If you’re a broadcast journalism major, you’ve probably had internships at a news station. We’ve all heard that internship experiences are what you make of them, but how exactly do you make the most of them? Here are my top four tips:
1. Ask Questions. As an intern you might be afraid to interrupt the anyone that works there because they look busy. Remember, if they did not have time the coordinator would not have brought you on set. Last year, I went to the National Hispanic Journalism Convention in Las Vegas and took full advantage of the professionals around me. There were a lot of reporters whom I received great advice from.
2. Take Your Time. There’s no rush to take an internship at a news station – I suggest waiting until spring of your junior year. By then you will have already written many news stories in the classroom and possibly even for the campus newspaper. When you land a news station internship, it will be great training and an opportunity to enhance your skills. You will not be that intern that is just sitting around waiting for something to do.
3. Find a Mentor. In “Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” Sheryl Sandberg says that we are too concentrated on finding a mentor at internships. We feel that the only way to climb to the top will be through mentorship. The truth is, if we want a mentor, we must work hard. When we work hard, others will notice the hard work and will be willing to take you under their wing.
When shadowing, ask as many questions as you can. Even if you are asking the same questions to different individuals at the station — their responses will be different. The more you ask the more they will be willing to help you out.
4. Be Proactive. Ask the internship director to give you a list of everyone at the news station. Contact reporters, photo editors, video editors, camera production, producers, etc. and ask when you can shadow them. Ask video editors to give you copies of b-roll of when you go out in the field with reporters. You can work on your demo reel when you have nobody to shadow. If you really have no idea what you should be doing at your internship, ASK the internship director for guidance.
For more internship 101 at news stations click here.