You can see some of Thomas Sedano’s writing in the Spring and Summer issues of Carnegie Magazine. His feature article on the restoration and significance of the Ivory Eagle, a 1913 gift of the Heinz family, (Carnegie Museum of Natural History) will appear in the upcoming Summer 2023 issue. Sign up to receive it by email at https://carnegiemuseums.org/carnegie-magazine/
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh (a dedicated mentoring partner for over 15 years) answered the call with an assist from Ashley Brandolph, volunteer coordinator, from the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History who contacted Chris Fleisher, Carnegie Magazine’s editor and associate director of publications. “Doing an internship is something I had been thinking about for quite a while,” Mr. Fleisher recalls. “It was a great opportunity to have someone who, even if they knew little about journalism, to come in and offer their fresh perspective while they learned the tools of journalism.”
When City High senior Thomas Sedano went to Carnegie Magazine for his mentored internship, it was like stepping onto an already moving treadmill. That’s because the magazine was already mid-issue when his position was quickly organized.
On his first day, Thomas had to learn the basics of proofing and editing. “He was coming into the middle of the process,” according to Mr. Fleisher. “So the first thing we’re going to do is work on proofing and editing. I found some materials online so he could learn what the proofing marks are.” (Thomas still keeps his cheat sheet of proofreader’s marks as a handy reference.) “I wanted him to not just observe, but to be involved.”
Involved is an understatement. Thomas began his internship by immersing himself in all things Carnegie, visiting each of the four museums on a guided private tour. “Not only were the tours fun and informational,” he recalls, “My mentor gave me assignments to search for story ideas, like what caught my eye in each place. He asked me, ‘If you were to make a story here, what would it be about?’”
This 4.23 GPA senior would eventually complete 2 different articles and contribute to several others during his internship at Carnegie Magazine. In actuality, Mr. Fleisher, created a 13-week career growth plan for Thomas Sedano which was a living document that he continued to tweak throughout Thomas’s internship. The plan not only offered the experience of a seasoned professional writer and editor, but also educational guidance from many perspectives.
Mr. Fleisher felt it was important to get Thomas ready to work in a workplace. “From day one, Thomas conducted himself professionally and came prepared to work. But there are some skills—knowing the terminology, how to arrange and conduct an interview, how to structure a story and fact check—that you just have to learn on the job.”
Even though Thomas’s internship experience started toward the end of the process with editing, proofing and fact-checking articles, it came full circle, embracing the entire process of creating a magazine. This included finding sources of interest, generating articles, and producing quality writing worthy of this 96-year-old publication.
Looking back over his Carnegie Magazine experience, Thomas observes, “I guess I was very used to writing essays, but writing something for a magazine is like a completely different style. So I was able to learn this style a lot more… I’d have to remember this is a magazine and I’d have to focus on a specific aspect of the story and specific details of the story, instead of trying to cover a lot of things.”
The role of the mentor was instrumental, Thomas found him inspiring, especially impressed by Mr. Fleisher’s amazing time-management skills, juggling so many items at one time, but still taking the time to help him learn. “He was always there showing me how to shorten things, how to punch it up more, how to pinpoint on one thing. He was always there to make sure I was on track. He would tell me about the style that the magazine uses.”
Not only did Thomas learn about writing style, proofing, and how to edit to pack brevity while keeping detail, but also how to find the “story” in the first place. This meant making sure to immerse himself in the museums to look for stories that needed to be told. In a nutshell, to become a journalist.
City High’s Internship Manager Patti Kretschman, is shown here (on right)) with Thomas’ mentor and facilitator of the first-ever internship program at Carnegie Magazine, Chris Fleisher, associate director of publications and editor of Carnegie Magazine and City High senior Thomas Sedano.