Posted by Taylor Mirfendereski, RTDNA President
Last Wednesday we had the opportunity to Skype with current Today Show intern Kirstie Zontini. Kirstie told us about her experiences thus far at the Today Show and talked to our members about what prepared her to land a national internship. Kirstie advised RTDNA members to take advantage of every show that OU has to offer and to get involved with activities that will make your resume stand our more than another applicant’s.
After Skyping with Kirstie, several of our executive officers discussed their internship experiences and took questions from the members about securing an internship.
Because OU has such a long winter break, we advised our members to take advantage of internship opportunities during that time. While you’re certainly not required to intern more than once in your college career, gaining professional exposure early on could better position you to land a highly sought internship.
Below you’ll find additional advice about getting an internship and a list of places that you may want to consider applying.
APPLYING FOR AN INTERNSHIP
- When applying for an internship, you’ll likely find yourself in one of two scenarios:
- The organization that you’re applying to already has an internship program. You would like to intern with this organization for a full quarter or semester.
- The organization that you’re applying to already has an internship program, but does not include “short” internships (over winter break) in their program. For the purpose of this explanation, we’ll call this an “unconventional” internship.
- In the first scenario, they’ll likely require you to fill out an application and send a resume & cover letter. They may also ask you to include writing or broadcast samples.
- In the second scenario, you’ll have to reach out to the news organization directly to express your interest in interning over break. Here’s what you should do: (1.) Identify the person that you should contact. This will usually be an internship coordinator or HR person. If you’re not sure who to contact, say something like this in your email: “If you’re not the correct person that I should be contacting about this matter, could you please forward me to the appropriate person? You could also call the station’s assignment desk to get some direction. (2.) Send an e-mail that expresses your interest and availability. If applicable, send your resume, cover letter and any work samples that you may have. Offer to speak with the person on the phone to discuss the matter further. (3.) If you do not hear back from them in a timely manner, do not hesitate to follow up!
RESUME, COVER LETTER, WORK SAMPLES
- We’ll conduct a resume and cover letter workshop this spring before our local conference. That workshop will go into more specific detail about how to make a resume and cover letter, but if you plan on applying for an opportunity for this winter, you should have resume and cover letter now.
- Don’t know how to make a resume or write a cover letter? The Internet is a great place to start! Here’s an article about what makes a good journalism cover letter and you can also find plenty of examples in books at the library or online. Here’s a “how to” article about making a resume from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. You should also check out career services at Ohio University.
- Your resume and cover letter probably won’t be perfect the first time you write it. It’s an evolving document that should continue to get better over time. Always have one or two people edit and critique it before sending it somewhere. Ask a teacher, a professional mentor, or one of us.
- If you’re a freshman, you may not have broadcast work samples right off the bat, but start to accumulate work. If you ever write a cool story, shoot an interesting video, write something thought-provoking on a blog, or have something else that you’re especially proud of, make note of it. Share it in your e-mail, application or during your interview.
WHERE TO APPLY
- Even though we’re mostly broadcast majors, do not discount the benefits of doing a short internship at a newspaper or magazine. Many of your local newspapers may not have employees with a strong videos background, so you could be an asset to them by helping with multimedia.
- Be sure that you’re prepared for whatever internship that you decide to take on. If you haven’t yet learned how to properly shoot video, we don’t advise that you go somewhere where your knowledge of shooting will be intragual to the information that you take away from the internship. If you intern somewhere demanding and you are underprepared, you won’t be as much of an asset to the news organization and you won’t leave a lasting impression on your co-workers at the internship.
- The RTDNA executive board has compiled a list of news organizations for you to contact about interning during your winter intercession. We have not confirmed if they are accepting interns. We also can’t guarantee that the contact information listed is correct. We just wanted to provide you with a place to start. I hope this is helpful!
- WLWT – News 5 (Cincinnati, OH) Contact: Caroline Armstrong (513) 412-5099, firstname.lastname@example.org
- WOUB (Athens, OH)
- WCMH – NBC4 (Columbus, OH) Contact: JVanFossen@wcmh.com
- COLUMBUS DISPATCH (Columbus, OH)
- WBNS (Columbus, OH) Contact: Margaret.thomas@10TV.com
- CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (Cleveland, OH)
- WTVG News (Toledo, OH) Contact: Ann King (419) 531-1313
- WTOL NEWS 11 (Toledo, OH) Contact: Marie Dunn-Harris at email@example.com or Bridget Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- WNWO – NBC24 (Toledo, OH)
- WLIO TV (Lima, OH) Contact: email@example.com (419)228-5909
- WTVE (Reading, Pennsylvania) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- DAYTON DAILY NEWS (Dayton, OH)
- WDTN (Dayton, OH)
- WHIO (Dayton, OH)
- WLWT (Cincinnati, OH) Contact: Jay Murdock email@example.com for “online internship”
- WSAZ (Hunington, WV and Charleston, WV) Contact: Kari Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
- WKYC (Cleveland/ Akron, OH) Contact: email@example.com