Are you Ready for an Internship?
A field internship is one of the most important undertakings in a student's entire college program and deserves the very best. Students who do not invest the utmost in effort do themselves and the college an injustice. In a sense, this is a test of the learning, the capacity, the sincerity of purpose and determination, and the professionalism of the student. Nothing less than top performance should be expected, and the intern should not overlook the importance of a good letter of recommendation from the supervisor. It will be of great value for job applicants.
The internship (JOUR 430) is required in all journalism sequences, and typically is done between the junior and senior years. Students may complete an internship during the academic year, and some take the internship as their last quarter before graduation. You should consult with your adviser as you decide your timing. A minimum of 180 working hours is required to complete the internship, and in most cases the internship does not allow time to take other classes.
The journalism internship has become an extension of the campus of Western Washington University by providing a professional-level laboratory in applying classroom principles to real life. Students work with professionals and for professionals.
Students earn college credit for their time just as if they were on campus, and the credit counts toward their degree. Your establishment, in effect, serves as another classroom.
We have found many reasons why it is mutually satisfactory to extend our campus into your organization. Your cooperation gives our students an irreplaceable experience invaluable in honing their skills and understanding, as well as developing professional attitudes in those headed into your field. It also gives you a way to join in maintaining professional training standards in all areas of journalism, and previewing the next generation of journalism graduates. We expect our interns to be fully involved and productive throughout their internship with you.
The period of the internship will vary, but usually will be six weeks of thirty hours weekly, or an equivalent amount of time extended over nine or ten weeks. The total length of the 6 credit internship is 180hrs.
We need two letters from you. The first at the beginning of the internship, which explains your understanding as to when the work starts, how long it continues, hours to be worked, etc. This serves to give the student and us official notification of what you expect. This can be sent to the department through email. The other letter comes at the conclusion of the internship. It tells us whether the student has fulfilled the obligation and offers a professional appraisal of performance. Additionally, please use the forms provided below for a midway and final evaluation.
At least once during the period, a member of our faculty will call on you to discuss the student's performance. In addition, the student files written reports and samples of work each week.
We expect you to assign someone in your organization who has at least five years of experience in the field to supervise the intern. Students who have been given a variety of tasks to perform are the ones who have found the internship experience most profitable, provided they have one person who is the supervisor, mentor, etc., to guide them through the professional work and expectations of the host organization.
If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Journalism Internship FAQ
- News/editorial sequence: JOUR 207, JOUR 307, JOUR 309, JOUR 350, JOUR 351, two newspaper staff courses and major status.
- Public relations sequence: JOUR 207, JOUR 309, JOUR 330, JOUR 350, JOUR 351, JOUR 380, one newspaper staff course and major status.
- Visual journalism sequence: JOUR 207, JOUR 305, JOUR 307, JOUR 309, JOUR 346, JOUR 350, JOUR 351, one newspaper staff course and major status.
- Environmental studies/journalism sequence: JOUR 207, JOUR 307, JOUR 309, JOUR 350, one newspaper staff course and major status.
The internship is 180 hours to receive 6 credits.
Students are responsible for obtaining their internships. The journalism Canvas page provides internship announcements and opportunities, but students are not limited to employers found by the department. Faculty may have suggestions and offer advice, but students must prepare their own applications.
Students need to seek internships that provide an opportunity to learn under professional supervision, with a supervisor who has at least five years of experience in the field. A good internship provides future job recommendations (and perhaps a job), and gives the intern a window on the new profession. Some internships may be paid or offer a stipend, but these arrangements are between the intern and the employer. The department provides six credits and coordination.
Before you can register for the internship:
- You must submit an Internship Interest Form.
- You will need to provide the department chair with an official letter of offer from the intern organization. This letter must spell out the organization’s understanding of the terms of the internship: exactly when it begins and ends, the hours to be worked, the nature of the work, supervisor’s name and phone/e-mail, salary/stipend, etc., so no misunderstanding will exist on the part of the organization, the intern, or the department.
- Finally, you must submit a comprehensive preliminary report on the organization. The report will cover the publication, station, agency, or other organization where the internship is located. The report will be 2-3 pages double spaced, and due at least two weeks before the start of the internship. This preliminary report should include pertinent information about the intern organization such as its type of work, age, size, ownership, market area, circulation, major clients, management, general policies and any other factors found to be interesting or important. This report is about the intern organization, not about what the intern will do during the internship.
Once you get those pieces taken care of and sent to the chair, You will receive an override to register for the internship.
Your faculty advisor will assign you a K grade until you have successfully completed the internship. You should be in regular communication with your faculty advisor & continue to submit your weekly reports after the quarter concludes.
Yes! Students need to seek internships that provide an opportunity to learn under professional supervision, with a supervisor who has at least five years of experience in the field. Ask the department if you want to work with a new organization.
The final grade for the internship, assigned by the faculty adviser, will be satisfactory or unsatisfactory (S/U grading). Failure of the student to perform to the general satisfaction of the job supervisor ordinarily constitutes failure of the course.
Even though the intern's records are complete and satisfactory in all other respects, if the final evaluation has not been received before the university deadline for grades, an incomplete grade will be assigned and removed when the evaluation is received. When the internship is nearing completion, it is the intern's responsibility to remind the supervisor to complete and send the evaluation to the faculty adviser.
The department chair must approve all internships.
The faculty adviser will keep a file of each intern's reports and clips, and contact the employer in case of problems arising with the internship. With most in-state internships, the adviser will conduct a site visit to meet with the intern and supervisor. Intern/supervisor/adviser meetings at distant sites may be conducted via another method.
Reports are required each week while the intern is on the job, covering activities of the entire past week (keeping a daily diary of activities may aid in preparing these weekly reports). The reports should note the time period covered and discuss activity during that week, raise questions or issues of interest to the intern and comment in general on progress of the internship. It is important these reports analyze the internship experience, not merely relate duties performed.
Each weekly report should carry the name and number in the upper right corner, and label the first on-the-job report as No. 1. The report should note the beginning and ending dates for the week covered. For example:
Report No. 1
Reports should be clear, well written, and follow the rules of good usage of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Interns will enclose copies of some of their work, clippings or copies of published work. Activities not evident from the copies and clips should be covered in the report itself. Interns should email the reports with attachments to their internship adviser.
Reports should be emailed to reach the faculty supervisor on the Monday immediately following the week covered. The reports need not be lengthy, but should adequately summarize and analyze the week's work.
Midway Evaluations will be required from both the intern and the organization.
Final Evaluations & Reports
After completing 180 hours on the job, the intern must submit a formal summation, with an overall evaluation of the organization as a place to do an internship and a personal evaluation of what the internship has meant. The intern should comment on strengths and weaknesses during the internship.
Before the end of the internship, the intern must obtain the final evaluation and have the organization's supervisor complete the rating sheet and send it to the internship adviser. The intern will also need to complete the final evaluation form.