Not many people are fortunate enough to fulfill their childhood dreams, but for Kris Fleming ’11, the opportunity presented itself this past summer when he interned in New York City for Rolling Stone magazine, the popular publication for politics, pop culture and music.
The publication contains everything he’s interested in: culture, music, government. “When I had the chance [to intern for it], I went with it,” Fleming said.
“I’ve loved Rolling Stone since I was a kid. After watching the movie Almost Famous, the dream of writing for [them] stuck with me.”
Lucky for him, a friend’s father is the vice president of the magazine. Fleming took a shot, asked about the opportunity, went on a few interviews and one successfully led to an internship. At the magazine, he worked with the advertising and sales team, making copies and doing office-work.
“I wish I could say I hung out with rock stars, but it was office-like. Though I did have to deliver a cake once to another ad agency. I walked very slowly; I was so afraid of dropping it.”
Fleming worked with his intern coordinators, who provided him with tasks, and in turn, they worked with the publishers and sales representatives. Working also with other ad/sales interns and assistants, he didn’t see much of the higher executives, but he did enjoy his time working with the other interns.
“Some days were busier than others, and jobs ranged daily, but we always managed to band together and have fun while doing our work right,” he said.
Unfortunately, Fleming didn’t have a chance to see any of the celebrities that were in the building. Apparently Bruce Springsteen’s son was an intern, but Fleming didn’t see him either.
“One day they were filming an episode of ‘White Collar’ right across the street from the office, and I saw the two lead actors which was pretty cool. Apart from that, the craziness was mainly kept out of the office and saved for bar hopping.”
The article about General McChrystal was released at the end of June 2010 during Fleming’s internship with Rolling Stone. He believes it was the most issues sold in one day, but he doesn’t have a number to back up that conjecture.
“When the McChrystal article exploded, so did the office. That might have been our busiest day, only because everyone wanted the issue and we had a lot of demands to distribute them,” he said. Fleming’s experience at Rolling Stone was an enjoyable one. “Everyone there is very friendly. I can’t stress that enough,” he said. When his stint was over, one of the head executives gave Fleming his card. “Hopefully, there’s something to look forward to,” Fleming said.
An English major and government minor, Fleming knows that he wants to work with music and in publication post-Conn. He has always been a writer, even in elementary school, though he admits his writing then “wasn’t that great.”
Even though English is his strength, he entered Connecticut College planning to be a Japanese and International Relations double major.
“I’m glad it didn’t work out. I love the English department here. The professors are amazing and you get to read great literature,” Fleming said. He admits he has a soft spot for Dickens and the last book he enjoyed was the popular Swedish novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
As for his writing career at Conn, Fleming is a contributor to The College Voice, was co-editor last year and will be an Arts & Entertainment editor during the spring semester.
Fleming claims he has an eclectic taste in music. He’s adverse to some things, but for the most part, he can find an artist he likes in every genre, though he joked, “Diehard hipsters would be ashamed of my taste in mainstream music.” Such artists include Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga, who “hold a mystical place in [his] heart.”
Fleming is also a huge Kanye West fan and he almost had a chance to meet him while at Rolling Stone. Only one of the interns was allowed to stay on Fridays, and the schedule saw Fleming and another intern leave early the day Kanye made an unexpected visit.
“He came in to Rolling Stone unannounced and was telling people ‘look at my shoes’ in typical Kanye-fashion. I was upset that I missed it.”
As for interning in New York, Fleming loved the city and encourages anyone who has the chance to go there and work.
“I went to a Flaming Lips concert there this summer, and they were filming it for Spin. Confetti was falling; the lead singer was in a giant plastic bubble crowd-surfing. It was amazing.”
After graduation, Fleming plans to send out his resume to every music publication and advertising agency in hopes of scoring a job. “I’m not sure if I’m terrified of not having a plan or if I’m right where I should be,” he said.
His advice to anyone looking for an internship and eventually a career is simple yet useful: “Never stop trying. Connections are important, but without hard work and discipline you won’t make it through the first door. If you follow your dreams and give it your all, opportunities will present themselves to you.”