How do I Choose the Best Journalism Internship?
If you want a career in journalism, work experience in a journalism internship almost certainly will boost your credentials when it comes time to look for your first job. Generally, to choose the best journalism internship for you, consider what area of journalism you want to work in after college, and pursue an internship in your target area. For example, if you want to work in broadcast journalism, look for internship opportunities at radio and television stations. If you want to work in print journalism, look for opportunities with magazines and newspapers. Also, consider the reputations of the organizations offering internships; an internship at a well-regarded journalistic organization can make your résumé stand out from the crowd.
An important thing to consider when choosing a journalism internship is what your day-to-day duties will be. Most internships involve some lower-level work such as photocopying, for example, or acting as newsroom gofer, but higher-level responsibilities also should be included. When choosing between journalism internships, take into account how the actual duties you would perform will develop the skills you'll need in your career. If you want to write for newspapers, consider an internship that offers actual reporting opportunities. If working in broadcast journalism is your goal, look for the journalism internship that lets you perform some production assistant tasks.
Another thing to take into account when looking into journalism internships is that some internship opportunities are paid, but many are not. If money is of great concern, you might make larger organizations the focus your search for internship opportunities. Larger newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations will be more likely to offer paid internships. It is important to keep in mind that competition for paid internships also will be greater, so the more journalism experience you have when applying, the better. Smaller publications and stations might offer a stipend to interns or academic credit only, but they might also be easier to get.
How much time you have to devote to an internship program is another area to consider. If you have other commitments during the summer months, you might look for shorter internship opportunities. You also might consider choosing internships that take place during shorter school breaks, such as the winter or spring holidays.
One way to make your résumé stand out further is to seek out field internship opportunities. There are opportunities in journalism in other countries that can teach you both about the profession and about another culture. If you plan to focus on travel writing or international news reporting, for example, a field journalism internship opportunity might be appropriate for you. Be sure to apply the same standards to choosing an internship abroad that you would to a more local one in order to find the best journalism internship to advance your career goals.
Always remember that bigger is better. What is more impressive on a resume? A job as an intern at a statewide or large newspaper or one down at the local "mom and pop" operation? You can get experience either way and both internships have merit, but an internship with a large, established organization will almost always be noticed.
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