A rough start is how I would describe my start into my last semester at City Tech. The pressures of responsibilities at home and school contributed to that. On top of that, finding an internship was difficult. Most of my searches for an internship were on Indeed and Open Lab’s Communication Design Internship Coordination Site. I saw a few promising offers on Indeed but unfortunately there was no success. While my search did continue late into February, I found success on Open Lab. The organization is called Women’s Press Collective (WPC).
The Women’s Press Collective is a non-profit organization that focuses on producing and promote news and media for local communities in NYC. They are in the Bronx on Heath Avenue, but this is not their only location. There have sister organizations in California, Europe, the Caribbean and Central America. They provide a voice for locals and highlight events in the community that big media corporations tend to ignore. They use print media as their primary form communication. WPC curates to a diverse clientele. It can range from issues concerning the housing market in NYC to someone making a calendar for their own organization. I am currently an Intern/ Volunteer at WPC.
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WPC is a non-profit organization. Many of the people who work there are volunteers, including myself. I did not go through an interviewing process, but I did receive an orientation. I met my supervisor and another intern on my first day. My supervisor introduced me to their equipment, the different rooms and the other volunteers who came in. My work usually consists of helping with clients, recording information, designing for different events, and getting familiar with different machines. Weekends are usually when they print. Being familiar with the machines is very useful on those days.
My work doesn’t only include design and working with clients. WPC is an ever-changing environment. We’re constantly changing around furniture, and different machines to better optimize our output of service. When it comes down to moving heavy objects, I’m the muscle. I don’t mind it because the changes do make a significant change in our workflow. We expanded the design space to give volunteers and clients more room. The printer is quite large, so it was moved to give the printing room more space. Which allowed us to better set up, sort paper and prepare ink.
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What’s The Workplace Like
The work at WPC is always in person, due to most of the work being hands on. Many of the safety-regulations at WPC are encouraged so I haven’t had any concerns. The building looks quite small on the outside but moderately spacious inside. There are two main rooms. The main room meant for design work, meetings, and lunch. The second room is meant for printing. The atmosphere at WPC is very inviting and relaxed. There is not a big emphasis on clothing. My attire usual consists of casual clothing. It’s especially helpful on days that we’re printing.
A lot of the work at WPC is a team effort. Everyone is willing to help one another even if they’re not knowledgeable on the subject. As an example, we split in two teams when finishing WPC’s magazine. One team worked on printing the magazine, while the other team worked on assembling and quality checking the booklets. We completed thousands of booklets in just a couple of hours. The welcoming and supportive atmosphere makes completing projects like these possible. I’m really enjoying my time here.
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What I’ve Learned
Much of what I learned in my internship at WPC is communication. Since WPC is a public organization, I have the value of meeting new people from all walks of life. It also gives me a look into different communities that I might have never known about. I received a lot of technical skills from the college, but WPC has given me a better look at the audience I could be designing for. My technical skills are being tested, especially working with a limited number of materials.
An example of technical skills would be on the printing machine. The machine is Ryobi 3302M 2-color offset printing press. They’re many steps it takes to run this machine and many more to even start printing. This includes choosing the correct paper, loading the paper properly, preparing metal plates, loading the ink, and remembering how to operate the machine. Its hard to describe the process without showing but learning how to has been a rewarding experience. I feel like I’ve developed a new skill.
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The Major Event
A huge project at WPC was their International Women’s Day event in Brooklyn. It was unfortunate that I could not attend due to issues within my family, but the days leading up to it were hectic. Since this event was big for WPC it was all hands-on deck. Another intern and I worked on updating signs, creating new labels. I went with some of the other volunteers to secure pledges from restaurants in Manhattan for contributions. Calls were being made to inform people about the event. The venue the event was held, was set up days prior to it. While not being able to attend myself, I heard the event was a success.
Another event that took place was the Earth Day event. WPC went to gather more volunteers and show their support for Earth Day at an event near Columbia University. There were many interesting individuals such as retired environmental professors, medical students, people who work for the departments at Columbia. It was cool to see many different people show their support for Earth Day and WPC. Which is why I really enjoy interning here. Everything is supported and ran by the community. The effort put into this organization feels genuine.
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If I were to describe my performance, I would say its enthusiastic. I’m eager to learn unfamiliar processes and ask a lot of questions. My primary focus is to learn and contribute as much as I can while I’m there. I’d say I’m progressing smoothly. Though, I can be a little impulse in some respects, and I need to spend more time there. My goal is to address my impulsiveness and have a more streamlined schedule so I can give my internship more attention.
Though, I do feel like I have made a significant improvement in my confidence and judgement. Early in the internship I was nervous about making mistakes. Since many of the items were donated, I didn’t want to ruin them. I would ask a lot of questions and be very careful not to touch anything. As of recently, I’ve taken on more of a leadership role. I help to teach processes to new volunteers; I feel more confident working on my own. I can also see that Lisa trusts me a lot more. Especially on some of the more complicated tasks.
Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay
My main role model of this internship must be my supervisor. She’s very dedicated and helpful. By the way she works you can tell she really enjoys what she’s doing. She’s worked at WPC for well over 20 years and her accomplishments reflect that. Also, her ability to understanding and communicate with almost anyone is something to admire. I certainly want to adopt some of her traits, as they can help me build my own future.
My supervisor also has a keen eye in placing people where their strengths can be most useful. For a leader, I think it’s in an invaluable skill. Especially with people you may only see a couple times a week. Even if there are hiccups and mishaps within a certain section of the workspace everyone is learning and pushing themselves. It’s inspiring to see someone sincerely work for something they love, especially if it benefits the lives of others.
1a. At the Women’s Press Collective, they release an annual magazine containing their news about the community and new developments at WPC. These images are sourced by the members of WPC. The magazine also promotes different businesses who have donated to WPC. While they do credit the businesses who participate, their logos and pictures are used with permission.
1b. When starting at WPC, I did not sign an NDA or a confidentiality agreement. This due to the organization being non-profit. Much of the work is kept at the establishment on the computers, hard drives, or as physical documents. Much of the confidentiality is up to the discretion of the members. I personally only discuss finished or work that is made public.
2a. In the AIGA they touched on the “Release, warranties and stock photography.” This opened my eye into how not only how I protect myself when using photos/ stock photos, but do they protect the client as well. When using other creatives work, I stick to royalty-free sites. I read and abide by their terms and conditions. If do I use an image not sourced by my own camera, I make sure to credit the original photographer. This protects me and clients that I may be involved with.
2b. Diving into the Fairey Vs Associated Press case was interesting. Fairey’s decision to engage in the destroying and hiding the fact that he used unlicensed property is a wake-up call. Even if the legal action may not be as severe as some would like, his reputation and integrity will be called into question. Fairey also claims he had not benefited financially from the HOPE campaign. The article suggests that OBEY, his brand, had sold apparel with the design on it. If that is the case, The Associated Press is in much need of compensation.