Review on Journalism
|Support & Guidance|
|Environment & Location|
|How Rewarding Was It?|
There was no fixed internship structure as we (there was another intern besides me) were the first two interns for this specific section of the paper - #edGY - the rather new Gen Y pullout. Still, we were allowed to be very hands on and jump straight to working. We got out first assignments on the second day and were allowed to interview (through email), frame and write the articles ourselves with guidance from our editors. In the consequent week, I shadowed my colleagues twice on their interviews, and I volunteered to transcribe both the interviews. During this period all of my assignments were by email interview only (which means questions can be checked by editor prior to emailing) but after shadowing, I was allowed to arrange and conduct face-to-face interviews myself. Besides interviews, I had to conduct research to write most of my articles - statistics, quotes and cross-referencing information were the basis of 80% of my published articles. Every week, we had a team meeting in which we would pitch our article ideas to our supervisor. In these meetings, which were informal anyway, I was treated like a staff member and my ideas were given due consideration. On Wednesday, the designers were supposed to get back to us with the finished page for us to QC, so our work hours were slightly longer. Articles were submitted through email beforehand for editing.
The internship exceeded expectations, but I didn't have high expectations to begin with after hearing so many internship-horror stories from friends and relatives. I liked the fact that my supervisors and editors trusted me to write publishable articles, and they gave me some very interesting assignments during my internship. One of my assignments was to interview the CEO of Asia's biggest sports media company, Victor Cui from ONE FC. I would say that the internship gave me a great insight into the print and journalism industry. The shadowing gave me some perspective on how to frame an interview around the business aspect of things, something which I didn't do in school-level journalism. I learnt how to write my articles in the correct style for a professional newspaper. I learnt how to secure interviews, find new contacts, research information, and to identify new scoops. Basically, I learnt what goes into the production of a newspaper - a lot of work. I don't plan to go into the industry once I graduate (based on preference, not this internship), but this experience has definitely shown me the importance of a good networking system and having a good relationship with the local newspaper. I also find that a high standard of english is respected in any industry.
My mentors actively involved me, ensured I gained from the internship and made up for lack of structure with active improvisation. My supervisor(s) really made my internship a quality experience. The HR head made an effort to establish a rapport between me and the rest of the office even though I was only interning for 8 weeks. She personally brought me around to meet and greet the staff and the bosses, and visited my desk once a week to check that things were okay. My supervisor/chief editor really went all out to ensure that I was learning throughout my internship. She frequently gave feedback, good and bad, on my performance, and made it a point to take me and the other intern out for lunch every other week. During lunches, she would review our performance and offer us tips and advice relevant to the job. She made sure that we were comfortable and on our last day on the job, gave us an overall performance review as well as arranged for a staff lunch with our colleagues. She was also lenient about leave-taking (considering that this internship was during the CNY period) and was very flexible about my hours. I was given due credit for every article that I wrote, even though they went through editing (at times heavy, at times light) my articles were always published with my name only.
Staff members had a 'lunch card' for the cafe downstairs, but the interns weren't provided with one and had to pay for their own meals. Albeit cheap ones, but we had to pay for them. There were times where I had nothing to work on as my assignments were finished for the week. However, I don't blame my supervisors as it is hard to standardize the assignments that you give to the interns. For example, I was given around 1 assignment a week, whereas the other intern, who worked at a slower pace, was given around 1 assignment every two weeks.
Working at The Edge, at any section, is a great way to merge knowledge of commerce with an interest in journalism or writing. There's something for everyone - I made friends with two other interns, one who interned with admin and one who interned in fz, the online section, and they were allowed to shadow their supervisors on some major assignments as well. As an intern there, I would advise that you strive to work fast and smart on every job. For me, that meant that I would have a larger portfolio of articles once the internship was completed.