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Journalism in the Public Interest

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Miami University-Oxford

Overall Ratings

Based on 1 reviews
Internships 4.0-stars Based on 1 rating
Oversight & Aid 2.0-stars Based on 1 rating
Payment
1 Paid 0 Unpaid
Based on 1 reports

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1 reviews

  • K 4:46 p.m.
    March 20, 2014
    Major: Journalism, 2007
    Internship 4.0-stars
    Oversight & Aid 2.0-stars
    Payment Paid
    Review

    I selected "paid" above, but I'm actually unsure how to classify my two internships while at Miami.
    During my junior year I interned two days a week at a daily newspaper and I believe I was paid $35 per byline, if i remembered to submit a report for reimbursement. The newspaper was a 35 minute drive away from campus... so I definitely lost money on that one. I remember turning in a portfolio at the end of the semester to our intern coordinator (who has since retired), so it's possible that I got some sort of credit for that internship. I didn't really pay attention to that because I did not need it to graduate. I was doing it purely for the experience.
    The second internship was for large metro daily. I worked two afternoons a week during my senior year at their bureau that was also about 30 minutes from campus. If I remember correctly, they cut me a check at the end of the semester that was called a "gas stipend". I don't think it came anywhere near covering my gas for that semester, so again, lost money.
    That being said, those experiences were some of the most valuable of my college career and are directly, if not solely, responsible for my having the career I have now.
    I work as an investigative reporter for mid-size metro daily. I also started here as a paid summer intern the summer after graduating from Miami. Got a part-time job from there, then continued to move up. Sorry, I'm leaving off all names. I don't want to disparage any of these organizations which are truly amazing to work with.
    I gained incredible experience at all these internships, which does not have a price tag. Or maybe it does! I get paid shit now, but it's by choice because I love my job.
    I think the internships were worth the sacrifice because I GOT a job at a metro daily right out of college and I KEPT my job, even moving up from 2007 through now. Not an easy task during the recession and demise of many a respectable newspaper.
    I really believe that unpaid internships are the way to weed to people who don't really have the drive to do the work. But it's possible that's just in the journalism biz. I also understand that many people think it's unfair, and some programs are very likely illegal for any number of reasons. Also there are students who cannot afford to work for free. I was fortunate that my parents were able to support me while I gained this invaluable work experience.
    An example of the issue is when I worked as a paid intern the summer of 2007.
    I had graduated from college. I didn't have a job lined up. I was freaking out.
    Taking the paid internship bought me 8 weeks, if nothing else. I got paid a bit more than minimum wage for 30 hours of work. It allowed me to get an apartment and eat for the summer while applying for jobs and working my butt off in hopes of impressing my bosses and landing a permanent gig. It worked. I did work a lot of unpaid overtime that summer in my quest to impress though.
    My fellow interns were not so driven. Several of them were non-journalism majors who were doing the internship as a form of part-time employment for the summer. While I was skipping lunch, churning out stories and killing myself to get noticed, they were taking 2-hour lunches and re-typing press releases. The company was DEFINITELY not getting their money out of these teenagers.
    In an environment where every company (especially media companies) are cutting every cost possible, shelling out $300 a week to a bunch of freeloaders is not a good business strategy. So what do you think these companies will do? Cut the interns or attempt to create a unpaid/for credit intern program.
    It may not be fair to everyone, but it's the only thing media companies can afford at this point. And having some students be exposed to this valuable experience seems better than having none. I wouldn't have my job if it weren't for my internships and my company wouldn't have me.

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