‘I need to work this journalism internship around my Pizza Hut schedule’
Rowan University journalism professor and internship coordinator Kathryn Quigley made a four-minute movie about an aspiring journalism intern who doesn't have any clips -- he does, however, have a poem about death that he'd like to send to editors -- and wants to work at "a big-city magazine near my house in Voorhees, New Jersey, so I don't have to drive far." He also wants to get paid $600 a week and not have to do phone interviews. Here are some of my favorite lines from "I Want a Journalism Internship":
Teacher: Hello. I am your journalism professor. How can i help you?
Student: I am a journalism major. I need an internship.
That's great. What kind of internship do you want?
I don't know. Something in journalism.
Do you like newspapers, TV, radio, magazines or online?
I don't know. i just like journalism.
Well, you will need three written clips to send to the person of the internship. Do you have those?
What are clips?
Things that you wrote for a newspaper or magazine that were published -- like the school newspaper. Do you have any?
No. Can I use stuff I wrote for class?
Not even my creative writing class? I wrote a good poem about death.
The conversation continues after the jump.
I want to get paid at my internship. A lot of money. Like 600 dollars a week.
Most internships do not pay.
That is crazy. They want me to work for free?
Yes, but you get experience and make connections. Right now you don't have any experience. You are a journalism major and don't even have any clips.
But I have that poem I wrote about death. I will send that to the editor.
You are stifling my creativity. I am very creative. I want to write articles about my opinions, with no facts to back them up. I want to tell people exactly what I think without having to talk to anyone or do any research.
That is not journalism.
Fine. Whatever. Now I need to work this internship around my schedule at Pizza Hut. I have to work a lot of hours at Pizza Hut. It is very important to me. My friends at Pizza Hut are great. I can't be away from them long.
Do you want to work at Pizza Hut the rest of your life?
No, of course not. I want to be a journalist at a big-city magazine near my house in Voorhees, New Jersey, so I don't have to drive far. ....
I work hard. I am on Facebook a lot. I like to write about my favorite band. I know a lot about my favorite band. I hope I can write articles about my favorite band in a big-city magazine magazine near my house in Voorhees, New Jersey. ....
As an intern you start with the small assignments and work your way up to the bigger ones.
Well, I guess. As long as I don't have to talk to people on the phone. I hate talking to people on the phone. Instead I like to send really long emails to them and hope they will write me back.
It doesn't work that way. You have to call people on the phone to interview them. You have to go to places you have never been to talk to people you don't know.
What?! That is crazy.
That is journalism.
MY Q-AND-A WITH KATHRYN QUIGLEY
Why did you decide to make the video?
I decided to make the video on the last day of work for the summer semester, before going on Sabbatical to write my journalism textbook. I was also procrastinating actually writing the journalism textbook.
I've been in charge of the Journalism Department's internship program for several years now. I love my students and they do well at their internships, but sometimes their questions before choosing an internship just make me shake my head.
Is it safe to assume it's based on real-life conversations with students?
The dialogue is definitely based on real-life conversations with students, but in an exaggerated way. And not all from the same student, of course. For some reason, several of them have complained lately that the newsrooms "smell weird" and are "messy." I think, uh, yeah....
Each semester, my students send me weekly logs and write critiques about their experiences. It is fun to watch them grow. But some of their preconceived notions and observations are head scratchers.
How long did it take to put it together?
Not very long, for the kind of procrastinating I was doing!!! The Xtranormal website is really easy. I kept trying to make the student do a fist-pump every time he says "Voorhees, NJ" but it came out looking like he was flailing.
What kind of reaction are you getting?
My students and former students think it's really funny. Most of them were my former interns, too, so they know I love them and created this in a spirit of fun.
Have you put out other journalism-related videos, or is this the first?
First one, but I watched Xtranormal videos before. Like all writers, I was waiting for the right words. (the dialogue)
Will this be required viewing for your classes?
Ha! No. I am on Sabbatical this semester.
Tell me anything else I should know about it!
I created this to be funny, not mean.
But I also wanted to make a few points:
1) An internship is supposed to expand out your world and teach you new things - that's not gonna happen if you insist on interning near your house. Some of our Rowan students can be too provincial.
But others are very driven and adventurous. We've had interns who commuted from South Jersey to work in New York at Vogue, O, Details and the BBC America, among others.
2) If you are a journalism major, you need to get clips! Our school paper, The Whit, is great, but some kids still are juniors and have no clips!!!! WTH?
3) Lower your expectations. Intern work is about learning, not showing off.
4) You can do it - have a little confidence.
5) Stop emailing everyone! Call them on the PHONE. Or better yet, interview them in person.
And yes, many newsrooms smell weird:)