Honing my editing and headline-writing skills, getting to meet some of the biggest names in the industry, working with a friendly copy desk who never minded answering my questions, getting to see my work on A1 or online
There would be long periods of time (several hours) where I would have nothing to do, even when I asked the slot editor if there was anything I could work on. This wasn't unique to only me -- the desk had more people working on it than normal, and I had about the same story volume as the other copy editors. It just would have been nice for there to have been more stories to work on.
Advice to Potential Interns
The New York Times takes very good care of its interns. There were lots of intern social and professional events for fun and networking, and they encourage lots of interaction with the other interns. On the copy desk, I was assigned a mentor, whom I met for coffee a couple of times for chatting and advice-giving. Everyone on the desk was extremely supportive, and the slot editor was fantastic. He always took time to go over his changes to my headlines or my copy, and he was very open to me asking questions. I couldn't ask for a better learning environment.