- An internship is about experience, not making money. Try to schedule an internship during a semester or summer in which you are not taking many difficult courses or juggling three jobs.
- An internship is about getting training. You should receive feedback and input on your work at the internship. Seek out comments from your editor on your work to help yourself improve. Try to be open to feedback and suggestions. One idea: Ask your supervisor for 15 minutes at the end of every week to talk about your work that week - What leads worked? What assignments could you have done better on and how?
- An internship does not mean you are required to fetch coffee and make copies and pick up lunch for your colleagues. It should involve substantive work. Speak immediately to your internship advisor if you feel you are being asked to do tasks that are not relevant to a reporting and writing internship.
- If you are not getting the supervision and support you need, talk to your journalism internship advisor. Keep in touch with your journalism advisor - especially if there are problems, let your advisor know immediately.
- Seek out a friendly staffer in the newsroom to serve as your mentor. Some internships will supply you with a newsroom mentor, but most do not. Such a person can help with all sorts of things, from where the vending machines are to how to find the best source for a story. Ask the mentor to coffee, let that person know you are interested in learning and improving, and are open to any assistance he or she is willing to offer. Most people are flattered to be asked for their advice and guidance.
- Keep a log of your work each week. This will show the hours you have put in and the sort of work you are doing. Not only is it required, it will also provide an account of what you are learning and a handy, central place to keep your work results - published articles, unpublished articles, scripts, layout pages, etc.
- Get to know the publication at which you are working!!! Read the newspaper, watch the news program, listen to the radio broadcast. Whatever the medium, get to know your particular organization's format and content. This will help you in pitching ideas and in doing your stories.
- Internships are about time management. Most interns are working on a couple stories at once. Work on using your time wisely, by putting out calls for one story while writing the other, for example. Make sure your supervisor knows how much is on your plate before accepting another assignment.
- If you don't think you can make a deadline for an assignment, let your supervisor know right away. Remember that news organizations are depending on your work to be on time!
- A good way to get story ideas is to read/watch/listen to your news organization and look for follow-up stories to those that have already been published.