Your internship awaits
Internships no longer are optional for today’s media students. In fact, most students undertake more than one during their college careers. Employers demand real-world experience, and nothing delivers like internships.
The Indiana University Media School and the College of Arts and Sciences career team work with students to develop search strategies for identifying, applying for and successfully completing internships.
But the best source of information may come from students who already have a few internships on their resumes.
The Television Academy Foundation / Warner Bros., Burbank, California
Duties: Developed daily reports on The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s ratings and a daily analysis of the Top 20 television shows; created a presentation on millennials’ television habits and an accompanying focus group; assisted in a project comparing E and Q-score data to detail awareness and affinity for fictional characters; and compiled information pertinent to the overall corporate strategy.
Advice: I found my internship using Google. I knew the Emmys had to have internships of some sort, and, sure enough, the Television Academy Foundation has a rich history of accepting interns in various categories and placing them in host companies. I applied online and was then invited to submit an interview video. I was accepted, and the academy placed me at Warner Bros. Take every assignment as an opportunity to learn and work hard. You want to be remembered by your co-workers and employers as a dedicated professional for future networking opportunities.
Finish Line, Indianapolis
Duties: Wrote internal communications, new hire bios and employee spotlights; planned and assisted with office events; facilitated corporate events such as Town Hall, Shareholders Meetings and Earnings Calls; responded to Corporate Social Responsibility Program requests; created a site map for the new company intranet; and participated in a case study competition with a small group of other interns.
Advice: A good way to find internships in your desired field is to narrow down to a location and then search for every possible company that interests you. Then, submit your resume to those companies, regardless of whether they have a posted internship program. Then, network and find connections at those companies.
Quincy Media, Inc. (ABC 21Alive and NBC33), Fort Wayne, Indiana
Duties: Reported, shot and edited video stories; found and pitched story ideas; operated the teleprompter; created online stories with pictures and video; managed Facebook accounts for NBC33 and 21Alive; produced shows from the control room; recorded audio for story packages; and cued and shot live-shots.
Advice: Search for anything and everything that interests you. Don’t let anything intimidate you. You might be surprised what kind of position you are qualified for. Having an idea of what you want and having the confidence and drive to go for it is key. Communications and media careers are all about connections. Connect with someone at the office and they might help you get the position. Check where employees went to school; if they went to IU, you can bond over that. Talk to your friends and family, too. You can make connections through people you already know.
The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina
Duties: Reported and wrote stories for the daily print paper and website; pitched story ideas; and completed both daily stories and projects lasting a few weeks.
Advice: I found my internship through a professor at The Media School. He had met journalists working for the paper who mentioned the internship program, which wasn’t officially advertised. He told me to apply, and I ended up getting an offer for the position.
Just because the organization doesn’t advertise an internship officially doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. Email and call people working in the organization to ask if there is some kind of opportunity for you. They’re more willing to help you than you think they are.
IndieWire, Los Angeles
Duties: Covered events like the Emmys and other red carpets; wrote about TV and movies; and interviewed actors.
Advice: I follow all my favorite entertainment writers on Twitter, and IndieWire has always been one of my favorite websites. I contacted a few of the reporters on Twitter, which then progressed to email, and then I was directed to the internship posting. It’s not all about the day-to-day work. A lot of what goes into a successful internship is attitude, confidence and willingness to learn new things. Don’t be afraid to step up and pitch new ideas or projects. They chose you from a wide pool of applicants, so show them why you belong there.
BigChoice Group, London
Duties: Reported and edited stories on student lifestyle, issues and education; attended events, press conferences and off-site interviews.
Advice: Say yes to all opportunities. My best memories are going to film screenings or running after-work interviews, not sitting at my desk. I met such interesting people that way. Always ask what you can do next, and have ideas ready. Don’t wait for your boss to come to you.
Duties: Worked with data for paid search ads; pulled weekly reports for different client-run ad campaigns and provided recommendations on optimizing each campaign; created copy for promoted ads; researched mobile innovation trends, client competitors and future mobile development; and presented ad ideas to client representatives.
Advice: I found my internship online through sites such as internship.com and by using Google. The best way to find internships is to get on the web and look every day. Find the top agencies in your field and figure out when their applications go live. Make a big spreadsheet with the dates so you don’t miss any.
Hemsworth Communications, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Advice: I found my internship through the marketing director for Margaritaville. She told me who does Margaritaville’s PR. Don’t give up. Follow up every unanswered email to show the company how bad you want to work for them. Once you get the internship, learn to love the agency and all of their clients by researching beforehand and informing yourself on what to expect. Every day in the office is a learning opportunity. Ask questions, ask for extra work, and ask how to be better. Make good impressions and real connections. The days will be more exciting if you enjoy the people you are surrounded by. Make the days count, because the summer flies by.
Muscular Dystrophy UK, London
Duties: Gathered an email summary highlighting the previous day’s company coverage in the media and any other relevant news that impacted the organization or the people it supported; wrote press releases and case studies; worked with the campaigns team; analyzed survey responses; and conducted interviews.
Advice: My supervisor gave me a lot of freedom to take on assignments on my own. I learned a lot and interacted with so many incredible people. My internship was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and it gave me a much better sense of where I belong.
You never know what you’re going to get with any internship. It’s no secret that hands-on experience teaches you far more than any lecture in a classroom. So when you have the opportunity to taste what it’s like to work in the real world, go for it with everything you have. Don’t settle for fetching coffee and filing paperwork. Tell your supervisor you want to work, and then prove to them what you can do.
Emerge Poverty Free, London
Duties: Managed social media, developed marketing materials, created videos for events and raising awareness, and planned charity events.
Advice: Use all the resources that are provided to you through The Media School. Put yourself out there. Make connections and build relationships. You never know how the connections you have and relationships you build will turn into something good or a possible career in the future. Networking is so important. Introduce yourself to people. Go to job fairs. Introduce yourself to guest speakers in your classes. Build personal relationships with your professors. They are full of knowledge and are willing to help students who actually go out of their way to make an effort. Reach out to many potential internships and send them examples of your work. Finally, have an open mind and be willing to help in a variety of ways at your internship, knowing that all skills you build will be beneficial in the future.
KXAN, Austin, Texas
Duties: Producing packaged reports and newscasts from reporters, producers, photojournalists and editors.
Advice: You must be persistent in searching for internship opportunities. Take advantage of every chance you get to learn from someone, even if it just means picking their brains about their jobs. Be your own advocate and make things happen.
The Mind Trust, Indianapolis
Duties: Sent four to five tweets about daily events, education articles and Indianapolis Public Schools updates; updated Facebook and monitored audience demographics; established a presence on Instagram; uploaded videos to YouTube; reviewed press releases; graphed social media analytics; and reached out to local news stations.
Advice: I used the resources Indiana University offers online to find internships that suited my skills and interests.
The Paper of Wabash County, Wabash, Indiana
Duties: Wrote news and feature stories, arrest reports, obituaries, press releases; interviewed individuals from the community; and photographed two week-long events.
Advice: I met a reporter who worked at the paper at a luncheon with the city Chamber of Commerce, and she gave me her contact information. Networking and communicating with people in your field of interest is so important and goes a long way.
Explore Media, South Bend, Indiana
Duties: Curated, scheduled and posted original content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn; uploaded videos to Vimeo and YouTube, including custom thumbnails and tags; and helped edit and upload new content to the website.
Advice: Just keep looking and keep applying. You may not hear back right away. Make sure you have a solid resume, then tailor your cover letter for each position. Don’t give up. I didn’t officially get my paid internship until a week after the spring semester ended.
WISH-TV in Indianapolis
Duties: Implementing and executing major company events; creating content for the social media pages; facilitating conversations between the company and their viewers; and taking pictures of guests and their products or services.
Advice: I found this internship by networking with a neighbor who works as a full-time camera operator for the News Break and IndyStyle segment at WISH-TV. He forwarded my resume to the promotions coordinator, and I landed an interview. Always network. It doesn’t matter if it is a neighborhood barbeque, a concert or even a camping trip. Someone is always there help you find professional opportunities
CBS News in London
Duties: Logged press conferences and interviews; completed research packets; accompanied reporters to parliament meetings; visited the Frontline Club with correspondents; reported a package; created headlines, and edited and published stories to the CBS News website.
Advice: If there is something I want to do or want to learn, all I had to do was ask and I would have a group of people who are more than willing to help. Never say no to anything, and make sure to confront them with your own work. Be excited to do anything even if it is not exciting, and never slack off. When I wasn’t doing anything, I would spend my time reading news and staying informed in things in case they questioned me about it.
Business Chicks, Sydney, Australia
Duties: Edited current articles for the new United States website; worked one of the 90 Business Chicks events; transcribed interviews; helped produce Latte magazine and the weekly newsletter; sat in on weekly team meetings; wrapped and delivered client material; and found locations on print media to promote upcoming events.
Advice: Research. Know what you want, find an internship similar to your interests and then jump on the opportunity. If you don’t get your first choice, the second choice may work out better than you imagined, which is what happened for me. Once in your internship, stay focused. Don’t get distracted and do what is asked of you, always asking what you can do more. Ask to shadow people working in different elements of your internship. You’re in the perfect position to figure out what you really want to do, so take advantage of that. Most important, have fun. It’s a learning experience and your internship leader knows that. Don’t be afraid to take risks and suggest ideas. You’re a fresh perspective that the company may need.
College Hunks Hauling Junk, Indianapolis
Duties: Maintained social media pages; designed an employee recruitment flier; and replied to customer feedback.
Advice: I already was working for the company and asked my boss if I could help with marketing. Wherever you work, there is opportunity to ask to help in whatever field you aspire. It never hurts to ask if you can help. Even if it is unpaid, it is still a great experience.
NUVO Magazine, Indianapolis
Advice: Do your research. Find something that’s going to be beneficial to your growth as a journalist, and try to go above and beyond what they expect. Make yourself stand out.
SubTV Music, London
Duties: Produced music playlists; managed social media; marketed the company; created campaigns for music festivals; and produced videos.
Advice: I absolutely loved my internship. All of my co-workers were amazing and helpful. They treated me as an equal and not just as an intern. I worked in a hands-on, collaborative atmosphere. SubTV has helped me develop my skills in the media industry through my learning experiences in a real-time work environment. My strongest advice to anyone trying to get a job or internship is to be open-minded and confident in your own abilities. Chances are you know a lot more than you think, and you are capable of doing anything you put you mind to.
U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky
Duties: Wrote articles; took photos; made videos;and ran the U.S. Army ROTC CST social media for ROTC students’ summer training.
Advice: “If you’re into military news, it’s a good option for you. Just keep in mind that the schedule is tight. We may cover the mission at 4 in the morning.”
Analytica Media, London
Duties: Edited copy for Removals & Storage and UK Landlord magazines; fact-checked pieces; transcribed interviews; edited PDFs of the magazine before printing; and updated the client database.
Advice: Dedicate some time and look around online. There’s thousands of companies, and most of them need our help as interns to keep going. If you don’t like what you’re doing and feel like you should be getting more out of your internship, then sit down with your supervisor and sort it out. The point of an internship is for you to learn, and that’s what they’re there to help you do.