Media, journalism and publishing internships and work experience
Work experience is essential for a career in the media as your work is likely to be in the public eye from day one. It helps you to develop your commercial awareness and knowledge of your chosen area of the media as well as creating examples of your work that you can then show to potential employers. It’s a good idea to build up a portfolio of your work before you graduate, whether that’s from internships, informal work experience or student media. Find out what counts as work experience in journalism and read more about the different types of media work experience.
Timings and deadlines for work experience in the media
Organisations in some other sectors recruit a large number of interns who are in their penultimate year of study, and these employers may offer a large proportion of their graduate jobs to students who have completed an internship with them. Media, publishing and journalism don’t have an established ‘work experience pipeline’. In other words, an internship won’t necessarily lead to a job with the same employer, and you can do work experience at any time during your degree or after you graduate – although it’s best to complete a longer internship during the summer vacation.
How to find media, publishing and journalism internships
Very few media employers have an annual recruitment drive for their internships, and those that do only recruit a handful of interns each year. Unsurprisingly, these schemes are extremely competitive, but if you’re lucky enough to be accepted onto one it will give you an unrivalled insight into the organisation and may involve seeing a project through from beginning to end. Widening your search to include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and less well known organisations will give you more choice. Find out more about the benefits of getting work experience with small employers.
You’ll find vacancies for media work experience below, as well as on employers’ websites and through your university’s career service. We’ve got advice on applying to smaller employers as well as some examples of formal internships that are advertised each year.
Speculative applications for media work experience
If an organisation that interests you isn’t advertising for interns, you can apply speculatively by sending a CV and covering letter. An SME might not be able to recruit several interns but could provide one week of work shadowing, for example. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to applying speculatively for work experience. If an organisation can’t afford to pay you it may be flexible about hours, allowing you to combine media work experience with studying or paid part-time work. However, make sure you know your rights before you accept any unpaid work experience.
Student media as an alternative to internships
Internships and work shadowing aren’t the only ways to meet employers, develop your knowledge of the media industry and build up your own portfolio of work. Get involved with university societies such as student newspapers, TV and radio, whether you’re struggling to get an internship or want something extra to help your CV stand out. Standing for election for positions of responsibility in your penultimate or final year will give you more hands-on involvement and develop your project management and leadership skills. Here's why extracurricular activities will help you get hired and how to get the most out of student journalism.