Rising writer hones her craft with multifaceted journalism internship
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Rising writer hones her craft with multifaceted journalism internship

young woman with dark hair, smiling and wearing a pink sweater while holding a copy of TulsaPeople magazineWhen Julianne Tran, a political science major, signed on for a spring 2022 internship with TulsaPeople magazine, all she knew was that she wanted to write. Mostly about food, perhaps about people.

“I knew I was interested in food and culture, but I didn’t have much experience writing shorter, third-person articles,” Tran remarked. “I also just tended toward topics that I personally found interesting and didn’t do too much writing outside those interests.”

Before starting the internship, Tran had already spent a couple of years developing her writing skills at The Collegian, The University of Tulsa’s student newspaper, where she currently serves as variety editor and contributes stories. For The Collegian, Tran writes first-person pieces about baking, movies and other topics. These experiences, she believes, helped her discover her love for writing and prepare her for working at TulsaPeople.

Writing beyond the kitchen

Once her internship began in January, this ambitious senior was tasked with crafting more than just food pieces. Being assigned to cover myriad topics, including philanthropy events, FC Tulsa, cycling clubs and nonprofits, Tran quickly learned to be adaptable and versatile.

“In the first week, I was bombarded with emails from all directions: writing assignments, fact-checking, email replies. I was overwhelmed and thought, ‘How do adults handle all this?’” Tran laughed. She eventually discovered her groove and learned to cut out all the extra words and better manage her time.

Sample Tran’s versatile and engaging voice in these recent TulsaPeople articles:

“Call for celebration” – About the gala Uncorking the Cure for MS fundraiser

“A menu for all seasons” – On chef Justin Thompson and his restaurant Juniper

Tran’s internship supervisor at TulsaPeople was Morgan Phillips, the magazine’s senior editor. “Julianne is a skilled communicator who has impressed me with her writing talent and professionalism while interning with us,” said Phillips. “She is a high-capacity individual who works quickly and effectively. I was particularly impressed when Julianne pitched a wonderful story idea on international grocery stores to our editorial team and then seamlessly executed the idea as a multi-page feature.”

Author and cover model

After two months of interning, Tran not only found herself curious about all kinds of writing assignments she had never anticipated, she even found herself on the cover of some of them.

At the end of February, Phillips emailed Tran to ask whether she would be a stand-in for the March cover shoot at a local all-women’s coworking space. Never one to say no to new opportunities, Tran quickly agreed. “I thought I was just going to be a back of the head in the bottom left corner,” she said. Things turned out rather differently.

Arriving at the co-working space the next day, Tran walked in to find four other women looking much more prepared for a cover shoot. Following the photographer’s instructions, she moved around the space for different shots: a mug in her hand, looking intently at a laptop, taking a few steps for a walking picture.

“I really enjoyed being part of the photoshoot process,” Tran said. “I just never thought I’d be on that end of photoshooting!”

Tran, with a short stack of copies in hand, commented, “As proud as I am to be on the cover, I am most excited to see my writing in print.” She joked: “I guess I can add cover modeling to my resume, right under my favorite: author!”

While Julianne Tran took the initiative and organized the TulsaPeople internship on her own, all TU students and alumni are invited to get in touch with the experts at CaneCareers for help finding relevant internships and employment.