What I learned that summer

I got my internship the old fashioned way. My dad asked his friend Paul Berenson if I could work at his ad agency the summer between my junior and senior years at Newhouse. The other intern was the son of one of their big customers, a company that made agar.

I worked on a brochure for that company. I did redrafts on affinity marketing letters for group life insurance from (I think) Massachusetts Life to various alumni associations. I helped out in the studio with paste-ups and shooting stats (now you have clues as to when this was and how old fashioned it all was).

That summer Berenson & Isham moved to larger offices so the biggest chunk of my time was spent packing and then unpacking boxes. My internship also introduced me to types of marketing professionals I’ve been working with ever since: the misunderstood genius copywriter slumming it in ad land. The desperate, overworked and underpaid mechanical artist (now called jr ads, studio assistants or Mac monkeys.) The miracle working production manager. The rock solid office manager equally loved and feared who actually ran the place. The senior partner who’s more ego than action and the junior partner who’s more action than ego. And the account executive who is always out at a meeting.

What I learned as an intern has been useful to me throughout my career. Five of the agencies I’ve worked for have changed addresses while I worked there.

Schifino Lee

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