Sunday, December 21, 2008

Learning from the community of Journalism Program elders

This is an experiment: I'm e-mailing/Facebooking alumni and students who did an internship through Journalism 398 and asking them to post advice on careers and internships. Let's see what happens.

One of my favorite parts of this job is reading the papers students write at the end of their internships. It's not an exaggeration to say that internships change people's lives. And quite often they lead to jobs. That's important these days.


Julie said...
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Julie said...

Tips on turning an internship into a job...

Really the only thing you need to do is make yourself indispensable. Work your butt off and make them feel like they'd be lost without you. In order to do that you need to work your tail off. If you want something that everyone else wants, you have to be willing to do something that others won't. Put in more time, more effort, more whatever. No only will you learn a lot, but once your internship is up, even if they don't have a position open for you, you'll at least get a glowing review out of it.

Second, network, network, network!!!! Meet everyone you possibly can!! They say it's not what you know, but who you know and in this business that could not be more true!! You never know when you will run into that person again and be able to draw on that initial connection.

Third, love what you do. Part of why internships exist is to help you determine exactly what you want to do - take advantage of it. Dabble in everything until you find something you truly love. Life is too short to spend most of your time doing something you don't like.

Best of Luck! :)

Julie Robenhymer - 2003

p.s. BJ Roche and Karen List know their stuff...listen to won't regret it!!!!

t.a. franco said...

Build as many clips as you can while at your internship, you will learn so much. Meeting deadlines are vital. You could write and excellent story, but it's useless if it doesn't get in the hands of your editor's hands on time. Having an internship really gets you in the habit of managing your time so you are able to meet your deadlines.

Also, editors LOVE when story ideas come from your own mind. It makes their job easier and yours. So be ready with a list of ideas! It's not as daunting as it seems.

Try to get experience in a various forms of journalism too - I think it makes you more marketable. I had an editorial internship with Worcester Magazine and the summer after graduating I had an photojournalism internship with a financial agency. Right now my job requires me to write stories AND take photos.

Hope this Helps!

Teresa Franco

Adrienne said...

I agree with Julie 100%. She really couldn't have said it better. Internships allow you the opportunity to experience different outlets you might not have thought about. And even if you take an internship you thought you were going to love and wind up not liking it as much as you thought, your internship allowed you the opportunity to start dialogues with professionals who are passionate about what they do. It's a time when you can ask questions about yourself, your goals, your motives. It makes you a stronger person and more well rounded when you graduate.

When you get into your internship and they give you a task:
1. Pay particular attention to details!
2. Take your time! If you speed through something just to get it done, you're not getting the most out of it. Understand WHY you're doing it and how it is benefitting the company and more importantly what can you take away from it?
3. Like Julie said, NETWORK as much as you can and DON'T BURN YOUR BRIDGES. Keep contacts hot hot hot!
4. absorb as much as you can

If you show that you are engaging and want to be there, you'll get the most out of the experience.

And try to get as many internships as you can under your belt, they'll help you discover what you want to do with your life!!!

S.P. Sullivan said...
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S.P. Sullivan said...

I think there's only one tip for making the most of an internship: In the digital age, you've got to be enterprising.

I interned at The Daily Hampshire Gazette this fall, and before I even started writing I mentioned I'd like to get some multimedia experience, and that I already had some doing camera work. My first story was a multimedia package.

After that, whenever I was heading out on assignment, if my editor didn't ask me, "Hey, you want to shoot some video, too?" I'd ask, "Hey, you want me to shoot some video, too?"

I was once a huge print journalism purist, but I realized that there's not a whole lot of honor in being antiquated when you're 20. You can also really apply good print journalism to multimedia pieces - this really hit home for me this semester when I did a video piece for Steve Fox's class and he told me it was good except for one thing.

"You buried your lede," he said.

My portfolio after The Gazette doesn't lend itself to being stapled together, so I found a home for it online:

As someone who's still an undergrad, and is still getting intenships [I'll be at ACTV in January], my advice: Go digital.

But don't forget that good writing and good reporting should be the foundation onto which you pile all your bells and whistles like shooting video and podcasting and whathaveyou.

The internet has infinite space, so we ought to fill it with more good writing and good reporting, not less.

BJ Roche said...

Great comments! One other thing: an internship can help you figure out what you DON'T want to do.

A few years back, I had a student intent on a career in fashion. She interned at a big-name designer's N.Y.headquarter, and in the process, realized that it wasn't a good fit.