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young journalists

Media Internships Don’t Lead to Jobs. So What?

help-wantedWe all know internships are the best way to get a job in media, right? Er, not so much, according to this interactive chart via LinkedIn.

The research doesn’t even delve into the issues of paying interns or what, if anything, you can get from working in digital media. If you scroll down and click through the Media/Entertainment category you’ll see that:

  • In Sports, Publishing, and Media Production, there are lots of internships available (as any job board search will show) but very few actually turn into full time positions.
  • If you want to get into broadcast as a journalist, you’re in even worse luck: few opportunities, and of those, you have almost no chance of getting a job.

For communications and journalism majors starting school this season, that can be discouraging. But it’s also the nature of the industry. Scrolling over Financial Services, you might be wont to change majors. But big accounting firms, for example, recruit their interns and breed them into full time employees. It’s sort of like being in the military, you pass one test, or grueling six month program, and move up the ranks.

In news and publishing, it’s a little harder. Some solutions:

  1. If you don’t land an internship at a large media company — which is also hard to do if you’re enrolled in a school anywhere but New York, stay local or small. There’s nothing wrong with working for the little guys, except that they are most definitely not paying you. You’ll probably get to do more hands on work anyway, and make contacts that actually have time to email you back when you reach out post-graduation.
  2. Go niche. Are you really into sports? Marijuana legislation? Climate change? There are lots of great publishers making their name by being experts in one little thing. Seek them out and beg. And make sure you’re web presence and writing is easily found.
  3. I know there’s the catch-22 of often needing an internship to graduate or for credit, in which case, too bad for you. But if I could go back to school right now, I’d be blogging like nobody’s business. Write. Find your beat. Interact and engage with other writers on social media and in their comments. Then you’ll have more than just a semester of cutting video clips and fiddling with a publisher’s social media accounts: you’ll have some experience.

What are your internship woes? Let us know in the comments or @10,000Words.

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Pew Study: Statehouse News Coverage Dropping, Shifting

pew post picWhile the overall number of print reporters continues to decline—along with newspapers in general—the numbers of print reporters assigned to State Capitals full-time has seen a precipitous drop in the last decade, according to a recent Pew Research Center Study. Read more

Truthdig Launches ‘Global Voices’ To Showcase International, Female Journos

truthdig2This week, Truthdig launched an initiative to showcase international female journalists. Global Voices will allow the selected journalists to regularly report on breaking news and issues from their country, filling both the gender gap and the kinds of international news missing from some mainstream news sites.

The project is in collaboration with the International Women’s Media Foundation and funded in part by the NoVo Foundation Fund at Tides Foundation. If you’re feeling generous, you can also make a tax deductible donation to support them at the Truthdig Fund at Tides. The journalists currently featured have all been recognized by the IWMF with awards in the past, and they are all a dedicated, pretty hardcore crew; they’ve all been shot at, jailed, or persecuted in the name of journalism.

Truthdig publisher Zuade Kaufman has said that they envision Global Voices as a forum to gain perspective. From the release:

We envision a wide range of reporting through this project. We may choose an issue that affects many countries and ask reporters to provide a view from their region. For example, today’s major economic transformation fueled primarily by a female labor force is causing radical societal changes in many countries, rewriting thousands of years of family and village histories. This is a great human rights story and one that has barely been reported. We also expect to publish highly individual stories in which a reporter will write about an issue that particularly affects her country or a commentary on a subject in which she has expertise or a particular interest.

The vertical will also act as a mentoring program “in which the selected journalists will guide younger reporters in their countries.”

You can find a list of the current Global Voices writers here and follow them @Truthdig.

Muck Rack Adds Feature to Track Social Shares

muck-rack-bannerAre you a certified Muck Rack journalist? If you aren’t, you should be. It’s like a portfolio site, news feed, and job board all in one (and the daily newsletter isn’t too shabby either). No, I’m not on their payroll, but they run the one Twitter chat I can stand, and just came out with a new feature for journos to track their success on social media. It’s not exactly Chartbeat, but as a verified journo or Muck Rack Pro user, you can create PDF reports about your social shares.

I know — PDF reports? But it does acknowledge a real truth for journos in smaller markets where publishers still talk about the legacy of print and are frustrated by the transient nature of all things digital. (Oh, wait. That happens in New York, too.)

Sometimes it’s nice to have it on paper. You can bring it to a job interview for reference, slap it down on your editor’s desk when she questions your ability, or just hang it up on the newsroom refrigerator to taunt your coworkers. There are a lot of uses for PDFs.

There are even more uses to have a Muck Rack account though. It’s a nice little hub on the interwebs, so take some time this weekend to play around with it. You don’t have to generate PDFs all day to make it worthwhile.

How to Connect With a Mentor

How-To-Land-Mentor-ArticleThe term “mentor” can mean different things to different people. Usually it’s someone in the same field as you, who has been in the industry longer and who can guide you throughout your career.

Finding a great mentor can be life-changing: he or she can inspire and motive you, expand your network and push you to achieve true career success. So how can you establish a real connection with someone you respect from afar? Well, once you’ve identified the mentor you want to approach, there are a few ways to handle it:

[Megan Dalla-Camina, positive psychology workplace expert], explains that you can seek an introduction from a mutual connection or send an email directly to the person and ask for 30 minutes of his or her time. “Be specific in your request,” she points out. “Open-ended requests can scare people off.” Tell your potential mentor what you admire about him and three things you want to ask during the 30-minute meeting. If the initial connection goes well, find out if your contact is willing to meet on a monthly or quarterly basis.

For more advice, including where to find a mentor, read: How To Land a Mentor and Boost Your Career.

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