Internship Blog

journalism_371x285

My Internship is scheduled from June 10 – 21. This is a day-by-day account of the activities and work that I have been involved in during this time.

Day 0: Reflecting Before Becoming the Intern

day 0

“It’s an interview, for an internship, that could lead to a job!” – The Internship, 2013.

I have not commenced my internship yet, but am only one day shy of walking through the doors into my dream job. I am going to work hard, and absorb everything I can over the next two weeks. When I think about walking through the door, it makes me consider how important first impressions are. Through casual jobs that I have worked to support myself through university I know how important presentation is. Not only dressing appropriately, but also coming to work each day with enthusiasm.

By this stage of my degree I have already acquired a level of basic skills. Having already completed a similar internship at a newspaper organisation in High School confirmed my desire to be a journalist. However now that I’ve nearly finished my degree, this will be a test of the skills I’ve since developed. Following this realisation a more immediate doubt kicks in, which The Internship movie summarises: “We’re looking at some sort of mental Hunger Games against a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs.” 

DAY 1: MONDAY, 10 JUNE (QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY)

 

IT was the Queen’s Birthday, but waking up, I felt a buzzing excitement as if it were my own. Today, I would walk into my dream job, and be able to experience, delight, and engage in every aspect of life as a journalist.

 

I woke up early to watch the daily news bulletins, then listened to radio broadcasts on the way to work so that I had immediate updates of any breaking news. Arriving eagerly at 8.30, I found nobody at the offices. Apparently on public holidays even news could take a break – a different type of breaking news to what I was expecting to find! It was generally a slow news day, with only around fifteen people – approximately half the usual team – coming in and out of the office.

 

During the morning I learnt how to use the program Citarix that stories are filed on, and how to upload copy properly. First, I worked on the ‘48hours’ column in Panorama up until mid-afternoon. I had to search for events happening in Canberra during the coming weekend and write a brief description of each. I had to contact event organisers to check dates, and find enough information to fill out my column. I also had to use my judgment in selecting the events to promote. For example, I had to include a few cheap or free events as some people have a limited budget for weekend activities. In addition I learnt how to make headlines punchy, and how to reduce information to a concise form. As I am more accustomed to expanding and explaining my ideas at university, this is an area I hoped to improve upon during my internship.

 

At lunch, I was told to research a lead about whales that were rumoured to be moving south from Sydney. My task was to learn about whale migration, and find out if any whale charters in Narooma were operating. I called three charter companies to interview managers, however all of them said that as it was off-season they weren’t operating. While I had no luck with the whale story, learning how to research and interview was a useful exercise.

 

At the end of the day I worked on another column for Panorama, ‘LITBITS.’ I had to scour through press releases and tourist websites to find key information about upcoming literary events. It was similar to my first column in that I had to contact event organisers and publicists for further information. This process made me realise how many different media roles exist, especially in public relations. Although I would prefer to work in print journalism, there are many other career paths that would also be rewarding.

 

I was always polite to interviewees on the phone, but was warned by a supervisor not to allow people to convince me to promote their business service or products. After half a dozen interviews, I quickly learnt that many people try to use the media for self-promotion. For example, when I was undertaking the whale story, a contact tried to promote his whale charters. So in order to try to gain the best information from my contacts, I needed to be assertive.  Interviewees quite commonly requested free ‘plugs’ which became a little annoying.

 

I didn’t have a chance to leave the office today, but familiarised myself with the layout and organisational culture. I met several journalists; three of them helped me with the various columns I was assigned to. Tomorrow I hope to sit in on a traditional newsroom meeting, where ideas will be pitched around the table. Listening to other journalists work in the newsroom around me has been a valuable learning experience. The manner in which they conduct interviews, and the problems they encounter even after years of experience has been quite educational.

 

I was told that I might have the opportunity to go out into the field tomorrow with a senior journalist. I also have to complete a basic OH&S run down I missed today because the HR Manager is away. It will be interesting to observe the newsroom when it is fully staffed, and meet the rest of the team!

 

DAY 2: TUESDAY, 11 JUNE

 

THIS morning I arrived at the newsroom early so that I could finish researching events for the two columns I’ve been working on. They’re due for submission tomorrow, so I had to check that there were no other events sent to the column overnight and finish compiling them. I sat in on my first newsroom meeting too. Watching the editors prioritise stories was interesting. If there were something immediate on the schedule journalists would be encouraged to pre-write as much of the story as possible. This organizational skill allows multi-tasking and ensures that stories are ready to file quickly after interviews.

 

I pitched a story idea across the table in the newsroom meeting, as I wanted to investigate how the online domain has changed young people’s involvement in and contribution to charities. I brainstormed the story last night after work, when a friend asked me to donate to her 40 Hour Famine cause, just after I had also donated to Camp Quality online. I thought it was interesting that many of my friends have been supporting various causes because of their social media presence. The editorial team approved my pitch and I will be working independently on this story tomorrow morning.

 

Today I also wrote an article about the winners of a Canberra photograph competition. I interviewed the winner and two finalists about their photographic inspirations. I typed it up quickly into a short news story for publication. Mid-afternoon I completed the OH&S rundown, and listened to some facts about the organisation. It wasn’t surprising to hear that a large number of job cuts are occurring during the time of my internship. It feels daunting to be training in an organisation where employment is declining.  Overall today has been a positive learning experience, and I have met many senior staff.

 

 

 

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY, 12 JUNE

 

THE charity story I pitched earlier was today’s challenge. I spent some time contacting charities to find a spokesperson and a case study. Only one charity responded in the timeframe required, and I managed to line up an interview for Friday morning, so I postponed further work on the story until then. I thought it was only because I was a student that it is often difficult to arrange interviews. However I’ve learnt that even working in a reputable organisation, a lot of patience and perseverance is still required.

 

Today I completed the ‘48hours’ and ‘Litbits’ columns that I have been working on. Hurrah! The editor checked my work and said that it was very comprehensive and was happy with the standard.

 

In the second half of the day I worked on a story for the snow season. I called ski resorts and tourists centers to find information on recent snowfall trends. After thorough research, and contacting several different ski resorts, I had developed the story lead that I wished to pursue. I typed up the article for publication then I had to wait for an interviewee to send me an image to run alongside the story, which will be published tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm I have a scheduled media conference, where I will be interviewing a dancer from a ballet currently showing at the theatre. I plan on doing

some research before I turn up to work in the morning so that I have some background understanding.

 

DAY 4: THURSDAY, 13 JUNE

 

BALLET was on the agenda today as I spent time out of the office to critique an exclusive media show. Although I have had some dance training when I was younger, I was predominantly out of my comfort zone. When I interviewed the director and primary dancer I was sure to use their expertise to explain technical terms in my article.

 

 

DAY 5: FRIDAY, 15 JUNE

 

OUT of the office a lot today, I had no time to update my blog. I was exhausted when I returned home. I am glad that I can rest over the weekend and come in with some new ideas Monday morning!

 

 

WEEK 2: LIFE IN THE FAST (AND CURVY) LANE

 

SLEEPING and eating became a priority this week, as regular blogging rapidly declined. The new information I had been learning everyday was unceasing, relentless, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Facing many unexpected challenges, I was constantly forced out of my comfort zone.

Deadlines became tighter, and sleep was becoming a luxury. However the exhilarating feeling of meeting each deadline was similar to a boost of adrenalin in a race. I had little time to reflect on the stories I had published, as I was given a fairly heavy workload. And lessons-there was so many! From not sending detailed enough briefings to photographers, to changing the order of points in stories, my notebooks were overflowing with instructions.

 

At the end of the internship, I can now hold these notes in my hand, proud of the learning that I have achieved. I made several mistakes along the way, but my writing skills have been greatly enhanced because of them. This internship enriched my learning experience more than I had ever thought possible. Besides the privilege of being surrounded by people I regarded with such high respect, I also walked out with more confidence in my own ability. I now have a career goal to focus on, notes to learn from, and a portfolio of work to be proud of. I feel empowered to take on a future career in journalism and adapt to a rapidly changing professional environment.

 

LOOKING BACK

 

A week after my internship, the receptionist emailed me with work to add to my portfolio, also alerting me to even more job losses since my departure. The news was a stark reminder of the declining employment opportunities in my intended career.

 

I still have unwavering passion and enthusiasm for the craft and my career aspirations remain unchanged. However, having been exposed to a number of other media job positions during my internship, such as public relations professionals, publicists, and communications officers, my possible career options have expanded.

I intend to focus on returning to the job of my dreams again in future. But after this internship, I’m not averse to seeking many other paths to eventually reach this destination. What a thrilling journey I’ve been on already, and in only two weeks!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: