Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Good News and Bad on Summer Internships

Send by email
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, this one geared toward Hispanic students, went on as scheduled at Florida International University in January.

Some Remain, but Competition Becomes More Acute

The good news is that despite the state of the newspaper industry, there will still be paid summer internships this year.

The bad news is that there will be cutbacks. Competition for the remaining slots will be tougher.

"I am sorry to notify you that the Richmond Times-Dispatch will not be able to offer internships for 2009 due to budget constraints," went a letter sent to one applicant.

"We appreciate your time and effort in applying for the internships and hope that we can offer them again next year. Good luck in your intern search."

Dr. Pam Johnson, director of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University, told of a student who as a freshman won a Hearst award for spot news writing and had an internship lined up with the financially imperiled San Francisco Chronicle. "He stopped by my office and asked if I knew of any other internships because the Chronicle had to cancel his internship."

Two years ago, 12 students were in a multimedia internship program that included time at a newspaper; last year she had two classes with eight students in each, and this year she planned for two classes with 12 students each.

However, only seven or eight will be able to take advantage this time. "Some of the applicants for the workshop had master's degrees in multimedia from major journalism schools," she said. "Almost all of the multimedia interns are offered a full-time job, and they all report that the newspaper asked them for suggestions on multimedia presentation." But "the money is just not there."

It's a mixed bag at the Freedom Forum as well. "We are continuing all the core programs of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute this summer, including the Chips Quinn Scholars, American Indian Journalism Institute and the Multimedia Scholars program run in partnership with Schurz Communications," Jack Marsh, vice president/Freedom Forum and Diversity Institute, told Journal-isms. "We had to scale back the total number of participants due to the economy and also because fewer paid internships are available in newsrooms.

"In total, we had hoped to train and place 63 paid newsroom interns this summer. I now expect we will be able to accommodate about 38. Obviously, selection will be more competitive. Because we're in the process of evaluating and accepting participants for all three programs, we won't know the exact breakdown until placements are done."

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Inc., which offers four summer internship programs for college students interested in pursuing journalism careers, had 102 participants last year but expects about 75 this year, according to Executive Director Richard Holden. The program, which sends students to partnering newspapers, generally gets about 600 applicants, he said.

"Some newspapers have called us and said, 'unfortunately, we budgeted for this in June or July 2008, but we can't afford to take an intern now,'" said Holden. Still, the New York Times will still take four, Dow Jones is still accommodating six and the Denver Post will put four to work, he sald.

Likewise, there is good news at the Washington Post, which is maintaining its level of 23 summer interns, according to Milton R. Coleman, deputy managing editor.

The New York Times Student Journalism Institute continued in January for student members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In May, it takes place for students who are members of the National Association of Black Journalists or are enrolled at a historically black college or university represented by the Black College Communication Association.

"We are continuing our summer internship program, which brings about a dozen young people to the paper for an eight week program, as usual," spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said. "We are also continuing our academic year program, which involves academic credit and local schools. And we will continue to employ, mostly in clerical roles, as many of the New York Times College Scholarship recipients as we are able, during the summer."

At the Associated Press as well, "Our news and business intern programs are intact," spokesman Jack Stokes said.

Some papers are trying creative ways to continue the internships.

The Philadelphia Inquirer caused a kerfuffle last fall after it asked colleges to help pay the internship cost. "Without some assistance, we wouldn't be able to fund all 12 summer internships on our own," Vernon Loeb, the Inquirer's deputy managing editor, said then. Did the paper succeed? Hai Do, who runs the program, said Wednesday, "We are not ready to provide an update at this time."

Holden - who incidentally has spent more than 25 years teaching at the Maynard Institute's Editing Program for Minority Journalists - said he has heard of newspapers offering to pay students by giving a scholarship to the school, which would save the newspaper money because it is tax-deductible.

Uncertainty is on everyone's mind. Randy Hagihara, who directs the long-running Metpro program at the Los Angeles Times, whose parent Tribune Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, said, "The L.A. Times is planning to continue with Metpro in the fall, but there won't be any details until after the dust settles here."

Ten Metpro candidates train with the paper for six months and, if all goes well, they work their way through the newsroom as two-year temps. Those who successfully complete the program become L.A. Times staffers.

Walter Middlebrook, who handles news recruiting for the Detroit News and two weeks ago was additionally named assistant managing editor-metro, had words of caution for both students and newspapers:

"All students have to be aware that the supply of interns is much greater than the demand and that some organizations now have the luxury to pick and choose, which is why we (recruiters and editors) try to stress to students that they have [to] come to the table with their A-game," he said via e-mail. "Just working on the campus paper or a campus magazine or the radio station is not enough. Just doing sports or features - is not enough. Multimedia is good, but you still need to know how to write and develop a good news story. With all this technology and the expanding number of journalistic programs, we still have a hard time finding students who have the gotcha for news.

"But my news organization friends need to remember what their short-sightedness is doing to our industry in the long run. These students who are being accepted and then released from internships for lack of funding or whatever and these students who are not finding anything at all will remember our industry in the next two to three years and they'll have moved on to other industries . . . and we're going to be left holding the bag."

Miami Herald to Cut 33 Full-Time Newsroom Jobs

"The Miami Herald plans to cut 19 percent of its workforce, reduce salaries of those who remain and require one week [of] unpaid furloughs, publisher David Landsberg announced Wednesday morning," John Dorschner reported in the Herald on Wednesday.

"The Herald's executive editor, Anders Gyllenhaal, says in a separate e-mail that the layoffs include 33 full-time and eight part-time newsroom positions. He says some remaining staff will see their hours cut," Editor & Publisher added.

"The newspaper is also eliminating 30 vacant positions and leasing one floor of the Herald's downtown Miami headquarters. All management bonuses have been cut this year, too."

Sacramento Bee Trims 11% of Its Staff, Cuts Pay

"The Bee eliminated 128 jobs Monday, or 11 percent of its staff, and imposed pay cuts on remaining workers. The cutbacks are part of a broader layoff by The Bee's parent, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, which said it's erasing 1,600 jobs, or 15 percent of its work force," Dale Kasler reported Tuesday for the Sacramento Bee.

"The rollbacks are the third and most severe for McClatchy and The Bee since June."

In the alternative Sacramento Press, David Watts Barton compiled a list of those laid off.

Bee Sports Editor Bill Bradley told Journal-isms that Marty McNeal and Quwan Spears of his staff would continue working until March 27.

Hearst to Announce Plans for Seattle P-I Next Week

"Seattle P-I Editor and Publisher Roger Oglesby said Wednesday that The Hearst Corp., the paper's owner, plans to announce its intentions for the paper next week," Dan Richman reported Wednesday for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"In a brief phone interview, Oglesby said, 'Hearst expects to announce a decision regarding the P-I at some point next week.'

"Hearst said in early January that it would put the paper up for sale for 60 days, closing it if no buyer emerged but possibly maintaining the P-I Web site. Monday marked the end of the 60-day sale period.

"The paper's roughly 170 employees have been officially notified that their jobs will end between March 18 and April 1.

"Last week, Hearst extended offers to some staff members for positions with an online-only operation."

Robin Roberts, Oprah Both Lay Claim to First Lady

'O' issue hits newsstands on March 17."ABC News’ Robin Roberts has landed Michelle Obama’s first TV interview since the inauguration," Vlada Gelman reports in TV Week.

"The interview, which will air March 13 on 'Good Morning America,' will take place as the First Lady makes her first official trip, to Fort Bragg, N.C., to visit with military families and servicemen and -women.

"Parts of the interview also will air on 'World News With Charles Gibson' and 'Nightline.'”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that "After sharing the cover of her magazine with her slimmer self a couple months back, Oprah Winfrey is for the first time sharing it with somebody else: first lady Michelle Obama.

"Winfrey showed off the cover of the April issue during 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' broadcast Friday. The media mogul had gone solo on the 'O' magazine cover for nine years."

Journalist Once Held by U.S. Killed in Afghanistan

"Gunmen in southern Afghanistan killed an Afghan journalist once held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant, officials said Wednesday. Separately, the Supreme Court upheld a 20-year prison sentence for a journalism student accused of blasphemy," Amir Shah and Fisnik Abrashi reported for the Associated Press from Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.

"Attackers killed Jawed Ahmad, 23, also known as Jojo, in the southern city of Kandahar on Tuesday, said Zalmay Ayubi, the spokesman for Kandahar's provincial governor."

"Ahmad was arrested by the US military in 2007 on suspicion of being an 'enemy combatant' because of his contacts with the insurgents," Reporters Without Borders said.

"Claiming he posed a danger to the coalition forces and the Afghan government, the Americans held him at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, for 11 months.

"After being released in September 2008, he told the organisation the Americans arrested him for being in touch with the Taliban. 'But how can you work as a reporter in southern Afghanistan without contacting the Taliban?' he said. 'It is normal and it is my right.'

"He added: 'After this period of detention, I feel even more of a journalist than before. I am very enthusiastic about the idea of going back to work. But above all, I want justice. I want to knock on all the doors, with my lawyers, so that those who detained and tortured me are punished.'" 

News Execs Want Outside Group to See Roxana Saberi

Roxana Saberi appeared healthy and in good spirits when her lawyer saw her this week in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison."Executives of several major news outlets demanded Tuesday that Iran specify how a detained American journalist broke the law, and that the country allow an outside group to evaluate her health and living conditions," the Associated Press reported.

"Top news officials at NPR, ABC, BBC, PBS, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel and Feature Story News sent a letter Tuesday urging the Iranian government to release 31-year-old Roxana Saberi if she's not formally charged.

"In a separate statement later in the day, The Associated Press joined those outlets in insisting charges against Saberi be made public and urging Iran to allow the welfare check."

On Wednesday, Saberi's lawyer said his 31-year-old client was in good spirits and appeared healthy when he met with her for the second time this week.

Saberi's father also told the Associated Press from Fargo, N.D., that he spoke briefly on the phone with his daughter, long enough for her to say she loved her parents and had not been physically abused in Iran.

Mayor Nagin Fined Over Stall on E-Mail Release

"The city of New Orleans owes thousands of dollars in penalties to WWL-TV as a result of Mayor Ray Nagin's and City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields' 'unreasonable and arbitrary refusal to respond' to the station's recent public-records requests, Civil District Court Judge Rose Ledet has ruled," Frank Donze reported Tuesday in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"In a partial victory for the television station, Ledet also ordered the Nagin administration to provide WWL with an unredacted copy of the mayor's 2008 appointments calendar. In a concession to the mayor, however, the judge ruled that calendar entries she has determined might pose a security risk, including those of 'regularly scheduled meetings,' can remain blacked out."

Two More Papers Challenge "Endangered" List

Two more papers have challenged their inclusion on a Time magazine blogger's list of "The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America."

“Had this writer made one phone call to the Daily News, he would know that every so-called fact [in the post] is wrong,” New York Daily News Chief Executive Marc Kramer said in a statement Tuesday, according to Crain's New York Business. “We are in a strong position, investing heavily in what we see as a bright future as the dominant media outlet in New York.”

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland was also on the 24/7 Wall Street blog featured on Time's Web site. "The author, Douglas A. McIntyre, claims that because the Plain Dealer's parent Advance threatened to close the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., the Cleveland paper would be next," as Editor & Publisher reported.

"Plain Dealer Publisher Terrance Egger told his paper the allegation was 'baseless.'"

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Daily News challenged its No. 1 ranking on McIntyre's list.

Sociologist Weighs In on Why Poor Blacks Stay Poor

William Julius Wilson (Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office)Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, who has weighed the significance of class vs. race in the plight of poor African Americans for at least 20 years, comes at it again in his new book, "More Than Just Race," according to Richard Thompson Ford, writing in Sunday's New York Times Book Review.

"Today many ghetto residents have almost no contact with mainstream American society or the normal job market. As a result, they have developed distinctive and often dysfunctional social norms," Ford writes, summarizing Wilson's argument. "The work ethic, investment in the future and deferred gratification make no sense in an environment in which legitimate employment at a living wage is impossible to find and crime is an everyday hazard (and temptation). Men, unable to support their families, abandon them; women become resigned to single motherhood; children suffer from broken homes and from the bad examples set by both peers and adults. And this dysfunctional behavior reinforces negative racial stereotypes, making it all the harder for poor blacks to find decent jobs.

"Wilson criticizes the liberals and black power activists who attacked as racist Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s prescient report 'The Negro Family: The Case for National Action' (1965). According to Wilson, the vitriolic condemnation of the Moynihan Report effectively closed off a serious academic focus on the culture of poverty for decades, robbing policy makers of a complete and nuanced account of the causes of ghetto poverty. But he argues that the legacy of racism and changes in the economy matter more than the dysfunctional culture of the ghetto. And he rejects the argument that the black poor are responsible for their predicament, insisting that an aggressive public policy response is necessary to break the cycle of poverty."

Short Takes

  • Meghan Sweeney expected to walk out of her final class Wednesday at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting's Cherry Hill, N.J., campus with a certificate of education, samples of her work, and job-placement help, Allison Steele reported Saturday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Instead, the school abruptly closed this week, leaving students as much as $12,000 poorer with nothing to show for the nearly four months they spent there. The Connecticut School of Broadcasting is based in Hartford, Conn., and has 26 branches in 16 states. The company closed this week and announced Thursday that it would seek bankruptcy protection."
  • "The Association of Health Care Journalists has urged President Barack Obama to end inherited policies that require public affairs officers to approve journalists' interviews with federal staff," the association said last week. "Such policies, which are in place at such critical agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and most agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services, hamper newsgathering and make it difficult for reporters to fulfill their obligation to hold government agencies accountable, AHCJ said in a letter to the Obama administration."
  • News Director Kathy Williams abruptly left Fox-owned KRIV-TV in Houston on Tuesday, a Fox spokeswoman confirmed. Williams arrived from Gannett's WKYC-TV in Cleveland in 2001 and had worked at WJW-TV Cleveland. The NewsBlues Web site cited bottom-of-the-pile ratings. During her time in Houston, said David Ellison, immediate past president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists, "she has been a big supporter. She's participated¬†in panel discussions and other events. In other words, she was always there when we needed her."
  • AP's photo, left, and 'Obama Hope.'The Associated Press filed a countersuit claiming misappropriation of the AP photo underlying the ubiquitous "Obama Hope" poster and other materials by graphic artist Shepard Fairey. "The counterclaim also alleges that 'AP had made every effort amicably to enter into a license and avoid litigation,' with any proceeds received from Fairey for past use of the AP photo to be contributed by the AP to the AP Emergency Relief Fund, a charitable fund which distributes grants to staffers and their families who are victims of natural disasters and conflicts," the news cooperative said¬†on Wednesday.
  • The TV Newser Web operation, produced by Media Bistro, which posts the FishBowl NY, DC and LA media-news sites, held a "summit"¬†in multicultural New York on Tuesday with 18 ‚Äî count 'em ‚Äî speakers and hosts on the topic, "The future of broadcasting is outside the box." But "Alas, there were no people of color in the speaker roster," Media Bistro's Carmen Scheidel told Journal-isms. "Please let me know of broadcast TV news personalities of color whom you'd recommend as presenters. We will definitely be doing future events and we always like to be inclusive in our content." The first panel¬†was about the Twitter microblogging phenomenon.
  • Phillip Martin's "The Color Initiative"¬†on Public Radio International's "The World" has been examining global issues of color consciousness since 2007. Part 1 of a new two-parter aired Wednesday. "Skin whitening is a growing industry in China, Japan and India. For many Asians, whitening is part of a long tradition, but these days it's also the result of the powerful influence of white western culture," the promo says.
  • "In the wake of R&B singer Chris Brown's alleged assault of girlfriend Rihanna, Black Entertainment Television's '106 & Park' series Thursday will air a two-hour special on relationship abuse and domestic violence," Thomas Umstead reported¬†Tuesday for Multichannel News.
  • Chuck OlmsteadServices for Chuck Olmstead, the veteran Louisville, Ky., television reporter who died at age 60 Tuesday of a brain aneurysm, are scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Canaan Christian Church, 2840 Hikes Lane in Louisville. Donations in Olmstead's memory may be made to the Brain Injury Association of Kentucky, 7410 New LaGrange Road, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40222, according¬†to his station, WHAS-TV.
  • San Diego's "XETV Channel 6 has become the first local TV station to completely eliminate its sports department," Jay Posner reported¬†in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sports director C.S. Keys¬†was among those fired.
  • "The first black female programme-maker and broadcaster at the BBC, Una Marson, has been honoured with a blue plaque at her former home in south London," the BBC reported¬†on Sunday. "Ms Marson, born in Jamaica in 1905, was a poet, publisher and activist for racial and sexual equality."
  • "In 2001, the authorities entirely eliminated a vibrant, independent press during a crackdown on dissidents and journalists" in Eritrea, according to Michael Abraha, writing¬†Monday in American Chronicle. "It has been replaced by a Cold War, Soviet style media system for which the government has been denounced globally as a ferocious enemy of free speech and free press. The government said the independent media was biased against the one party system. Since 2001, the Diaspora media have operated effective reporting and analysis programs in the campaign to establish a free, democratic country. One such news and views outlet which has been reporting and interpreting Eritrean events for nine years is I spoke to Saleh (Gadi) Johar, writer and publisher of Awate."

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact and tell us who you are.

About Richard Prince

View previous columns.



general question

Richard--What's an address for you to receive something that can't be emailed? Thank you. Please e-mail me with this question at Thanks, Richard Prince

Good News and Bad on Summer Internships

Interesting article on internships. We're actually experiencing a mixed bag in terms of news outlets looking for summer interns.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.