How to get a great journalism internship: Advice from a young veteran
Over at Poynter.org, Marissa Evans lays out 10 steps young journalists can take to get a great internship, and the first step is to get your butt in gear.
Start looking now. It’s October. If you haven’t looked into newsroom internships or at least started researching deadline dates and application materials you’ll need, you’re behind. There’s no reason you can’t start researching possible newsrooms where you’d like to work, even if the application deadline isn’t until early next year. Start now, so you’re not scrambling later.
Evans is a senior at Marquette University whose Poynter bio says she’s done internships at the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
So she speaks from experience when she advises:
Keep your (paid and unpaid) options open. Despite the criticism surrounding unpaid internships, I don’t think you should discredit them altogether. My philosophy has been: don’t turn down an opportunity until you’ve assessed the offers on the table. Apply for a combination of unpaid and paid internships and see which ones come through. If you don’t have at least one newsroom internship, it’s going to be difficult to land a paid summer gig. Don’t put yourself above an unpaid internship. It might mean taking on a part-time job, especially if money is tight, but experience is experience.
Much of the rest of her advice is common-sense stuff—update your résumé, get in touch with your references—but I like a few of her last suggestions:
- “Have a Web presence (beyond social media).” The first thing recruiters will do is Google your name. Will they find a recently updated blog or personal site with clips?
- “Clean up your social media … Show prospective editors that you know how to use social media to promote your work, build an audience and engage with others,” Evans writes. As opposed to showing them that, you know, you can really hold your liquor.
- “Regardless of the outcome, find ways to practice journalism.” That’s the best advice any would-be writer, or journalist of any kind, can get. Want to do it? Then do it.
Of course, one of the ways you can practice journalism is to apply to the Bleacher Report Sportswriting Internship, a three-month, online enrichment class for undergraduate and graduate-level journalism students that isn’t restricted to the summer. The 2013 sessions will begin Jan. 22, March 25, May 28, Aug. 5 and Sept. 30.