Most entry-level journalists hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and a journalism internship is required in many of these programs. If internships are available but not required, then it’s wise to elect to participate because of the critical experience that it provides.
What Is a Journalism Internship?
Employers in many industries offer internship programs. Most interns are enrolled in pertinent college degree programs, and they usually occur during the summer, though other options may be available.
The intern works for the company for a set time period. While the employer gains an extra pair of hands, the intern gains valuable professional experience.
Why an Internship in Journalism Matters
An internship promises real-world, hands-on experience that cannot be gained in the classroom. Interns witness and take part in day-to-day responsibilities around the newsroom. While their academic endeavors introduce theory, an internship lets students put their learning into practice.
One of the best reasons to opt for an internship is to become a more attractive hiring candidate. Prospective employers like to see practical experience on resumes, even if that experience was obtained elsewhere. Additionally, some people are able to make the leap from intern to full-time employee based on their performance.
Internships give students a chance to build confidence in a competitive environment. With feedback from colleagues and supervisors, it’s easier for the student to return to their studies with renewed focus and direction. Internships may help students to decide whether or not journalism truly is the right career path for them. Alternatively, these programs make it possible to gain a real-world perspective on the differences between print and television media.
Get Academic Credit for an Internship
In most cases, it’s possible to earn academic credits for internships. Requirements vary by degree program. A per-credit cost may be involved, and some colleges require that the internship involves a minimum number of hours per week as well as a minimum number of weeks.
Certain journalism degree programs make it possible to earn credits for multiple internship experiences. This gives students a chance to work at the same company over two summers or to try at least two different experiences.
When Internships Aren’t Required
Most accredited colleges and universities require that journalism students complete at least three credits of an internship as an elective. However, not all programs are the same. Students who find themselves enrolled in a program that doesn’t require an internship may want to give consideration to finding an internship on their own.
While it may not earn them any academic credit, doing so will certainly provide the student with numerous advantages. They’ll gain work experience, build a professional network and differentiate their resume from the competition.
Be Ready to Succeed in Your Journalism Internship
An internship represents an exciting opportunity to get involved in a real newsroom in a meaningful way. It provides the student with a chance to hone their skills and get acquainted with the day-to-day rigors of working in the media.
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To make the most of the opportunity, it’s best to be prepared. Start looking for an internship early, and stay on top of all application requirements and deadlines. This provides the student with the most options and the best chance of enjoying their required journalism internship.