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'On The Job' Training Takes On New Meaning

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A Manhattan publishing company is redefining what it means to be an intern in the technology-driven workforce. NY1's Asa Aarons filed the following report.

At first glance, it might look like a traditional publisher's preproduction meeting -- an experienced editor takes two interns through the process.

But something is happening that pretty much turns tradition on its head. The web editor is 20-something Randi Bernfeld of wowOwow. The two interns she's instructing? Well, they bring decades of experience to the mix. Professional published writer Ann Hodgman is learning a whole new set of skills.

"I'm learning from Randi various ways of formatting content so it will work on the website. I'm also going through the archives to see if things can be repurposed," said Hodgman.

"It's better than nothing or staying home on the couch and I'm learning a lot so it's exciting," said Patty Fernandez, an executive intern. "I'm learning what is involved in publishing a website, a new set of digital skills."

And like in all true learning relationships, the knowledge moves both ways. For example, the older interns have years of experience coping with pressure and deadlines.

"It's nice because it's so fast paced here there's just a few of us trying to do big things and it gets hectic," said Kristen Fritz, of wowOwow.

"Before, when we were having our meeting, [Ann] said, 'my friend is in chemo, she has breast cancer. It would be great if we could offer on the website a cancer coach, someone who blogs about it,'" said Bernfeld.

The wowOwow intern experiment is getting plenty of attention. It will also be interesting to see how many of the participants bring in experience, learn the latest technology, and turn it all into a better job.

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