Internships - Information for Students
Finding an internship
Students are responsible for obtaining their internships. The department provides loose-leaf binders containing announced internships, but students are not limited to employers in the binders (kept in the department office). Faculty may have suggestions and offer advice, but students must prepare their own applications. Before accepting an internship, students must have a preliminary meeting with the intern adviser to gain assurance that the internship meets departmental approval. Meetings are held during the year to update students on internship procedures and opportunities – it is important to attend!
Students should seek internships that provide an opportunity to learn under professional supervision. A good internship provides future job recommendations (and perhaps a job), and gives the intern a window on her or his new profession. Many internships are paid or offer a stipend; however, these arrangements are between the intern and the employer. The department provides six credits and coordination.
Registering for the internship
Once an internship has been approved by the faculty intern adviser and acquired, the student should contact the department secretary about an override and register for Journ 430. Summer interns register for the nine-week session. An initial letter of understanding from the organization and a preliminary report on the organization by the intern are required before the internship may begin. Detailed instructions for reports are available in the journalism office. Grading is S/U. Each track has different prerequisites for the Field Internship (J430) that are listed below.
Journalism Intern Reports
Failure to submit the items listed below will result in an incomplete ("K") or unsatisfactory grade for the intern.
Initial letter from the intern organization
An official letter is required from the intern organization. This letter, due to the intern adviser before the internship begins, 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.
Each intern must submit a comprehensive preliminary report on the publication, station, agency, or other organization where the internship is located. The report will be 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.
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 preliminary report is not 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. Clips should be neatly arranged. Both will be returned for the intern's files after the internship. Activities not evident from the copies and clips should be covered in the report itself. Interns may fax (360-650-2848) or e-mail the reports with small attachments, but any clips or published work must be sent via regular mail to:
Department of Journalism – 9161
516 High Street
Western Washington University
Bellingham WA 98225-9161
Reports should be mailed 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.
Final report from the intern
After completing 240 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 her or his strengths and weaknesses during the internship.
Final report from the intern organization
Before the end of the internship, the intern must obtain from the department manager, or from the Journalism home page, the Internship Rating Sheet and have the organization's supervisor complete the rating sheet and send it to the internship adviser.
The final grade for the internship--assigned by the faculty intern 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. This places the burden of "getting along" with the supervisor on the intern, as would be the case with any regular employee.
Even though the intern's records are complete and satisfactory in all other respects, if the Internship Rating Sheet has not been received before the University deadline for grades, a “K” (incomplete) will be assigned and removed when the evaluation is received. Therefore, when the internship is nearing completion, it is the intern's responsibility to remind the supervisor to complete and send the rating sheet to the faculty intern adviser.
The faculty intern adviser must approve all internships. The 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 her/his supervisor. Intern/supervisor/adviser meetings at distant sites will be conducted via telephone.