Reports from the Field

Developing a Journalism Career with Internships

Travel Journalism in South Africa

If you’re looking to kickstart your career, an internship program can prove invaluable. Offered by companies and institutions in many different sectors, internships are designed to give you practical experience within your chosen field, while you continue to learn.

A journalism internship is a great example. Giving you hands-on training and helping you to gain valuable experience, an internship in journalism can help you to get your foot in the door, as well as help you to determine whether or not it’s the right career move for you. Here, we’ll look at how internships help and the different types of journalism internships on offer.

How do internships help?

Internships help both students and employers. Take journalism internships summer 2018 for example. As a student, you’ll get to learn everything you need to know about what working in journalism is really like. You’ll develop essential skills you wouldn’t get in the classroom and you’ll also have the opportunity to demonstrate your skills in the field. Employers will get to see how well you perform and if you’ve proven to excel within the role, they’ll see you as a potential asset to the team.

If you do impress and you’re offered a job at the end of the internship, you’ll still start at the bottom. However, you’ll have gained a lot of useful skills and knowledge to help you progress quicker up the career ladder.

How does an internship work?

 Internships are usually unpaid, and they’re designed to give you experience and skills to help you find employment. Some will provide credits towards a degree or college course, while a few may offer paid opportunities such as a paid journalism internship. However, if you’re taking a college or school-based internship, it will usually be carried out on an unpaid basis. They’re largely an exchange of services. You get the unique opportunity to learn within the actual working environment, while the employer receives free labor.

While the majority of internships undertaken by students are those offered by the school or college, some can be applied for independently. This is especially true when it comes to summer internships. Once again following the journalism example, you can find summer journalism internships for college students. You can apply for these directly and you’ll typically find there are opportunities in many different departments such as social media, editing and journalism.

These types of summer journalism internships are great for students who are fresh out of college. By applying for journalism summer internships independently, it not only gives you valuable experience, but demonstrates your commitment to the industry. This means they will look great on your resume.

The responsibilities of a journalism intern

So, what responsibilities do journalism interns have? Well, if you intern within a magazine or newspaper, you’ll typically learn how to produce content which matches the style and tone of the publication, as well as content which stands out.

You may be expected to carry out interviews, handle social media accounts and create and upload content to the publication’s website. All of these tasks can add a lot of weight to your resume, helping you to stand out from other applicants when you apply for a job.

The different genres of journalism

There are actually a few different types of journalism genres you can choose from. So, it helps to know which type you’re hoping to get into.

You can choose from political journalism, sports journalism, investigative journalism or news journalism. Each has its own unique roles and responsibilities, so it’s advisable to research each one to see which best fits your preferences. Below, we’ll take a look at each of these different genres in a little more detail.

Sports journalism:

Sports are an important part of most publications, such as in newspapers, radio and television news broadcasts. There’s a lot of focus on numerous types of sports and amateur and professional sporting events which take place around the world, require sports journalists to present the news of the game in an objective manner.

Reporting on the games, interviewing the players and their coaches and offering commentary of a game through various media such as radio, television or the internet, are all responsibilities of a sports journalist. If you are an avid sports fan and you are also interested in journalism, sports journalism is definitely a field worth considering.

As well as standard journalism, there are also roles for sports photojournalists too. They help to capture sporting events through high-quality photos. So, when looking for sports journalism internships, consider which type of role you’d most prefer to apply for.

Political journalism:

Political journalism includes aspects of politics and political science. The political journalist provides information about various political parties to the voters, who can then form their own opinions and then participate in the local, community or national political matters which have an impact on their lives.

Like sports journalism, political journalism is also provided through different media channels such as the television, radio and the Internet. The main responsibility of interns participating in a political journalism internship include to firstly to keep their personal political views from interfering with their work. They are also expected to have an extensive knowledge about politics, conduct interviews with political candidates, arrange panel discussions and, at times, interpret political speeches.

Broadcast journalism internships:

Broadcast interns who work with a radio or a television station, get the opportunity to experience television shows and radio programs. They get to see first hand how a program gets planned and executed.

The responsibilities of an intern participating in broadcast journalism internships, include researching new stories, developing scripts for the show, arranging press releases and booking guests for the show.

Journalism for high school students:

Various journalism internships for high school students are available. Students are introduced to the various genres of journalism and encouraged to learn the different aspects of the sector. This helps them to establish which type is best suited to them.

They get an opportunity to work with professors in classrooms and attend college-level lectures on the different topics related to journalism. It’s not quite as in-depth as a college or university based internship, but it’s a valuable opportunity to help students who already know what they want to do once they’ve completed their studies.

Journalism abroad:

Technology is fast changing the way information is processed and shared with the world. Interns participating in international journalism internships, get an opportunity to experience how news is reported, created and processed within a news organization in different countries. They get the chance to work abroad and stay well informed about international issues.

Journalism internships abroad give interns a chance to work in an unfamiliar environment, alongside the locals who might not even speak their language. This helps the interns develop social skills, learn to interact and communicate with foreign nationals and to gather news which is to be broadcast worldwide.

Students usually make their decisions to join international internship programs by mid-March in most colleges. All they need to do is look for the best journalism internships programs that will help them to gain practical knowledge and experience, to help them decide which field they would like to work in.

Internship programs are offered for students for a set duration (a 12-week program, for example). Students can check out various cities and countries which offer these types of, programs such as journalism internships NYC, journalism internships Los Angeles and San Fransisco journalism internships.

Those applying need to possess excellent writing and reporting skills. They need to be able to create new story ideas instead of simply just chasing the breaking news. Knowledge of digital technology would also be an asset, as today the world largely revolves around the Internet and social media.

Overall, journalism is an exciting career to follow. If you enjoy and have a knack for finding a story in unusual places, it’s an especially great opportunity for you. A journalism internship program helps you to work alongside professionals from the field and learn valuable skills and knowledge. This will help to really prepare you for a career in journalism and set you apart from other candidates when it comes to finding a job.

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Elissa Sursara
Posted on: 08 Nov 2018

Interview with Elissa Sursara – Wildlife Conservationist

Who are you, What do you do and What did you have for breakfast?

I’m Elissa! I’m a wildlife conservationist, amateur photographer, diver and animal lover. I’m hugely interested in equality and environment and spend a lot of my time studying and writing. For breakfast this morning I had some peanut butter on toasted multigrain with a banana and some leftover coconut water.

What did you get up to last Tuesday at work?

Last Tuesday I was stuck in front of my computer studying. I’ve kind of turned into the Van Wilder of conservation! I’m completing a secondary degree and finishing up a masters degree. I’m lucky that a lot of my original credits transferred, but I’ve got a few interesting subjects to complete and some research to pile together. I don’t think I’ll ever be done studying. There’s too much to learn… microbiology, organic chemistry, veterinary science…

Elissa Sursara

Who or what inspired you to do the job you do now?

I think everyone in conservation is inspired by Jane Goodall, and I’m certainly no exception! She’s been such an incredible scientist and her research work has significantly changed the way we view our primates and other species by association. I look up to women like Alexandra Cousteau and Cristina Mittermeier. These women are warriors for the environment. I can only hope to be as fearless and accomplished as they are.

What is needed to succeed in your career?

It altogether depends on what part of conservation you want to work in. If you want to write about the environment, study words and literature and graduate with qualifications in journalism and relations and arts; if you want to research wildlife and discover new species, study their anatomy and ecology and management and graduate with qualifications in science and biology. Study law if you want to implement policy! On top of that, I think you need to be prepared to work hard and long hours, sometimes for free, sometimes far away and sometimes in remote conditions. If you’re passionate about it, I don’t think it’s a problem!

Elissa Sursara

If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?

If I could change anything about my past in environmentalism, it would be to trust big media less. They aren’t our friends when it comes to saving the world. I gave an interview about shark diving once and it was a disaster – nothing printed was accurate. It was then that I learned how it works for popular media, they’ll print what they need for a headline. There’s plenty of independent and unbiased media for us to learn about the world from. If I could change anything, it would be trusting big media for too long to be a partner in progression.

What is your proudest moment and/or biggest regret?

I was part of an Antarctic crew that saved 932 whales from the harpoons of an illegal Japanese whaling fleet with Sea Shepherd over three or four months at sea. That was amazing. It was hard work but certainly my proudest moment.

Elissa Sursara

What is your favourite quote?

David Attenborough once said, “I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it still unexplored.” I love that quote, and I admire him greatly. To me it resonates
because I have such a passion for exploring the world and experiencing other cultures, and finding ways to protect their wildlife and landscapes.

Global Nomadic offers Professional Internships, Volunteer Projects and TEFL Programmes in 29 countries worldwide. Start travelling your career today!

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Elissa Sursara
Posted on: 20 Jul 2016