Journalism student Harleen Kaur on how her Internship Experiences are Helping her as a Future Professional

By: Harleen Kaur

We all know that practical work is much better than sitting in class and learning the theoretical part. Practicality cannot be taught in textbooks. Internships give students hand on experience which they need.

In the first semester, I applied for an internship at The Times of India and was lucky to get through. So, I did my first internship in The Times of India, Chandigarh.

It was my first day at work. I was curious, nervous and full of anxiety. I was to work with the editorial team. I was told to go to different vegetable markets and report on the inflation in the price of vegetables. As a rookie I had no clue what I was supposed to do since I didn’t have any prior experience in field reporting. It was a totally different experience for me. I went to the market and spoke to different vegetable vendors and got all the quotes. The next challenge was to convert this to a story worth publishing. With no experience in writing print reports, I struggled with it a bit and finally with the help of my colleagues I managed to out together an article.

The happiness of seeing my article with a byline in the newspaper next day cannot be put in words. It encouraged me to work even harder. With this, my interest in journalism grew every single day. Waking up early in the morning with a curiosity to see if the article got published with a byline was an experience in itself. It really cannot be put in words.

I wanted to try and explore every type of media to see where my real interest lies. So, after Times of India, I interned with India Today on the digital desk.

There is obviously a huge difference between working as a reporter and being a part of the digital desk. While a reporter is expected to be on field, do the legwork and fetch stories and content, the digital desk is supplied stories by reporters and the desk needs to then edit the stories accordingly and publish it on their platform.

While working with India Today was an experience in itself, I enjoyed my work as a reporter more than the desk work and I was sure that working the digital desk was not for me. Currently, I am interning with NDTV and covering I got an opportunity of a lifetime covering the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 under the aegis of senior journalists. Next I wish to intern in a production house and learn the ropes of video production and direction.

When I look back and reflect on the things I learnt, I feel that it was definitely a bumpy ride but an experience every student must have. I learnt more than I expected during both my internships. I learnt that it is very difficult to please a customer. I learnt the value of time, the importance of teamwork as well as performing as an individual.I learnt to be more responsible. The best thing I learnt was to never be afraid of asking questions. Only by asking questions can we get our answers.

The one thing every journalist needs the most is contacts. I intend to build my contacts within the journalism industry during my internships. In both the media houses, my seniors and colleagues were kind enough to share their contacts with me and referring me to open positions in the industry.

The message to all my juniors is – internships are really important for every student. It gives you a sneak peak into your future life as a media/journalism professional. Internships are the only way to gain experience. And trust me, while good grades will matter during placements, an industrial experience will give your profile a much needed boost. A lot of graduates these days suffer because they did not had any previous industrial exposure. With internships, you have a chance to stand out. Internships are the tool to help you figure out what you really want to do in life. I would definitely encourage each one of you to do as many internships as you can/possible.

Also, it is not always necessary to stick to what’s been provided to you. I applied for all my internships and got through them. To achieve something in life, you gotta move and work for it!

Harleen is a student at the Jindal School of Journalism and Communication 

Snapshots of some of the articles written for TOI Chandigarh

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