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News Desk"Be prepared to be independent. It's not a structured corporation-type internship programme where interns get a name to slap on their CV while companies get some free labour for menial work." Full review »Nicholas Wong , 2nd Year Law, University of NottinghamRatings
Enjoyment Support & Guidance Environment & Location How Rewarding Was It? Average 5How many weeks was it for?14 weeksMonthly payRM 500What did you do?
The scope of the internship was mostly outlined during the interview stage, and then further detailed when I got started. Basically you're assigned to quite a wide range of possible work - you work in the office when they need you to, you work outside when they need you to/if they trust you to. It boils down to basically office work and outside work, but what you can do under both is pretty varied. When it comes to office work, it's usually processing press releases, i.e. turning the long-winded, badly-written and sometimes incoherent press statements that politicians send out into concise articles that directly convey the main or most interesting points. Or, you could be asked to comb through a study/survey done by so-and-so university and pick out interesting points. Or, if it's a slower day, you could just monitor comments on the site and pick out typos in the articles for correction. Actual news stories can often be done in-office as well. I was asked to do many short phone interviews - e.g. calling a party/politician for their response on a particular event or development, or calling a government person to get more details on an announcement, or calling someone else entirely who wants to get their story published and asking them for details. This can range from routine follow-ups (from which you might get no responses, but are nonetheless obligated to do - like getting a politician's response to a controversial event, or getting a more human-angle story. I had one where I called this person about losing their belongings during a rally only to have a kindhearted person track them down and return their stuff later. It may also be more serious, but relatively unreported, stuff (like a few stories on NCR land disputes I followed up on phone/email). Sometimes it's a little humorous as well (e.g. an odd story about Nizar Jamaluddin walking into an UMNO ceramah I was given). I even got to do a two-part analysis piece after a while. Then there's the 'field work'. This also has a range - you could be attending a routine press conference concerning an event, or you could be covering a specific event itself (a protest, a rally) or you could be given Parliament duty (I never did this). Or you could go for forums and other such things - there isn't a set list, really. Don't expect to be sent to Parliament as an intern, although they may just send you to watch and help out a bit if they don't have anything else for you to do - no solo trips, because it's a day-long assignment over each day that Parliament sits, and given how fast news can come from there, it's only sensible not to risk sending inexperienced people. Expect to travel around KL a fair bit for field work. I went as far as Putrajaya, which is pretty much the limit - only the full-timers go out of town to cover major events (like by-elections or the Lahad Datu invasion). Being familiar with KL is a bonus but as long as you're willing to find your way around yourself, you'll be fine. I used GPS navigation (smartphone) but otherwise, I'd just look up directions beforehand. Most of the places you'll go are quite prominent so they're not hard to find. Lastly, there's picture-taking. You don't have to be a pro photographer, but knowing a bit about composition helps - makes it less of a job for the editors back at the office to edit your pics before putting them up. No fancy camera needed, although a DSLR will obviously get you nicer shots. Much more important is your initiative in chasing down good pictures - getting up close to take nicer shots, taking multiple shots in order to snag a good one, or going out of your way to get profile pics for all the named people in your article.What did you learn?
It went pretty far beyond my expectations, really. I signed up for 3 months because they explained that what you can learn in only one month is limited (although they won't stop you from just doing a month-long one, given most people can only afford that). The internship wasn't specifically structured, and I think that's a big strength in this instance. I expected to only shadow journalists/do office work for the first couple of weeks before gradually moving on to more substantial assignments - but by my 2nd/3rd day I was already out at my first press conference. They literally throw you out there and have you learn on the job, and while it may be pretty daunting for a first-timer, it's really the best way I could have learnt. They don't just put you out there illogically - you're not going to be covering the PM's press conference first time around, and you'll get something that should fit within your experience. My first assignment was a Hindraf press conference, literally a 5-minute walk away from the offices - all I had to do was write/record everything they said, note what was interesting, snap a few pics and report back. It can be a little intimidating but it's nothing exceedingly difficult if you keep your head, and I think it prepared me much better than 2 weeks sitting around an office would have. By the end of my first month, I had done quite a few outside assignments and I'd even been to the Bersih rally that year, so... it definitely exceeded my expectations. In 3 months I did a lot. Mentor support was pretty crucial, because to get more assignments you need whoever's in charge to trust you with bigger stuff. Being mentored here isn't so much about sitting down and taking notes (although expect a few such sit-downs with useful advice, whether in the office or out at lunch) but about being given assignments that train you up and broaden your experience. If your mentor doesn't trust you as much, you won't get to go out as much. It also requires some initiative on your part to ask for advice or get help when you're not sure about what you're doing, and obviously you can turn to your mentor first. So the support is crucial, but you also have to go and get it.Was your supervisor supportive?
My mentor actively involved me and ensured I gained from the internship.What could be improved? What could you have done better?
I'm not naturally the most inquisitive or sociable person, which made it slightly difficult to go out and press people with questions all the time. But that's also why it was a very rewarding experience - it helped me work on some of my weak points. Overall, the ones who'll love this are the ones who are interested in Malaysian politics and likes being around when the news happens - as well as the ones willing to get into it and learn.Advice for future interns?
Anyone who's interested in Malaysian politics, anyone who wants to be a journalist or who wants to hone their writing skills, and anyone interested in a very active internship. By 'writing skills' I don't mean you'll learn how to write novels or beautiful essays - I mean you'll learn to refine a lot of the basics. Even if you have a good command of English and can speak/write fluently, a local education means that our skills are still pretty crappy - not in terms of grammar, but in terms of economy and argumentation. Working at a news organisation teaches you to be concise, to be clear and to avoid pretentious or bombastic language, and if you learn it does help with your skills overall. Applicants who either love moving around, interacting with people and are interested in good journalistic training - or applicants who are willing to go out of their comfort zone to learn these things.
News DeskJonathan , Graduate of LLB Law, University of ReadngRatings
Enjoyment Support & Guidance Environment & Location How Rewarding Was It? Average 4How many weeks was it for?8 weeksMonthly payRM 500What did you do?
1. Writing 1-3 news articles per day for publication. Most of it was outlined, but I was surprised at how fast I was sent out into the field with relatively little supervision. 2. Among my more memorable assignments was an interview with former premier Mahathir Mohammed and covering the DAP-MCA debate.What did you learn?
Journalism is a challenging, but immensely rewarding job. Plus, everyone is nice to journalists (even interns) because they like seeing their name in print.Was your supervisor supportive?
Mentor support was important. Was given honest and frank feedback on my work from day one, plenty of advice/rebukes dished out regarding mistakes.What could be improved? What could you have done better?
-Advice for future interns?
1. Journalism students obviously. And anyone whose field of study involves current affairs or writing (law, political science). 2. Anyone with an interest in journalism and writing. The internship provides hands on experience in the career of a journalist, and trains interns in the art of news writing (which is more tricky than you might think). Also grants interns interesting encounters with very interesting personalities.