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Following Graduation: Internship or Job?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MatthewMarcantonio, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. MatthewMarcantonio

    MatthewMarcantonio New Member

    Generally speaking, if you had the chance to intern at a big paper (The Boston Globe, Austin Statesman, Boston Herald, etc.) for three months in the summer after you graduated would you take that OVER a full-time job at small/medium size daily entry position.

    I have a previous internship under my belt at Sports Illustrated this past summer, but I'm trying to weigh whether or not another "big" internship for a short period time is more beneficial than a job immediately following graduation.

    Of course, a job is a job. Even with the internship you will still have to look for an entry job following the internship.

    But what would you do? Take a stab at another big internship, or jump right in at a small daily? Both have pros and cons, but I'm looking for some outside opinions.

    NOTE: I'm not currently in a position to pick between the two. Looking for general thoughts. Thanks
     
  2. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Are you going to get to write at the larger papers during your internship, or are you going to be doing grunt work? I've head quite a few editors from medium sized papers say that sometimes they'd prefer writers to have internships at smaller publications because they know the writer has field experience from it.
     
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Take the job, then you have something for beyond three months, and you'll get the basics down anyways.
     
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I say you can't really go wrong either way...the big-city paper might be a fun adventure, while the job gives the reward of being paid for your work. I agree with Baron...you'll learn a lot of skills quickly working at a small/mid-size paper, assuming you land in a good spot. I think the days of impressing people by having a big-city paper on your resume are pretty much over, as are the days of working your way up the ranks at big-city publications. But it might be a fun three months, especially if you like city living.

    The family man in me says take the job, the city lover in me says go with the internship.
     
  5. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    BTW ... Congratulations on working your way into such a choice coming out of college in this tough job market...that shows some impressive drive.
     
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    To me, there is absolutely no doubt that you take the internship at the big paper. There are only a few circumstances I can even think of where that would not be the case - for example, the full-time job is covering the UF beat at the Gainesville Sun and the big-city job is doing agate somewhere other than New York, L.A., Dallas, Boston, or Chicago.

    These big papers build their pipeline through their internship programs. It has been my experience and observation that it is very difficult to get your name in the hopper otherwise. Of course, there are exceptions. But at age 22, I'm assuming, I would go for the brass-ring grab of an SI internship and a big paper internship, if you are someone with ambition.

    I think it's a no-brainer.
     
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I don't agree here. To me, it seems like this is the ONLY way of impressing people in the business, and the ONLY way of moving up the ranks at a big-city publication.
     
  8. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    While this was news, not sports, a friend of mine took an internship at The Boston Globe right out of school and then turned that into a job at the Allentown Morning Call and now he's at the Star-Ledger covering Christie and the statehouse. He had interned at the Morning Call, though, a couple summers before so it's quite possible he would have been fine without the Globe internship, but I'm sure it didn't hurt.
     
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Take the internship without hesitation, especially if it's at the Boston Globe. Their internship program may be the best in the country and almost guarantees that if you do well there, you'll land a very good job.
     
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think if you do take the big-city internship instead of the full-time job, you also have to come to terms with the idea that, hey, maybe journalism doesn't work out in the long run. You have to promise yourself if, a year down the road, you don't have a full-time gig, you won't be kicking yourself about not taking the job. To me, it's a go-hard-or-go-home situation. Personally, I would rather know I gave it my best shot rather than be comfortably in a potentially dead-end gig that's nice, but unfulfilling (for you - not for everyone, of course).

    I speak as a person who went full-blast after the full-time job. My parents don't make much money, so I had to get a regular paycheck, I felt. Plus, I thought that was how you moved up, and maybe back then it was. But most of the friends I have who are at big newspapers, magazines, or Web sites got there by working at big papers right out of school or interning at those papers or other big ones in school. I interned at a big-city news bureau, but definitely didn't do what it took to network within that and take advantage of it.

    Anyway, just one guy's experiences. I ended up having a career that a lot of people in the business would have killed for, but I feel like a difference choice here or there could have made it even better. You have that choice.
     
  11. MatthewMarcantonio

    MatthewMarcantonio New Member

    Not really sure. The bigger internship programs select 1-2 sports interns, so I imagine you would actually be writing. At SI we had seven reporting interns and I only had two writing opportunities.

    I do have a good bit of writing experience at a relatively large (80,000) newspaper.

    My goal with the internship would be to get a job either with the paper I interned for or with the big name on my resume get a job following the internship.

    Basically I'd be using the internship for future connections and the experience.

    The big thing, like Dick Whitman said, is that I don't want to look back and kick myself for not getting the full-time job and having that comfortability. Then again, I would think that with a big internship (like the Globe, Statesman, etc.) that you should be able to land a job after the internship.

    It's a tough decision. I know a guy who accepted an internship with Men's Journal this past summer, but got offered a job in Atlanta at SI.com. He left the internship early (after just three weeks) and started with SI. Now, I can't imagine most people would appreciate that.

    I appreciate all the input.
     
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You have the rest of your life to be comfortable, and many paths there as you seem like a talented guy, within journalism and outside of it. Now is not the time for comfortable, IMHO.
     
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