Friday, July 29, 2016

The interns tell all

My internship "season" starts in September, when I go around to Intro and Journalism 300 classes and do my schpiel about internships, and start bugging students to apply for the big ones, which mostly have deadlines during the fall semester. If you know me, you know I'm going to tell you to do as many as you can, and to have a strategy that builds up to a high profile internship when you're a rising senior. This can really help you be "job-ready" come graduation time.

I advise students to think of summer as their "third semester" and build those work skills and their professional network when they're not in the classroom. Most students come back from summer internships with a new focus on what they want to do, and a new desire to learn things. That's what every prof loves.

Don't take my word for it, though. The best promoters of internships are the interns themselves, and this time of year I ask everyone to post about their experiences. Here's what students reported back last summer on their internship experiences.

This summer's crop has posted below. I hope you'll take a look at the comments section below,  and come see me in my office about getting an internship.

Take it away, interns!

11 comments:

B.J. Roche said...

My name is Jacqueline and this summer I was lucky enough to intern at Boston Casting.

Prior to working at Boston Casting, I had no relevant internship experience in the entertainment industry so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. The second I stepped into the office I knew it was going to be a fast paced high intensity environment that I would have to get accustomed to quickly.

On a daily basis, I made upwards of 100 phone calls in order to assist casting directors with prepping, running, and booking auditions. I also answered any questions regarding current or upcoming projects that we were working on and researched companies/actors/clients that we were interested in for potential casting work. The biggest thing that I learned on the job was to never give up.

Because of the type of environment, it was very easy to think about quitting on a project because at the time it was too difficult or seemed impossible. But I learned that it is important to stick with it because the satisfaction that comes with successfully completing a task is incredible.

I would highly recommend doing at least one internship if you get the opportunity because it is a fantastic experience that is unlike any other. There are few instances where a person is able to test out a job before officially being hired. I was able to confidently decide that casting is something I definitely want to continue pursuing after I graduate, but I never would have had a chance to figure that out had I not been given such a great experience. If you have the opportunity to do an internship in the future, take it because I can guarantee that you won’t regret it!

Anonymous said...

My name is Nicole and I interned at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette this summer.

At the Telegram and Gazette, I wrote 1-2 articles per week as a reporter for the city desk. In addition, I was able to shadow full-time reporters at press-conferences and important meetings. My assignments ranged from business stories to a list of good summer reads suggested by local librarians. It was interesting to cover such a wide variety of topics. I grew up in Worcester, so I loved learning about such a diverse mixture of events and happenings in my hometown.

The most valuable lesson I learned at the internship is to be confident during interviews. This was my first real internship, so I was a little nervous going into the job. However, I quickly realized that people can tell when you are hesitant or uneasy while conducting an interview. A full-time reporter at the Telegram and Gazette once gave me the advice to try to make an interview feel more like a conversation, rather than an interrogation. The best reporters, he said, could have a conversation with a source and casually work in all of their questions, without anyone even noticing. His advice really stuck with me and helped me to make much-needed improvement to my interview skills over this past summer.

If you are on the fence about applying for an internship, my advice is simple: just do it. Doing an internship is a great chance to experiment with what you want to do in the future. It’s so helpful to be able to learn about a job you may want to pursue, from actual experience. Plus, it’s a good idea to test the waters before you decide to plunge right into a future career path. So go for it and good luck!

-Nicole DeFeudis

Anonymous said...

Moving to Boston for my co op at The Boston Globe has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I moved myself to a city that wasn't my own, and was expected to write about a place I didn't know, all without family or friends. But there's not a day that goes by that I don't learn something new or feel blessed to be there.

I learned how a newspaper works, how to file stories and meet deadlines, and what it's like writing for both the paper and the website, like how editors pick which stories go where and when. I learned the importance of reporters having beats and covering them well, and how valuable talking to other editors and reporters is. These are the tools and lessons I'll reflect on for the rest of my career.

My advice for internships is to just do them, as many as you can, anywhere you can, and as early as you can. My first interview was for this internship at Food Network my freshman year. I didn't get the job, actually, I didn't even hear back, but the experience of writing cover letters and doing a phone interview prepared me for the next time I applied to internships. I was smarter, faster... and succeeded.

I see internships and co ops as these precious little windows into the real adult world. Without them, it's nearly impossible to accurately imagine what life as a working journalist is like after college. When people used to ask me what I wanted to do after I graduated, I said I wanted to go work at either The Globe or The Times, but I had no idea what that was actually like and what that required of me.

Now, I do. And this information is so helpful because I can start making the appropriate moves in college to get to where I want to go. Internships save you a lot of time figuring stuff out and seeing what you like and dislike. Which is good, because college goes by way too fast.

-Hannah Yoo

Marleigh Felsenstein said...

My journey to find an internship this summer was a bumpy road. I was first offered an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then about 12 hours before my phone interview was supposed to take place, they sent me a cancellation e-mail. I was devastated. But I carried on and I applied other places. I sent out so many applications. I ended up landing two internships- one with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, and the other with the Massachusetts State Police. I was very busy this summer, needless to say.

I have a few important pieces of advice. 1. Do not get discouraged if you do not get your dream internship. You may be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.
2. Do not overload yourself. I learned that the hard way this summer. I do not regret any of the amazing experiences that I was awarded with this summer, and I am so happy with the resume that I am building. But my internships were A LOT of work. Do not forget that you are a person who can say NO and are allowed to take a day off here and there. 3. Enjoy every second of where you get to be. Remember that other people applied to be to the place that you complain about going to every morning. It will make you feel better when you know YOU were the one they picked to be there, but they can replace you- do not let them.

An internship is so rewarding because you make so many contacts, and as long as you did a good job, those contacts may bring you to your first job, and maybe a career in the field. Do great work, and great work will follow you. Throw ideas out there, too. You never know what might work.

-Marleigh Felsenstein

Kwaby Asante said...


This summer I was lucky enough to receive an offer from WTNH TV Channel 8, an ABC affiliate local television station in Connecticut. In this very hands-on internship, I was able to gain an understanding of the time and planning that goes into creating news reports and a live lifestyle show called Connecticut Style. I served as a part of the Channel 8 News team by writing scripts, printing scripts for hosts, greeting guests and getting them situated. I also helped with the set-up and clean-up of segments and occasionally ran prompter during live show. I think the most rewarding part of the internship was pitching ideas for in-studio segments, and traveling with reporters and helping them with shoots in various locations around the state; this really made me feel like I was an asset to the team. I was also exposed to the most up-to-date production technology including Ignite, AVID iNews, AVID NewsCutter and AVID Interplay Assist when editing and logging packages for the reports. Having these fundamental skills with current technology will help me in the classroom, as well as in my next internship.
Going into my junior year at UMass, I am able to see how important it is to have internships while in college. This has helped me assess my life goals and put things into perspective for me. I knew I wanted to be in the TV industry, but actually being able to get my foot in the door and make real world connections in this field of work is truly invaluable. My advice to other students is to not give into fear or anxieties and go for the thing you want most in life. This is the best way to win the moment and avoid living a life of regrets and "what ifs" down the line. I am fortunate to have this opportunity and it is certainly one I will never forget.

Bridgette Proulx said...

Bridgette Proulx Said...
I am having a great experience with my internship in local sports news at Fox 25 Boston WFXT. I’ve had the chance to go out on my own as a reporter and interview professional athletes from the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Bruins. Possibly my favorite experience was interviewing NHL players like Charlie Coyle, and Jimmy Hayes at a charity alumni game between Boston College and Boston University. Another great experience I had there was getting to interview Red Sox players in their locker room before and after a few games.

My advice for students who want to pursue involves starts out first with how to approach the application/ interview process. 1) If you have an idea about what job you want to do (e.g. a sports writer) but you don’t know where to apply for an internship start by asking friends, colleagues, professors, and even family members if they know anyone that is in the industry. Having someone to give you a good reference to someone they know at an organization can be a big part of helping you set yourself apart from other internships. 2) Don’t be afraid to apply for something you’ve never done before. I worked at a radio station throughout college and never worked in TV before I took the internship with WFXT and it has given me a whole new skill set to add to my resume.

After you’ve landed an internship my number one piece of advice is to push yourself to your limits! You’ll feel very uncomfortable doing things like asking a question to an athlete or politician at first but the more you put yourself in those uncomfortable situations the more you will get used to it and boost your confidence. For me, I was terrified to go on camera for the first time but I am so glad I did it and now it’s not so hard. Another thing to keep in mind is making connections! Talk to as many people as you can from your company and other media members you meet on the job. Get them to remember you, and give them your business card! These are likely the people who will help you find a new job because they know the business and have connections at many companies you might want to work at!

Zander Manning said...

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass., as a sports/OP Ed. intern and boy did I have a great time doing it. I had the chance to do what I wanted to as a writer and feel like the elite group that is the media. Although I only interviewed high school athletes for the most part (with one college student mixed in there) I had an amazing time. I talked to players who were possibly going places whether it was in the near future or a little longer than that. My favorite experience has to be my last weekend of the internship where I went to the same American Legion team's games three days in a row while they were in the playoffs and writing game stories about them. Another great experience was going talking to another legion coach who used to play for the Red Sox and really developing a relationship with him.

My advice for students who want to pursue an internship is to first to email all around and send your resume to as many places as possible. You may not get an interview everywhere, but that's okay. You'll land one somewhere and it'll work out. Another is to make as many connections as possible early on in your time at UMass. There are connections everywhere you look and they will all be valuable to you somehow. Even if you just know someone who knows someone who knows someone, that still will help you out and take advantage of that. Another piece of advice is to never think you're too inexperienced or you're above something because every piece of experience counts. I guess what I'm trying to say is to push yourself to do things you don't necessarily want to do. Yes you SJC people should do news every once in awhile.

After you've gotten the internship though, you want to do everything you can to get the most out of the experience as possible. Get good recommendations from people for your hard work all the time, not just when it counts. Stay late if you have to, don't feel like you have to leave by a certain time, but stay late. For instance, there was one night for me at MetroWest where I stayed until 10:30 one night when I normally get out at 10:00 because I was waiting on a phone call from a coach. It paid off and they greatly appreciated me staying later. Talk to everyone where you go whether you want a job like theirs or not, but most of all: create a good impression, be memorable. Don't just be like every other intern that they get, you want to stick out in their minds and most of all have fun!! If you hate it, find a way to love it and have fun, but if you still hate it by midway through maybe it's just not for you.

Hannah Tran-Trinh said...

I couldn’t have been more lost before summer 2016. I had no concrete career goals and I started my second major in Journalism way too late--2nd semester of my junior year. I was running short on time to establish myself before hopeful employment by graduation. Luckily, my family has a permanent home in the city of Boston so I had a place to stay in a great city full of opportunities for the summer.

I applied to every news-related internship that I could find in the Boston area, and was lucky enough to receive one at WHDH-TV, Channel 7 News. Although the internship was in public relations, something that I never imagined myself doing, it was a foot in the door for a desperate student with little to no experience and I was happy to accept it. I couldn’t be more thankful today for doing so.

Because my schedule for Channel 7 was set to be only twice a week, I wanted more than just one internship. I knew that I had to make the most of what little time I had left to gain experience before applying for a job. This was one of the only times in my life that I could afford to work unpaid while living at home, so I had to take advantage of it.

I reached out to the producer at a local food review show, Phantom Gourmet, and was rejected due to some of his previous interns “taking up more time than they saved” for the company. I told him I knew that I would be the exception, went in for an interview, and have since proven myself every day. The internship that I essentially created for myself has inspired me to pursue food television in the future!

This summer has taught me numerous things about the workforce, the television industry, news rooms and work ethic overall. I went from an average student with no credible background, to a busy double-intern with two great experiences that I can now proudly add to my resume. My advice to any undergraduate student is to put in every ounce of effort that you have to gain experience where you can. Get to know your supervisor and know your place. Make them like you so you have a good reference for the future! Ask a lot of questions. Do something that’s worth your time, no matter how little of it you may have left, and when possible, don’t take no for an answer if you are sure it’s what you want. Hard work and determination truly pays off!

Hannah said...

This summer, I interned in the communications department at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As the editorial intern, I wrote articles for the institute's blog and internal newspaper. I've been able to write a lot of different types of stories this summer, as well as learn how to use WordPress, Google Analytics, and other programs. This internship really has been a dream come true and I feel so fortunate to have spent the summer at such a great place.

I learned two important things through this process. First: be persistent! Last winter and spring, I applied to eight internships. I heard nothing at all from the first seven, and felt so discouraged. It felt like I had scoured every career and internship web site out there and nothing was a good fit. Then one day I Googled "communications internships Boston," and this internship showed up. The deadline had actually already passed, but I knew that this was something I really wanted to do, so I sent in my resume and some writing samples anyway, along with an email that explained how I had just discovered this and why I would be a good fit. I didn't want to be pushy, but I really felt like the internship was too perfect to give up on. Two days later, they offered me an interview. Now I know to just keep trying,even if it feels frustrating. The eighth internship you apply to just might work out!

I also learned that one of the most important things is to establish yourself as a dependable employee. I showed up on time every day and to every meeting and event I was invited to. I took notes when people talked to me or gave my instructions or advice, so that I could remember what they said. I also put my story deadlines in my Outlook calendar so that I could be sure to get everything in on time. I turned assignments in early as much as possible. When a project was taking longer than anticipated, I emailed the editor well before the deadline to let him know what was going on. As an intern, there's a lot to learn and you're not going to do everything perfectly, but I really believe that if you're reliable, stay positive, and get things done, you'll be a valued member of the team.

-Hannah Depin

Adam said...

This summer I did an internship at the MetroWest Daily News as a news intern. Coming into the summer I was really hoping to land an internship writing about sports, being a sports writer for the Daily Collegian on campus. Despite the fact that I wasn't able to get a sports writing internship, I am so happy for the experience I gained this summer. I was able to hone my skills in so many ways this summer and was able to became a much better journalist because of it. I was writing so many different types of stories this summer that exposed me to many different types of journalism. I wrote a profile on a local author, wrote food reviews and many other articles as well. I was also able to shadow many awesome journalists and see how they conduct themselves, which was great experience for me.

My advice to anyone who plans on doing an internship in the future be persistent and be ready for anything. The whole application process is always the worst. It'll be like that for anything you do in life, but it's important to not give up. Sure, you might not get exactly what you are looking for, but it's important to make the most out of whatever you are doing because when it comes down to it any experience is good experience. Be ready to whatever your supervisor or advisor wants you to do because in the end they are only there to help and are doing their best to help you grow.

In the end, I believe I came out of this summer much more ready for the reality I will be facing after graduation next year. Going into a really competitive field like journalism can be quite scary for someone who is unprepared and I believe this summer has gave me a large taste of how it will be for me after next year. For a budding journalist, there is nothing better than being thrown into the fire in a professional newsroom and learning from people who are doing quality journalism every day. I am so happy that I was able to experience what I did this summer and because of it I feel much more prepared for the world of journalism I hope to enter.

-Adam Aucoin

B.J. Roche said...

My name is Rachel Ayotte and I interned with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette this summer.

As an intern I wrote 1-2 articles a week as assigned by several editors at the city news desk. I wrote about city council meetings, business features and local interest stories. I was given the task of conducting research about the assigned topics, contacting the correct people, interviewing them and then writing and submitting a piece for publication. I worked alongside other interns and my editors to successfully publish pieces in the daily paper. I also had the opportunity to help out a bit with Worcester Living Magazine which is owned by the Telegram & Gazette. I sat in on meetings, coordinated with editors and photographers, conducted interviews and published pieces for them as well.

I learned that internships, as is any job or career opportunity, are truly what you make of them. Because my editors allowed the interns to work very independently with great flexibility, I was able to determine exactly how I wanted to execute a piece. I found that I absorbed the most information and made the most connections when I was decided to make the most of the position. This was an eye opening experience for me as it made me realize that taking full advantage of the opportunities you are given is of the utmost importance. I also learned valuable lessons on how to correctly convey my ideas in a succinct way, how best to conduct interviews as well as learned more time management skills.

I cannot stress enough how important I think internships are. Over the past few years I have done several and have found that despite maybe having some poor experiences, the knowledge that I gained about the field was something I never could have attained without the first hand experience that the internship itself had lent me. An internship is the best way to "try out" a job. I especially recommend doing them during undergrad. For me, this summer at the T&G was great, however, I am not totally sure anymore that newspaper reporting is exactly the right fit for me. But, despite feeling let down that I wasn't in complete awe with the world of newspaper writing as I had hoped, I gained really important knowledge about myself and my future. Without this experience I might have graduated and tried a reporting job then. But, because I am still an undergrad I am now lucky to be able to tailor the rest of my college years to a slightly different career path. Internships are one of the best ways to really get to know the daily inner workings of a job and maybe even more importantly, are one of the best ways to really get to know yourself and what you're really passionate about. Even if you are slightly interested in a job or career, apply for an internship, experience it first hand. You have nothing to lose!

- Rachel Ayotte