The SABC deadline for applicants is coming up soon while eNCA is in the process of developing a formal, more extensive training programme. In the latest instalment of her “Backstory” series, Gill Moodie writes exclusively for Journalism.co.za:
If you want to get into broadcast journalism, there are a number of internship opportunities coming up this year with the SABC closing applications at the end of this week.
eNCA – which piloted a six-month internship boot camp last year for 10 people – is looking to roll-out a more extensive internship programme in its new financial year, from April 2015.
eNCA managing editor Seamus Reynolds told Journalism.co.za this week that he is seeking to extend the contracts of the current batch of interns for three months so that they get a full year while he is seeking funding to set up a more formal year-long internship programme for 2015, to begin in June.
This will involve six months of managed internship training and six months working in various eNCA departments.
The TV broadcaster does not restrict its intake to journalism graduates but wants people with tertiary qualifications.
“We tend towards the university graduates because we can develop the skills in house in a relatively short space of time but you can’t develop critical thinking quickly,” says Reynolds.
[See Part 1 of this two-part series and which focuses on journalism internships offered by the print industry: Media intern programme reflect changes in the industry, Journalism.co.za, Jan 2015].
The programme starts in April 2015, applicants must have a relevant tertiary degree or diploma while the state broadcaster has a large variety of internship streams, from journalism and radio programming to marketing and IT plus technical broadcasting skills such as camera and lighting operation and sound restoration.
A thousand applicants for boot camp
Last year, eNCA got more a 1 000 applicants for its first boot camp. Reynolds says that eNCA feels the need to set up a formal internship programme because its style is so different to that of the SABC.
“We want the independent voice,” he says. “We’re trying to find a unique way of telling our stories … plus journalism is an industry of churn. People do want to move and try different spaces.
“A lot of people also don’t realise how cumbersome television can be so when you recruit someone who’s studied print journalism and dabbled a little bit in broadcasting – whether at tech or university – the pressure that is on them when they get here is intense. The pressure to deliver is intense and the hours are incredibly long. You have to get to a story before any other journalist because you’ve got equipment to set up and you leave after any other journalist. It takes so much longer to turn your story.
“We want to blood people from the beginning and get them used to our way of doing things.”
eNCA’s parent company, Sabido, has also set up a media training academy (called the Sabido eAcademy) with the wider corporate in mind.
Eyewitness News (EWN) – which is Primedia’s news division that services Talk Radio 702, Cape Talk 567, 94.7 Highveld Stereo and 94.5 KFM – has just taken on two interns for 2015 and had a number of young people in the newsroom over the holiday for work experience and short-term internships, says EWN deputy editor Camilla Bath.
EWN has a formal agreement with Wits University’s journalism programme, whereby it offers internships to up to two honours graduates a year. This involves them splitting their time between EWN and Wits’s student radio station, Voice of Wits, during a year-long contract.
“We try to make sure that our interns are exposed to all of EWN’s platforms,” Bath says. “We don’t consider ourselves as just a radio newsroom any more, and we expect our interns to learn the ins and outs of every aspect of the organisation. So they will also spend time with our online team learning about our website, our social-media presence and also the multimedia journalism that we also do.”
Key to a successful internship
Meanwhile, smaller outfits such as the Moneyweb website that also does the business programme for SAfm, also take interns.
Moneyweb MD Marc Ashton told Journalism.co.za that he is hoping to take between three and five interns for three months in the new financial year and interns will work in all aspects of the business: business writing, recording radio content and podcasts, online publishing and the commercialising and marketing of content.
While a tertiary degree and being able to hold one’s own in a conversation about business helps applicants, Ashton is more concerned about enthusiasm and initiative.
“You’d be surprised by how unenthusiastic people are when you invite them to do an internship. Some people don’t know what they want to do so they try out an internship for a bit.”
Key to a successful internship is an intern who asks questions rather than waiting to be told what to do.
“The ability to write and curiosity go a long way,” Ashton says. “In a small newsroom like this, there’s no room for babysitting so we need interns who can run with a story and people who are prepared to be self-starters. You can teach someone to write if you need to but they have to be naturally curious to be a journalist.”
2013 update: Radio journalism internships at Primedia’s Eyewitness News, Grubstreet, February 2013.
- Journ schools face up to challenge of teaching digital skills, Journalism.co.za, February 2012.
- Newspaper internship schemes are alive and well, Journalism.co.za, January 2012.