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How Media Companies Can Develop an Internship Program

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How Media Companies Can Develop an Internship Program

  1. 1. How to Create and Implement a Successful Internship Program Peter J. Gallanis Editor-in-Chief Preston Publications
  2. 2. NEED: What can an Intern do for you? <ul><li>Provide affordable labor to relieve staff of lower-level (back-of-the-book) functions in order to concentrate on higher-level tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Buyer’s Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Product write ups/acquire art </li></ul>
  3. 3. What can an Intern cond. <ul><li>News stories (Web or hard copy) </li></ul><ul><li>Briefs </li></ul><ul><li>Attend shows, take pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct Q & A interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Copy editing </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about you and your company—spread goodwill. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Expectations: What an Intern can’t (or shouldn’t) do for you <ul><li>Complicated stories—especially engineering, medical, or technology type. </li></ul><ul><li>Get stolen or assigned tasks from those outside your influence. They are not the office flunky! </li></ul><ul><li>Open your mail </li></ul><ul><li>Answer your phones </li></ul><ul><li>Fetch your dry cleaning, shine your shoes, or walk your dog. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Have a plan <ul><li>Know what you want before you post for the position. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Where do I find these wonderful people? <ul><li>Columbia College—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>ASBPE Web site—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Northwestern University—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Loyola University—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Roosevelt University—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Journalismjobs.com—Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Craigslist.org $25 </li></ul><ul><li>Monster and Mediabistro are very expensive. </li></ul><ul><li>EDITOR’S NOTE: I have consistently received the best responses from journalismjobs and Craigslist. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Posting the Job <ul><li>Remember, you’re not just looking for an Intern, you’re looking for an employee and must treat the process as such. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it clear what you want—and don’t. </li></ul><ul><li>J Majors get first priority. </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Classmen? </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal GPA (3.0) </li></ul><ul><li>Required hours, days, etc. “Flexible,” works well. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Posting cond. <ul><li>On or off-site? I suggest on. </li></ul><ul><li>Require published stories. (Research papers don’t count) </li></ul><ul><li>Always post “Local Candidates Only.” If you don’t you’ll get resumes from all over the world and probably will anyway. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Posting again <ul><li>Make it clear you want a cover letter that will WOW you. Why? Because 1. if the cover letter doesn’t wow you the intern's work won’t wow your readers and 2. a cover letter will not have been edited by 10 people before it gets to you and is a great (or not) example of your prospect’s writing skills. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Paid, unpaid, or Class Credit? <ul><li>Paid is best choice (I pay mine $10 per hour) </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly stipend w/travel expense. </li></ul><ul><li>Unpaid will get you rich kids that might not take the position very seriously. </li></ul><ul><li>For credit can get you a mixed bag depending on the prospect. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Responses—How do I make my selection? <ul><li>First and foremost remember these people are not professionals. </li></ul><ul><li>If you get less than 100 responses you did something wrong, or your office is in an obscure location. </li></ul><ul><li>Engage your junior editors. </li></ul>
  12. 12. How do I make my selection cond. <ul><li>It’s all in the cover letter baby! </li></ul><ul><li>--Cover letter should tell you three things: who they are, what they’ve done (or can do) and what they can do for you! These are winning letters! </li></ul><ul><li>Samples will tell you what you want to know such as: </li></ul><ul><li>--Writing style and experience level </li></ul><ul><li>--Eye for details (or lack of) </li></ul><ul><li>--Editing ability </li></ul>
  13. 13. What to look for in the resume <ul><li>The usual: well organized, blah, blah, blah, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-tasking ability </li></ul><ul><li>Quick thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Creative thinker </li></ul><ul><li>Go-getter attitude </li></ul>
  14. 14. What to look for cond. <ul><li>Won’t take no for an answer the first time. </li></ul><ul><li>A joiner (Member of charity groups, etc.) EDITOR’S NOTE: Being a member of a fraternity or sorority doesn’t count unless they indicate they were a volunteer for a project they did for said organization or held a leadership position. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What about writing samples dummy!? <ul><li>If you received a 100 resumes (and you probably will) then your top picks will have those skills. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Max Necessary Lead Time—Six Weeks <ul><li>Run advertisement for one month—period. </li></ul><ul><li>One week to review resumes, pick your prospects. </li></ul><ul><li>One week max to interview candidates. </li></ul><ul><li>A few hours to make final selection. </li></ul><ul><li>Call and extend offer. </li></ul><ul><li>Call everyone you interviewed and deliver the bad news. </li></ul><ul><li>EDITOR’S NOTE: I acknowledge by e-mail every candidate who sends me a resume and send thank you letters to ALL. (Actually I don’t my intern does!) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Interviews <ul><li>How many do I call? Five. </li></ul><ul><li>When do I see them? </li></ul><ul><li>--All in one day if possible. Keep interviews to one hour each. </li></ul><ul><li>--All in one week at the latest. </li></ul><ul><li>The decision maker should attend with their right hand person and at least one junior editor. </li></ul>
  18. 18. What am I looking for? <ul><li>How are they dressed? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they present themselves (eye contact). </li></ul><ul><li>When you ask a question, do they answer quickly or take a lot of time to think? This will tell you a lot. </li></ul><ul><li>Do they seem genuinely excited about the position? </li></ul>
  19. 19. What am I looking for cond. <ul><li>Did they ask questions? If so what kind and did they reference your Web site? </li></ul><ul><li>Can they prioritize tasks? </li></ul><ul><li>Can they work independently? </li></ul><ul><li>Judge their reaction to roll play questions such as, “give me an example when you felt you used a go-getter attitude to accomplish a goal.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. The interviews are done, now what? (Selecting the Winner) <ul><li>Questions you want to ask yourself and your staff: </li></ul><ul><li>--Does this person have the ability, or at least the potential to do the job? </li></ul><ul><li>--Can I count on this person to show up, etc.? </li></ul><ul><li>--Does this person’s personality match up with ours and our corporate culture? </li></ul><ul><li>--Would I want to see / work with this person every day? </li></ul><ul><li>Then of course, check their references, make the offer, set their start date, time, etc. </li></ul>
  21. 21. I got ‘em now what? <ul><li>As referenced earlier have a plan prior to their start date. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure work load is prepared for them before they arrive. </li></ul><ul><li>Match the work load to their experience level. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure they have a direct report. A junior editor is a good choice. </li></ul><ul><li>Set them up for success, not failure! Give them tasks that will challenge but not overwhelm them. This one will take a few days to nail down. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Got ‘em cond… <ul><li>This ought to be a no-brainer but make sure they have a workstation in place including computer, phone, e-mail address. [email_address] . </li></ul><ul><li>Have them attend all staff meetings, strategy sessions. If you make them feel like they’re part of the team they will act in kind. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask them for suggestions/opinions, “engage them.” </li></ul><ul><li>Initially, keep an eye on them. Identify possible challenges before tasks are assigned and discuss a plan of action. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Got ‘em one more time <ul><li>The longer they are there, the more you work with them, the faster they’ll move up the learner curve, the faster they’ll be working independently. </li></ul><ul><li>And it would be real nice to take them out for lunch on their first and last day and give them a little present at the end of the internship. </li></ul>
  24. 24. When the internship is over <ul><li>Give them a written internship evaluation form (they eval you). </li></ul><ul><li>Review what went right and wrong and take the necessary steps to correct. </li></ul><ul><li>Then do it all over again! </li></ul>
  25. 25. Finally <ul><li>No animals were harmed in the creation of this presentation. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Questions?

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