It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to send out a listserv message. I’ve missed you! While I’m not recovered enough to return fulltime, my “I’m a turtle walking in cement shoes” progress has me to about 90 minutes work daily, helping out Ethan H. Schwalbe, who has been covering everything in the internship office as I’ve been dealing with my concussion. I wanted to use those minutes today to send you a message of encouragement!
I know COVID-19 has been a nightmare for every student with a spring internship and all those hoping for a summer internship. It’s been frightening for graduating seniors. But all is not lost! With that in mind:
1. This virus mitigation is a complete pain in the ass. It is also an opportunity. Already, one of our students has turned her experience into a published clip in the Arizona Daily Star. You can, too! Editorial Page Editor Sarah Garrecht Gassen (who also teaches for the School of Journalism) is accepting perspective pieces (600-word limit) on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you. Consider writing an opinion piece about what you are doing and how you are responding to this current environment. Send a digital picture of yourself along with the submission to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ethan and I are happy to provide feedback on your potential columns, as we did for Anika, and your professors here at the School of Journalism are as well.
Other options for getting clips this spring and summer:
- Students can find their way to publishing through the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Eric Wise and Sam Burdette, EICs for spring 2020 and summer 2020 respectively, are accepting stories, opinion pieces and pitches at email@example.com.
- Contact Dylan Smith at TucsonSentinel.com with story pitches that can be reported virtually via email and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact any recruiter you had hoped to interview with at the internship fair this spring to find out if they would have the ability to offer you an internship this summer that is 100 percent remote. Work for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Contact the EIC to find out if they are taking freelance submissions.
- Submit to The Artifice, an online magazine that covers a wide spectrum of art forms, including Film, Anime, Comics, Literature, Games, and Arts. It is collaboratively built and maintained by the writers. The platform has an established audience of millions. From the editor: “Instead of recycling the same entertainment news stories or publishing commonplace editorials, The Artifice focuses on unique topics that are intellectually stimulating and meaningful. Writers for the magazine range from undergraduates to emeritus professors.” Here is the link to the writers’ guidelines and submission process.
- Submit personal essays to Becca Dyer, editor of The Blue Guitar magazine, which is a project of the nonprofit Arizona Consortium for the Arts. “Writers must submit original work and must live part- or full-time in Arizona. Simultaneous submissions will be accepted, but the writer must notify the magazine as soon as possible if the work is accepted elsewhere. Please include your name and the best way to contact you on your submission. Submissions must be publication-ready. To submit, e-mail Editor Rebecca Dyer at email@example.com but before you do, make sure you check out the magazine here and see what the tone and style is. School of Journalism Director Carol Schwalbe says Blue Guitar has published a number of journalism students’ work in the past.
- For those of you sheltering at home in other cities, reach out to the managing editors at your local papers about virtual reporting because this week Poynter was reporting that many summer internships are still a go – even if they may have to be virtual. So, that gives us hope that other entities may follow suit. (This is true for print and online products, but in general, broadcast internships are not able to be done remotely, especially at local stations.)
- The UA Career Services’ Job Shadow Program is being offered virtually! It can help connect you with alumni and employers. Go to the Job Shadow Program webpage, to submit your area of interest(s) and someone from Career Services will hook you up with a job shadow experience.
- This internship with music criticism is still available, and they’ve changed the requirement to apply to covering livestreamed concerts instead of concerts in person due to COVID. Deadline: May 15, 2020, for a 4-day fellowship in October 2020 in San Francisco. Read all about it at the link above.
- Now may be the time to think outside the box. Yes, you want to intern in journalism. Yes, COVID-19 may make that impossible. But there may be increases in offers in areas outside of journalism and any experience is better than no experience. We’re in unchartered waters, but you are the captain of your own ship. Own that power! Look at InternQueen and Internships.com for possible options.
2. Your finances may feel untenable. Use isolation time to apply for scholarships. Apply for UA journalism specific scholarships right here, right now!
- Also, know that the University has many mental health resources available to you. Campus Health has published tips on their website that will help our community cope with the stress related to COVID-19 and provides information of other services available. Lots of free stuff, so take advantage.
3. Your future may feel unstable. So, it’s a great time to plan for something new. If you are not graduating this May, I highly encourage you to sign up for my JOUR 201A Careers class this fall. It is a 1-unit, 5-week course, M/W from 9 to 10:20 a.m. beginning Monday, Aug. 24. It is set up to help you be competitive for internships and jobs and I will be retooling some of the class this summer to include how to pitch and complete virtual internships. It will help you identify numerous internships/job opportunities that can use your journalism skills and you’ll complete the course with a work-shopped set of application materials including cover letter, resumes, Linked In profile and online work portfolio. Also:
- NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project is a weeklong FREE audio journalism training program at locations around the country many of them in later summer, when hopefully we will be COVID-19 free. See link above for all the details.
- You can attend online events and programs through Career Services. Find virtual events in Handshake.
- If you need timely career advice from a peer or career educator for internships or jobs outside of journalism, you can practice social distancing and still meet virtually. Here’s where you schedule an appointment.
- If you’re a graduating senior, make sure you’re looking at Poynter.org, Editor and Publisher, Journalismjobs.com, and Mediabistro.com for job listings.
On a personal note: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Everyone is going through this across the country. All of us are scared (and those who say they aren’t scared are lying.) Life is different now, which means the opportunities will be different — but there will still be opportunities. I. Promise. You. Keep your skills up and your hopes up.
This is the hardest part – being hopeful in the face of what you’ve lost. Trust me, I understand. It has been nearly six months since I was in the car accident that caused my concussion, and many of those weeks I was so depressed from the isolation I wanted to stand outside in a lightning storm holding a metal rod. I lost my best time with you students – internship fairs and the fall recruiting season – and teaching my career class this January and until four weeks ago, I’d lost the ability to read or write for any length of time longer than 10 minutes. So I understand being scared, angry, frustrated. But drowning in those feelings for days on end will not help you. You know what will? Gratitude letters.
I promise you the practice is life-changing, stress-reducing and perspective-giving. Just think of someone in your life who has made a difference to you – either directly or even just by being an inspiration in how they live their life – and write them a card telling them so. Try to do this the minute you start feeling unmoored. Research shows that if you actually do it through real mail instead of email, you reap way better benefits. Plus, isn’t it great when you get something in your mailbox besides junk? (Don’t know how to address an envelope? YouTube provides! Want to #stayhome and #staysafe? Yes, you do, so print your stamps online.)
Other tips that you might find help with isolation:
- Have a structure to your days. Bare minimum: Attend your classes, do your homework, and exercise every day, preferably outside. Staying active helps both mental and physical wellness and will help you keep a regular sleep schedule, which is vital for maintaining immune health. That socially distanced 2-mile run will build up your feel-good endorphins!
- Call/text an old friend or family member you haven’t connected with in a while.
- Eat as healthy as you can — but also go ahead and have some ice cream! This is stressful! If you have to shop in a store, stay 6 feet away from everyone for their health and yours.
- Have virtual happy hours via your favorite online application.
- Beware of information overload. Learn what you must, but don’t get sucked into the three-hour scroll that depresses and overwhelms you. Mental health care is really important right now.
- Finally, find an inspiring quote, write it on your bathroom mirror and give it some thought each day. My favorite right now is from the Roman poet Ovid: “Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.”
I hope some of this will be helpful to you. Feel free to email me resumes or cover letters or just questions. Ethan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is still running the show and is available for all questions regarding internship offers and placements, but I’m here as a support to him with editing resumes, cover letters, problem solving, etc., during my short hours at the computer. I’m at email@example.com. To sign off, I leave you with Wendell Berry's poem, "Stay Home," which was passed on to me by a friend in the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop:
I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man's life
I am at home. Don't come with me.
You stay home too.
I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don't come with me.
You stay home too.