What’s #NextUP in Publishing?

This week marks University Press Week, an annual celebration sponsored by the Association of University Presses. Next UP is this year’s theme. Organizers chose it to reflect the “constant spirit of learning, adaptation, and evolution” embodied by university presses. Today UAP joins the festivities with a post for the Next UP Blog Tour.

For what’s #NextUP in publishing, let’s take a look at UAP’s internship program.

The press has long welcomed as interns undergraduate and graduate students from our host institution, the University of Alabama. These students came to the press at the recommendation of their professors, volunteering hours of their time for one or more semesters (hours, we should note, on top of those already committed to their coursework, extracurricular activities, and jobs). Thanks to their interest, enthusiasm, and exceptional performance, new campus partnerships were formed and existing ones strengthened, allowing the press internship to evolve from a volunteer activity to a for-credit course option.

Through the English Department, undergraduate students can choose to make a year-long publishing internship part of their course of study. Students who complete the internship in the fall and spring semesters earn three credits toward an English major or minor and three elective credits. These interns are jointly managed by the press and Alabama Heritage magazine. (Previously, students could earn only three elective credits for interning at either UAP or AH.)

Students dedicate ten hours a week to the internship, where they learn about book and magazine publishing beginning with the life cycles of books and magazine issues. The magazine engages interns in fact-checking, photo research, and checking galleys and proofs. They are also asked to write posts for the Alabama Heritage blog, and, if they choose to do so, they write an Alabama Makers article.

At the press, students engage in a variety of activities through which they gain an understanding of operations across departments and at different stages of the publication process. Interns assist with conference research, manuscript preparation, data entry, and digitizing records. They check stages of proof, mark corrections, handle errata, fact-check and proofread catalog and cover copy, and more. Through these activities students advance their knowledge of Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat and become familiar with The Chicago Manual of Style.

Outside of internship hours, students complete a series of directed readings and reflections designed to complement their interest in publishing and further their knowledge of the industry. Students have used these readings to explore acquisitions, developmental editing, rights and permissions, copyediting, and writing. Among the most popular reading selections are titles from the Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing series, including What Editors Do? The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing, edited by Peter Ginna; The Business of Being a Writer, by Jane Friedman; and The Subversive Copy Editor, 2nd edition, by Carol Fisher Saller. At the end of each semester, students compose a reflection on their internship experience and assemble a portfolio of their reading responses and samples of their work.

The internship also provides students with opportunities to supplement their readings and hands-on experience. Over the course of the fall and spring semesters, students receive weekly emails featuring publishing industry–related information and professional development resources. They are invited to events such as the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show, which UAP last hosted in September–October of this year. For those who want to learn more about jobs in publishing, they can meet one-on-one with press and magazine staff.

The year-long for-credit publishing internship complements other publishing-related course-based and extracurricular opportunities provided by the English Department. These include the online literary journal Call Me [Brackets], the new Red Rook Press, and the online literary magazine of the English Honors Society Dewpoint.

The press also has had a long relationship with the Book Arts Program. The Design and Production Department hosts MFA student interns and welcomes visiting classes. This relationship has now expanded to include undergraduate graphic design students, who can intern for a semester and earn three course credits. Through the internship, students learn about book design, cover design, typography, and book production. They typically work on front cover designs, text design, converting jackets to covers, and reprint corrections.

Students who participate in these internship programs add to their resumes and portfolios, graduating from the University of Alabama with the knowledge and experience necessary to enter the publishing industry. These impressive students are what’s #NextUP in publishing.

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