Imagine stepping into the hustle and bustle of a newsroom, with journos running in and out while telephones ring off the hook with calls from sources, follow-ups, and leads for the next big story. To get your foot in the door, you need to get that journalism internship!
An internship is a practical learning experience that takes place in the workplace to give you hands-on experience after or during your studies. Completing an internship is a great way to learn the ropes and to start making the right connections for the future.
Journalism is a wide-ranging field with many different types of journalism to choose from. When looking for an internship in this field, therefore, keep in mind that versatility will get you further – especially when you’re just starting out in your career.
Also check out the following tips for finding an internship in journalism:
1. Create a portfolio
It’s important to prepare for your journalism career while you are still studying. Create a portfolio containing the work that you have done at school and as part of your journalism course, as well as any personal projects that show off your skills. Ensure that you use your portfolio to display the variety of skills you have, as this gives your prospective employer an idea of what you can do and how you can best fit into their newsroom.
2. Brush up on your general knowledge
General knowledge means a great deal in the world of journalism. It shows that you take interest in knowing about the world around you, and that you make an effort to keep up with important events. It also shows that you possess a quality that is crucial for this job – curiosity.
General knowledge will also come in handy when you get invited for an interview.
3. Work on your digital skills, and establish an online presence
Having the ability to string words together is only one part of journalism. The demand for digital skills has grown. According to Tow-Knight Centre for Entrepreneurial Journalism, “Newsrooms want journalists who can do it all — and are mostly likely to hire those who combine a ‘transformational’ digital skill with traditional reporting and editing expertise.”
Your social media knowledge and online presence are just as important as your writing skills. Employers take a keen interest in who you follow, who your followers are, what you share, and how you engage with content on social media. Therefore, treat your social media platforms as a CV, and present a clean, professional online presence.
4. Apply early
Start looking and start applying for an internship as early as possible. And when applying, make sure you’ve prepared your CV and cover letter to perfection, and that you’ve eliminated even the smallest typo. You’re applying to be a journalist here, so spelling mistakes and bad grammar are a big NO!
5. Ace that interview
Once you get that call you’ve been waiting for – the one inviting you to an interview – it is important that you get there prepared. Proper preparation will keep you calm in your interview. Research the company to make sure you know enough about what they do, and make a list of questions you have for the interviewer. Make sure to take your portfolio of work with you to the interview. Lastly, choose your outfit carefully – you need to be comfortable while also maintaining a professional look. Remember, first impressions last.
Parting words: The most important thing to remember when looking for an internship is that you need to be prepared. Look forward to the fact that once you secure and complete an internship, you will walk out of there having gained the skills that will kick-start your career in journalism.
Want to develop your journalism skills?