Remote Journalism Internships: The Do’s and Don’ts

Wed, May 12, 2010

Internship Information

Every year, thousands of journalism, English and communication graduates make the brave journey into the mass media workforce. In the midst of a crumbling industry and a failing economy, newbie grads are now being charged with the task of doing whatever they can to eventually secure their dream jobs. Whether paid or unpaid, weekly stipends, perks, fringe benefits or nothing at all, internships are a major building block to create the ideal resume. Unfortunately, many people are without the means to pick up and go to New York, L.A., Boston and Miami or overseas at a moment’s notice. That’s where remote internships come into play.

Like paid internships, remote ones are on the rise but they do come with their fair share of pitfalls and advantages. The trick is to know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

DO call them. DO NOT wait for them to call you.

Working a remote internship, or even a job, means that it is largely your duty to keep in contact with the rest of the staff and especially your supervisor. I did an unpaid, remote internship with a startup, ethnic teen magazine based in Atlanta and the editor-in-chief was so scattered at times that I would have been completely lost if I didn’t constantly contact her to the point of badgering. It also helps to encourage your superiors to use applications like Skype and Google Voice, if they aren’t already, to bridge the gap created by distance.

DO submit your work early every time.

Contrary to popular belief, deadlines are just as strict (if not more) in a remote internship than if you came to an office every day. Your best bet would be to turn in any articles or assignments as quickly as you can to both receive crucial feedback and place yourself in a good light with the boss.

DO NOT terminate your internship via e-mail, text or any other informal form of communication.

In an age where technology rules, people have supplanted formal communication with empty, emotionless variations that do a poor job of projecting things like sincerity, remorse, empathy and regret. If you can help it, ask for your supervisor’s office (or cell) number to inform him or her professionally.

DO send a thank you note after your internship is completed whether you finished it or not.

Even if it was situation where you didn’t complete your internship, sending a handwritten thank you card to the hiring editor and staff will at least place you at level ground when it comes time to ask about contacts and potential hiring at other publications. Plus, it’s just an all-around nice gesture.

DO NOT lose contact with past employers.

They are your greatest resource when it comes to future job opportunities, contacts and everyday advice about the publishing world. Why would you not want to keep in touch with them?

Resources for Journalism Internships

Chances are you’re a fledgling journalist trying to finagle your way through the twists and turns of the mass media industry. Keep in mind that is list is not exhaustive. Keeping track of sites like Media Bistro, ED2010 and JournalismJobs.com will help you with your internship and, eventually, job hunting. Good luck!

By Brian J. Wilder.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Christian Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  2. CrisaMunoz Says:

    Wise words… I finished my internship a hundred years ago, and I – honestly – don´t know what impression I left. Now, when meeting new interns I feel like informality is the rule. And that really bothers. I agree with every word you wrote.
    I have one question for you: how do employers feel about foreing journalists on their late 20s applying for an internship? Is that weird?

  3. Jennifer Says:


    Thank you for your enthusiasm for this post! We are glad you liked it. Internships are certainly not only meant for college students and recent graduates. Many individuals switching careers later in life use internships as an entree into this tight job market. And being more experienced is certainly a benefit to employers as that may translate into less time for them to spend on training. Best of luck! Jennifer

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