Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Survivial

One-third of the Ten95 crew participated in a panel during Unity called "Paying it Forward: How to Maximize Your Internship," as a part of the all-star crew that included recruiting phenom Joe Grimm, radio guru Doug Mitchell and reporting superstars Chloe Hilliard and Marlon Walker. Veronica moderated and I was a panelist.

The room was packed. The kids were eager. The advice was super sound. Below are a few pics from event and our Top 20 lists of things to do -- and not to do -- while on a summer internship. The tips were written from a print perspective, but are applicable across mediums.

  1. DO learn who is who on the staff.

  2. DO understand that each staff is a living organism that you should easy your way into SLOWLY. Assertiveness is great but sometimes misplaced enthusiasm can rub some the wrong way.

  3. DON'T blog (Facebook or MySpace) about your internship. Your employer is watching and reading.

  4. DON'T feel a sense of entitlement while you're in a newsroom. Just because there are front page stories (or great packages) without writers, don't think that one is going to be yours.

  5. DO watch your editor to determine his or her work pattern and the best time of day (or week) to seek guidance and feedback.

  6. DO arrive 30 minutes early every day to get the best assignments. The early bird gets the worm. There are stories that your editor is probably waiting to assign as people come in for the day so make sure you're in the mix!

  7. DO cultivate a few relationships with people who understand your thought process well enough to be excellent references in the future and collect their business cards.

  8. DO offer to help out in any little way with a big story.

  9. DON'T jeopardize your credibility by having a romantic relationship during your internship --- especially not one with a permanent staffer.

  10. DON'T ever be hard to reach. Questions and opportunites can arise at any time.

  11. DON'T take criticism of your work personally. Work with your supervisors to make it better.

  12. DON'T say "I don't want to," and don't hesitate to say, "I'm not sure how, but I want to learn."

  13. DO make sure that you understand your assignment and ask detailed questions before you head out to report. You can write the best story in the world, but if its not what your editor requested, it won't earn you any points.

  14. DO make or beat your deadline.

  15. DO chat up other reporters. If you see a story someone did and you liked it or are interested in the process, ask them out for coffee or stop by their desk.

  16. DON'T forget to check every name, age, address and fact in your story, in addition to running spell check. No one likes messy copy.

  17. DON'T turn your nose up at any assignment. Small stories lead to bigger opportunities.

  18. DO ask for feedback. Midway through your internship, schedule a sit down with your editor/supervisor to discuss your performance to-date. What areas need work? In what areas are you excelling? What does your editor want to see going forward? Take the feedback to heart and work on the areas that need improvement.

  19. DO set tangible goals. Make a list that will serve as the roadmap to your internship. What skills do you want to learn? What particular stories or topics would you like to cover?

  20. DO come up with your own story ideas and pitch them to your editor.

(Photo captions from top to bottom: Talia answering a question on the panel; Chloe and Marlon dropping knowledge on the interns; Veronica keeping us all in line.)

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Posted by T Dot at 11:08 AM | link

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