Ask any working journalist today, and he or she will tell you that they learned more during the first year of their first “real job” than they need in their previous four years of college.
It’s because working as a reporter or editor is something that is best learned by doing. Journalism majors may write for their campus newspaper or put together broadcast stories for their school’s radio and TV production studio – but that work tends to be intermittent as the students complete other course work.
Campus journalism is not the true “daily grind” of a professional newsman or newswoman.
Thus, to bolster one’s chance of landing a good job in the media sector, taking on an internship after college is a superb way to burnish one’s qualifications. Indeed, many of the best journalism schools require that an internship be completed before a degree is granted.
Print Journalism Internship – The Ultimate Training Ground?
One of the best internship gigs is working for a small community newspaper. Yes, we’re talking about the print medium and the increasingly “old-fashioned” paper-and-ink print news vehicle.
While it’s true that the future of journalism is likely not in paper/print journalism, an internship with a local small weekly or bi-weekly paper is a tremendous training ground for those who want to work in the radio, TV, or digital journalism realm.
The reason is that small-publication reporters have to do it all – write stories, edit stories, take photographs, assist with the composition and layout of the paper, conduct interviews, come up with their story ideas – and more.
Small print publications require their employees to wear just about every hat because they don’t have the budget to hire specialists to handle each job. The result is that you will emerge from your time in this tough training ground as an extremely well-rounded news professional.
Whatever You Do – Learn to Write Well
Some people opt for a radio or TV journalism major because they don’t like to write as much as they like performing on camera, running a radio control board, or working on a website.
However, whether it’s radio, TV, or digital, the key to success for working in any news medium today is the ability to write clear, concise news stories – and do it swiftly and on deadline.
All success in journalism flows from mastering that core skill – the ability to write well, accurately, on deadline, with proper grammar, and with a developed instinct for what makes good content and a compelling story.