SPJ 2020 Journalism Conference • Sept. 12-13, 2020



Landing, succeeding in internship isn't as difficult as you think

By Billy O'Keefe

LAURA BURNS / The Working Press
Students, listen up. Internships are as essential to your future as Facebook is to your social life.
Here are some helpful tips from the convention floor on how to make the most of one:
Don’t be picky with your first internship.
“Send your clips and your resume to anyone that you think you could benefit from, not just big publications. Smaller publications may give you a better opportunity to write.”
— Kelsey Mirando, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She interned at a paper in Tulsa, Okla.
Be professional.
“Dress professional and act professional because you’re in a professional environment.”
— Stephanie Deb, a student at Loyola University in Chicago. She interned at CosmoGirl and Athena Magazine for Girls.
Know what you’re going to be doing before you get there.
“Find out what your duties and day-to-day responsibilities will be before you get there. That way there’s no miscommunication about what’s expected from you.”
— Summer Suleiman, a student at Louisiana State University. She interned at the International Center for Journalism in Washington, D.C.
Be a shadow.
“Follow the reporter wherever he or she may go,” even if it’s through a crowd of protesters in the sweltering New Orleans summer.
—Vincent Ball, a student at Louisiana State University. He interned at a radio station.
Don’t freak out even if you feel like you’re in over your head.
“It taught me the extreme importance and mass difficulty of digital media and production.”
— Mandy Simpson, a student at Western Kentucky University who found herself a little overwhelmed when she accepted a digital media internship without prior experience, and had to learn fast.
Wherever you intern, remember it’s not representative of the entire industry.
“So if you hate or love it remember not everywhere will be like that.”
— Neil Alan Ralston, the SPJ adviser at Western Kentucky University.
Take charge of the newsroom
“I assumed I’d be pouring coffee. But some of my best clips were from standing up in a budget meeting and pitching stories.”
— Taylor Rausch, a student and SPJ campus representative at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She interned at a newspaper in Boone County, Ind.




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