Journalism 197: Internships

Each semester students earn academic credit by enrolling in Journalism 197 and interning at Washington area news organizations. Here are questions that are most frequently asked about the program.

Q: Who is eligible?

A: You have to be a journalism major or journalism minor and you have to be a junior or senior.

Q: What internships qualify?

A: Only internships with organizations that independently gather and disseminate news to general or large audiences. Besides conventional newspapers, magazines, wire services and radio and television stations, this could include Internet organizations, newsletters or some other specialized media. Examples of organizations that would be ineligible are public relations firms, media study groups, interest groups or political parties.

Q: But I have this great opportunity at a communications organization, which isnít directly related to journalism. Is there an alternative program?

A: You should explore that possibility through the CSAS Student Learning Program. Through the SLP program, you can earn non-major, elective hours toward graduation. If you are interested, contact CSAS.

Q: For the journalism internship, does sports or entertainment news count?

A: This is decided case by case. It depends whether the internship involves coverage that meets recognized professional news gathering standards. Promotional activities in sports or entertainment would not count.

Q: How do I get an internship?

A: Internship opportunities are posted on the SMPA web site.  We also subscribe to a periodical listing internships called Opportunities for Public Affairs. See department secretaries for questions about the directories or applications that might be on hand. Also, during the school year, journalism majors receive an e-mail of "Weekly Opportunities,íí which also is available in printed form.

Q: What if the organization asks for a letter stating that I am eligible for academic credit for the internship?

A: Department secretaries have a form letter available. Please understand that sending the letter does not constitute department approval for receiving academic credit.

Q: So how do I get departmental approval to register for academic credit?

A: You need to fill out the enrollment application form. Click Here  You will receive a response by e-mail. If your application is approved, you need to complete a department registration form and leave it with the secretaries for signature by the director of the journalism program or a designee in his or her absence.

Q: How much credit can I earn and does the internship fulfill any requirements for the major?

A: Under the new journalism curriculum that takes effect in the 2000-2001 academic year, you can earn up to three credit hours per semester and you can earn up to a total of six credit hours spread over two or more semesters. The credits count as journalism elective credits. For students who are still covered by the old curriculm, three credit hours of Jour. 197 fulfills a requirement for a skills course. See the New Curriculum Guide for questions about eligiblity.

Q: When should I register?

A: At the start of each semester, like any other course. But there is flexibility to meet the timetable of the internship. The supervising faculty member should be consulted when an internship starts before a normal semester or extends beyond the semester.

Q: I had an internship last semester but didnít sign up for Jour. 197. Can I do that now and get academic credit?

A: The internship needs to be supervised by a faculty member during the course of the internship. The period of the internship should roughly correspond to the semester in which the student is registered for Jour. 197.

Q: Who supervises internships?

A: The journalism program director generally supervises internships, but other journalism faculty members can supervise them with the directorís approval.

Q: What do I have to do to earn the full three hours of credit?

A: Generally, you should work 15-20 hours a week, produce some form of journalistic product (clips, scripts, videos, etc.), read three books relating to the sponsoring news organization or its field and write a paper. It is up to you and the supervising faculty member to work out the specifics. You can negotiate to reduce these requirements for one or two credits.

Q: Do I get a grade?

A: The course is pass/fail.

Q: Does it matter if I get paid as an intern?

A: Not to us, but usually the best internships pay something.

Last updated: 8/27/02

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