Rewind to spring 2009, and Shelby Lee Walsh was working at a law office, pondering the next steps in her career. She didn’t know what she wanted to be in life, but she had mad writing skills, ambition and a penchant for discovering stellar YouTube videos. Already a Trend Hunter reader, she stumbled upon our Toronto journalism internship postings and immediately wanted to learn more.
Unlike some applicants, who were unprepared, Shelby put in the effort to prove how much she wanted the role. By the time we interviewed her, Shelby had a Trend Hunter portfolio with 25 published articles. With 100 applicants in competition for the journalism internship, that sort of ambition stood out. She was hired, and ecstatic.
Before kicking off the journalism internship, we invited everyone to a party and a half day of pre-training. The semester began!
In her first three months, Shelby added nearly 900 trends, adding a certain "razzle dazzle" to the site. She described her first months by noting, "I was surprised by how much of a training program they had created for us. Before Trend Hunter, I had only written articles for school, so it was exciting to see my work published and attracting views. A couple of my first articles were tweeted by Ashton Kutcher, driving half a million views to the site… Over the course of the summer, my articles drove more than 2,000,000 views - more than I expected from an internship."
After the first month or two, our journalism interns began editing and publishing our daily issue. Each intern was responsible for a different day of the issue. "It was exciting to be responsible for the issue and know that 300,000+ people were looking at my day’s work. Editing had the most dramatic impact on my own writing skills because it forced me to think more about HOW I write my articles, and I learned from the flair of the other journalists."
Each intern also had an extra project, including celebrity interviews and trend report marketing. Shelby’s project was script writing for Trend Hunter TV.
"Scriptwriting is quite fascinating because you need to be concise, colorful and entertaining, but it also needs to sound natural when read aloud. I spent a lot of time massaging the words, but learned a lot in the process."
By August, Shelby began her next project, the EXPLOITING CHAOS book launch.
"The book launch was super intense. After sending out hundreds of requests, I lined up 120 leading bloggers to help us with the launch. We let each of them feature a preview for their readers, and more than 100,000 people downloaded the book. There were also thousands of tweets and dozens of big media articles. It was pretty sweet to put in the effort and then see such big results come through. It was probably one of the biggest online book launches."
As September approached, the book launch became even bigger with the idea of including a publicity stunt. Shelby’s role was to help design the stunt and then coordinate the work to make sure it actually happened.
"Just when it seemed like the journalism internship couldn’t get any bigger, we decided it was time for a publicity stunt. I was a part of calls with five different PR stunt firms, but eventually we decided to make a stunt with our Trend Hunter TV crew at The Secret Location. I’d been working with them on the TV scripts, so it was cool to come up with an actual stunt. We decided to make an Epic High Five Battle between Kanye West and Ashton Kutcher. With just one week to prepare, we needed to finalize the details, acquire costumes and recruit enough friends to make it happen. The ending video rocked, and it generated 140,000 views on YouTube PLUS 300,000 views on Trend Hunter. I was a bit anxious getting it all coordinated, but to be a part of the event and watch it happen was pretty sweet. It was the highlight of the summer, for sure." Check it out HERE.
Today, Shelby is a full time editor, and is coordinating our Toronto internship recruiting. Her advice: "Take the application process seriously. Too many applicants feel a sense of entitlement and they don’t take the time to learn about our site. Read ABOUT TREND HUNTER and build a portfolio of trends. Journalism internships are about building skills to set you up for a new career. Since the Trend Hunter internship kicks ass, take the steps to make sure you land the role. Good luck! :)"
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