Reports from the field tell of exciting adventures, challenging learning experiences and considerable accomplishments at a variety of news outlets from the Village Voice in New York City to CBC London and CBC Thunder Bay to the Cairo Daily News to Deutche Welle in Washington, D.C. Students are also working in a variety of jobs in local journalistic organizations including The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, CBC Radio in Vancouver, B.C. Business, Adbusters, TheTyee.ca and Global National.
Many students expressed surprise at how much fun it can be to work as a journalist. Amy Hadley reports from CBC Radio in Toronto: “Everyone at the show is incredibly supportive and they have so much fun. Yesterday, for example, I not only got to make up love quiz questions, but we also had cake. I don’t think life gets any better than that.”
But it does.
Anna Fong checked in from CTV in Halifax with the news that “I had my first story picked and aired on the show. It was the story about the bug pizza and I even got to eat a cricket quiche [very crunchy].”
Krysia Collyer at Global National in Ottawa reports that in her encounter with nature she “did all the interviews for the piece and got to hold a tarantula.” At least she didn’t have to eat it.
But the world of journalism is not all light-hearted culinary adventure.
Blake Sifton had two internships this summer: one in the Middle East and a second working for the London Bureau of the CBC. One of his stories can be found here.“While interning at the CBC London bureau I’ve gotten the chance to work on big stories and meet some interesting characters. When the Omar Khadr tape came out we interviewed a former CIA case officer. He defended harsh interrogation tactics and described with a smile how the ability to torture without leaving marks is an ‘art form.’”
Also from the realm of hard-hitting journalism, Amanda Stutt, at the Village Voice in New York, has been involved in a major investigation of the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States.
Fram Dinshaw, an international student from the United Kingdom, sums up his experience at the Nelson Daily News in the B.C. Interior. “The internship is going really well, getting lots of stories and print experience — and a fat paycheck to boot. No trouble here.”
Both student and supervisor evaluations are already arriving expressing enthusiasm for the experience of learning on the job and the valuable contribution that interns can make. There are useful suggestions for ways to improve courses at the School of Journalism including more training and practice with basic skills and more professional case studies.
Some students have found that their internship experience is helping them hone their ideas for the thesis project work they will do starting in the fall — an added bonus to a summer of intense learning.
Beth Haddon, former senior manager at CBC and TVOntario, once had to eat fried grasshopper in Zambia. Now she co-ordinates the SOJ Internship Program at UBC.