The CSUN Journalism Department offers a course, Jour 494, for students who have secured a high-quality internship in the media industry, whether it is in news (print, online, broadcast, photojournalism, ethnic and/or community media) or public relations. Enrollment occurs after the student has been offered an appropriate internship and all paperwork has been completed.
Here are some commonly-asked questions about the journalism internship course:
Is an internship required for my journalism degree?
No, journalism students do not need to complete an internship as part of their coursework. The Jour 494 class counts as three units towards the total 12 journalism elective units that journalism majors need in order to graduate. That said, having an internship is highly recommended because it gives you real-‐world experience, helps you decide what type of work you’d like to do after graduation and helps you meet people in the industry.
What is the pre-‐requisite for Jour 494 (internship) class?
It depends on the type of duties and responsibilities you’ll have at the internship.
- For a print/online or magazine internship: C or better in J330
- For photojournalism/multimedia internship: C or better in J350
- For broadcast internship: C or better in J315 and J335
- For public relations internship: C or better in J341
What if I haven’t met the pre-requisite?
Students who have not yet met the prerequisites can inquire about getting college credit through the CSU Entertainment Industry Initiative https://www2.calstate.edu/CSUEA/internships/Pages/internship-course.aspx, which costs $200 for the online course. Or you take an internship class at a community college ($46 per unit plus other fees). However, any college credit outside of the Jour 494 class will NOT count toward your journalism degree at CSUN. Note: U.S. Federal Labor Law requires college credit for unpaid internships.
How do I look for an internship?
Searching for an internship is good practice for your first full-time journalism job quest. There are several ways you can do it:
- Think of a news and/or media company where you’d like to intern and look at its website. If the news outlet or company doesn't have any information about internships, call and ask.
- Consult the CSUN Journalism Department’s Monday Memo online newsletter at http://csunjournalism.blogspot.com/ Opportunities are listed just once so go through them carefully and click on “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page to get to older postings. If the news and/or media company offered an internship a year ago, maybe it will offer one again. Call and ask!
- Search online for terms, such as “journalism internship Los Angeles” or “public relations internship San Fernando Valley” and see what comes up. Be leery of any internship on craigslist.
- Ask your classmates, especially those who’ve done an internship.
- Ask your journalism professors for suggestions.
What are some good internship websites?
Best internship websites out there
CSUN’s Sunlink: https://csuncsm.symplicity.com/index.php/pid485155?
www.looksharp.com(formerly Intern Match)
www.huffingtonpost.com/los-angeles/(Scroll to bottom of page; click on media outlet)
www.laobserved.com/media.php (Scroll to bottom of page; click on media outlet)
Beware of any internships on craigslist!
What advice do you have about writing a resume?
Your resume must be accurate with no spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors, so be sure to get feedback from several people before sending it out. Give it to a journalism professor and a journalism classmate to review. Also, the CSUN Career Center offers free resume reviews on a walk-in basis. Consult their website for more information: http://www.csun.edu/career/services A good resume should highlight why you are a solid candidate for the internship. Don’t go into detail about non-journalism jobs, such as working at a retail store or a restaurant. Include them on your resume but the focus should be on the journalism-related skills you already have. If this is your first internship, include a section about the relative journalism courses you’ve completed, especially the practicum class. If you’re unsure about the formatting, look online for a resume template.
What are the steps required to enroll in Jour 494?
Step 1: Contact the department’s internship coordinator (Dr. Stephanie Bluestein: ) to ensure that you have met the pre-‐requisites and to discuss what internship(s) you are considering.
Step 2: If eligible to take Jour 494, obtain an internship packet from the Journalism Department office during regular business hours.
Step 3: Secure an appropriate internship that meets the department’s requirements in terms of location and supervision (see questions 5 and 6).
Step 4: Have your internship coordinator complete the internship contract contained in the packet.
Step 5: Contact Dr. Bluestein to arrange for a time to meet with her in person to review your contract. If everything is in order, she will sign off on the paperwork.
Step 6: Take the completed contract, plus the signed risk management form to the Journalism Department office to receive the permission numbers for Jour 494. You will receive a permission number for Jour 494AEE (the one-‐unit coursework portion) and Jour 494 BEE (the two-‐unit fieldwork portion). Students must enroll in both AEE and BEE for a total of three units.
Are there any requirements in terms of the location of the internship?
Internships must take place in traditional office space, such as a leased office. Internships for companies that operate out of a home office and/or require the student to telecommute (work from home) on a regular basis will not be approved. In certain situations, such as working for a legitimate start-‐up, it might be necessary for the student to be supervised virtually for a limited amount of time. Such accommodations will be considered but must be approved in advance.
Are there any requirements in terms of supervision at the internship?
Adequate supervision of the intern and ample, timely feedback are obligations of any quality internship. Therefore, the company must have a minimum of three full-‐time employees per intern. In addition, the supervisor(s) must have professional experience in the given area of journalism so they can give meaningful feedback to the intern. In addition, interns may not be supervised by other interns. If it is questionable whether the student will receive proper supervision and feedback, the internship will not be approved.
How many hours do I need to complete at my internship?
A minimum of 135 hours during the semester, which is approximately 11 hours per week. Many students work more than 135 hours and continue working until the semester ends. Students do not leave the internship once they have completed the 135 hours.
Does it matter if the internship is paid or unpaid?
Not at all. If you’ve met the pre-‐ requisite(s) and completed the paperwork, you can enroll in Jour 494 regardless of whether it’s a paid or an unpaid internship.
Do I need to provide anything, other than my enthusiasm to learn, to do the internship?
Work sites must supply all of the equipment you will need to do the tasks set forth in your internship contract. Students should not be expected to bring their own laptop or other equipment to the internship.
When can I start my internship?
Your internship cannot be started until you have enrolled in the course, which means you have completed the paperwork and met with the internship coordinator for our department. Internships must start anytime between the first day of the semester and the last day of the third week. Therefore, you can’t start your internship before the semester begins nor can you start after the third week.
What’s the last day I can add Jour 494?
The end of the third week of the semester. There are no extensions, nor exceptions. If you miss the deadline, see Question 2 for other options.
How many times can I take the Jour 494 course?
Once. If you have already taken Jour 494 and get another internship, you can enroll either in the CSU Media Industry Initiative course or an internship course (sometimes called “cooperative education”) at a community college. Note that neither of these options will substitute for the Jour 494 course and will not count toward your journalism degree in any way.
What if I want to switch to a different internship during the semester?
Students are not allowed to change internships after the semester has started, except in extreme cases. If a student has concerns about his/her internship, the student needs to immediately contact the Journalism Department Internship Coordinator to discuss the situation and the student’s options.
How are grades assigned for Jour 494?
It’s graded on a credit-‐no credit basis. Students who complete the coursework and complete the minimum 135 hours at their internship, in addition to having their supervisor complete the mid-‐semester and final evaluations, will usually get credit for the course. Students who leave the internship too early, don’t do the coursework and/or whose supervisors fail to complete the evaluations will not receive credit for the course.
My internship is paid and I am not planning to take the Jour 494 class. How can I verify to my employer that I’m a current CSUN student so I can do the internship?
If required by your employer, the Journalism Department can write a letter stating that you are an active student that semester. Contact with the Journalism Department and request the letter but understand that it will be sent in a timely manner, but not immediately. You will need to plan ahead in order to meet any deadlines set by your employer.