testimonial by Bryce Wergin
I’m just going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume I know exactly what’s going on in your life. If you’re reading this, you're either just reading something to kill time at work or you're at least somewhat interested in becoming an intern for Hear Nebraska. This post is directed to the latter.
You’ve been following Hear Nebraska for a while. You’ve thought about trying to contribute, but there are just too many reasons not to and not enough time, right? WRONG. I’m going to spend the rest of this column telling you exactly why you’re incorrect. “Who is this guy anyway? How does he know what’s going on in my life?” That’s a good point. I’m just some guy. But I’m some guy who was in your shoes, or shoes similar to the ones you’re in, just a little over a year ago. If you’re still reading this, it means at least a part of you is seriously considering updating your resume, hitting “attach file” and sending that bad boy over to Hear Nebraska. I encourage you to do that right now. If you're still a little hesitant, please allow me to put some of your possible concerns to rest:
I don’t have time for an internship.
Yes you do. I want you to think about the time you spend “working” and “studying.” If you’re anything like I was in school, roughly 85% of the time spent studying is thinking about how much it sucks you have to study instead of (insert activity you’d rather be doing). This time can easily be spent working on things to help Hear Nebraska. I use the term “working” very loosely in this context. “Nah dude, I can’t come over and play Diablo 3, I’m super busy going to shows and interviewing that band I really like that’s playing here next month.” You get the idea. Also, your editors at HN are fully aware that you have other responsibilies. They know you can’t be working 24 hours a day. You’re given ample time before deadlines and unlimited helpful resources from all the awesome people you'll be working with at HN. You can also work from any place with an internet connection at any time that's convenient for you, so don’t worry about coming into an office every day. Isn’t it wonderful living in 2012?
I don’t think I’m good enough of a writer/editor/videographer to intern for HN.
That’s why it’s called an internship, my friend. It's how you learn and improve these skills. When I started interning for HN, I had zero journalistic experience. My degrees were in advertising and English, and the only experience I had writing something close to journalism was with the DailyER Nebraskan, which means I just structured fart and genital jokes in the fashion of something newsworthy. Needless to say, my first few attempts didn’t really “wow” any readers. But, I was willing to learn and ready to make an attempt to improve a skill I didn’t have a background in, and my editors were aware of this. I’m still no Klosterman, but I greatly improved my skills as a writer/interviewer during my time interning with HN and learned that no matter how experienced or talented a person may be, the willingness and effort to learn and improve is what’s important in developing whatever craft you may be pursuing.
And if you’re just too paralyzed with fear to even make an attempt, there is still somewhere between an ass-load and a shit-ton of behind-the-scenes stuff HN needs help with. You can help keep the calendar current and updated, lend your skills as a web-developer, or even just go around slapping stickers on walls and passing out fliers. The more you do, the more HN grows, and the longer our collective middle finger becomes to those on the coasts who think Nebraska is just a flyover state.
I don’t know enough about local music to contribute anything of value to HN.
That doesn’t matter. During your internship, you meet tons of artists from your city and see their sets multiple times. You pick up who is who and who plays what almost immediately. You’re also given the freedom to cover pretty much whatever you want, so even if it’s a major national act you really like just swinging through the Bourbon or Slowdown, you’ll be given the go-ahead to cover the show. Oh, what’s up, guest list?
Hear Nebraska also covers other local art events from time to time. For example, I wrote up a short preview for last summer’s Homegrown Film Festival, satisfying my inner cinephile and adding some diversity to my collection of work. If it's relevant to Nebraska's creative class and ties back to our music community, we want you to cover it.
I don’t really like music or developing relationships with awesome people.
You got me on that one. Don’t apply if that’s the case.
If you still haven’t submitted your application, here are a couple of experiences that made my internship with HN not only worth it, but one of the most fun and educational summers of my life. I'm hoping this will give you the proverbial nudge-out-the-door.
If you’re like me, there isn’t much that gets your nipples harder than a good punk show. It was June, and my internship with HN was just starting. We were hosting a fundraiser at Antelope Park in Lincoln after a last-second venue cancellation. The park’s little rec cabin was packed full of people, and we all congregated around the drums and amplifiers, which mixed all the sweat-musk together into something that smelled a bit like bad Mexican food does when you’re nauseous. All of the doors were propped open in a nearly futile attempt to battle the heat and humidity, but all that was put on the back-burner once Kill County started their set. Everybody there, performers and audience members alike, went hard for the show and had a fantastic time, including my buddy who was visiting from California and had no idea who was playing. The fundraiser featured Prayers for Atheists, and then also had a sets from fellow punk band Piss Poor and folk group Kill County, who are both from Lincoln and don't exactly sound 100 percent alike. But it didn't matter. The crowd was completely into every band that played that night. This was my first of many “I definitely made the right decision here” moments.
The Nebraska Music Retreat is another reason joining the HN family is so lucrative to your pleasure receptors. Staying in a prairie house, listening to live music with friends, rafting down one of the Midwest’s most gorgeous rivers, rolling around dirt roads in an old truck and finally getting around to getting baptized; these were some of the highlights of my trip last year. Yes, I said baptized. That’s right, I done been saved thanks to fellow intern and legally ordained reverend Casey Welsch. Even though we did it as a joke and I’m still not a religious person by any standard, there was something spiritual about feeling the ice-cold embrace of Smith Falls crushing down on my head and shoulders before being yanked out and asked, “DO YOU REJECT SATAN!?”
So take my advice or don't, but it was certainly the right decision for me. Coupled with a solid, sustained reference, the experience is definitely worth it. I hope if you're one of the "on-the-fencers" this column helps you make what I, some guy, think to be the correct decision in your situation.
Nebraska's nonprofit music media company is looking for crack-shot, enterprising, self-starting, multimedia content-producing interns. We aim to hire at least two multimedia interns, two editorial interns and one writing workhorse starting in August. We also have opportunities for editing, broadcasting and design interns should the right candidate apply.
Your computer will be your workplace, and you will help us cover, promote and document the state's music culture for 15-20 hours/week. Journalism, marketing or English majors are preferred, though others are accepted if they possess the following skills and attributes:
— Ability to produce quick, accurate copy or designed materials on deadline that, critically, do not bore;
— Understanding of social media and a proven ability to use it effectively;
— Diverse multimedia abilities (video, photo, audio, social);
— A knack for storytelling;
— Ability to communicate effectively and stay on task remotely;
— Desire to grow professionally and socially;
— Ability to generate engaging, compelling story ideas;
— Love of music (especially local).
The chosen candidate(s) will get:
— Tough edits that will make them stronger, more-skilled and -polished journalists;
— A portfolio full of dynamic multimedia clips;
— An opportunity to manage one of HN's social media channels;
— A flexible, production-focused schedule;
— The chance to be in the team and on the ground floor of a young, growing nonprofit;
— Free entrance into all HN-sponsored shows, and other concerts when possible.
photo by Lauren Schoendorf
photo by Matthew Masin
photo by Daniel Muller
Bryce Wergin is a contributor for Hear Nebraska. Hit submit already. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.