An internship is one of the most important experiences you will have. It is also unlike any other MDJ 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 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 Associate Professor Mitch McKenney (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get answers to questions. Be sure to check out the FAQs as well.
MDJ will allow you to register for the course once you have secured an approved internship and submitted an online application.
Completion of one of the following:
- 26007 Reporting
- 26008 Broadcast Reporting
- 32002 Photojournalism II
- or the permission of the sequence coordinator.
The following contains some basic information about and prerequisites for internships for students in the Journalism major – formerly broken into broadcast news, newspaper/multimedia news, magazine and photojournalism.
Every student majoring in Media and Journalism completes an internship (MDJ 40092) as a requirement for a degree. In Journalism, the internship is at least 150 hours of professional work under professional supervision at an off-campus news organization. These may be at a TV or radio station, magazine, newspaper or digital news site.
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 attempt no more than 12 credit hours in addition to the internship.
Internships must be approved in advance. 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, the MDJ office will send you information on enrolling in MDJ 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.
You will receive your internship syllabus for the applicable semester. It outlines reporting requirements you will be required to submit to get course credit.
Internships are for between 1-3 credits and will be graded "S" or "U." Failure to report on a timely basis or to complete the minimum 150 hours per credit hour can result in a U grade, and the internship will have to be repeated. This is also true, of course, of unsatisfactory work.
The FAQ about 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 Exploration and Development. Your sequence coordinator and many faculty members also can assist you.
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. Call up media outlets and ask if they have internship programs. Sign up for interviews with the recruiters who come to the School of Media and Journalism each year. Also, check the employer database on this website. Faculty members 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.
Using your KSU login, click here to view a Google spreadsheet of places our journalism students have interned before. Be sure to confirm the contact information before sending your portfolio.
Ask your professors and colleagues in student media for suggestions.
Also, Associate Professor McKenney keeps a listserv for KSU Journalism majors where he passes along requests from employers looking for interns. To join it, write email@example.com and include your name, year, major and which MDJ courses you have taken already.
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.
Call the media company and ask if it takes interns. If so, 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.
You should have a resumé and cover letter prepared. Send them to a potential employer, and make sure you take copies to an interview. 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.
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.
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.
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. Once your internship is approved, the MDJ office will send you notice of the approval and the CRN for the internship course so you can register. This usually takes about a week.
When the term begins, Prof. McKenney will send you a syllabus for your internship "course." You will be required to complete three reports on the work experience and to submit work samples in Blackboard at deadlines given in the syllabus.
Media companies can pay nothing to about $500 a week at a major metropolitan organizations. In general, the larger the circulation, the higher the pay. Many newspaper internships are paid. This is less true of magazines and television stations. Some broadcast companies now pay their interns an hourly wage.
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.
Not at all. Students have worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and points in between.