A journalism internship is a golden opportunity. However, these experiences are what you make of them. If you want to maximize your time and leave a positive impression, follow these tips.
Be Open to Internships at Small or Transitioning Businesses
While most students prefer internships at media companies where they dream of holding the perfect job one day, the experience may be more rewarding at a smaller organization or one that is undergoing some kind of transition.
This is because you may have many more diverse learning opportunities at these small concerns. An understaffed office multiplies your options to jump in and volunteer for a variety of projects. Plus, you’re much more likely to get noticed when you’re not just one face in a sea of interns. The richer experiences that you have during your internship will give you plenty to talk or write about when it’s time to apply for that first job.
Ask Questions at Every Opportunity
Be prepared to ask questions early and often. Don’t think that your question is dumb or obvious. You never know when an inquiry will lead a seasoned professional to share information with you that they might not otherwise have thought of.
Bravely ask questions of the person in the newsroom who intimidates you the most. It’s not only good for your self-esteem but also it makes a distinctive impression on the person you ask and others who observe it. As a bonus, you’ll probably score some sage advice.
Check Your Work. Then Check It Again.
The fewer mistakes you make, the better the impression you make. It may seem tedious to double or even triple check your work, but it’s worth the extra effort. Accuracy matters in the media world. Even at the journalism internship stage, you’re building a professional reputation.
Own Your Mistakes
You have done your due diligence by checking and re-checking your work. Still, you’re all-but-guaranteed to make a few mistakes. This is part of the learning process, and even professionals who have been in the industry for a long time are prone to the occasional gaffe.
When you make a mistake, embrace it and own up to it to your supervisors. They will appreciate your candor, honesty and integrity. Remember that they likely will forget the mistake that you made, but they are even more likely to recall how you handled yourself in a difficult situation.
Be Enthusiastic Even About the Unexciting Projects
Journalism can be glamorous, but most of it is about old-fashioned hard work. That means taking on tasks like transcription that nobody enjoys. Take on these jobs with a smile and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Complete them with accuracy, and be on time. Chances are good that people are going to notice your upbeat attitude and the quality of your work product. It’s bound to lead to better projects.
Leave Personal Problems at Home
Stressful situations are guaranteed to arise at home during your internship. Don’t let these events affect your attitude or your performance. By establishing boundaries between work and home life, you’ll be more successful in both areas.
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An internship frequently is a critical experience for any communications major. Use these tips to make the most of your journalism internship.