This is my informal take on everything you need to know about being a news intern. I have been interning at a news station in Toledo, Ohio now for about a month and I have already learned more about the journalism business than I have in three years of college. The broadcast news field is one that is best experienced “hands on”. You never know what you are going to get when you walk into the station each morning, bright and early I might add. The internship is all about what you make of it. At certain times of the day the news room can become a zoo at feeding time, leaving interns to fend for themselves. I have learned however that it is acceptable in these situations to just holler across the room and ask for a new assignment. Just make sure that you keep your voice and don’t get lost in the chaos. This is also part of what makes the news business so exciting. Everyone I have met here is willing to go above and beyond to help me learn and create my own resume reel. I have also learned that every journalist is different. Sometimes there is not a specific right way to do a stand up, rather an opportunity to show your personal touch while still remaining professional and accurate of course. My internship here has only made my excitement and eagerness grow for my future career as a journalist/news personality. Below are some of the tips that I would give to any aspiring young journalist, some of which apply to any intern in any field of work.
First, a photographer gave me the 4 trade secrets which are absolute MUSTS, and a bit funny also.
1. Always be nice to your photog: They can make you look really good, or really bad, and it’s not very difficult to do either, also photogs usually have done a story before since news is cyclical.
2. Bring an extra pair of shoes: Nobody is going to feel sorry for you when you ruin your $400 Italian leather pumps reporting in the middle of an oil spill.
3. It is our station’s job to fill 22 minutes of black every show and have nobody say the F- word: everything else is extra.
4. (I believe most important:) Do not get too down on yourself when everyone in town beats you on a story, and do not get too big of a head when you beat everyone on a story: If you are in the business long enough both will happen MANY times.
Below are some extra tips that I came up with:
-Dress for the job you want (reporter, anchor, etc.) not just as the intern. When you take the time in the mornings you will feel more confident which is always a plus at any job!
-Form a good work relationship with the news director and reporters. They WILL get you connections to jobs in the future and are much more knowledgeable than you.
-Make an effort to improve or work on your resume reel as much as you can, it should be your goal to come out of the internship with an awesome reel if your news station allows. This includes writing stories and shooting standups.
-Finally, most broadcast journalism internships are UNPAID. So you will still be a broke college kid. If you have a summer job, make your internship the top priority if posssible. This is going to help your future career!
My last tip is something that we were told during our intern orientation that I will always remember: If you realize that 2 months from now you hate coming to work and lose all passion and drive for this business, get out. News requires a certain drive and want to help and serve the community, not just a desire to be on TV/ gain ratings.