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News & Visual Journalism Internships

An internship is one of the most important experiences you will have. It is also unlike any other JMC experience you will have. The internship should give you an opportunity to prove to yourself, to an employer and to faculty members that the education you received has prepared you to handle the responsibilities of a job in your chosen field successfully.

On this site, you will learn what you need to know about qualifying for JMC news/visual journalism internships and what is expected of you once you secure an internship. Once you have explored the links on this page, make an appointment with the Coordinator for Career Services to get answers to questions. Be sure to check out the FAQs as well.

JMC will register you for the course once you have secured an approved internship and submitted an online application.

Prerequisites:

Newspaper:

  • JMC 26007 Print Beat Reporting

  • JMC 36005 Copyediting


Magazine:

  • JMC 26007 Print Beat Reporting

  • JMC 36005 Copyediting

  • JMC 46016 Magazine Publishing

Broadcast Journalism:

  • JMC 26008 Broadcast Beat Reporting

Photojournalism

  • JMC 32001 Photojournalism I

  • JMC 26001 Newswriting

Requirements

The following contains some basic information about and a list of prerequisites for the News and Visual Journalism internships for students majoring in Broadcast News, Multimedia News (formerly Newspaper), Magazine, Photojournalism.

Every student majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication completes an internship (JMC 40092) as a requirement for a degree. In News & Visual Journalism, the internship is at least 150 hours of professional work under professional supervision at an off-campus news organization. These may be digital-only news sites, magazines or newspapers. On many internships, students work for both digital and print versions of a publication.

The internship can be taken in the fall, spring or summer semester. If you intern in the fall or spring semester, the School recommends you take a maximum of 12 credit hours in addition to the internship.

Internships must be approved in advance by the JMC Coordinator for Career Services.To ensure you will receive credit for your internship, fill out an Internship Application Form, as soon as your internship is confirmed. After your internship is approved, After your internship is approved, the JMC office will enroll you in JMC 40092. You must be enrolled to receive credit.

You will be notified promptly if your internship application is not approved. If you have already accepted your internship, you will need to decide if you want to work the internship for no credit or resign the internship.

The Coordinator of Career Services will email your internship syllabus for the applicable semester. The syllabus outlines reporting requirements you will be required to submit periodically.  The Coordinator of Career Services also may request work samples and additional assignments.

Internships are for one credit and will be graded "S" or "U." Failure to report on a timely basis or to complete the 150 hours can result in a U grade, and the internship will have to be repeated. This is also true, of course, of unsatisfactory work.

A student in the internship course will be required to complete three reports on the work experience and to submit work samples to the Coordinator for Career Services who is the internship coordinator.


At the end of the internship, a confidential work evaluation is required from the employer. All reports must be completed before credit can be given.

If you have questions or problems during your internship, call or e-mail your internship coordinator, the JMC Coordinator for Career Services.

FAQ

The FAQ about News & Visual Journalism sequence internships should answer many of your preliminary questions about internships. If they don't, check with your academic adviser or the Coordinator for Career Services.  Your sequence coordinator and many faculty members also can assist you.

1. Why do I need an internship?

2. How do I find one?

3. When do I apply?

4. OK, I’ve found a business/organization at which I’d like to do an internship. Now what?

5. Once I get the interview scheduled, how do I prepare for it?

6. What about during the interview?

7. What about after the interview?

8.  Once I have the internship, what next?

9.  How much does an internship pay?

10. What do most media companies want in an intern?

11. Do I have to intern in northeast Ohio?

 

1. Why do I need an internship?

It's an opportunity to work in a professional setting, to enhance what you've already learned. Internships may provide mentoring or future employment opportunities and personal references.

Start with the Internet (see Internship Resources). Call up media outlets and ask if they have internship programs. Sign up for interviews with the recruiters who come to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication each year. Also, check the employer database on this website. Faculty members and the Coordinator for Career Services frequently email students about key internship opportunities.

Keep in mind that the employer may not use the "internship" label for a part-time job. With approval, you may use 150 hours of a part-time job as your internship.

2. How do I find one?

The JMC CareerExpo, held each spring for juniors and seniors, is an excellent internship search opportunity. Recruiters attend from northeast Ohio’s leading companies and organizations. It is a rich networking and career-exploring opportunity. Every year several students are hired for their internships through contacts made at the Expo.  It is held in downtown Cleveland, and JMC provides bus transportation to and from Kent.

3. When do I apply?

The deadlines are usually included with the internship listing. Generally, the larger the news organization, the earlier the deadline is. Larger-market television stations, newspapers and magazine companies have deadlines in November or December. Smaller-market television station and newspaper deadlines range from January to March. At the latest, start sending letters by the end of winter break. Keep sending them. Apply to at least 15 places.

4. OK, I’ve found a business/organization at which I’d like to do an internship. Now what? 

Call the media company and ask if it takes interns. If so then ask how to apply and follow those instructions. If you reach and speak with a receptionist, ask who handles internships. Make sure you get that person’s name, title, email address and phone number, and then ask to be connected to him/her. If you get his/her voicemail, leave a message and follow up with an appropriate email confirming your voicemail.  Be polite, but repeat the call and email until you reach the intern manager.

Once you reach him/her, be ready to explain exactly what you want and ask what to do. Make sure you keep accurate records of your conversation and what future action is needed. Do you need to re-contact a place at a certain time? Do you need to send a resumé, cover letter or application by a specific time? Make certain you have written down that person’s name, title, email address and phone number.

Your goal is to get an interview. So, keep working toward that. If you call and leave a message, don’t ask for a return call.  Tell him/her you’ll call back. It’s OK to leave your phone number or email address, but make it clear you’ll be calling back. Be persistent without being obnoxious. Call back every other day or even every day. Be polite and courteous.

Media companies want interns who are determined and persistent. By being determined, persistent and polite, you are likely exhibiting qualities they value. Some employers may delay responding to your initial inquiries just to learn if you are persistent and determined. 

5. Once I get the interview scheduled, how do I prepare for it?

You should have a resumé and cover letter prepared.  Send them to a potential employer, and make sure you take copies to an interview. Digital media and visual journalism students also should consider taking a portfolio of work samples.  Assignments from key classes and work published by Student Media are very appropriate. It is wise to have a faculty member review your portfolio before you present it to a potential intern employer.

Show your interest in the organization. Do your research.  Be smart about the company profile and how interns are typically utilized. Consult with classmates who may have interned there before.

Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Many times an interviewer will ask you if you have any questions, so make sure you do. But careful with “needy questions.” But do ask about primary intern duties, employer expectations, challenges and opportunities.

Dress professionally. Remember, it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. Check out the location of the internship before you interview, so you know how long it takes to get there and where to park.  There is nothing more stressful and damaging than arriving late for an interview.

6. What about during the interview?

Try very hard to think on your feet, so you can answer the interviewer’s questions quickly. But think about your answers. If you really don’t know something, say you don’t know. But remember, the interviewer is trying to find out what you do know. Stay relaxed and conversational. If you think of a question, ask it.

If you don’t understand something, say you aren’t sure what the interviewer means.

It is possible that more than one person will interview you.  Be prepared for this.  You may be asked a question and then a follow-up question. Be prepared to elaborate on your original answer. Think about possible questions before the interview, and think about your answers to these questions. For example, if you’re asked why you want to get into journalism, you should be able to answer immediately.You will want to ask about working hours, to learn if the internship will meet your credit requirements. But be careful with needy questions, such as pay, parking, office, schedule and the like.  Ask these questions once you have been offered the internship. Asking them before you are offered the internship can leave the wrong impression. 

7. What about after the interview?

Try to get the interviewer to give you some idea of the next step. If the interviewer doesn’t suggest a next step or doesn’t indicate whether you got the internship, ask her/him if you did or didn’t.  If there are further steps, make sure you understand clearly what they are. If a decision is to be made at a later date, ask if you can call at that time to learn if you got the internship. Make sure you note and put in your calendar whatever the interviewer tells you.

Whether or not you are offered the internship, you should follow-up immediately with a written and mailed thank-you note and email. DO BOTH. Email is too easy and casual and does not express your appreciation as fully as a written thank-you.

8.  Once I have the internship, what next?

Promptly write a thank-you note and mail it to your interviewer.  Make sure you have confirmed your start and completion date, hours, dress code and general expectation of duties.

Complete the online internship application form. You will be registered for the internship credit by the JMC office after your application is approved. The JMC Coordinator for Career Services will notify you via email of the approval and send an internship syllabus that outlines your reporting requirements.You cannot register for an internship yourself.

9.  How much does an internship pay?

Media companies can pay nothing to about $500 a week at a major metropolitan organization). In general, the larger the circulation, the higher the pay is. Many newspaper internships are paid. This is less true of magazines and television stations. Some broadcast companies now pay their interns an hourly wage.

10. What do most media companies want in an intern?

The same thing all companies want: Employees who are competent, honest, reliable, intelligent workers who also show initiative. Take the internship seriously. Look upon your internship as an audition for a potential job. Work hard. You'll get out of the internship what you put into it.

11. Do I have to intern in northeast Ohio?

Not at all. Students have worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and points in between.