Transfer Student Neil Strebig is an Editorial Intern for Pittsburgh Magazine Thursday, July 21, 2016
Meet Neil Strebig
Internship: Editorial Intern, Pittsburgh Magazine
Major: B.A. in Journalism
Graduating: May 2017
Hometown: Easton, Pa.
High school: Freedom High School
College activities: The Globe and WPPJ
Previous internship experience: Reporting/Writing Intern, The Northside Chronicle
Hobbies/interests: Comic books, video games, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the L.A. Dodgers
LinkedIn: Neil Strebig
How did you land your internship with Pittsburgh Magazine?
Honestly, it was a bit of a shot in the dark. When I first moved out here two years ago, Pittsburgh Magazine and Whirl Magazine were two publications that immediately caught my interest. I've always wanted to do editorial work and those two struck me as the two best magazines in the area, so I would routinely check to see if they were hiring or accepting applications.
Last fall, I took a chance and emailed Lauren Davidson, the magazine's associate editor, with my cover letter and resume. She responded and encouraged me to stay in touch with her for upcoming opportunities, and so I did. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tell us about your experience as an editorial intern.
I was brought on by Hal Klein, associate editor and resident food critic. I've spent most my professional life as a chef working in the service industry, so my background in that - in conjunction with my current education - seemed to pair best working with Mr. Klein. I have the opportunity to work with him and Richard Cook, our online editor. We discuss story ideas and I get to assist in the coverage. Most of my work is contributing articles for the "412 Blog" or the "Best of" section of the magazine's website. I also work closely with the other editorial interns and we collaborate with the entire staff.
Why did you choose Point Park University?
I didn't know much about Point Park before I transferred here. I knew it was a bit of an artsy school, but the reasonable tuition cost was really the main reason I decided to transfer here. After being here for a little over a year, I'm upset I didn't make the switch sooner. The staff is excellent and the student body may be one of the most diverse, friendly, creative and communal campuses I have ever been on. I'm very fortunate and very proud to call myself a Point Park student.
How have your classes and Point Park experience helped you in this role?
All of the professors have done an excellent job preparing me for work in a real-world environment. I feel it is a bit different with communication majors, especially journalism, since the learning curve is really about learning how to approach and formulate a story while also keeping your artistic style as a writer. Professors Darlene Natale and Bill Moushey have done an excellent job teaching that contrast in journalism. I also have to thank my multimedia and video production professors Robin Cecala and Thom Baggerman. Because of them, I was able to put together a video piece about the Franktuary food truck. Learning how to shoot and edit video evolved my abilities as a journalist tremendously.
What are your career goals?
Naturally, it is to have a full-time writing gig at a publication like Pittsburgh Magazine. I thoroughly enjoy editorial work and the freedom it grants you. That isn't to knock newspaper writing and reporting, but such writing can be a bit systematic and somewhat formulaic. Editorial positions have always been a nice hybrid of traditional newspaper reporting and literary expression. If I could land a full-time, non-freelance position like such at a publication I admire, I'd be a happy camper.
What is your advice to prospective/current students?
Stay focused. There's always an ominous cloud of doubt looming over our heads. Whether it is the fear of failing a test, a course or being jobless with a degree after graduating - this doubt shrouds us to a point of unbearable circumstances. The only way to combat that is to not give up on yourself and your goals. You have to believe in yourself, your talents and your goals. Let that desire feed your creative drive and everything else falls into place. After all, I made a career change at the age of 25. I left my career as a chef to finish my education and pursue a career in journalism. It hasn't been easy, but I knew that I was a better fit in a newsroom than I was in a kitchen. I made that switch and haven't looked back since. So far it keeps getting better, but it all starts with knowing yourself and trusting your potential.
Photo by Shayna Mendez, a senior photojournalism major