BY Tuma Haji
Internships are regarded by many educators and employees as an essential part of the college experience. Drake University offers journalism opportunities through their Internship Coordinator office headed by Carlyn Crowe as well as Drake Media Gigs. Last year, 97 percent of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication seniors reported securing at least one internship/work experience while at Drake.
Katherine Bauer, a Drake alumni who graduated last year, has interned at four news stations during her college career. She accepted internship positions from three Des Moines based stations- KCCI, WHO, and IPTV as well as KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Bauer credited the fliers around Meredith 120, where Crowe’s office is located, as well as her active subscription to Drake Media Gigs. “I think from the moment that you step on campus, the J-school really pushes internships and has a lot of avenues for finding one,” Bauer said. She recalls struggling to find news-related internships among the numerous PR, magazine, or advertisement internships.
The Meredith corporation, local news stations, and Drake’s Harkin Institute of Public Policy and Citizen Engagement are among the internship opportunities available.
“My internships are the reasons I was able to land my dream job right after graduating. They helped me be ahead of the competition and I had a clearer vision for how I could continue improving even after I started a full-time job.”
Bauer, who currently works as a reporter for WQAD, attributes her success to her diligence in securing internships. “You can make mistakes without worrying about getting fired. You can ask questions and make great connections.”
Bauer said her biggest advice to students is to make calls to prospective internships and keep updated with the status of the application. She added that job shadowing is also a great experience to aid in interning as well as starting a professional career.
“I put a face to my name so when I applied earlier this year for a full-time job, they recognized me.”
Alum Ellen Converse, who interned at Newseum, AARP and the Times-Delphic, agreed with Bauer that internships offer the exposure to professional careers.
“Internships are really beneficial because they give us real world opportunities to put what we’ve learned in the classroom to the test,” she said. “It has also been helpful because it made me confident in my choice of career, because I’ve loved all the work that I’ve done.”
Students interested in applying for internships can use the app Handshake to post resumes and look through a list of available opportunities. Drake Media Gigs also offers career opportunities from Drake alumni. Journalism professors are also a source of information.
“I think that the SJMC already does a great job encouraging students to apply for scholarships,” Converse said.
She encourages students to start looking for scholarships early on in their college career and make securing an internship a priority.
“Apply for whatever you’re interested in, whether you think you’re qualified or not. Just be confident and put yourself out there,” Converse said.