By Karen T. Braeckel
Most of our advertising and editorial interns returned to the classroom a few weeks ago – forever changed by their experiences this summer.
And some of our HSPA members also benefited by gaining additional help during the vacation season – and even longer.
We learned of several students who either continued to work after their internships or will freelance at their host newspapers this semester.
The Foundation did not establish internships to enter into the matchmaking business. But both programs encourage students to pursue careers in newspapers.
This summer we saw several examples of success.
Laurie Ragle, advertising director for The Herald-Times (Bloomington), knew by early June she had a keeper. She said when she first met Indiana University student Jon Osting, he just oozed with charisma.
And then he started to sell.
Osting majors in journalism with an emphasis in advertising and public relations and minors in marketing and psychology.
He also served as marketing director of the Advertising Association at the Kelley School of Business, where he worked with several companies to try to improve their advertising and sales.
A sales rep in the advertising department at The Herald-Times sent Osting a graphic of a unicorn and rainbows – symbolizing the joy he brought to the staff and his approach to the job.
He made it his screensaver.
As quite the salesperson herself, Ragle began the campaign to keep Osting part-time during the school year. By early July, she sent an email saying Osting agreed to work at The H-T for 12 to 15 hours a week.
In a new recruitment twist, Ragle had to convince Osting’s parents to agree to the arrangement.
She thanked the Foundation for facilitating the new advertising internship program. Without it, she says, they would not have found Osting.
After paying his salary and commission, The H-T still made a profit – and found an employee.
A similar situation occurred with a Eugene S. Pulliam intern on the editorial side.
Dennis Barbosa, an intern with the Indianapolis Business Journal, started on the right foot by visiting the newsroom and introducing himself to the staff prior to the first day of his internship.
By midway through the 10 weeks, we learned Barbosa worked hard and interacted well with staff. But more importantly, he produced.
On Barbosa’s midterm evaluation, Cory Schouten, IBJ’s managing editor, wrote, “Important note: Dennis has been on (Page 1) of IBJ twice already. None of us can remember an intern writing a single P1 story in the past.”
By the final Pulliam intern luncheon with the HSPA Foundation board, Barbosa said he might transfer from IU-Bloomington to IUPUI for his final semester and freelance for the IBJ.
He did change schools, and Schouten confirmed Barbosa is freelancing.
During the internship, Schouten said, Barbosa also wrote featured inside stories and a first-person Arts & Entertainment cover story on his experience caving near Bloomington.
Lastly, we saw an Indiana State University student majoring in communications and minoring in creative writing move out of her comfort zone.
Chelsey Bough focused mostly on electronic media at school, she said. But when she saw an internship opening less than 15 miles from her hometown of Worthington, she applied.
Bough described the Foundation program as a huge help in finding an internship close to home while she was still in school. She said her time at the paper enlightened her on the way print works and how to sell certain types of advertising.
Chris Pruett, publisher and editor of the Greene County Daily World, said on a survey that he believed it was a great experience for the newspaper and Bough.
“She is actually staying on as a full-time temporary employee in our newsroom until she goes back to school. We have someone out on FMLA, and she’s doing a good job in the newsroom,” he wrote.
Bob Zaltsberg, editor of The Herald-Times (Bloomington), marked on his intern’s evaluation that he would hire her for a permanent professional position if he had an opening, even though she’s only a sophomore.
(We explained to Z that we encourage students to finish school first in our program.)
This fall the Foundation will begin the internship application process all over again – for students and newspapers.
We hope HSPA-member papers will consider participating by applying to host an advertising and editorial intern. Most papers find the positives far outweigh the negatives.
But not every match causes hearts to flutter.
One intern said she was thankful for the opportunity because it showed her what she does not want to do in her career.
There’s that too.
Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.