If you're thinking about getting a job - and who isn't, sooner or later? - the time to start thinking about an internship is ... yesterday.
Getting a taste of the "real world" is no longer a luxury. It's quite necessary in today's competitive workplace. It's a fact that the job you seek will be sought by others. Thus, you need to indicate by initiative and experience that you are a prime candidate.
An internship gives you hands-on experience in the field of your choice as well as a leg up in the competitive job market when you graduate. In addition to supplying valuable resume material, it can help you decide whether or not this is what you want to do as a career. It also can be a wonderful networking resource.
As you start thinking about an internship, speak with your Journalism instructors and visit the Career Center in the Melville Library. You can view internship information, and a lot more, online in the "Students" section at http://www.career.sunysb.edu.
The Career Center has a wealth of information about internships in almost every major, locally and across the country, for a summer, a semester or an academic year. This includes The Media Internship Book, Princeton Review's Best 109 Internships, Newspaper Career Directory and the Magazine Career Directory.
Eligibility and Requirements
Before applying for credits for an internship, you've got to be accepted to one first. Finding an internship is your responsibility, not the university's, although the school and your teachers can help you with your application strategy.
To be eligible, you must have:
You must find your own faculty sponsor, someone in Journalism who is familiar with your work. You will have regular contact with your faculty sponsor during the course of your internship.
You will fill out an agreement form provided by the Career Center's Internship Office. You also will find the form in the "Students ... Jobs & Internships" section at http://www.career.sunysb.edu.
You will list your faculty sponsor, internship description and course credits. Approximately 115 hours, which usually translates to two days a week at the internship, are required for every three credits received. Journalism internships generally are for three credits.
You must register for internship credits. It's important to complete your agreement form in the first two weeks of the semester, before the Add/Drop period expires.
To receive credit, you must fulfill a number of academic requirements in addition to your internship responsibilities.
First, a journal of experiences and observations must be recorded weekly and reviewed as required by your faculty sponsor. For the specific format of your weekly journal, speak to your sponsor. Some require typed reports, while others want to see a notebook with your entries. Length of entries also varies among sponsors. Topics to write about can include skills you're learning, observations, objectives, difficulties and so forth.
A Midterm Assessment Form must be completed in the middle of the semester. The midterm form is to let the Career Center know if any problems have arisen between the intern and the workplace.
A final paper or project is required at the end of the semester. The subject, length and format will be agreed upon by yourself and your faculty sponsor. Final papers and projects often involve aspects of the internship experience..
Joe Fraioli graduated from Stony Brook in 1996. He was managing editor of Statesman and had Newsday internships in both reporting and copy editing. He won a number of awards at Stony Brook, including the 1996 Martin Buskin Award for Campus Journalism. He has gone on to a number of reporting jobs around the country.