Letter to the Editor: Response to article about journalism courses

Dear Collegian,

It is unfortunate that some journalism students are “cautioned against taking on internships” (Heaton, Blakely. “Covering Communities.” The Butler Collegian 24 February 2016) during the semesters they take JR 212, JR 312, or JR 412.
As former Collegian Editor-In-Chief Matthew VanTryon posted earlier this week on social media from his internship at The Sporting News, “I’ve learned more during the past two months than I’ve ever learned in a classroom. NOTHING in a classroom replaces real-world experience.”
Journalism majors only have five or six semesters to do internships since students are rarely ready to intern during their first two semesters in college. If students are discouraged from doing internships when taking JR 212, JR 312, or JR 412, then they would be left with only two or three semesters to get the invaluable experience that internships can uniquely provide. A study abroad semester would further cut into that number.
I am the Internship Director for the College of Communication and a member of the journalism faculty. I will gladly meet with any journalism major to discuss internships regardless of the journalism classes a student may take during any semester.
Three students taking JR 312 last fall interned with the Indiana Supreme Court, WISH-TV, and the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. Students taking JR 412 this spring are interning at a variety of places including WTHR-TV, Indiana Pacers beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report, Indianapolis Zoo, WISH-TV and other places.
Journalism students should be encouraged to do internships when they feel they are ready. I’ve worked professionally in radio and television newsrooms and I have former students who are working in newsrooms across the country. The importance of internships cannot be understated.


Scott Bridge
Internship Director, College of Communication
Instructor, Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism
Butler University


One Comment;

  1. Scott Maynard said:

    I graduated from Butler in 1984 with a journalism degree and while my career took a different path my experiences at Butler – both in and out of the classroom – were critical to setting a solid foundation to build upon in both my professional and personal life. I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Bridge that participating in internships and other outside of the classroom activities are absolutely critical to your development. You will be exposed to real life situations that you cannot duplicate in a classroom – situations that will teach you how to plan and prepare, be flexible in your approach, and comfortable in thinking on your feet. They are also vital in helping you to begin to develop your personal network of relationships and acquaintances that – I can assure you – will benefit you now and into the future. I interview over 50 college graduates a year for various positions and those who have served in internships always present themselves as much more capable to adapt and learn quickly and produce results. Lastly I know demands can be great and sometimes the rewards don’t seem to adequately compensate the effort but you will find in your working life that those conditions will occur much more frequently than you may imagine now. The question is do you have the courage and fortitude to attack your challenges and turn them into opportunities or whether you let them frustrate and paralyze you and fester into inaction. Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”. Take advantage of both your classroom and outside activities while you are young even if it causes some short term pain. You will find it is well worth the effort to do both. Best wishes to all of you in whatever and wherever your endeavors may take you. Be Awesome!