of Sarah Kotzman, Intern, Whirl 12/05
Story by Jon Ebel
PPW/Writing Center Publicity Intern
Photo by Rachel Hayes
Sarah Kotzman is a photographer and writer, so it was only natural
for her to choose an internship with Whirl Magazine. At
Whirl, Sarah helps promote all the “hot happenings”
in Pittsburgh, including fundraising galas, celebrities, fashion,
events, new club openings, divine dining and more. The internship
was suggested to Sarah during her freshman year when she was first
looking toward a career in the magazine business. Three years later,
and a senior, she finally applied.
She soon found out that it was not going to be an easy internship
to acquire and had to be somewhat aggressive to get it. Sarah works
with quite a few interns at Whirl, so she can imagine there
must have been many applicants. In her determination to get an internship,
she contacted Whirl a few times by phone and emailed the
managing editor a small portfolio (as the editor requested). During
her interview, Sarah brought along her complete portfolio and finally
got a spot on the Whirl staff.
Sarah mostly works with young women who have fun, fashionable, productive
personalities, so she fits in quite well! Many of her coworkers
are only a few years ahead of her, giving her a glimpse of an attainable,
successful future. The busy atmosphere allows her to be in touch
with other employees at all times. “I am constantly surrounded
by other employees,” she says. “There are about three
computers per room, and always high-heels clicking in and out. It’s
a stimulating atmosphere to me because I know that everyone is also
working hard. Plus, you can just look up from your computer and
get instant input.”
Every day is different at Whirl. Some days, Sarah is out
of the office photographing from downtown to Shadyside. Other days
include writing or making calls. Sarah schedules the photo shoots
and directs them herself. She has taken photos of chefs and their
culinary masterpieces (which she eats after the photo shoot) all
over Pittsburgh for their upcoming annual food issue. Her photographic
expertise was also needed in critiquing potential November covers.
Other responsibilities include writing blurbs; contacting potential
advertisers; and brainstorming with the editors, writers and publishers.
One of Sarah’s proudest moments occurred when she came up
with the key word for a title piece. Once she said the word to her
brainstorming team, a sense of awe engulfed the room and the publishers
said, “That’s it!” Her coworkers were quite impressed.
Sarah enjoys going to work, even if she does not get paid. She enjoys
the dynamics, topics, and wonderful people at Whirl. She
feels more comfortable going into the real world with an internship
on her resume. “This little taste of the real world has made
me 10 times more excited for graduation,” she says.
Sarah is a Nonfiction Writing major with a concentration in Photography.
She is also working toward the PPW certificate and attends the Art
Institute of Pittsburgh for Digital Design. Her ultimate goal is
to be the editor of a major magazine and a business owner. She would
like to have fun in and out of the office in a spectacular oceanfront
mansion with floor-to-ceiling windows so she can see her beautiful
motorcycle parked out front.
“My writing major has allowed me to expand my creative side,
but I felt I needed to focus more on the business side of writing,”
she says. “The PPW certificate is an excellent preparation
for the real world, and inspires a great portfolio.”