By Jennifer Goldasic
A new website will serve as a one-stop guide for students and employers looking to get together for the internship program, one of the Ryerson School of Journalism’s hallmark courses.
The site was created to show students where they can apply, give them tips on working as a professional and access to all the paperwork that makes internships tick.
It was developed by Lindsay Smith, the school’s digital content and web design specialist, and overseen by Jagg Carr-Locke, the internship coordinator and an associate professor at the School.
It’s a reflection of all the work that’s been going on for years in analog to make the for-credit internship a highlight of the Bachelor of Journalism and graduate program.
About 130 undergraduate and graduate journalism students partner with media workplaces each year to fulfil one of the final credits of their degree.
Throughout three academic terms, Ryerson journalism students populate newsrooms from The Telegram in St. John’s to CBC Victoria – but they also produce media in corporate or government settings.
Generally, the internships are scheduled for the final year of the program and they last for six weeks.
In reality that’s the culmination of a variety of preparation and consultation that goes on in the background before the student ever steps into a professional setting.
The website is designed not only to help students seek and prepare for an internship but also to help those who are currently placed in the industry.
The idea for the website was that students be able to easily navigate the process for the internship course and find access to all the different kinds of internships, says Carr-Locke, who has been overseeing the undergraduate course for the past two years.
Students are encouraged to seek out their own internship experiences but they have always benefitted from advice and management from many program coordinators.
The school also runs workshops but the website will now be a place to re-orient them if they are overwhelmed.
“It offers a lot of information about the course in general and placements in particular, and it puts that information right in front of them. It saves them having to go searching and making millions of inquiries that sometimes end up going nowhere. It’s a time-saver,” she says.
Carr-Locke adds that she’ll be able to keep up with students better while they’re on placement and she can turn more attention to developing and sustaining relationships with preferred employers.
“And I’ll be able to spend more time meeting with students and getting to know them better before they go on placement.”
It’s the type of service that could have given some more peace-of-mind to Jennifer Freedman, a fourth-year student, who was finding it difficult to find an internship on her own until she found one with a fashion magazine through a family friend. “I reached out to over 20 places and didn’t hear back from a single one.”
All of the due diligence that has been developed by the faculty over the years is embedded into the site. Highlights include access to risk assessment details for international experiences and a place where students can share their experiences.
The student side of the website launched this term, while the industry side will be up and running soon.
Employers will eventually use the site to fill out evaluation forms for students and find out what the program has to offer.