Internship tips or autobiographies?

By Michael Bodley

For yet another year, I’m in the midst of applying to dozens of internships, hoping a line on a cover letter or a snippet of a clip might just be enough to drag my application out of the pile stacked on some over-worked editor’s desk in some newsroom, somewhere.

The process can be daunting. In the past, I’ve been able to secure internships through a combination of networking and persistence. A lot of persistence. But I’m always looking to see how I can do better.

So, as a long-winded introduction to a short post… For my first session in Austin, I went to “How to Get the Most Out of an Internship,” which promised to give tips on both securing and excelling in the office.

It made for a rocky start to the conference. While the premise was great, and the panel seemed considered, the execution fell flat. Panelists spent almost the first 30 minutes talking about their life stories, and one (whom I won’t name) completely hogged the conversation at the expense of the other two (who gave considerably better advice.) Tips for current interns weren’t seriously mentioned for the first 29 minutes.

29 minutes of a 50-minute panel.

There was a depth of experience on the panel, and there were glimmers of great information shared. But it was overshadowed by long-winded personal stories that, while interesting, fell far short of practical.


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