Don’t be Intimidated, Apply for Internships!

Lindsay calling candidates at WAMU

By Dean’s Intern Lindsay Maizland at WAMU

After making tee times and driving carts at a golf course over the summer, I entered this semester ready to gain job experience directly related to my journalism major. I applied for a few internships and now work as the digital media intern at WAMU 88.5, NPR’s affiliate radio station in Washington, D.C.

As a sophomore in AU’s School of Communications and School of International Service with no previous internship experience, I was skeptical about being accepted for a Dean’s position. Convincing myself that I was qualified was the most difficult part of the application process. With help from a friend who works in human resources, I crafted my essays and resume to highlight my experiences and unique outlook. Yes, it is possible to relate skills learned at a summer job to a journalism internship. I hit submit and waited for a call back.

Eventually, I received an email for an interview. The interview went well enough because soon after I heard that I was accepted.

For the past month, I’ve been working on WAMU’s online voter guide for the upcoming midterm elections. Reporters submitted questions for candidates in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia races. I gathered the candidates’ email addresses and sent out the questions. Responses were slow coming in, so I called several of the campaign offices and encouraged them to complete the guide. The most interesting call was with a candidate who refused to answer the questions because he distrusted the media.

I edited the 100+ responses for clarity, uploaded headshots and tracked down campaign websites for each of the candidates. Although the work was a bit tedious, it’s worthwhile knowing that at least a few people will use the guide to make more informed decisions at the polling booths on November 4. It’s easy to forget that journalists often do behind-the-scenes work and are not creating stories 24/7.

Now that the voter guide work is slowing down, I am excited to start writing my own stories for WAMU’s website. Related to elections, I am currently working on a story on whether college students are voting in the midterms.

My advice to rising sophomores is to apply to as many internships as possible. Be confident in your abilities! The worst that can happen is that you will be rejected, and chances are not everyone will reject you. The only way to become qualified is to have valuable experiences working in newsrooms where you are challenged daily. Learning in a classroom is great, but internships give you the opportunity to experience the sometimes-stressful environment of a bustling newsroom and network with intelligent and qualified individuals.