This summer, I traveled down to Washington D.C. to meet with two experienced Fox News anchors in hopes that they would be able to assist me in my professional growth as a journalist. I needed their direction to decide where I should continue to intern for the next two years that I have left to complete at Temple.
While I spent this summer commuting between two internships in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, I traveled down the coast a day early, ready to hear their uplifting words of how impressive my internship experience has been and how there’s probably no longer a need for me to attend school anymore and how I should immediately start working at a national news bureau. Yes, immediately.
As I hopped off the Megabus at Union Station, slipped on my heels and confidently strolled down the street to Fox News, I proudly gave my name to the security guard and walked through the glass doors displaying the canvassed pictures of all of Fox’s on air-talent.
I clenched my portfolio tightly, ready to display my body of work to the two professionals sitting across from me. I listed off my internship experiences and fixed them with a steady gaze in anticipation of their words of praise and admiration at all I had accomplished at such a young age.
“Looking over your résumé, it seems that all your time is spent attending classes and working,” they said. “Are you getting a full college experience?”
This time I directed my eyes to the floor as my mind tried to dilute the saturated response.
Every journalism professor I ever had has encouraged me and other students in his or her class to get as much experience as possible. Journalism is a skill that is perfected while working rather than in the classroom. So why were my two years of college suddenly being contradicted by the two anchors in front of me?
As I filtered through the information, I argued that broadcast journalism itself is a social field where I’m constantly meeting new people and attending events that I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to.
Nevertheless, the anchors maintained that I will be working for the rest of my life. So why start now? And is it all worth it?
At a previous internship, I was told by the man who ran the teleprompter that while film school prepared him with the technical skills, it could not have possibly prepared him for the people that he encountered while working in media field.
When I declared as a journalism student at Temple, many adults tried to talk me out of it, using statistics and the rise of the digital age to enforce their opinion.
Through my internships in large media markets in big cities, I have learned that this field is underpaid and those people who keep it alive are overworked. Yet the people that work in both broadcast and print journalism have an incredible passion for what they do. The people in this field are storytellers and, even when I’m not in a newsroom setting, stories are constantly writing themselves in my mind.
It is my hope to share my stories of past and current internship experiences, the good and the bad, to prove that interning is a great partner to school work where you can learn to grow both personally and professionally. However, I’ll let you, the reader, decide if interning and taking a full course load is worth it each and every week.
Esther Katro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.