March 30, 2020

As COVID-19 lockdowns drag on, will the nation’s news interns report for duty? At this point, probably, maybe and yes, said the editors we spoke with.

Kim Bates, managing editor of The Toledo (Ohio) Blade, said her newsroom is waiting just a bit longer before making a final decision about its internship program.

“We also are thinking that those coming from afar may not be able to join us, but that we may be able to extend offers to those with more local ties,” she said via email.

Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel editor-in-chief Julie D. Anderson said her newsrooms are in touch with their interns to let them know they’re planning on continuing the program but that they themselves are all working remotely.

“We’ll play that by ear once we see if that’s the case in June, but we’re not canceling the spots,” she wrote.

Kansas City is standing firm.

“We have no plans at the moment to alter our program,” said Chick Howland, projects and enterprise editor at The Kansas City Star. “I received an email recently from one student, concerned that we might be changing the program. She was relieved when I told her we were not.”

He said they have a couple of interns now who ordinarily would be in the Missouri and Kansas state capitals helping out with legislative coverage, but like everyone else they are working remotely.

“If we are forced to change for the summer, we still hope to have interns working remotely or through some other arrangement. We will just have to adjust. But for now the hope is that we will carry on as planned.”

Similar we’re-still-on-for-now plans are in place at the Tampa Bay Times, the Tulsa (Oklahoma) World and the (St. Louis) Post-Dispatch, editors there said.

Dayton (Ohio) Daily News editor Jim Bebbington said they’re planning to have students join them June 1 or later.

“My hope is that we can avoid remote work, because working alongside the professionals in the newsroom is part of the learning experience,” he said. “However, we won’t know for a few more weeks whether that is possible.”

Barbara Allen is the director of college programming at Poynter. She can be reached at ballen@poynter.org or on Twitter, @barbara_allen_

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Barbara Allen is the director of college programming for Poynter. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of Poynter.org. She spent two decades in…
Barbara Allen

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