From Classroom to Newsroom: Turning an internship into a job

If your journalism school requires an internship, say thank you.  More often than not, journalism grads reference their internships as the single most important thing to help them get a job in the profession.

Allie Ware, a reporter for WTVA in Tupelo, Miss. wound up doing not one, but two internships during her time in school — and the second one led to her getting hired.

“While I interned, I got the chance to get to know the news director, see what he looked for and get great advice on how to become better at reporting,” says Ware.

That personal connection with the news director helped Ware get her resume reel looked at — and that’s critical.  At WTVA, it’s not unusual for more than 100 people to apply for a single reporter opening.  Ware also feels like she got a leg up in the interview itself.

“Building a relationship with the team during my internship made the interview process much less nerve-racking because I had already been myself with them and set initial impressions,” says Ware.

Once she was hired, Ware said she immediately felt part of the team because she was already familiar with the staff.  Ware feels having had more than one internship has made her a better employee.

“Getting to know a few newsrooms and how they work makes navigating the station that ultimately hires you so much easier,” Ware says.  “Also, all newsrooms perform differently and by having more than one experience allows you to compare and contrast.”

Of course, internships can be worthless if you don’t go in with the right attitude.

“I did everything and more that I was asked. I volunteered to be put to work so that I could gain several experiences and be a useful addition to a station that hired me.”

From “Classroom to Newsroom” is part of an occasional series we will post about recent graduates making their way in the news business.