin’ the iPhone. Pay no heed to the hataz’ jealous words, its battery will last forever.

Paul: Keep rockin’ the tallness. It’s no coincidence that the ceilings here are so high. Also, you and I were alt-weekly brothers before and are now magazine brothers. I got your back, bro.

Stacey: I’m not sure if people know this, but Stacey is, like, really busy most of the time. I still hope to see more posts from her on FrontBurner, and I will always look back with fondness at the experience of seeing Joyce Carol Oates pontificate from the rostrum at the writers’ conference this summer with you and the skeleton D contingent.

Sarah: Hi! Can I have a magazine?

Nancy: Nancy always smiled at me and she shares the foodie treats she gets with everyone here. Your cubicle is amazing.

Zac: I don’t think we ever did anything but nod at each other in passing, but I look forward to reading your stuff and actually talking to you someday. I also liked your Observer work back in the day. Actually, I’ll make sure we are introduced to each other before I leave today.

Tim: Tim has a tattoo of Where the Wild Things are on his calf, which I noticed the day he wore shorts and flip-flops (I was wearing a tie that day — IJS). This is pretty cool. You’re a cool cat and good for a War of the Words with just about everybody in town.

Wick: Thanks for the instructive Magazine 101 lesson, which made me appreciate the industry in a new way. That’s the goal we should have as journalists, to put the world in context and help people see things in a different way.

Jessica: The day may come when YouTube dries up and we have to amuse ourselves in some other way. Until then, I will send you some of my favorite videos to entertain you during the slow days. Also, you’ve been a great editor and a friend.

Adam: Thanks for opening the door for me here. I hope that in the future we will work together again. You furnish the ideas and I furnish the words.

To my fellow interns: Remember the good times.

Cut to black.


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