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Tech Blog – Making the Most of Your Journalism Internship April 14, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , trackback

Steve Buttry was a fantastic guest speaker, and appropriately enough his blog is just as chock full of great information, including a particularly helpful article on making the most out of your internship. I’ve never partook in a journalism internship, but I’m currently interning at Loudoun County Public Schools Television, and I’ve kept Buttry’s tips in mind ever since I read his article.

The #1 entry he lists is to ask questions, and I think that can’t be stressed enough. You don’t have all the answers, and if you’re lucky enough, your supervisor will allow you to explore the possibilities on your own. But at a prior internship, I found that, while the project director appreciated my efforts and enthusiasm, whenever I was faced with an executive decision myself and I didn’t at least consult her to let her know the direction I would be heading in, there was some natural resistance to my ideas. I learned to ask ahead of time, and everything was approved immediately.

Buttry also suggests working hard and having fun. I think this applies to any job, not just an internship. I’m not the most experienced editor from a technical standpoint (although I’m certainly above competent), but I do think I’m a relatively pleasant person to work with, and even when I’m not feeling 100%, I never let it get in the way of my duties. Would that give me the edge over an incredible editor who’s a pain to work with? Probably not for every production company looking to hire, but it would certainly be a deciding factor for some.

Another piece of advice is to own up to mistakes. A couple weeks ago, I went to a shoot and had forgotten to check the camera case before leaving–everything had always been taken care of and put away properly before, so I just assumed it would be the case once again. When I arrived at the shoot, I discovered there was no battery; another intern had forgotten to put it back. But while they certainly erred, I did too. Rule numero uno going on a shoot is to check your equipment ahead of time–that it’s present, let alone in working order. I apologized profusely probably to the point where my constant “I can’t believe I did that; I’m so sorry!” was probably a bigger irritant than the situation itself.

With graduation a month away, I’m looking for employment (or paid internship) opportunities and Buttry’s advice is something I will definitely take into account. And hey, Professor Klein, if you can recommend any good journalism jobs (particularly pop culture-related), let me know!

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