Smithsonian Digital Internship, December 2016

Throughout this semester of digitally interning with the Smithsonian Magazine, I have gained many valuable insights into the workings of a large publication.  Being an intern away from the office and the group is difficult, but many of the writers for the magazine happen to be freelancers, so they are also rarely in the office, if ever.  I have enjoyed watching my work go from idea to draft to published piece.

My internship advisor has helped guide me through the creative process for the Smithsonian Magazine.  He has encouraged me to come up with various ideas that might be able to incorporate the different types of digital humanities tools that I’ve used within my graduate certificate program.  The first tool that we chose was TimelineJS.  The story idea lent itself to the tool format very well, since it was about the history of Columbus Day.  Having used TimelineJS during my certificate program, it was not difficult to put the timeline together.  After we agreed on my story topic and the tool to use, I started to research.  After putting together all of my research, I started to input the information into my spreadsheet for TimelineJS.  Over a few weeks, I shared the spreadsheet with my advisor, and he provided commentary on changes or additions to make.  Once the timeline was complete and I had drafted the introduction to accompany it, I sent it to my advisor.  He edited the draft, and uploaded it to the Smithsonian Magazine website.

For my second project, my advisor chose StoryMap, a tool I had never used before.  He asked me to provide story ideas utilizing StoryMap.  With the impending election, I thought a history of women’s suffrage in the United States would be appropriate.  After researching, I created a map timeline of the women’s suffrage movement.  This project was a bit more hands-off on the part of my advisor, he gave guidance at the beginning and at the end of the project, which lasted about three weeks.

The insights I’ve received into the creative process for projects with the Smithsonian Magazine have been incredible.  Watching my work go from just an idea to a published work was very gratifying, especially knowing how much time and effort went into them.  It’s not a singular act to have a story published through the Smithsonian Magazine, or any major publication, and I’m glad to be a part of a team that’s able to put the ideas into publishable action.

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