Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aggie senior goes from Texas Monthly to rodeo writing

I was chatting recently with Betsy Ellison '10 on Twitter (she's @betsyellison) and asked her to tell me a little more about her internship last summer at Texas Monthly. Below, you can read her description of what sounds like a great experience, and also what TM writer Pamela Colloff has to say about Ellison (hint: It's really good).

Right now, Ellison is interning at the Houston Rodeo. This week, she's the executive office intern, helping everything run smoothly, and last week, she was interviewing rodeo winners as well as stock exhibitors and buyers, plus helping put together a daily newsletter.

She blogs at Betsy's Ramblings and contributes to the Texas Country Music blog. And she'll graduate in May, so please feel free to help her out with any job connections you might know of.

Now, here's Ellison on her TM internship:

I love when people ask about my time at Texas Monthly; I could talk about it for DAYS -- 140 characters Twitter allows won't even scratch the surface.

I was thrilled to move to Austin this past summer and work next to what I personally think are some of the best writers in the state...my journalistic idols! The TM office is very laid back, professional and at times very relaxing (not typically during deadline week though). As interns we were treated just like any other staff member and my favorite part was being greeted by Evan Smith (by name) every morning he would come in! It made me feel noticed and needed when the president of this esteemed magazine knew my name and took the time to talk with me every so often--as well with the rest of the interns.

Every month the interns got to sit in on the editorial meetings and see how stories developed from ideas to the pages; we even got to submit our own ideas each month and shockingly, one of my ideas was talked about! Beyond exciting! I also had the chance to write for the Web site and have two interviews published in the print magazine as well, one of which was just came out in the March issue!

I was the only Aggie intern, and I have to say that this was quite a treat because MAJOR preparation and interviewing was going on for Pam Colloff's oral history of the Bonfire--I was like her personal intern on this story for Aggie terminology, traditions, etc. She and I became very close and still keep in contact quite often!

As you can probably tell from the length of this e-mail, my experience at Texas Monthly was more than exciting...it was a real life dream come true.

And now here's a word from Pamela Colloff, longtime Texas Monthly writer whose piece marking the 10-year anniversary of the deadly A&M Bonfire collapse appeared in November:

I’m a huge fan of Betsy’s. She is one of the most enthusiastic, hard-working people I have ever worked with. She saved my cover story on Bonfire at the very last minute, in fact.

Our fact-checker wasn’t able to confirm the very first sentence of my story, which began with a quote from an old Corps handbook. Betsy had already left the TM internship by then and was back on campus. I made a panicked call to her a few days before my story went to press and told her about the predicament we were in.

She went to the Cushing Memorial Library between classes and tracked down the old Corps handbook I had been quoting—even after the librarians there (mistakenly) insisted there was no 1947 handbook at Cushing—and read it back to our fact-checker on the phone. So she literally saved my story!