Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Take it from an intern, Summer 2013

Last summer, I asked students doing internships to file a brief post advising their fellow students about internships. I asked them to tell my readers a little bit about their experience. Did they think the internship was worthwhile? What do people need to know to succeed at an internship?

Here's what they said last summer.

Now I've asked this summer's crop of interns to weigh in.

Take it away, UMass Journalism interns!


Joey Saade said...

The biggest take away from my experiences with two internships this summer is to cover all the bases in the field you plan on entering in the future. As journalism students, we all understand that there is not one set and stone job or occupation that is available in this field; there are hundreds. By interning at a TV station and a newspaper, I was able to gain valuable experience and learning knowledge moving forward as I decide which direction I want to go in, in the near future.
Just go and do what you do, and have fun. Take each day as a learning experience and build on it. Do not be shy, throw yourself into the working environment so that you and your co-workers are comfortable with one another. There is a huge difference between being in a comfortable or uncomfortable/awkward situation when on the job. Get familiar with everyone and everything that comes after will run smoothly. Understand that you took this position for a reason, and don't ever take for granted what you are doing, regardless of where you are interning. It's a privilege that will go a long way.

Alexa Wilansky said...

My internship with elleco, (a commercial real estate consulting company) this summer was certainly an exciting time. Since the company is growing, my limits were pushed in the best way possible and I became more prepared for working under pressure and keeping my feet firmly planted. My internship is a little different because I've been working or interning for this company for over a year now and have seen how much it's grown in as little as a few months. The client and company relationship is very professional, yet very personable.

This summer I thought I would be doing more of the same social media managing, editing and preparation. I was able to work with my boss, very closely, with other clients, with a common goal that will hopefully be in full swing by the end of August. I learned how well I can work with other people and understand their needs with a first impression. At the end of the internship, I am able to get a better understanding and read on people, their personalities, traits, style, etc, that will help me better my career in the near future.

A great internship doesn't 'sugar coat' the good or the bad. A great boss will tell you where you need improvements, where you messed up, where you did well, and advise you on your endeavors.

The main points I took away were that I can take my skills and work anywhere. A journalism major doesn't necessarily limit you to a magazine or a newspaper. You can transfer your skills into creating memoirs for an office, editing presentations, creating them, writing press releases, organizing a website, increasing their social media presence and what have you. I don't think I will be in commercial real estate forever, but I know that I am enjoying all of the business and style that is incorporated into it right now.

Nick Canelas said...

Journalism is such a broad field, and the career paths a journalism student can take are endless. That's what makes internships such an essential part of a journalism student's college experience. How can you know what you like without giving multiple elements of the field a try?

As a rising junior, I'm entering my third year as a sports writer for the Daily Collegian. From Day 1, I fell in love with the idea of writing for a newspaper for the rest of my life. However, I'm not naive enough to actually believe that will likely happen. With that in mind, I decided to be a Web Intern at Comcast SportsNet New England, which, as the title suggests, was a job solely based on writing, editing, and producing online content.

The experience had its positives and negatives. I liked the ability to be more creative and colorful with my writing, as well as accompany more audio and video content to my work. But I still love newspapers more than anything else. The most fun I had as a reporter this summer came from my freelancing job at the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire. Sure, CSNNE gave me the chance to cover some cool events such as UFC press conferences and New England Revolution games, but nothing beats seeing your name in the paper.

Ultimately, the purpose of this ramble is a mix of two things, although they may sound contradictory. First off, use internships as a chance figure out what you truly love about journalism. If you're going to do something for the rest of your life, you might as well not hate it. Second, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. All you're going to do is make yourself more well-rounded. Worst-case scenario is you learn what you don't like as much, or even hate, and you still get to give your resume a boost.

Tori Schneebaum said...

This summer I interned in Tel Aviv, Israel at a photo studio. I essentially was a photographers assistant. This experience was much different from the one I had last year because it was a totally different internship and location. I am a journalism major with a film certificate. My ultimate goal in life is to be a photo editor/ art director for a major publication. Last summer I did the journalism side of things by actually working for a magazine in their art department, so this summer I decided I needed to see the other side of things so that I could understand from both perspectives how the industry works. Well, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Not only was it amazing to be back in Israel for the summer, but internships in Israel doesn't mean typical "intern" work. Most of the interns on my program who came with me through Career Israel were working along side with the company's CEO, or totally managing all of the social media accounts. We were given huge responsibilities that helped us learn way more about our jobs and daily tasks.

This summer at the photo studio called Kfir Ziv Studio (KZTLV) I was one of only 2 full time employees. We set up photo shoots in his studio and on location, we managed the studio by cleaning it and organizing it, and I also edited his images. I used a ton of Photoshop and Lightroom everyday and learned so many things about different tools and editing methods that they use in major advertisements and editorial spreads.

I think that interning is one of the most important things to do during someones college career. It really helps you take the skills that you learn in the classroom and apply them to the real word. You can see what its like out there, outside of the college bubble. I can't wait to start another internship next summer. I hope its as great as the one I just finished.

Katherine Clark said...

This summer I had my first experience interning at a local news station, ABC 40 in Springfield. My main focus was on production, but I was not limited to learning only about that. I was able to learn directly from the producers at the station, and I got to tag along with reporters on stories. I was able to become familiar with the programs used to create newscasts, and I got to write some of the stories that were used on the air.

The experience helped reveal aspects of the job that I had never paid much attention to previously, and it showed me what a job in the field would be like. I think that interning was a great way for me to test out my abilities, and decide if I would actually enjoy what I was doing before I had to commit to something long term.

I was a little shy during my first few days at my internship, mainly because I was nervous and didn't know what to expect from the experience. However, once I became at ease, and more confident, I found myself truly enjoying my time there. One thing that has been reiterated to me is to take the initiative to do things on the job. It seems obvious, but if you do not speak up and ask to do something, chances are that you won't do much. Also, if you don't think you are getting the experience you want, then speak up about that too and see if there is a way to change it. There ended up being a few other interns working the same shift as me, so it was difficult to do as much as I wanted. To resolve this issue, I talked to my supervisor and switched to the morning shift. At first, I was hesitant because it meant I would start working at four in the morning, but I ended up preferring the morning shift to the day shift.

I got to work closer with the producers and reporters than I would have on the day shift, and I was able to see another side of the profession. During the morning shift, I helped out with live interviews including one with a monster truck crew, and one with a local bakery that made everyone homemade donuts. All in all, I think interning was a wonderful experience, and I would recommend that everyone try one.

Kaitlin Boyer said...

This summer, I served as a Sports Media Intern with the Iona College Athletic Department. I can confidently say that this was a valuable experience.

My responsibilities as an intern varied from week to week. I had to do an extensive amount of research to put together Iona’s 2012-13 sports media guide. I wrote online press releases for the website. I had to edit and add information to the profiles of every athlete. I also conducted live on-camera interviews with the volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer coaches regarding their upcoming 2013 fall schedules.

This internship showed me that being involved with media/public relations is actually something I enjoy doing. I have always been focused on sports broadcasting and sports writing that I never actually took the time to stop and explore this area as well. While a sports media relations department is completely different from beat writing and on-camera reporting, having a journalism background really helped me understand what reporters and media organizations need from an athletic department for their stories. Now, I know of two areas (sports broadcasting and sports media relations) that I would want to work in.

This internship also taught me how important it is to do something everyday that is going to help your career in the future. If I did not participate in this internship, I would have come back to school rusty and not ready to work. This internship kept me going. Each day, I was either writing, doing something on-camera, or gathering player information and stats. It also proved to me that I want to work in sports journalism. If you really love something, you will work at it everyday.

My advice to fellow students is to apply for any and every internship you have an interest in as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you will get it, apply regardless because you never know. I’m glad I was able to get an internship after my freshman year because it gave me hands-on experience.

Lastly, get involved with campus media. My involvement with The Collegian and UVC helped immensely and I would not have been able to get this internship without being involved. The Collegian really helped me improve my writing and get used to writing in AP style. Additionally, it showed me the responsibilities that having a beat entails. You also really learn from the other people you work with. Campus media throws you right into this field where there is no time for hesitation.

Patti Salazar said...

Interning at Telemundo Boston has been an amazing experience. Going in I knew that it was not the broadcast experience that I was looking for and I did not know what to expect. Telemundo Boston is mainly a sales office and I can say that I have gained a lot of knowledge since sales is an important basis for the success of a network. I was able to see what creates a network and for it to accomplish all that it can.

I was given many opportunities to sit in meetings that varied in agendas. One sales meeting that I sat in was watching a sales account executive negotiate with a costumer that wanted to get his show on the air. After throwing number back and forth to each other, they were able to reach a deal and created the contract to sign off on. Another key meeting I was able to see how the smaller markets pitch ideas to corporate on things that will increase the viewer audience for the network. During this, I witnessed ideas be approved, denied or meet a compromise. It was interesting to observe the interaction between corporate and a smaller market.

In addition to doing basic intern duties such as check mail and e-mail and answer the phone, I was taught how to process invoices. That was my primary responsibility and to have them reviewed and signed with the president of Telemundo Boston. Also, I participated in many summer festivals and events. These included Telemundo sponsored concerts with big stars that are known in the Hispanic community. I had the chance to meet and get to know these stars. At these events, I promoted Telemundo Boston by giving away prizes to our loyal viewers. During my internship, I was able to write articles on different topics, create a video on Cavalia Odysseo, do commercial voice overs and help maintain the social media aspects such as Twitter. I was intrigued by how spot times for commercials and shows worked and being at Telemundo Boston, I was able to learn everything about programming.

I feel that internships are extremely valuable experiences. It gives you the chance to realize whether or not it is the field you see yourself in for the rest of your career. It helped me learn about all aspects of a network and now I look forward to finding another internship but this time in network with an active station. I can use the knowledge gained during my time at Telemundo Boston for future experiences not just job related but life in general.

Karen Podorefsky said...

This summer, I interned at my town’s newspaper, the Hopkinton Crier. The office was based out of a daily paper location, which was great because I got to meet editors from other papers and sections. For example, there were specific sports and business editors who helped me in those areas. I wrote news stories, feature stories, event previews, question and answer interviews, took photos to go along with some articles, made short news videos, and even went to court with one of the reporters to see what it was like for him. I was able to apply a lot of the knowledge that I gained at UMass at the internship, but enhanced it by writing for a few months and with guidance from my editor.
At first, I was shy because the office was relaxed and quiet, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to act. My editor was young and relatable, but quiet so our conversations were mainly about Journalism. I didn’t get to know her very much on even a basic personal level. I never hesitated to ask questions, though. I wanted to make sure that I did the best that I could and that meant clarifying things if I had questions. I didn’t want to bother her with questions, but at the same time I didn’t want to submit a piece to her that wasn’t up to her standards or what she wanted, so questioning was the best route.
The nice thing about working at this paper was that my hours were flexible. I set them in the beginning of the summer, but I was able to go out and interview people for stories at any time during my set hours there. I was able to have job as a counselor at a half-day camp starting part way through the summer, so my hours changed, but I was still able to accomplish as much.
My editor stressed that the internship is what I wanted to get out of it because it was for me; I was just helping her out and she was a mentor. This meant a lot to me because she gave me assignments, but I was able to come up with ideas on my own, too. Researching ideas for stories is important. In some classes at UMass, I’ve had to come up with ideas on my own, which can sometimes be challenging. The knowledge from my classes and the internship have fed off of each other. Since I still have two more years at UMass, I know that what I learned and improved on at my internship will help me in the other classes for classroom/field work applications and connections.
This internship also taught me that newswriting might not be the best job for me. I wish that I had been able to do more with social media there, but it was more of the traditional newspaper experience. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Maybe it’s because I was at a small paper in for my pretty boring hometown, but there are other types of Journalism that I think I would like better. I now know that I need to explore. I would not have figured that out if it wasn’t for the internship. That being said, I do not regret doing an internship that I didn’t love because my writing got better and I still learned a lot from it, and that’s what it is all about.

Daniel Rodriguez said...

To say that this summer was anything short of the greatest learning experience of my life would be an understatement. Through a fellowship with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, I was privileged to intern at the National Breaking News Desk at NBC News in New York City. And what an adventure this summer was.
My duties at the desk included booking studios for guests appearing on MSNBC, mediating between correspondents and the control room during live shots, calling police stations, hospitals, embassies and other organizations to track breaking news, and coordinating with the different NBC bureaus to monitor news occurring across the country. Needless to say, I was extremely overwhelmed and stressed the first month and a half. I had to quickly adapt to the fast paced environment and it did not come easy.
I knew that I had to work even harder to keep up with everything. It wasn’t until July that it all finally began to click and make a sense. My hours were long and I don’t think I’ve ever had a more challenging job. I also was the youngest person at the desk, so I did my best to prove that I was just as capable as everyone else.
This summer taught me perseverance, it gave me a thick skin, and it really showed me how hard journalists work. I gained knowledge about how a national news network operates and my experience at NBC was indispensible. I was able to make invaluable connections who I can now turn to for career advice and I am so grateful for this as well.
The individuals here work harder than any other people I’ve met. Journalism isn’t just their passion, they live and breathe it. They work at NBC not for the glory of working at a television network, but because they care about delivering accurate news content to their audience. This summer has been extremely humbling and has kindled my passion for journalism that much more to follow in their footsteps.
My advice to anyone curious in applying for an internship at a large network would be to just apply. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I’d be interning at NBC national news but it happened. Don’t be afraid, just do it and see what happens. Also, be prepared for an extremely fast paced environment because those individuals are always on the go. Finally, once you are there, do not compare yourself to the other interns. Some of my colleagues already had amazing experiences under their belt. One person had interned for Anderson Cooper 360 as freshman, another intern was a political correspondent on Capitol Hill for a D.C. radio station and had worked at the United Nations as well. They would flaunt their achievements in an attempt to intimidate their peers. Do not get worked up by what others have done, don’t worry about anyone else but yourself. Keeping a positive attitude even when things are tough will also help you to succeed as well.
From leaving the house at 4 a.m. to be in Manhattan by 6:30, to putting in 10 or 12 hour days with no break, this experience gave me a taste of what it is like to work in the real world. It was intense, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Cameron McDonough said...

This summer I interned with NESN.com. NESN is short for New England Sports Network, so I was covering sports all the time during my internship, which was awesome. I want to be a sports journalist when I finish up at UMass this year, so I feel like this experience at NESN will really help me get to that goal once I graduate. I got to do some awesome things while I was at NESN including covering a Red Sox game and covering Ted Bruschi's induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

This internship was my third while at UMass and my second one involving online journalism. As for the best advice I can give someone looking for an internship, I would say the most important thing is to be persistent. If you don't hear from a place you applied at, follow up with them. This shows initiative and can help you get the internship in the end. And keep being persistent while at your internship. Have a goal in mind and ask your supervisor if they can help you get to that goal. I would also recommend doing something with online journalism, because that will be the way of the future. So why not get some experience at it while your at UMass?

B.J. Roche said...

I love reading about these experiences, because I know the application process and the work situation for each of you, and that it wasn't always easy. What I love is that you all stuck it out and found an experience that will provide a foundation for your career.

I hope you all understand now the importance of staying with it! And of asking people for help when you need it.

See you in September!

Stephen Hewitt said...

Nothing beats real-world experience. Especially in a field like journalism, you can only learn so much in a classroom, and having the ability to take those lessons and apply it to a student media outlet like the Collegian and then to a summer internship is what's going to make you that ideal candidate when you graduate and start looking for jobs.

My internship with NESN.com (New England Sports Network) this summer provided me with just that. At NESN, I was tasked with writing and editing stories that pertained to national and New England sports. And I definitely learned a lot -- some things that helped me hone my craft and improve on the skills I already had as well as some new things that I hadn't previously thought of, that I believe will make me an even stronger journalist as I head into my senior year at UMass.

I think the biggest piece of advice that I could give to someone who is interested in doing an internship is that you truly will get out of the internship what you put in. That is, to come in each day motivated to get the job done and then some. Make an impression and go above and beyond what you're required to do, because that's what will make you stick out to your supervisors. Your bosses are absolutely looking for the next big thing and someone to one day gain a full-time position, and who better to look at than an intern? Separate yourself from the pack, and like I said, go above and beyond. At NESN, I consistently tried to do just that. My favorite moment of the summer was having the opportunity to cover the introductory press conference for new Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens -- an event that had national relevance in the sports world. It wouldn't have happened if I didn't take an initiative and ask if I could help covering it. There was nothing to lose, and I absolutely reaped the benefits.

So, the best piece of advice I think there can be is to do all you can to be that intern who sticks out, who leaves an impression as a person who worked their tail off and tried to get as much out of the experience as you could. Treat every day like a job interview -- because it truly is. No one is going to hold your hand. It's all up to you, and the benefits can be incredibly rewarding for your long-term dreams and goals.

Chris Corso said...

The biggest thing that I take away from my internship at Citi Field with the New York Mets is how important Media Relations is in a journalists life. I did not know much about Media Relations and now I see how much this department does to prepare the media for each game and each day covering a Major League Baseball team. By assisting the media all summer I really learned what it takes to be a a beat writer for a professional team and how you cover a team on the major league level. It was also a major treat that the 2013 All Star Game was at Citi Field this season. Working the All Star Game gave me a chance to meet so many of my role models who cover the MLB. It was such a privilege to work for this organization this summer and this internship has truly set me up for the future.

Veronica Stracqualursi said...

This summer, I interned with WCVB, Channel 5 Boston. I was one of their many newsroom interns. I have to admit that when I first started interning, I was very intimidated. Prior to joining WCVB, I had only taken one journalism class in my undergraduate career and had never used AP’s ENPS. But I was nervous mostly because it was my first internship ever with a news station and I wanted to make a good impression. Because I felt in a way inadequate, I asked for help when I needed it and I listened carefully. Listening and observing can be a great way to learn.

Interning for Channel 5 was educational but a lot of fun as well. Besides free ice cream day on Fridays, I really enjoyed writing for the newscasts. It was incredibly rewarding to hear one of the anchors read a story I wrote. But I wish I knew more about broadcast script writing before I interned at Channel 5. Television news is much different than print news; it’s more conversational.

I learned that everyday is a chance to make an impression. Some great advice: if you make a mistake, apologize for it, and then ask for feedback on what you can do differently so you don’t make the same mistake. Also, I learned that keeping up on the latest news (even if you are not interested in the news industry) is a great way to start a conversation or connect with someone in the workplace.

This internship was so valuable considering everything I learned. I would definitely be worse off had I not taken this internship opportunity.

Rose Mirandi said...

This summer I was so thankful to have an internship at Design New England magazine. I found out about the internship through the one and only BJ Roche, but still had to be persistent when applying. Obviously, the editor-in-chief of a magazine can be pretty busy, so don't feel bad if he/she doesn't respond right away! I studied in Italy last spring semester so I sent an email showing my interest in January, before I left. When I didn't hear back by April I was discouraged but sent another email just saying something along the lines of, "hey remember me, I emailed you 4 months ago" and I got a response. After a few emails back and forth I got the job!

I worked two days a week at the magazine, located in the Boston Globe offices, which was an experience in itself just being around the hustle and bustle of a huge newspaper. Design New England has a really small staff (only an editor, associate editor, art director and publisher) so it was a great opportunity to be really involved in the whole process of publishing a magazine. I even got to write a feature article, which was the most exciting part of the summer for me. I was lucky to learn so much from going on photoshoots, interviewing people, editing, re-editing and creating layouts.

I went into the internship expecting to be treated like a slave (based on things like The Devil Wears Prada and other editorial internship stories I've heard) but it was totally a worthwhile experience that will hopefully lead to a future career in magazines! It helps to just be yourself and don't be afraid to give suggestions. At first I was nervous to give any input because of my inexperience in the field, but I got really positive reactions to my ideas that was very encouraging. Journalism internships are really important to have on your resume so be proactive and don't be afraid to email employers showing your excitement and interest in a job.

Jackson Alexander said...

I interned with the sports department at the Worcester Telegram-Gazette this summer.

I was pretty trepidatious about taking the internship initially, mainly because I would have to commute to the Worcester area a few times per week for an unpaid internship.

I decided to take it (partially because there weren't a many other appealing options), and I was very pleased with my decision.

I think just about everyone here has touched on it, but it's impossible to overstate the importance of gaining experience in the field of journalism.

There are definitely jobs available in the field right now, bit I'm not sure if you could call it an abundance, meaning the most qualified candidates will be filling those positions, and I know this sounds simplistic, but the most qualified candidates are the more experienced ones.

The best part about my internship was that it was 100 percent reporting. No answering phone calls, getting coffee, or working at a desk all day. I can't even remember going through much training, except for some basic stuff on how the T&G operates stylistically. I worked twice per week and they had me covering sports every single shift. Because I rarely spent time in the office, or even went through any sort of training, I felt like it was less of an internship and more of a job or freelance position. I know that when I graduate and the time comes for me to look for a job, I can make the pitch to potential employers that my last internship was more of a job rather than a three-month training exercise.

I spent the early part of the summer covering Central Mass. high school playoffs, and even got the opportunity to cover some state championship games. My assignments eventually morphed into college, and professional sport assignments, as I covered Red Sox games, Patriots training camp, and some D1 baseball as well.

This was the first internship where I was almost exclusively worked on a strict deadline. I wrote a few previews and features where the deadlines were flexible, but most of my assignments were due directly after the game concluded. I remember one game where my deadline was 15 minutes after the game ended. Experiences like that are invaluable for college students, and can really only occur through internships.

So, yes, the hour and 15 minute drive twice a week (without gas reimbursement) was brutal. And so was not receiving a steady pay check from a workplace where I felt my contributions merited one. But there was never a feeling of regret in my three months with the paper. It was the best thing I've done in journalism to this point.